Monday, December 22, 2014

Liberals up, Conservatives stable, NDP down in 2014

It's that time of year again - the time to take stock of the year that is coming to a close. And from a polling perspective, that means comparing 2014 to the last few years. By that measure, it was a good year for the Liberals and a bad one for the New Democrats, while the Conservatives managed to slow their decline, perhaps even tread water, as we enter a climactic election year.

The past year has been an interesting one. Granted, it was quieter at the federal level than previous years. No election was held as in 2011, and no major party leaders were named, as in 2012 and 2013. The Bloc Québécois did get a new leader in Mario Beaulieu, however, and as we'll see this has not been a positive development for the party.

It was a much more exciting year at the provincial level, as Canada's two largest provinces went to the polls. And both of these elections had their own surprises. The Parti Québécois went into the Quebec election hoping for a majority government, and they ended up almost relegated to third spot. The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives were neck-and-neck as the Ontario campaign began, only for the Liberals to emerge with a majority government. The election in New Brunswick went as expected, but nevertheless it is something that first-term governments were defeated for the second time in a row. And then there was the Toronto race.

Let's take a look at how the federal parties did in 2014, compared to previous years. I did this exercise in 2012 and 2013 as well. It is a simple average of all the polls conducted in a given year, providing a very macro-look at the political landscape and where the parties are going.

It was a rather stable year nationwide, as a total of 45 polls were conducted. In 2012, the New Democrats were able to take top spot for a few months, before losing it to the Conservatives. In 2013, the Liberals surged ahead of the Tories to move into first. But in 2014, the order of the parties never changed from start to finish.

The Liberals averaged 35.9% support in 2014, a gain of 3.1 points over their average support in 2013 and part of a consistent trend of growth since the 2011 election (note that in this chart, as in all following ones, the 2011 year refers to polls taken that year after the federal election).

The Conservatives averaged 30.0% support unchanged from 2013. Still, it is confirms the drop the party has experienced since their majority victory in 2011.

(Note: An earlier version of this post had the Conservatives at 29.9% in the 2014 average. A new poll by Abacus Data, released since I wrote this post originally, bumped them up to 30%. As that tied their 2013 performance, rather than putting them 0.1 point down, I thought that was significant enough to update. I haven't bothered to update the regional numbers below with the Abacus results, as the effect was never more than one or two tenths of a percentage point, and did not change any of the trend lines. The updated numbers will be reflected in any future annual reviews, however.)

The New Democrats took a step backwards, falling 2.3 points to an average of 22.4% for 2014. That is their second consecutive annual drop, after putting up some good numbers in the second half of 2011 and throughout 2012.

The Greens have been very steady over the last few years, averaging 5.5% support in 2014. That is little different from their polling in 2012 and 2013.

Justin Trudeau had the highest approval ratings in 2014, averaging 44.5% in the 26 polls that asked the question. His disapproval rating averaged 37.8%, while 17.6% on average did not know.

Trudeau's approval rating dipped slightly from 2013, when it averaged 45.6%. His disapproval rating was up more sharply, however, increasing from 30.4%.

Thomas Mulcair's approval rating was up by almost six points, increasing from 36.4% in 2013 to 42.3% in 2014. He also had the highest net approval rating, at +12.3 (Trudeau was a +6.7, while Stephen Harper was a -24.4). His disapproval rating dropped slightly, by 1.7 points to 30%, while the number of Canadians having no opinion of the NDP leader was down 3.8 points to 27.7%.

Harper's approval rating was up by just 0.7 points to 32.6%, while his disapproval rating was down 0.4 points to 57%. It would seem, then, that Canadians' opinion of Harper has held steady in 2014 compared to 2013. Just 10.5% of respondents, on average, said they did not know what their opinion of the Prime Minister was.

There were fewer polls for Elizabeth May (six) and Mario Beaulieu (two) in 2014, but on average May's approval rating was 33.2%, with a disapproval rating of 36.2%. Beaulieu averaged an approval of just 15.9% in Quebec, with 53.8% disapproving of him.

To put that in some context, André Bellavance (the interim leader and Beaulieu's opponent in the leadership race), averaged an approval rating of 26% in the first half of 2014, with 41.5% disapproval in four polls.

Returning to voting intentions, the patterns that occurred nationwide were repeated in most regions of the country: a tiny Conservative drop, a larger NDP one, and a Liberal gain.

British Columbia was no different, with the Liberals averaging 32.4% support, a gain of four points over last year and more than twice their vote share of the 2011 election. Along with Atlantic Canada, B.C. was where the Liberals made their largest proportional increase.

The Conservatives were down slightly to an average of 30.1%, another drop for the party in B.C. The New Democrats were down 4.3 points to 25.5%, a disproportionate drop at the national scale, while the Greens were up slightly to 10.5%. They have been on a modest upswing in the province over the last few years.

The Conservatives were still in front in Alberta in 2014, of course, but dropped 2.1 points to 52.8%. Here again, they have been on a steady slide.

The Liberals were up 2.9 points to 24.8%, while the New Democrats were down only slightly to 13.8% in the province. The Greens averaged 6.1% in Alberta in 2014.

The Conservatives also led in Saskatchewan and Manitoba in 2014, with an average of 39.6% support. That was down 1.9 points from 2013, and one of the larger proportional drops for the party.

The Liberals were up 3.4 points to 31.8% in the Prairies, another year-on-year increase. The New Democrats were down 1,8 points to 22.3%, while the Greens were up slightly to 5.1% in 2014.

Thanks to the polling by EKOS Research (and the lone Ipsos Reid poll that broke it down further), we can take a look at federal support in Saskatchewan and Manitoba individually. EKOS's averages for the region match those for all pollsters, so this should be a representative breakdown of support.

In Saskatchewan, the Conservatives led in the 10 polls with a provincial breakdown with an average of 41.8% support. This put them ahead of the New Democrats, who averaged 24.7%, and the Liberals, who averaged 24.3%. The Greens averaged 6.7% support in the province throughout 2014.

In Manitoba, the Conservative lead was much smaller, with an average of 37.4% support. The Liberals were close behind with 35.8%, while the NDP trailed with 20.3% and the Greens with 4.9%.

In Ontario, the Liberals averaged 39.3% in 2014, a jump of 3.7 points from 2013. This is only the second consecutive year of growth for the party, though, as the Liberals had fallen in 2012.

The Conservatives were down only slightly in the province in 2014, dropping 0.3 points to 33.8% support. Again, though, this is part of a steady trend of decrease.

The New Democrats suffered one of their larger proportional drops in the country in Ontario, falling 3.5 points to 20.1% in the province. The Greens, meanwhile, were down a little to 5.4%.

Quebec was the only region of the country that bucked the trends. Whereas the Conservatives and NDP were down everywhere else, they were both up in Quebec. And the Liberals made their smallest gain here.

They still led, however, with 33.7% support on average in 2014, a gain of 1.3 points over 2013 and a continuation of the big gains made that year.

The New Democrats were up 0.9 points to 29.2% in the province, lower than their 2011-2012 performances but their only increase in the country.

The Bloc Québécois was down 3,6 points to 18.5% support in Quebec, their second consecutive annual drop, and lower than their post-election performance in the polls. And a line should be drawn between before and after Beaulieu's leadership victory. In the first half of 2014, the Bloc averaged 21% support. Since Beaulieu's victory, the party has averaged just 16.6% support.

The Conservatives were up over last year, the only part of the country where that occurred. They were up 1.7 points to 14.2%. While that is a gain, that ranks lower than their 2011 and 2012 performances.

The Greens were down 0.7 points to 3.3%, their lowest level in the province since the election.

Thanks to the breakdowns we get for the province from CROP, we can investigate why Quebec bucked the national trends more closely. First, let's take a look at the polling averages for the year by language.

The New Democrats made gains among both francophones and non-francophones in 2014, averaging 35.7% support among French-speakers in the province. That was a gain of 3.1 points over 2013, and higher even than the party's standing in 2012.

The Liberals dropped among francophones in 2014, falling 1.2 points to 27.6%. That is comfortably above the 16.3% the party had before Trudeau became leader, but nevertheless puts them well behind the NDP.

The Bloc has fallen significantly since 2012 among their only electorate, with 20.5% support among francophones in 2014. That was down two points from 2013, and more than seven from 2012 when the party was in second place. Again, this can be chalked up to Beaulieu. Before he became leader, the Bloc was at 23.4% among francophones in 2014, a gain over 2013. Since, the party has dropped to 18.9%.

The Conservatives made a small gain among French-speakers in Quebec, increasing from 11.2% in 2013 to 12.1% in 2014.

The Liberals still dominate among non-francophones, averaging 60% in 2014, up slightly from 2013. That is almost twice their support among this electorate in 2012.

The New Democrats come up a distant second among non-francophones, with 18.7% support, up 2.4 points from 2013 but down almost 10 points from 2012. The Conservatives are also down significantly from 2012, with 15.3% support on average.

If we look at support at a regional level, we can also see where the NDP made its gains in 2014. They occurred primarily on the island of Montreal and in Quebec City.

On the island, the NDP averaged 34% in 2014, up six points from 2013. The Liberals led on the island with 37.2%, but that was down 2.2 points from 2013. Both the Bloc (12.3%) and Conservatives (11.4%) were also down here.

In Quebec City, the New Democrats led with an average of 32% support in 2014, up 5.5 points from last year. The Conservatives followed with an average of 26.4%, while the Liberals were down 2.1 points to 25.9% in the provincial capital.

The Liberals made a large gain in the regions of Quebec, however, with an average of 36.5% support. The NDP was second with 29.6% and the Bloc was third with 18.3%. For the Liberals, their support in this part of the province has more than doubled since 2012, suggesting the party could be more competitive than expected outside of the two main urban centres.

The Liberals will be more than competitive in Atlantic Canada, where they made a big jump from 48.1% in 2013 to 52.6% in 2014. The party's support has almost doubled here since 2012.

The Conservatives were down to 21.9% in the region, while the NDP fell 5.3 points to 19.9% support. The Greens were steady at an average of 4.5% in 2014.

So there you have it. The Liberals made gains throughout the country in 2014, but are showing some signs of peaking in Quebec, where their support among francophones actually dropped. The Conservatives are still slipping everywhere except Quebec, where they made only a modest gain, but the party has appeared to slow the rate of their decline. Considering where the polls have been recently, they may be reversing it. And the NDP appears to still be losing steam outside of Quebec, whereas in Quebec they are still the party to beat among francophones. An interesting landscape as 2015 begins.

This will likely be my last post of the year, though I will still do some updates to the other sections of the site over the next two weeks. It has been a really great year, and I'd like to thank you, my readers, for your support. Next year will be huge. Rest up over the holidays!


  1. Thanks for the year of blog posts and analysis. It is much appreciated, best of luck in the new year and enjoy whatever holidays you get!...

    1. Carl I have to totally agree with you. Eric has and does a fab job. Thank you very much Eric and a Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

  2. Éric,

    I assume you will agree with me that one cannot directly equate personal approval ratings with numbers that reflect a level of satisfaction with the incumbent government.

    What interests me is what I would call l'effet Pauline: you will recall how a CROP Radio-Canada poll indicated that only 37% supported Marois' government. Couple that with best Premier and the numbers were interesting with 27% for Marois versus 26% for Couillard.

    Contrast that with the best PM Number here where Trudeau leads with 44% and Mulcair with 42%. Harper isn't even in it with only 33%.

    Does it mean that people are only sick of Harper or does it also extend to the CPC? Others polls will have to enlighten us on that.

    At least Obama can take small comfort in looking over Harper's personal numbers. Gallup says 47% support the President -- a lot better than Harper's numbers.

  3. Except for Quebec, it looks like a zero sum game between the Liberals and NDP from 2013 to 2014 as the aggregate support for the two parties remained very much the same. The 1% difference in the National numbers can be covered by the 1% change in BQ support.

  4. Between 1993 and 2006 the federal Liberals received a remarkably stable share of the vote in B.C: between 27.6% and 28.8% of the vote.

    Of course, regionally and riding by riding the numbers varied much more.

    In the 1993, 1997 and 2000 elections the Liberals received a great deal of votes from former New Democrats, especially in the Lower Mainland, Southern Vancouver Island and West Kootenays.

    In 2004 and 2004 the Liberals likely kept up their share of the vote by receiving many votes from former Progressive Conservatives as New Democratic Party voters voters drifted 'home'.

    Of course, for the 2008 and 2011 elections, those P.C voted likely switched to the Conservatives, with the 2011 Liberals receiving a lower share of the vote than they did even in B.C in 1980, when the reviled in the west, Pierre Trudeau, was Liberal leader.

    It would seem that many of those former P.C voters are back with the federal Liberals in B.C.

    I doubt the Liberals will received 33% of the vote in B.C as they seem to always drop here during the campaign, but I'd say they have every shot at getting back the 28% or so of the vote they received when they were in government.

  5. Eric I have 2 points:

    1) The base starting point is the election results. The valid data would be the 2010 polls.

    2) It would be informative to do these polling averages from 2008 with election results (that show would stand out from the polling results) included.

    Thank you

  6. Just after you did all the approval aggregation Ipsos Reid comes out with a poll that says that 41-51% of Canadians feel Harper is doing good on the major issues. 41% on environment to 51% on the economy.

    "While the poll suggests approval for Harper’s job as prime minister is in line with support for the Tory majority in general at 49 per cent, there’s a 10 per cent difference on key campaign issues: 51 per cent of those polled approve of the government’s overall management of the economy, but only 41 per cent agree the Harper government is doing a good job in protecting the environment."

    1. Ipsos didn't have a standard approval ratings question, so it wouldn't have been included anyway. Also, not that Ipsos does not give a DK option. If you remove the DKs from the above, you'd get approval ratings of:

      Harper: 36%
      Mulcair: 59%
      Trudeau: 54%

    2. ??

      Overall, the Conservative majority government in Ottawa is working well for Canada

      48% agree 52 % disagree

      Is it only standard if asked by EKOS?

    3. The approval ratings are personal, not about a government. And because Ipsos does not allow the option of "don't know" or "unsure", and did not ask the same question for Mulcair and Trudeau, it would artificially inflate Harper's ratings (both approval and disapproval) without doing the same to the other leaders. We wouldn't be comparing apples to apples at that point.

  7. When I look at your trends graph, I see the Liberals steady the Conservatives up and the NDP down over the year. Not sure what graph you are looking at Eric. And yes I did post this to the incorrect comment thread a minute ago.

    1. Perhaps I wasn't explicit enough, but I meant that in terms of 2014 as a whole, compared to previous years.

  8. Interesting piece by Michael den Tandt in today's National Post about Justin. Includes a nice plug for here and Eric as well

    Don't necessarily get the Luke Skywalker comparison though.

    1. Peter:

      In the movies everyone knew that Luke would rise to being the hero.... It is a lot harder in real life to be a hero

    2. That was my problem, NO politician is a hero !!

  9. Eric

    CBC is blocking comments on your most recent column.

    It was a bit of a fluff piece .... nothing at all controversial .

    Any idea why? You have been getting tons of comments on your CBC posts.

    Are they afraid of you becoming a star ???

    Seriously I would like to thank you for posting my posts ... some that are not complementary . You have a well balanced comments section.

    1. Fluff piece? It's Christmas!

      Probably an oversight. I once forgot to tick the box to allow comments, and it slipped by the busy editors.

    2. Comments now allowed, was just a glitch.

  10. Eric,

    Are you going to be putting out a 2014 edition of Tapping Into The Pulse? I hope so!

    1. No, I didn't have the time this year. But that doesn't mean I won't maybe do a 2014-2015 edition!

  11. I find the disapproval numbers fascinating. Only Harper is really negative !!

    1. And Trudeau's negative number is rising!

    2. Hell of a long way to go before he matches Harper though !

    3. Not really Peter Trudeau is losing favourability at an alarming rate. A Plus 8 rating for an opposition leader is hardly encouraging especially when Mulcair holds a Plus 12 rating.
      Simply more evidence that Trudeau is failing to connect.

    4. Peter,

      Harper still Canada's preferred PM. The way Justin's numbers are sliding Justin will be competitive very soon.

    5. Trudeau having strong negative and positive in polls suggests to me that he is someone few have no opinion on. That can be a strength (see Harper knowing he has around 30% locked in) and a weakness (he also knows 50% would never vote for him).

      In a FPTP system having extremely strong views on you as a leader is a very, very good thing even if more dislike than like. As long as the likes are as strong as the dislikes of course since sub 40% can get a majority and it is possible that 35% could do it this time depending on splits.

  12. The steady drop by Harper since the election across Canada is interesting regardless of who you support. Was the last time we saw such a steady drop back in Mulroney's 2nd term (then a dead cat bounce when Campbell took over)? I don't recall that happening during Chretien's years or the first few terms for Harper but could be wrong.

    1. My gut tells me, though, that when I re-calculate these at the end of next year, 2014 will be the Conservatives' low point.

    2. I'm thinking the end of the Martin era ??

    3. I completely agree that 2014 will be the low point for the Conservatives. I may not be a fan of them, but they know how to campaign and how to get out the vote. I'm betting on a minority situation after the election, but who will lead in seats and how close to a majority is up in the air. I know the Greens are shooting for as many seats as possible, hoping to be in a position to take advantage of a minority situation much like the NDP historically has. My gut says the NDP will drop badly in the election outside of Quebec, but who knows for sure. Mulcair is a heck of a campaigner and the TV debate should be a great battle with 4 people with different strengths fighting for English Canada (have to think Elizabeth May will be invited this time with 2 seats).

    4. Those late polls show the highest CPC totals all year. I think Éric is right about 2014 being their low.

    5. I'm not a Dipper but, I don't think a massive drop in support for the NDP is in the cards. The NDP has achieved better than 15% of the popular vote in the last 4 elections. Mulcair has more Jack Layton in him than most Liberals care to admit and presents an image of a leader ready to stand for his convictions. The NDP isn't going away, if it can survive 1993 it can survive a neophyte like Justin Trudeau, they have a solid base of support throughout English Canada and to my surprise appear to have retained one in Quebec. Unless Trudeau demonstrates some policy substance Mulcair could find himself the main challenger to Harper by default in the election. FPTP also disproportionately helps the NDP and Tories and hurts the Liberals.

    6. I don't actually think Trudeau is going to do very well. And since the CPC ceiling is likely lower than their 2011 result, the NDP simply caanot fall far (unless the Greens skyrocket).

    7. I think Ira the results for both Trudeau and Mulcair depends on the "I Hate Harper" feeling out there.

      Right now both would do well but 10 months from now a lot could change.

    8. Trudeau is very odd to read. Makes me think of Bill Clinton back in '92 - everyone kept waiting for the shoe to drop as he did stuff that killed candidates in the past (cheating on his wife for example) and acted very different from anyone before (on talk shows, playing his sax) but he never did fall apart. Trudeau is similar...we keep waiting for 'when will everyone see there isn't much there' but nothing sticks. Him and Harper are the Teflon pair, nothing sticks or if it does it slides off quickly. Mulcair doesn't have the traditional 'nice guy' feel that NDP leaders normally have (Broadbent, Layton) so he is extremely hard to predict - will voters like the street wise guy he seems to be, or will they like the pretty boy, or will they want the tired old shoe.

      As a Green I really do hope May can shoot up the middle and win a stack of seats this time much like how Reform went from 1 seat to nearly official opposition status (so bizarre how the BQ was that for a term). Don't see that degree of growth coming realistically but 10-15 seats is possible and could end up being the balance of power in a messy parliament.

    9. But Clinton had a good record of governance, and said intelligent things about policy. And in the end, he was a terrific economic steward (better than anyone named Bush or Obama). Clinton was easily one of the top two post-Kennedy Presidents.

      Can we expect the same of Trudeau?

      (though, I'm hard-pressed to choose the best Prime Ministers over the same period - everyone since Diefenbaker has had significant flaws).

    10. Only small minded people "hate" politicians, the rest of us realize it's only politics and can separate politics from people like civilzed human beings.

  13. Should there be a division in the polling analysis between the Quebec polls in the first half of the year versus those in the second half of the year?

    Because according to the most recent CROP poll, the Liberals have gone up in Quebec by 5 points, and the NDP has dropped by 4 points. The most recent CROP poll shows the Liberals with a 37-30 lead over the NDP, and only 3 points behind among Francophones. (whereas in the above post it says the NDP has gone up in Quebec, whereas it may actually be going down as the year closes).

    It also shows the Conservatives now leading in Quebec City instead of the NDP (whereas in the above 2014 post about the year's polls it has the older numbers of the NDP leading in Quebec City).

  14. I wonder how many on here would like to discuss what this country really is.

    I will state that I think Canada is a "social democratic" country, very unlike our Southern neighbour.

    So what do you think this country should be ??

    1. Canada is a small "c" conservative country.

      While social democracy may have a broad meaning for some the proper definition is specific: a socialist system of government brought on by democratic means.

      Canada obviously does not have a socialist system of government.

    2. "Canada is a small "c" conservative country.

      While social democracy may have a broad meaning for some the proper definition is specific: a socialist system of government brought on by democratic means.

      Canada obviously does not have a socialist system of government. "

      Sadly the definition of social democracy given here is totally incorrect. Sweden, Norway, Denmark are excellent examples of social democratic countries. Canada is far closer to their model than it is to the ultra-conservative ideal.

    3. None of those countries are social democratic. They are democratic countries with state sponsored social programs.

      Unfortunately you have confused the two definitions. The definition I give for social democracy a is nearly verbatim definition of the Oxford English Dictionary: social democracy n., a socialist system of government achieved by democratic means.

      Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway do not have state ownership of the means of production and their economies are not based on the precept of production of use. Private property exists in all the countries you list yet, in a socialist country all property would be owned and distributed by the state based on the needs of the society. Even a utopian socialist model has collective ownership of property.

      Please look up the definition for yourself. I recommend consulting Marx, the Oxford English Dictionary or any general political science textbook perpetually read by undergraduates.

    4. You are referring to a communist country.

      A socialist is one who believes that the 'commanding heights' of the economy should be nationalized. But, also supports small business.

      Former British Prime Minister Clement Atlee is the best example of an adherent of this philosophy.

    5. Adam,

      Socialism, n., a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. -OED

      I think you have mischaracterised Lord Atlee, however, your definition of socialism is also misplaced. Lord Atlee was committed to public ownership to eliminate extremes wealth and poverty but, such a policy or goal is some distance from socialism whereby the; production, distribution, and exchange were regulated or owned by the state as a whole.

      I don't think any evidence exists to support your contention that socialism "supports small business".

    6. Bede is right what Peter and Adam have described are mixed economies not social democratic states. The economies are partly socalist and partly free market hence mixed. Social democracy is a variant of socialism.

    7. Your own definition states owned or regulated. I think that Canada as a whole supports regulation of industries, even if you do not.

    8. Matt, Adam, Peter,

      As I first wrote social democracy has a set definition: a socialist system of government advanced through democratic means. When you three write of "social democracy" you use the term in a colloquial sense.

      Matt, unfortunately, you have ignored the first half of the definition; political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange...One can say Canada has a regulated economy or a regulated society but, such a definition is quite some distance from a social democracy.

    9. Matt,

      It is not my definition it is the Oxford English Dictionary's definition.

    10. The dictionary definition of social is "of or relating to society." Since I maintain that society doesn't exist, the term is therefore rendered nonsensical.

      Nothing is "social" anything.

  15. May I add my thanks for your excellent analysis this year. I will be visiting very frequently in 2015 which bodes to be a most interesting year.

    Ontario GTA and BC look to be the key battlegrounds. The US economy looks finally to be picking up and we can expect that some of that economic good news will percolate up here. Harper will of course be claiming credit, as would any other politician in his place.

    Will an improving economy attract more votes for the CPC in Ontario and BC, or will the voters decide Harper is no longer needed?

    I do not in any way underestimate the ability of the CPC to target key ridings, but this time it will be a definite uphill slog against deteriorated approval ratings and the decline of the NDP which may put the Liberals over the top in tight 3-way races.

  16. "They are democratic countries with state sponsored social programs. "

    Which is precisely the current definition of social democratic despite the Oxford etc. !!

    Current usage is what counts not dry definitions of decades ago. Now realize that you are trying to press this country into a definition that does not reflect the reality of today so is less than correct.

    "Social" means something entirely different than "Socialism" !! Social means things like national health, CPP and other services by the country to its citizens. And yes, Canada does still own some means of production but the size is really irrelevant,. Let alone social housing and other services. No real conservative country would have any of this.

    After World War !! things began to change. The rise of the CCF and Tommy Douglas caused significant shifts away from the "only business can do it" view towards a view where citizens in fact do have control, not business.

    Following on, I remember the battle over National Health very well. After years Douglas won and now we have a "Social Parliamentary Democracy" !!

    Unexpected effect but one which lead on to several other "social" improvements such as CPP.

    So your definitions no longer and haven't for a long time worked.

    Even such as the NY Times or the Times Of London use Social Democratic so change your thinking.

    So your "conservative" no longer is correct .

    1. No Peter it is not!

      Read Marx and you will understand the difference. A key component of socialism is the control over the means of production and the precept of the production of use; essentially the Government or a committee thereof distributing goods and services including non-public goods. Social programs only distribute public goods such as; transit, or sewers or education or distribute wealth (a public good since it is distributed through tax dollars). The concepts are linked but they are not the same.

      As I said before; although some people use "social democratic" in a broad sense they use the term incorrectly; social democratic or social democracy has a set and agreed definition; Canada does not fit that definition. That is why the NDP, a democratic socialist political party, formerly in their constitutional pre-amble state how a NDP government would create a democratic socialist state. Obviously if Canada was already a social democracy as you claim such a statement would not have been necessary.

      Social does not mean the same as national! The terms are loosely connected but, "social" has a broader meaning and "national" a more specific definition Social, n., of or relating to society and its organisation.

      Your use of social above is highly coerced and your definition of conservative simply incorrect.

      I can not find a single reference source that list Canada as a "social parliamentary democracy" CIA Fact Book: parliamentary democracy, Canadian encyclopedia; Federal parliamentary system under a constitutional monarchy. etc...

      Let me remind you of your message on Aug. 12, 2014: Peter wrote: "Since I've observed your recalcitrance for quite a while welcome to the Don't Respond" list!! I recommend others put you there to (sic)".

      Please adhere to your own promises! I think every time you respond to me you should donate $10 to a charity as recompense for breaking your promise!

    2. Peter,

      Universal health care is good for the economy. As such, a conservative fiscal position would support it. Conservatives favour economic growth over equality, and universal health care promotes economic growth. It also promotes equality. So, really, everyone should support it.

      I haven't seen a coherent argument against universal health care in decades.

  17. Sorry bede but your inability to see beyond your conservative walls makes any further discussion useless.

    Social Democratic mreans a democracy with a social conscience. That's all. Has nothing to do with Marxism or Communisim !!

    1. You can vote feel free to vote CPC as by your definition it is a social democratic party.

      There is no party in the democratic world I can think of that needs votes that does not have some degree of a social conscience.

      The whole of western civilization is a Social democracy.

      I don't know if there is a political party in India that fully endorses the caste system.

      Maybe the BQ is not a social democratic party as it gives preference to pure laine quebecious... but I am sure they would argue that they have a social conscience.

    2. Peter,

      What is or is not social democratic is not a partisan issue. Your ability to tie everything back to partisan politics and inability to admit mistakes says more about your own philosophy than myself or anyone else.

      Just because you invent definitions does not given them accuracy or legitimacy, your lack of evidence corroborating your "beliefs" is proof in and of itself of your fantasy.

      "Life is hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid". –John Wayne

    3. Isn't it fascinating that someone who spews the PMO line wants others to be non-partisan ??

      Hilarious really.

    4. Let's shut this discussion down, thanks.

  18. For those who wondered I haven't been around since before Christmas due to major comp problems. Sorry.

  19. Don't know about you Eric but I've found these IIHF Junior games really, really good ?

    1. Haven't seen much but fun to watch. Impressed with the Danes.

    2. interesting when you look at us vs USA. We've done so much better. Still tomorrow will tell the tale. Be there at 4 PM !!

    3. Eric

      I really hope you saw that IIHF final between US & Canada ??

      Terrific game at amazing speed. Best part for me though was two goals scored into empty nets !! Magnifique !

  20. How many of you feel like discussing the important things that happened last year?? Not on a partisan basis but on where you think the country will be directed or affected this year?

    I think one of the major changes which we have yet to come to grips with is the Supreme Court rewrite of aboriginal land ownership rules ?? Lot of implications here !!

    1. The SCOC did not "rewrite Aboriginal land ownership rules". Incendiary phrases like that do little to educate people or improve relationships. Instead they promote high expectations and animosity.

      The Tsilhqot’in decision if anything clarifies the rules already in place surrounding Aboriginal title and land ownership by establishing through common law that First Nations hold partial title to unceeded land called "Aboriginal title". However, it is important to remember that the Tsilhqot’in decision applies to a very specific area of some 438,000 acres and is not as yet a general rule surrounding unceeded land. The BC Crown no longer has a over-arching right to issue logging licences on this land, but, the Tsilqot'in title is limited. The Crown's title still exists albeit in a somewhat modified form.

      It is important to remeber the land granted Aboriginal title had long been occupied by members of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation and occupation was continuous and well documented (this was proven in Court). Not all unceeded land will be eligible for Aboriginal title and the Crown's over-arcghing title undoubtedly still applies to unoccupied land.

    2. That's going to cause a lot of problems in BC (where there are no treaties ceding native land to the Queen), but in the rest of the country I don't see it being a problem. There are bigger native issues in treaty jurisdictions (like the prohibition on individual land ownership).

      I'm not sure how BC is going to handle the land issue. I expect by ignoring it as long as they can.

    3. Sorry Cap but they did re-write !! By saying the Crown did NOT have control they changed the law.

      Now I think Ira is probably right but I wonder if this change apples to anything in Alberta as well?? However this will I think permanently shut down that idiotic Northern Gateway line and that won't be a loss.

    4. And then there is the oil price thing. Just checked a few minutes ago and WTI was less than $53/bbl. Since we get circa $10 less a barrel you do wonder when Alberta will shut down ??

    5. BC will continue with the BC Treaty Commission and negotiate treaties. Even if Tsilqot'in was a general legal rule it would not negate the need for a general agreement between the Crown and First Nations (treaties) The SCOC decision changed very little.

    6. Peter,

      Firstly they could not have changed the law because the proceedings were based on logging licences granted under Orders-in-Council

      Secondly, they couldn't have changed the law because that would require re-writing the Constitution under the general amending formula 7 provinces with 50% of the population.

      So smart guy, what sections of law were "rewritten" or changed? As I wrote above Tsilqot'in was a specific action its ability to act as precedent for other actions is unknown and untested. What it did was help clarify the test in Delgamuukw but, that is far different from the contention Tsilqot'in "rewrote" the law or that the "Crown did not have control".

      The Court did not say the Crown did not have control they merely recognized that Aboriginal title coexists with the Crown's overarching title and therefore consultation will be required when decisions affecting land take place.

      Obviously the Tsilqot'in decision does not apply to Alberta since it only affects about 1750 sq. KMs in BC and the matter before the courts was the jurisdiction of the BC Government and its ability to issue logging licences. As I wrote above this is a specific event not a general legal rule.

      So stop spreading your ultra-conservative tea party steeped rhetoric. If you want to have a discussion on this issue it would greatly help if you read the decision or failing that educated yourself generally on Aboriginal rights and the Crown's historic and present relationship with Aboriginal peoples.

    7. All that is required to qualify as a re-write is to change one or two words,. Plus this ruling clarifies the difference between land transferred to the Crown by treaty and those that aren't. Learn English

    8. Alright, what word(s) were changed and re-written? What laws does the "re-write" apply.

      In fact the case was not about treaties so your second sentence is basically untruthful. More Republican--Newt Gingrichesque strong arm tactics. We don't need your UKIP supporting type up here!

    9. Alberta is not going to "shut down" fear tactics like that do little to convey the reality of the situation or keep things in perspective. It is an attitude of the far-right-extreme-Reform party faction who only care about money and can't possibly fathom how society exists without balanced budgets.

      The reality is far more complex. The cost of production is high in Alberta but it is on a spectrum. Some wells produce at $70 per barrel and some produce at $35. If oil is at $53 the $70 dollar wells are losing money. These marginal wells are likely to be shut down but, because sunk costs are high they may survive as operating at a loss is more economical than shutting production. Some plays such as Syncrude have very high sunk costs but, because they have paid off their infrastructure costs during times of high prices their production costs are low today and they are profitable even at $50 oil. Alberta isn’t going anywhere and it will continue to produce oil although likely with lower profit margins.

    10. This ruling does not clarify the difference between treaty settlement land and unceeded land. It clarifies how Aboriginal title is determined title through the Delgamuukw test (R. v. Delgamuukw, 1997) !

      Since, you have failed to cite what language and or laws were "rewritten" I assume you withdraw your (incorrect) statement.

      For someone who intones others should learn English your grammar leaves much to be desired.

    11. @ Simon Fraser Tolmie - There's little or no need for budgets ever to be unbalanced. There's simply no sufficient benefit to doing so.

      Alberta, even at a lower price of oil, has the highest per capita government revenue in the country. They should NEVER run deficits.

      When they balanced their budget in 1994, what was the price of oil then? It was under $20/bbl.

      There's no reason for the federal government to be running a deficit, either. All the the "stimulus" the government launched in 2008-09 did effectively nothing except cost us billions. And it kept the CPC in power (recall that the opposition threatened to topple Harper in 2008 when he announced his budget - that's what caused the prorogation scandal. Before that, Harper's proposed budget contained no stimulus, and was balanced. Come 2009, fearing another defeat, Harper (cowardly) presented a budget filled with billions in extra spending, none of which helped the economy.

      Today's debts are tomorrow's taxes. That's all they are. That's all we ever get for them.

    12. There are cases for running deficits, but very few cases. When a recession hits and revenue is slashed very, very quickly and costs skyrocket (as EI claims jump) the feds don't have much choice in the short run, and it also hits provinces quickly. During those times doing _real_ infrastructure work (roads, bridges, water pipes for example) is useful...building new stuff that wasn't on the priority list (such as gazebo's in a certain ministers riding) isn't.

      We need politicians to use some logic when running into debt situations - try to minimize the time frame, ensure that surpluses are run as soon as possible after recessions, and plan on time frames for paying off debt (ie: a road will last for, say, 20 years so ensure it is fully paid off in those 20 years).

      Sadly too often we see stuff like Alberta has seen - revenue skyrockets for whatever reason and the govt blows it rather than saving for a rainy day, often on ongoing projects that will need cash for years and years and years instead of one-off projects (repairing old infrastructure for example is a good one-off, building new arenas isn't as those have on-going costs which must be factored in when building them but never seem to be).

    13. Ira and John Northey,

      Your position regarding governmental budget deficits is frankly so silly it is not worth an answer. You both need to take a basic economics course as well as a course in Canadian political science, your knowledge is greatly lacking.

      Common sense dictates that anytime you can borrow money for less than the return you make a profit! So to opine "there is no sufficient benefit to doing so" (sic) (bond financing) is demonstrably inaccurate by simply reading the annals of Canadian history.

    14. Heh. Given I have a degree in economics and have actually run for office I think I have a bit of knowledge in these areas.

      Borrowing money to pay for ongoing concerns is my worry. IE: a structural deficit like we had in the Mulroney years, Trudeau's later stages, and during most of Harper's time (he balanced it thanks to higher than needed EI fees and not spending what was budgeted). Structural ones are disasters.

      In household terms....
      Going into debt to pay for your house = smart as it is a long term asset that can appreciate in value
      Going into debt to pay for your food = bad idea as you need more the next day and the next day and so on, thus will eventually run out of cash.

      Alberta/Ontario/etc: Debt to pay for new roads = good as they'll be used for a long time
      Debt to pay for health care costs = bad idea as they will keep going year in/year out

      Or on the revenue side... Alberta counting on resource revenue (a finite source which fluctuates drastically) for day-to-day costs = stupid. Saving that revenue to help pay for long term projects or to have a 'safety net' for rough times = smart.

      Sadly too much of the stupid has occurred in many provinces, and federally they are counting on underspending instead of being honest about budgets which will lead to ugly deficits and tough choices after the next election no matter who gets in.

  21. Happy New Year Eric! Keep up the good work! 2015 will be one of the most interesting electoral year i believe. Incumbency vs prodigal son.


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