Wednesday, November 26, 2014

From bad to worse for the NL PCs

A quick follow-up on yesterday's post on the two by-elections held last night in Newfoundland and Labrador. By-elections over the last three years have been rough for the governing Progressive Conservatives. These last two were catastrophic.

The Liberals won both of these ridings by very comfortable margins after benefiting from gigantic swings from both the NDP and the PCs to their party.

In Trinity-Bay de Verde, Liberal Steve Crocker took 65.5% of the vote, with the Tories dropping to 29.1% and the NDP to 5.4%.

In Humber East, Stelman Flynn of the Liberals took 56.1% of the vote, with the Tories plummeting to 36.1% and the NDP falling to 7.8%.

The swing that occurred in Humber East is absolutely extraordinary. The Liberals gained 47.6 points and the PCs fell 42.1 points, for a total swing of 89.7 points. This has to be one of the largest swings in Canadian electoral history, if not the largest. To recall, just three years ago the PCs took 78.2% of the vote here and the Liberals only 8.5%. The PC vote share fell by more than half. The Liberal share increased almost seven fold.

In Trinity-Bay de Verde, the Liberals picked up 41.6 points and the PCs fell 32.8 points. The NDP vote fell by almost two-thirds.

These were horrific results for the PCs. The seven by-elections that have been held since the last provincial election have all been bad for the Tories, but these swings of 74.4 and 89.7 points are the largest to have occurred. In every previous by-election, the Tories had at least maintained half of their vote share. Here, they lost a majority of it. Before last night, the Tories had shed an average of 22.8 points per by-election. Last night, they dropped an average of 37.5 points.

A shocker? In terms of the scale of the Liberal victory in Humber East, most certainly. But after the extraordinary results the Liberals had put up in other by-elections, no one was counting the party out. I said so myself in yesterday's post, and the By-Election Barometer's subjective analysis for this riding said so as well (no model could plausibly predict such a historic swing). The Liberals appear unbeatable in Newfoundland and Labrador.

But these are by-elections, and the next provincial election may not be so easy. Regardless, there is no way to look at these results and consider the Tories' chances next year anything but slim.

27 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Keep it in your pants! Even Ignatieff won Newfoundland...

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    2. Jokes on you Ettore.....Peter isn't wearing pants! :)

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    3. Ettore it's better than wearing a bucket on my head, eh?

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    4. You'd probably be prettier with the bucket ;)

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  2. Any other provincial by elections before the end of the year?

    I know there is the one in Quebec (I don't think it's been called) and the on in The Pas Manitoba that I know still hasn't been called. Any others?

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  3. Will the bad numbers for the provincial PC's prevent the Harper Conservatives from winning any seats in Newfoundland in 2015? Harper's own numbers in Newfoundland aren't great either, but this may make things even more difficult.

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    1. They didn't win any in 2011, I doubt they will next year.

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    2. Kiran,

      The Conservatives won Labrador in 2011.

      Personally, I think Labrador should separate from the Rock and become its own Territory As should Vancouver Island in order to be a Province.

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    3. Capilano, From your handle I can guess why you think Vancouver Island deserves provincial status, but why does Labrador get relegated to mere territorial status?

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    4. That there's almost no one in Labrador probably has something to do with it.

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    5. Capilano,

      Labrador isn't part of Newfounland. It is only part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

      Besides, the Liberals won back Labrador in a byelection and will most likely retain it in 2015.

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    6. Kiran,

      I am well aware Labrador is part of the Province not the Island.

      Ira and Chirumenga,

      There are a number of reasons why I would propose different constitutional arrangements for these two regions. Population and fiscal capacity certainly would favour a differentiation. I don't think Labrador has the fiscal capacity to run provincial servcices whereas Vancouver Island probably does.

      Secondly, Vancouver Island was a seperate Crown Colony with its own Legislature in the 19th century. Labrador never had this degree of autonomy.

      Thirdly, Labrador is mainly populated by Aboriginal peoples, their constitutional relationship is with the Canadian Crown not the Province therefore, it would make sense for Labrador to be a Territory in order to have a direct relationship with the Crown instead of splitting sovereignty with the Province. A number of recent court decisions have affirmed this including; the Keewatin decision and the Williams decision recognising Metis as "Indians" under the Constitution Act, 1867 (Inuit have been recognized as "Indians" since the 1930's).

      Finally, history would suggest that new provinces are entitled to 6 senators and a number of M.P.s not below their Senate representation. Vancouver Island with a population of roughly 800,000 this precedent is workable. Labrador with a population of roughly 30,000 could only reasonably expect to have representation similar to a Territory.

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    7. Those are just my thoughts I would be interested in other peoples ideas.

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    8. The Hippies on the Island for the most part would approve separation. There has always been a political divide between the Mainland and Vancouver Island but, this political fissure has widened in recent years. In the old days the Socreds or Liberals could expect to win a couple Island ridings in a good year a half dozen at the moment the Liberals hold only Comox and lost "old reliable" Oak Bay-Gordon Head to the Greens.

      I'm not sure how successful the Province of vancouver Island would be. BC subsidises BC Ferries and although the subsidy is probably under $150 million, the quasi-Crown corporation is carrying a significant amount of debt. $150 million for a small province with a budget in the range of $10 billion is significant. My prediction would be an independent Vancouver Island would experience significant fiscal contraction.

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    9. Capilano, very interesting about Labrador, and I agree with you it would make sense for it to become a Territory, simply due to the aborignal poplation and their ties to the crown more than the province. I don't think Vancouver Island would be successful as its own province. It doesn't matter if it was a separate colony in the past. The capital of BC (Victoria) is on the Island, and Vancouver Island is more dependent on the mainland than most think. The whole issue of BC Ferries is a good point by Simon Fraser. But also transportation of goods from the mainland to the island. And I don't think fiscal capacity to be it's own province. Ya maybe some hippies would be for separation but i don't think the older generation would be.

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  4. I don't know about the rest of you but bluntly I'm really less than impressed by the leaders of all three major parties over this issue of sexual harassment in Parliament ?

    Also this seems to me to be a real non-political issue !!

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    1. It's a real political issue because policy (or lack thereof) has an impact on the prevalence of sexual harrassment.

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    2. But since there is and never has been any real controls on Parliament other than those it has imposed on itself there is NO mechanism available to handle these situations. Until the will in all parties exists to create the necessary independent mechanism there is no solution. Political or otherwise !!

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    3. Well, of course, the police are supposed to enforce the laws of the land, even when it comes to politicians... albeit, the practice is often different.

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    4. The problem is police can not enforce the law when the NDP M.P.s don't report the alleged crime(s)!

      If the alleged crime(s) took place within the precinct of Parliament then the House of Commons and or Senate would have the power to investigate, prosecute and pass judgement. Even if the alleged crime took place outside the Parliamentary precinct a M.P. could still rise on a point of personal privilege in the House and ask the House to investigate and judge the matter.

      So Peter and chirumenga,

      Two mechanisms are available; 1. the Courts. 2. the House of Commons in its capacity as a Court. Both are hampered by the unjustifiable caveat that the NDP M.P.s maintain their annonymity. Such actions by the NDP are completely unfair and will eventually I am sure lead to charges of defamation against the unnamed M.P.s, Mr. Mulcair, other M.P.s who have commented on the matter and the NDP itself. Justin Trudeau will also likely be named since, from what we know he has passed judgement without a fair trial.

      There is no right to annonymity in Canadian law. Open court is a fundamental right of the accused. Without the ability to face and cross examine one's accusers it is difficult to see how a fair judicial process could be created or guaranteed. Anubody could accuse anyone of a crime with impunity and without cross examination the veracity of the claim is speculative. Can anyone believe what the accusers allege is true? Where is their proof? How can evidence be evaluated without the ability to hold a trial in open court with legal counsel?

      It is shocking Mr. Trudeau has allowed the NDP an attempt to re-write for its own benefit a fundamental part of Canadian Law and in remaining unnamed to avoid the legal protections the accuse hold under the Charter.

      This is a serious lack of judgement on both Mulcair and Trudeau's part perhaps passing on illegality. Both leaders should resign neither has the judgement to lead the country.

      Trudeau has done all involved a disservice by not standing up for the presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial. Instead his "actions" have made the prospect of a fair trial for Pacetti and Andrews very unlikely. Punishment at the hands of the Liberal leader has lead to a presumption of guilt and the notoriety of the story will make finding an impartial jury difficult.

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  5. "The problem is police can not enforce the law when the NDP M.P.s don't report the alleged crime(s)! "

    That's only part of the problem though. And it's the other part that is causing so many problems. The other part is that NO police force actually has power within the Parliament buildings. So even if investigating they have no authority.

    As to Justin's actions, he is the leader of the Liberal party and thus has the authority to do as he has. He hasn't thrown the accused out of the Commons, just out of the Liberal party and that is entirely within his purview !!

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    1. Peter,

      Parliament has the power to investigate within the precinct through parliamentary security or the RCMP or in any other manner it deems fit. If however, no one steps forward to say a crime took place there is nothing to investigate! Unless a police officer is witness to a crime they need a complaint or accusation in order to act.

      What Justin has thrown out is the ability of Pacetti or Andrews to have a fair trial and in doing so he has thrown out the Constitution and 1000 years of Common Law. It is not within the purview of the Liberal party to circumvent the Constitution and the legal rights of the accused.

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    2. I think you may have overshot your target a little there.

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    3. Capilano bluntly you are wrong as a vast amount of info in the last month since this situation surfaced has shown.

      Blasting Trudeau for something you have no real info or knowledge only shows a desire to hit and that is wrong !!

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    4. Both the NDP and the Liberals don't look very good coming out of this "scandal" both Mulcair and Trudeau have made "errors" that will likely be replayed during the campaign.

      What is important now is how much will the Liberals go down in the polls among women? Can we expect a Liberal fall among women and a related NDP rise in the polls? Will Trudeau's positive numbers among women begin to fall and Will Mulcair improve his standing among this important demographic? Can we expect the alleged scandal to impact on how men will vote and how they view the NDP and Liberals?

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  6. No more on this issue, please. It has strayed far off topic and the rhetoric is misplaced on a site about polls.

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