Friday, June 27, 2014

Incumbents favoured in three of four by-elections (updated)

Four federal by-elections are being held on Monday in Alberta and Ontario. If voters in these ridings can be bothered to cast a ballot on what is a long weekend for many of them, the results should be interesting.

The ridings in questions are Macleod and Fort McMurray-Athabasca in Alberta and Trinity-Spadina and Scarborough-Agincourt in Ontario (both in Toronto). These four ridings have been very safe ones for the incumbent parties in the past, and in three of them the incumbent is expected to prevail. That leaves Trinity-Spadina as the race to watch.

The Conservatives should have no trouble holding on to their two Alberta ridings, which they won by gargantuan margins in 2011. Of note may be the performance of the Liberals, who put in some surprising showings, and almost an upset, in two rural Manitoba ridings at the end of 2013. Fort McMurray-Athabasca, with its fast growing population and large labour force hailing from elsewhere in the country, could be interesting as well. The Liberals have been polling relatively well in Alberta - compared to their usual support levels, at least - and it will be interesting to see if they can attract a large number of voters in the province like they did in Calgary Centre in 2012.

Scarborough-Agincourt is a Liberal fortress, having survived the purge of 2011. Some might argue it was a Jim Karygiannis fortress, but polls suggest Arnold Chan will hold on to the riding for the Liberals. Trinity-Spadina, vacated by Olivia Chow as she runs for the Toronto mayor's office, would normally be an NDP lock. But with popular local councilor Adam Vaughan carrying the Liberal banner, the riding could swing over to him. Voters in Trinity-Spadina just recently elected a provincial Liberal, defeating long-time MPP Rosario Marchese, who had represented the riding since 1999.

Let's take a look at what kind of results we might expect in these four ridings. The first chart below shows the high and low projections based on the last three polls conducted in Ontario. These were calculated using the site's standard methodology for making riding estimations.
By these measures, the Conservatives look quite comfortable in Macleod and Fort McMurray-Athabasca, while the Liberals look solid in Scarborough-Agincourt.

June 30 update: An Angus Reid national poll was released over the weekend. Adding it to the high and low projections, the Conservative high would be boosted to 56% in Fort McMurray-Athabasca. The Liberal low would be reduced to 35% in Trinity-Spadina, while the NDP high would be increased to 44% there. In Scarborough, the NDP high would rise to 16%, while in Macleod the Green low would drop to 6%.

In Macleod, the Conservatives have ranged between 62% and 70% when employing the provincial swing from the last three polls. The NDP, Liberals, and potentially even the Greens could claim second spot.

In Fort McMurray-Athabasca, the Conservatives look likely to be reduced from the margin they managed in 2011, but would still take between 48% and 55% against just 22% to 31% for the Liberals. Still, in a northern Alberta riding that would be a good showing for the Liberals. The NDP have the inside track on third place, but the Greens could narrowly take it.

The Liberals look set to take a majority of the vote in Scarborough-Agincourt with between 52% and 65%, against 23% to 30% for the Conservatives. The NDP should finish third.

And in Trinity-Spadina, the Liberals and New Democrats are in a close race that is leaning Liberal. Vaughan could take 36% to 51% of the vote, and Joe Cressy between 28% and 41%. The Conservatives, at 13% to 15%, would finish third.

But these are estimates based on province-wide support levels. In by-elections, local factors are extremely important. Forum Research has, as usual, tried to gauge the support of the parties in three of the four ridings (interestingly, Forum has opted not to poll Fort McMurray-Athabasca, due to the difficulties in reaching its transient, cellphone-only population). Let's see how Forum measures the three races, again using the high and low numbers they have reported in its two (Macleod, Scarborough-Agincourt) or three (Trinity-Spadina) polls released in the last few months.
Here we see some small variations from the estimates based on provincial swing.

June 30 update: Forum released some new numbers on the eve of the election. In Macleod, the poll would reduce the low Conservative result to 54% and the NDP low to 4%. The Liberal high would increase to 16% and the Green high to 16%.

In Trinity-Spadina, the Conservative low drops to 11% and the Liberal low to 45%. The NDP high increases to 35% and the Green high to 9%.

In Scarborough-Agincourt, the NDP high increases to 10% and the Green high to 4%.

Forum released its first numbers for Fort McMurray-Athabasca: 41% Liberals, 33% Conservatives, 13% NDP, 8% Others, 5% Greens. Not sure about those, but we'll see tonight.

Macleod lines up about the same, with the Tories a little lower than the provincial swing would suggest.

In Scarborough-Agincourt, Forum is less bullish on the Liberals and more favourable to the Conservatives, but still gives it to Chan by a fair margin over Trevor Ellis. The most recent Forum poll (June 18) gives Chan the advantage among all age groups, suggesting turnout might not matter.

Trinity-Spadina is perhaps the most different, if only because it doesn't give Cressy much of a chance. Vaughan has managed between 52% and 54% in Forum's three polls, against 31% to 34% for Cressy. In the latest survey, Vaughan led in all age groups except the 18 to 34 year olds, and 44% of former NDP voters said they would cast their ballot for Vaughan. That does not look very good for the New Democrats.

But just how reliable are by-election polls? They can be hit or terrible-miss. On the one hand, Forum has generally had a good track record in Toronto-area ridings. But calling cellphones is impossible for by-election polling, since it is not possible to ensure that the phones being called belong to people who live in the riding. A lot of people are cellphone-only in an area like Trinity-Spadina. The question is whether these people are different from the landline using population. Perhaps they are, or perhaps Forum has gotten lucky in the past. Cellphone-only residents might be less likely to vote in a more rural riding, but not in the downtown core of Toronto.

Macleod is unlikely to be gauged incorrectly by Forum, despite the company's bad record in rural ridings. The Conservatives will win here, but don't be surprised if Forum's estimations are off by double-digits. Nevertheless, in all ridings the numbers generally line-up with where the swing suggests they should be (that was not the case in Brandon-Souris in 2013, the big miss by Forum) so a bad performance may not be in the works.

Another complicating factor is turnout. Much was made of the decent advance poll turnout rates in most of the by-elections, particularly Trinity-Spadina. But was that because of high interest, or because many voters knew they would be out of town on June 30, the day before Canada Day? If turnout is low, there is a greater chance that something unusual could happen if one party is more successful in getting their voters to the polling stations.

It should be an interesting set of results. The wider implications will be difficult to gauge. If incumbents win in three of four, and a popular local councilor defeats the incumbent in the remaining contest, will that say very much?


  1. I'm very confident Forum is missing the Green vote in Trinity-Spadina - Camille Labchuk will definitely do better than 2%!

    1. Greens have basically become a protest vote for Consevatives in these ridings, so it really doesn't matter. The real environmental vote will be NDP.

    2. Apparently, advanced polling is on par with the last election, something unheard of for a byelection. Obvisuoisly, the NDP and Liberals are going all out.

      It's pretty clear that Montreal (including the suburbs with 4 additional new ridings) and downtown Toronto will be a decisive NDP-Liberal battleground in the next election. Who would have thought that 10 years ago when they were the safest Liberal seats in the country?

      It's clear that Vaughan will be a Cabinet Minister in a Trudeau government if he wins and a Liberal (oops, I mean "independent") Senator if he loses.

    3. The "real environmental vote" will not vote for a party that opposed the BC carbon tax-the NDP.

      No need to worry about potential appointments for Cressy I suppose since, Mulcair will never be PM.

    4. Analysts keep talking about the progressive battle for downtown ridings between the Liberals & the NDP, but that's only part of the 2015 election.

      The other battle is for the suburbs (eg. the 905). That's where more & more seats are being added these days, and the Conservatives are very strong in those. It's about which party is most competitive in the 905 & suburbs, and so far that appears to be the Liberals. The NDP needs to catch up in the 905. They also finished 3rd in the 905 in the provincial election under Horwath. If that happens to Mulcair in 2015, he could be in trouble.

  2. Keep in mind that the punt on Brandon-Souris may have been because their poll occurred during Grey Cup.

    1. While that might be one factor related to the magnitude of the miss, Forum did have the Liberals ahead in all five polls they conducted in Brandon-Souris, including the one they did two days before their final poll that gave Dinsdale a 14-point lead.

  3. Interesting - T-S has always been a riding that could go either NDP or Liberal depending more on the individual candidates than the parties, so it's not at all surprising to see Vaughan leading the polls.

    One quibble - in your last paragraph, you talk about "incumbents", but these byelections by definition have no incumbents. I know you mean the incumbent party, but the noun "incumbent" refers specifically to the person... I had to re-read the paragraph 3 times to figure out what you meant.

    1. That's simply not true. The NDP didn't win this riding until 1988 and wasn't a fixture until Olivia Chow took it in the 2006 Liberal meltdown. Before that, it it was a Liberal stronghold with the PC's taking a few elections when the Liberals were weak. The NDP was off the map.

      It's the hard work of Jack Layton and his supporters that made the NDP permanently competitive in Toronto at the expense of the Conservatives. Mulcair is now building on this by doing the same in Quebec. The Conservatives appear to be permanently shut out of these areas thanks to the NDP. The NDP has never had as strong a base as it does now.

    2. incumbent does not always refer to a person-it may refer to a state; currently holding office when used as an adjective.

      However, you are right since, we are speaking of by-elections there is no incumbent party or person since at the moments the seats are vacant.

    3. True, by "always" I mean "the last 30 years". :)

    4. Guy Smiley - New Democrat Dan Heap won Spadina in a 1981 by-election and held it until his retirement in 1993. Slightly different configuration, I know, but there was an NDP tradition here. And it was held by the NDP provincially from 1990.

  4. The Conservatives are throwing a lot of resouces into Scarborough and the NDP is throwing everything they have to hold Chow's seat. If the Liberals hold both, it would contribute to a growing string of Liberal gains in byelections that suggests the momentum is with the Liberals in the next federal election.

  5. Trudeau has been talking up his chances in Fort McMurray - Athabasca. That is, of course, lunacy.

    1. Not necessarily. With a transient workforce with many from the east coast I could imagine things changing quickly there. The trick for the Liberals is to find ways to get those people out to vote. Many will want to vote for the CPC due to the fact the CPC will do anything for the oil sands, but the temp workers might want to see Liberals in power to help push things ahead in the east coast so they can go home.

      Lots of routes to power. If the Liberals can find a way to build a beachhead in Alberta they could really hit the CPC where it counts. I think if the Libs and NDP are smart they'll mainly attack weak CPC ridings instead of each other as they could work together in power.

      Sadly I expect a Reform/PC type battle between them with both attacking Greens when they can as well and the CPC laughing all the way to power.

    2. I don't think thats lunacy, I think that is smart politics.

      Are Liberals going to win Fort McMurray - Athabasca? Of course not. The CPC got 72% of the vote in the last election.

      Will the Liberals make significant gains in this riding? I believe so.

      The Liberals are pumping resources into this riding as a litmus test for their strategy in Western Canada, particularly in Alberta. If they see potential gains they may invest more into this region of the country. If they do not see significant gains then they will realize this is not a part of the country they can be competitive in.

    3. And the other thing is that Trudeau doesn't need to win the riding to win the war. If they improve greatly from the last election, he can travel throughout the west saying the Liberals are the actual viable alternative to the Wild Rose type politics of the Federal Conservatives. (Not is so many words. LOL) He's setting Alberta up for next election in which there will be much closer ridings than this one, all over the west. It's a very smart strategy compared to other Liberal leaders who just gave up when the riding wasn't close.

    4. I agree with what's been said above with the obvious caveat that by-elections are strange beast and do not indicate the outcome of a general election.

      It is good strategy up to a point. The Liberals will have a finite amount of money to spend in 2015 do they really want to put a substantial investment in Western ridings only to improve their popular vote? Such a strategy would have worked well in the days of the per vote subsidy I'm not sure how effective they are at present.

      The NDP will be fighting tooth and nail against the Liberals in Quebec and Ontario as well as urban ridings throughout the country, conservatives will do the same for their Ontario, Quebec, Western and Atlantic incumbents. Liberals can not afford to waste money on ridings they have little chance of winning especially when the Conservatives are likely to hold a significant advantage on finances.

  6. My simulator gives me (without riding polls, only provincial ones):

    Fort McMurray-Athabasca
    59,4% CPC
    25,9% LPC
    7,4% GPC
    6,8% NDP

    62,2% CPC
    19,5% LPC
    6,5% GPC
    4,7% NDP

    61,5% LPC
    23,8% CPC
    9,2% NDP
    4,4% GPC

    48,0% NDP
    39,1% LPC
    5,4% GPC
    5,1% CPC

  7. Maybe not Ira, maybe not.

  8. Now Angus Reid - the most accurate pollster in the Ontario election - has released a poll on federal vote intention with a sample size of over 6,000! CPC 31%, LPC 30% and NDP 27% - and in Quebec the NDP leads the Liberals 38% to 26% - numbers like that would likely mean about 55 NDP seats in Quebec, 20 Liberals and maybe 2 or 3 Tories

    1. DL if those numbers translated into actual seats then we will see a Lib minority govt ! With NDP support of course.

  9. This comment thread is a terrific source for pat rationalizations, often unsupported even by informed speculation. Is it so hard for us all to open our minds beyond the bounds of the (partisan) paradigms we subscribe to? Gosh that's worrisome.

    1. Worrisome ?? Welcome to 21st century politics were facts are irrelevant and ideology is overwhelming. Enjoy !!

  10. Eric have I missed something or have there been no in-riding polls ??

    1. Yes, you have missed something.

    2. Yeah I blew it. Put it down to the excessive heat and humidity here

  11. Who wants to put their money where their mouth is ??

    I'll say Libs in Toronto and CPC in Alberta??

    1. 10:45 PM

      Liberals take both Toronto ridings

      Cons hold Mcleod and probably Fort McMurray with greatly enhanced Liberal vote in the latter

  12. Replies
    1. What's really impressive is the Lib numbers in Fort Mcmurray !!

      Fort McMurray-Athabasca %
      David Yurdiga CPC 47.60
      Lori McDaniel NDP 11.20
      Kyle Harrietha LIB 34.50
      Brian Deheer GRN 3.60
      Courtesy Torstar

  13. These by-elections indicate the Liberals are once again the lead opposition party. Winning Chow's old seat, retaining Scarborough-Agincourt and securing a solid second place in the both Alberta ridings.

    8.7% for the NDP in Scarborough is anemic, how can they possibly hope to form government if they're not competitive in the 905?

    The Tories should also be somewhat worried going from 70+% to under 50% in Fort Mac should be a warning signal that all is not rosy among their core rural Alberta vote.

    1. Pete I've got to wonder how this set will effect Mulcairs leadership ?

      Sure he's great in Question Period but otherwise I'd say less than satisfactory. And where is the unique CCF/NDP policies ?? Not in view !!

    2. Peter,

      Maybe it will get Mulcair to shave his beard! It may be a good idea as it appears people are not warming to him. I don't think Mulcair is anything special in question period, he has not made the PM contradict himself or acknowledge a mistake or acknowledge one of Mulcair's points is accurate. In short his questions have been deflected with relative ease.

      Harper was going to take damage from the Senate scandal no matter what, Mulcair has not exacerbated the damage and his "roll up the red carpet" campaign is nothing short of a minor fiasco. The constitution is 32 years old the CCF-NDP policy on the Senate is unchanged from 1933 yet, they still do not have an action plan to make it happen or even a itinerary on how to go about abolishing it. To be a true government-in-waiting you need to have the appearance of having a plan ephemeral intentions just doesn't cut it!

    3. Based on what? Your point of view?

      Perhaps you should step back from your partisanship before you start to declare NDP polices lacking.

    4. Yes based on my point of view and the set-out policies of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. People are not warming to Mulcair that is a quantitative fact; the last Angus Reid poll had him in third place for best PM.

      81 years and the CCF-NDP does not have a plan to abolish the Senate! How can the NDP campaign on forming the next government when it has taken 81 years to do minor constitutional planning? Their policy is "consult with the provinces", since, unanimous consent of Parliament and all Legislatures is required that is not much of a plan. Since, such an outcome is unlikely what is the back-up plan? Will they hold constitutional conferences a la Meech Lake? Will they submit the result of these conferences to a referendum? What happens if certain provinces wish to amend other sections of the Constitution? What happens if agreement is not reached? Will Mulcair simply not appoint Senators? If he does not appoint senators how will the budget get passed?

      Or how about the "Dutch disease" comment. Whether or not such a statement is a baseless, what is the NDP's plan to improve productivity in the Canadian manufacturing sector? If they have a low dollar policy what is their plan to make sure business re-invest profits in technology to improve manufacturing technology and productivity. If the NDP plan is to reduce oil sands extraction what is their plan to re-house and find jobs for displaced oil sands and other workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC? If the NDP respects Canadian institutions (they claim Mr. Harper does not respect parliamentary and governmental institutions) why do they not respect the Board of Internal Inquiry? A Board they have participated on for many decades!

      Heck, I follow politics closely and it is not clear to me the NDP's policy on balancing the budget. Or the Armed Forces-would they cut the National Shipbuilding Strategy? We could be as little as six months away from an election will we get a policy platform before we head to the polls?

      The list goes on but, I'm sure you get the point.

    5. Pete

      Thanks for so nicely supporting my point. Mulcair ain't anything special, just another performer.

    6. Don't count me out just yet,

      Perhaps you should step back from your partisanship before you criticise my writing!

      I find people who ascribe to a particular political party often have this holier than thou attitude only for them to act in an inconsistent manner.

    7. Sorry Pete but you are misrepresenting event to suit you own views and political bias against the NDP, same goes for you Peter.

      The issues around the Board of Internal Inquiry is a joke at best and an insult seeing as ALL the parties have used public funds to forward their political agendas. The Libs and Cons trying to paint the NDP as corrupt is just them trying to change the subject from their own problems and corruptions.

      In regards to the constitution, it's not the boggy man you seem to think it is. I don't think you understand how the amendment process works. Making changes to the constitution doesn't have to be blanketing, an individual issue can be addressed, such as Senate reform. Constitutional reform does not require a referendum either only the consent of 7 of 10 provincial legislature making up 50% of the population.

      As for policy here enjoy the read:

      If you want more detailed answer (seeing as you are such a follower of policy) why don't you actually ask the NDP directly, odds are you have an NDP riding association where you live they'll get you a detailed answer.

    8. Don't count me out,

      Firstly in relation to the Board of Internal Inquiry the rules were changed at the start of this Parliament. The NDP as a participating member of the BoII would have been aware of the change and participated in discussions surrounding the change regarding franking privileges. The NDP broke the law, they have the right to appeal to the Speaker and the House but, as Parliament is a court at the moment they are guilty of misusing parliamentary funds (they may also appeal to the courts but, the judiciary may not have jurisdiction in this matter). Considering the NDP's position on this issue in past Parliaments it is likely the changes to franking were made partly at the NDP's request. We haven't discussed the issue of NDP satellite offices that used parliamentary staff but, I would suggest using parliamentary staffers in offices far from Parliament Hill while working on non-parliamentary party business is far more serious. What was that again about Conservative and Liberal corruption? There is an inconsistency that now after a ruling against them the NDP calls the BOII a "Kangaroo Court" yet, for many years participated within this institution amicably with other parliamentarians never calling for its abolition or reform. Your rebuttal that " ALL the parties have used public funds to forward their political agendas" (sic) is a red herring. Yes, all parties have done so but, in a different legal context, the rules changed and the NDP broke the rules, the Conservatives and Liberals understood new rules required amending their behaviour-the NDP apparently did not. Such a statement is a misrepresentation of events to "suit you own views and political bias".

      Don Count Me Out Just Yet, unfortunately, it is you who do not understand the procedures required for constitutional reform. Firstly, the general amending procedure (S. 38) of the Constitution does not apply to the Senate reform as outlined in the Senate reference case. The unanimous consent of all Provinces and Parliament are required (s. 41)! Secondly, I do not state a referendum is required or even preferable I bring up the topic because ultimately for a party in favour of constitutional reform (Senate Abolition) such a question will be asked. I have reviewed the policy booklet and it makes no mention of any of the questions I have listed in regard to the Senate nor detailed proposals on how abolition would proceed. 81 years and still no plan to implement one of the NDP's founding policies. Would they submit a motion to Parliament? Would they submit a resolution? Would they open up broader discussions with the Provinces on constitutional Reform? Would they offer smaller provinces compensation in terms of more HoC seats to preserve representation? Since, the NDP wishes to change how M.P.s are elected will they seek a reference from the Supreme Court on how to proceed? Will they seek provincial consent? Will they proceed unilaterally? How will they determine the ratio between constituency and list or regional M.P.s ? The policy document submitted talks about "citizen involvement" but, not the form or process the involvement will take. The lack of details demonstrates how woefully ill-prepared the NDP is to govern.

    9. As for what the document terms "industrial policy" it is mainly platitudes lacking in specific details. In addition point d; "establishing “Buy Canadian procurement policies and fostering Canadian ownership and control of our major sectors", may contravene various treaty obligations such as NAFTA. The section speaks to "sector specific policies tailored to industry needs" but, is silent on what those policies would entail.

      Or point G: "targeting tax credits and incentives towards rewarding job creation, and encouraging job-supporting investment" Great ideas but, what type of tax credits what specific incentives what is the plan? They write they would "tailor policies" does that equate with regional policies on say softwood lumber that affects both Quebec and BC?

      The entire document is the same, some interesting ideas but a decided and disturbing lack of details. In total it makes the NDP look like they would not be able to "hit the floor running" should they become government months maybe years of inertia awaits until the details are worked out. The NDP is woefully ill-prepared to govern and seek Canadians' votes with little more than a blank cheque! In the year of the hundredth anniversary
      of the most famous blank cheque of all time we should recall the pitfalls of the issuance of such wide ranging documents and how they sometimes lead to unintended consequences.

      Fortunately, I live in a suitably affluent area that we do not have a permanent NDP riding association. One pops up of course around election time (federal and provincial) but, then recedes once more into obscurity after their candidate loses the election.

    10. You're not going to get more specific answers from any policy book from any party Pete. Asking for cold hard number is pointless that not part of a policy book, but I can assure you that those are the policies the NDP will be trying to enact if they for government.

      The idea that they would not be able to 'hit the ground running' is patently false and nothing more the a poorly attempted attack. Not supporting the NDP is all well and good, saying they wont be able to govern is nothing more then bias.

      As for the BOII, first and foremost the NDP did not break any law in their mailling, it might be argued (falsely) the rule were not followed. However it is highly convenient that said rules were changed in time to attack the NDP, all the while while Liberal and Con MPs abused the same privilege for years and by some account are still do so.

      As for the satellite offices' I see no problem with them, since the government is willing to run adds (in conservative blue) claiming the EAP is doing wonders for Canada or repainting government jets in partisan colours to show themselves off. I'm happy to condemn the offices and mailing and demand repayment if it applied to all the parties going back at least 20 year. But no it suddenly only the NDP who's done wrong and they should be punished.

      I must ask though, what affluent riding do you live in where there's no NDP association? Usually (with some exception) those types of riding's have many members who are active.

    11. DCMOJY,

      I think most parties' policy manuals have a greater degree of detail than the NDP. If you look at the Conservative website you'll find specific policy commitments including; "renewing the popular Hiring Credit for Small Business" and "proposing to place skills training decisions in the hands of workers and employers through the Canada Job Grant". Really having some idea of what requirements are needed to deliver policy outcomes shouldn’t be too much to ask for a party that should be considered the “government-in-waiting”.

      Without specific policies the NDP would have a very long and difficult transition. They will not be able to govern because a plan will not exist. They will not know whether the Canada Jobs Grant is compatible with their own jobs policies consequently, they will not be able to plan for either its repeal, its reform or the status quo. I suppose the NDP could continue with Conservative programs, policies and regulations. "Vote NDP in 2015 for a strong stable conservative government"! Writing: “they wont be able to govern is nothing more then bias(sic)” is not what I wrote I stated; they are woefully ill-prepared to govern. Governing is complicated to do it well requires planning and sound analysis procrastination does not make for good governance. Careful planning is not a guarantee of good governance but, I think if nothing else it helps in the process.

      What is "patently false and nothing more then a poorly attempted attack" is your continued accusation of biasness towards myself and others. Maybe I am so what? I never claimed to be a neutral or an unbiased observer. I do not hold you up to your own standards of unbiased commentary! Some may construe your own comments as partisan and so such accusations of bias have an intellectual inconsistency to them. Others should not write overtly partisan statements while some may do so.


    12. As for the NDP BoII Scandal it can be argued successfully the NDP did not follow the rules and broke the law. Indeed, the ruling of the BoII states as much. The facts are clear; the NDP contravened a federal statute; The Parliament of Canada Act s. 52.5(1) and may now be in contempt of Parliament by refusing to adhere to a ruling made under 52.6(1). I do not believe my previous statement false and upon review am confident in its accuracy.
      The rules were changed in 2011 the NDP and other parties have had ample time to be to become familiar with the new regime. The rules were not changed in a highly convenient manner in order to make the NDP look ridiculous, the NDP is the author of their own fate by not following nor I presume keeping themselves or their staff up-to-date on current parliamentary procedures and by-laws. Before 2011 the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives may have followed procedures and or rules or by-laws that today may well be in contravention of current parliamentary by-laws regarding franking privileges. That is not the point. The rules changed the NDP’s behaviour did not. Ignorance is unfortunate but, no excuse for breaking the law- Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat. Perhaps the NDP’s actions were legal in April 2011 but, in 2014 they were deemed illegal by the Board of Internal Economy-the proper jurisdictional authority on this matter. I can find no evidence of your thus far unsubstantiated suggestion that Liberals and Conservatives are currently misusing their franking privileges. If you have information that would lead you to suspect a M.P.(s) is engaged in fraud you should go to the proper authorities; the Speaker of the House of Commons and RCMP.

      You see no problem with the NDP's satellite office action? Those funds are specifically designated for parliamentary business not party business-party business must be paid for from party funds-not the taxpayer! The allegations levelled against the NDP (we should keep in mind the allegations have not been proven) are the NDP’s actions amounted to fraud by inappropriately paying staff who were engaged in party work with parliamentary funds and deliberately deceivied the Commons’ administration.

    13. I fully admit I am a partisan, in that I am an NDP member, riding president and candidate... However I am not Biased when it comes to debating about polls or the political news and events. I am fully willing to hear and consider other opinions and views, when they are rational and non-partisan and not filled with campaign rhetoric meant to blast my party.

      The Policy book (which I was happy to have a hand in voting on it's contents) is as detailed as it needs to be. More focused questions should be asked by the public and press but the points there in are the fundamental policies we will enact if elected.

    14. You are partisan but not biased? An interesting statement. Certainly, your objectivity does not extend to the Board of Internal Economy and its ruling on franking privileges. You may be willing to hear and read opinions at odds with your own but, you have not made the step to accept the criticism as fair or acknowledge your party's mistakes. Instead you seek vengeance by retroactively applying contemporary rules upon political parties over the last 20 years.

      The policy book is not detailed enough to discern the actions the NDP would take. The booklet is deliberately vague and ambiguous so as to avoid criticism and appear as all things to all people without promising anything.
      As I said before it is filled with platitudes not plans. I suppose if the NDP believes the only way to achieve power is to leave Canadians in the dark then, the policy booklet achieves it goal.

      I don't expect the NDP to have every "t' crossed and "i" dotted but, I would hope for proposals with some detail. for example; The Canada Jobs Grant does not go far enough with helping the proletariat, therefore, a NDP government will increase the training grant from $5,000 to $6,000 for workers...

      Or on the Senate: An NDP government is committed to abolishing the Senate through constitutional means. Within 1 year of taking office we will institute consultations among Provinces and establish a Royal Commission to collect Canadians' views on constitutional reform.

  14. Well, the byelection results sure don't support Angus Reid's numbers. Does that mean anything? Who knows at this point. But I would suggest it ought to mean heightened skepticism with regard to their consistently different numbers from other pollsters.

  15. This set of elections in some ways suggest a trend but I'll take that with a grain of salt. Still I do see better possibilities for the Liberals in Ont.

    Who has to worry is Mulcair !! He put a lot of effort into Trinity and lost. Other results equally anemic. Time for some reflection I think ?

  16. Here we are 24 hours later and really not much comment here ??

  17. TS is concerning for the NDP. SA has higher than average income for the 905 - not fertile NDP territory. Distant 2d or distant 3d makes no never mind in Alberta. A bad night for Mulcair, but not a disaster.

    1. Not a disaster but, as you point out below the second "historically" significant riding they have lost in a row. It is a poor trend or perhaps omen for the NDP.

      I question the party's reasoning for having Cressy as a candidate. I'm sure he's a good guy, smart and all that but, compared with Vaughan he lacks gravitas and frankly lacks the experience of his opponent. To me it appears he was chosen due to his NDP connections not his credentials or ability. In any case I suspect both Cressy and the NDP will have a chance to redeem themselves in a little over a year.

  18. The Libs also stole an iconic seat from the NDP shortly before the 2011 election - indeed WpgN is far more iconic than TS. It did not presage a Liberal victory in 2011.

  19. The bad thing for Mulcair was not landing Adam Vaughan under the NDP tent. Adam Vaughan would have won the riding no matter who he ran for. Right now, Trudeau needs Adam Vaughan more than Vaughan need sthe Liberal Party of Canada.

  20. Here in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, I actually had this mid-summer conversation:

    Father: ... whew ... I think the farmers in Vermont in Vermont are spreading manure.

    Me: Nah ... they just had a byelection in Toronto.

  21. The polls were decent this time around and captured the trends that were occurring the in the by-election.

    The PMO were clever in putting this by-election the day before Canada Day. The news of Liberal gains will largely go unnoticed by Canadians celebrating the holiday.

    Conservatives should be wary of the growing Liberal strength in Western Canada. If the Liberals play their cards right they can make significant breakthroughs in the West in one or two election cycles.

    Conservatives will not have Western Canada on lock forever. Demographic and attitude changes gives the Liberals an opportunity to be competitive here. In the early 1990s the West wanted in, today the West is in, tomorrow the West can be looking for political change.

    Liberals should not be overeager to celebrate either. They did lose Calgary Centre, Brandon - Souris and Fort McMurray Athabasca, albeit narrowly. They were unable to close the deal in any of these ridings. A loss is a loss. The pending Whitby-Oshawa riding is something the Liberals should target to win outright.


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