Friday, February 13, 2015

Eglinton-Lawrence, Joe Oliver, and Eve Adams

You've heard the story by now. On Monday, Conservative MP Eve Adams, apparently denied her nomination papers by the Conservative Party, crossed the floor to the Liberals and has decided to try her hand at being a giant slayer, taking on Minister of Finance Joe Oliver in the Toronto-area riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. She'll have to win the Liberal nomination in the riding first, and that is far from a sure bet.

But if she does win the nomination, or even if she doesn't, can Joe Oliver secure re-election in Eglinton-Lawrence?

Based on current polling trends, and all else being equal, Eglinton-Lawrence is a riding that the Conservatives would have a very hard time keeping from the Liberals. Oliver won it in 2011 with 47% of the vote, defeating Joe Volpe, who had taken 38% of votes cast. 

Volpe had held the riding since 1988, and the Liberals before that since its creation in 1979. Never before 2011 had the party captured less than 40% of the vote in the riding, and even the Liberals' last win in 2008 was the first time Volpe had failed to capture a majority of the vote.

At the provincial level, Eglinton-Lawrence has voted Liberal in every election since 1999 when the boundaries were changed to match the federal ones. In every election but 2007, Mike Colle took a majority of the vote. Last year, he took 55%.

With the Conservatives having dropped to about 37% in the province, and the Liberals having increased their support to 37% as well, Eglinton-Lawrence is a riding that the Liberals should be able to win. The current projection gives the Liberals 50% of the vote. Joe Oliver would come up short with 37%, and this includes his incumbency bonus. Of the 50 ridings currently projected to be won by the Liberals, there are 12 that are considered less likely wins for the party than Eglinton-Lawrence.

The incumbency bonus awarded to Oliver is worth 8% of his support. That is to say that what the unadjusted swing model would give him is boosted by a factor of 1.08. In order to be projected to win the riding, that factor would need to be increased to 1.46. Only one incumbent MP whose party had dropped in support managed to resist regional trends by such a factor in the 2011 election. He just happened to be Justin Trudeau.

The model estimates that for Joe Oliver to win, he would need about 44% support. The factor of 1.46 is required to get him there, but that assumes the Liberals are also boosted by current trends. The model then has to rejig the numbers to get everyone's projected results to add up to 100%, so the standard of 1.46 is not a fair one to apply to Oliver.

Instead, let's use the mark of 44% to be Oliver's baseline. With that number we are assuming that, with current polling trends, Oliver will lose the riding if he can't manage 44% of the vote. At 43% or less, the math suggests the Liberals are winning the riding.

Stripped of all adjustments, Joe Oliver would be projected to take 38.8% of the vote in Eglinton-Lawrence due to the Conservatives' drop in Ontario. To reach 44%, he would need to out-perform expectations by a factor of at least 1.14.

The odds are against that happening. 

In the work I have done to try and estimate how to adjust the projections in order to take incumbents into account, I have identified 797 incumbents seeking re-election in the 2006, 2008, and 2011 elections. Only 116 of them, or 14.6%, have managed to out-perform the proportional swing by a factor of 1.14 or more.

This means that, all else being equal, Oliver's odds of getting 44% of the vote or more, on current polling trends, are about 14%. That makes it a bad bet to wager on Oliver's re-election if we think of him as a generic incumbent.

Of course, Oliver is not just any incumbent. Before we consider that he is the Finance Minister, let's consider that he is an incumbent seeking re-election when his party is losing support. 

There is a great deal of difference between the performance of an incumbent when the party is increasing its support province wide and when it is dropping. Out of those 116 incumbents who over-achieved by a factor of 1.14 or more, 105 of them were representing parties that were losing support. In this context, Oliver's odds improve: 23% of incumbents representing parties losing support managed to out-perform expectations by a factor of 1.14 or more. Just 3% of incumbents representing parties on the upswing managed the same feat. This is why the projection model treats incumbents differently based on whether a party is up or down in the polls.

Nevertheless, Oliver's odds are now just a little worse than 4 to 1. But just who were the 38 incumbents in 2011 who bucked the trends by 1.14 or more when their party was losing support?

Most of them were Liberals, of course, as the party dropped support throughout the country. The Bloc Québécois makes a few appearances as well. But you can see that a lot of the names tend to be some of the better known incumbents. At the top of the list is Justin Trudeau, who did better than any other incumbent.

Also high on the list are big names like Denis Lebel, Christian Paradis, Denis Coderre, Marc Garneau and Joyce Murray. Most of those at the top of the list survived the cull, and secured re-election.

Those at the bottom of the list, however, were less lucky. And Joe Oliver's target over-performance of 1.14 would put him at the bottom of that list. While about half of incumbents who out-performed expectations by 1.14 or more were re-elected, 79% of those whose factor was 1.20 or more were re-elected. Those with 1.20 or less were defeated 68% of the time. 

This would suggest that Joe Oliver's true odds for re-election only start to get better at a factor of 1.20 or more, which means about 47% of the vote. That would be a tall order, considering that he secured 47% of the vote in the Conservatives' high-watermark election of 2011, against the Liberal Party's worst performance in its history.

Oliver, however, is a cabinet minister - and not just any cabinet minister. As Minister of Finance he is generally recognized as the No. 2 in the government. That should give him a serious boost.

It did help Ralph Goodale in 2006, but he out-performed the swing by a factor of 1.13, just below Oliver's benchmark. When the Conservative Party was gaining, Jim Flaherty out-performed the swing by a factor of 1.04 in 2008 and just 1.01 in 2011.

But let's compare Oliver to other Conservatives, rather than other Finance Ministers. In 2011, the Conservatives only dropped support in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. They had no incumbents in the latter, so let's look at how Conservative incumbents in Quebec performed.

Half of the 10 Quebec Conservative incumbents did better than the model's generic factor of 1.08, and half did worse. Of those who did better, four were re-elected. Of those who did worse, only one was.

These numbers are relevant for Joe Oliver, because it sheds some light on the performance of Conservative cabinet ministers in the context of a sinking party.

Four of these 10 were full cabinet ministers. Christian Paradis was Minister of Natural Resources, Lawrence Cannon was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josée Verner was Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (and for La Francophonie), and Jean-Pierre Blackburn was Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Being in cabinet did not seem to help Blackburn, who had a horrible performance. Verner was also on the lower end. It did help Paradis and, to a lesser extent, Cannon.

I think Lawrence Cannon is a good example, as his portfolio was the closest in profile to Joe Oliver, and his riding of Pontiac was generally a very Liberal-friendly one (though not to the extent of Eglinton-Lawrence). Cannon out-performed the swing by a factor of 1.18, above Oliver's lowest benchmark but short of the 1.20 he would probably need to win again. That might be ominous.

Of the other Conservative MPs in Quebec, Denis Lebel was a Minister of State and Jacques Gourde, Daniel Petit, and Sylvie Boucher were parliamentary secretaries - the title Eve Adams held before she crossed the floor.

And that brings us, finally, to Adams. She is not a traditional floor-crosser, as she is seeking re-election in a different riding. The model, then, would not treat her differently from any other candidate.

But will local voters? It seems that Liberals in Eglinton-Lawrence are not too thrilled about her candidacy, so she may not get the nomination to begin with. And if she does, I am not convinced she will be an asset for the Liberals. If anything, I'd wager she would do less well than a generic Liberal candidate.

So there are a few things working in Oliver's favour. His is a name we'd more likely see at the top of the list of over-achieving incumbents, rather than under-achieving ones. As Minister of Finance, his profile is the highest he could have without being party leader. He may face a controversial Liberal candidate. And the local factors in the riding, for example the large Jewish population (Oliver is Jewish, the large Italian community was also important in Volpe's wins), may play in his favour. Those are all of the intangibles. But Eglinton-Lawrence is, at its core, a Liberal riding. On paper, the odds would be against his re-election.


  1. Aside from the fact Adams is a really big mistake Oliver very possibly can't win against any Liberal. The riding has historically been Liberal and I think will revert to type in October but only if Adams doesn't run !!

    1. Maybe Oliver can't win against any Liberal but, it looks like the Liberals will nominate a Tory! I guess that will improve his odds in your opinion?

  2. Wonderful article. Just a note, though, that your graphic has David McGuinty being defeated instead of re-elected.

    1. Looks like the McGuinty entry has been fixed, yes?

  3. Could you please clarify why the Jewish population would help Oliver?

    1. I added it to clarify. Some of the commentary on the riding has noted that the Jewish population in Eglinton-Lawrence voted in large numbers in 2011, while the Italian community that traditionally support Joe Volpe stayed home in large numbers.

    2. Liberals in general stayed home in large numbers in 2011.

  4. There is a basic premise that you have neglected in the moment.

    Oct 15,2014 Ekos poll in Ontario had the liberals at 49%.

    The latest EKOS poll had the Liberals in Ontario at 35%

    The trend is very steep slope against the Liberals.

    If you are digging historical data to justify the hard time Oliver will have to hold onto his seat there needs to be some realistic extrapolation using the known data to the most likely outcome on election day.

    In Oct 2014... 12 months before the election date... the EKOS poll had Oliver having no chance at all....along with all Cons holding their seats.

    4 months later the races are supposed to be close.

    In another 4 months .... if the trend continues the Liberals drop another 14 pts to 21% would not be able to hold on to their 11 MPs and Eve Adams in Ontario,

    1. Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue… A-y-y-y!

    2. So the fact that Liberals are currently in free fall in polling has no impact on who will likely get elected?

      The biggest story in polling in Canada should be this story. 49-35 in 4 months!! That would be a Kim Campbell trend.

      What did Trudeau and the Liberals do to fall so far out of favor so quickly?

      Is their 35% support solid? It would be a significant increase in what they got in Ontario last election (26%).

      Your reference to 1976 is somewhat appropriate as a major position in your argument against Oliver holding his seat is that 6-20 years ago the Liberals were able to hang on to this seat with the expectations that they would be electing a cabinet minister.

      Maybe the Liberals and Disco will both make a comeback.

    3. Trends don't often follow a straight line. Does it make sense to use that 49% as a starting point? Or was it more likely a blip?

      Look at the polling averages in Ontario:

      The Liberals have been steady now for two months. Yes, they came down. But it seems that they have settled. Why would we assume that the trend that came to a finish at the end of November would pause for two months and then continue in February?

    4. The 49% number for the Liberals in Ontario was likely a rogue poll. That would have put them at Jéan Chrétien numbers in Ontario (he used to get about 50%).

      It's unlikely the Liberals or Conservatives will get that high in Ontario anytime soon. Even Harper in 2011 got to only 45% in Ontario.

      Btw, the new EKOS poll today has the Liberals at 39% in Ontario. It says 39% Liberal and 36% Conservative. (and 16% NDP) So they're already up from the 35% number in the last EKOS poll.

    5. Or here BCVoR:

      Is the LPC still in freefall or were you just letting your CPC-tinted glasses obscure your vision? Not that I think this poll is representative, I have a feeling it's an outlier, but even EKOS's poll from the same day shows the LPC in front of the CPC.

  5. BCVoR
    New Forum poll has Liberals in 24-seat majority territory. Not saying that your description of Liberals in "free fall" is wrong, just not congruent with the data.

    1. Forum poll also has Oliver beating Adams 49-28.

    2. Since the 2011 election, there have been 13 national polls which have given the Liberals 39% or higher.

      ALL OF THEM were Forum polls. So I don't think we should get too excited when Forum, yet again, gives the Liberals 39%

  6. BCVoR, taking 2 points and extrapolating is just lazy, not to mention wrong. Do i hope the Libs are in free fall in Ontario? yes. do i think it's the truth? no. I think the only thing that will keep Eg-Law Conservative is if Adams wins and a majority of Liberals stay home out of disgust.

    1. Yet the forum poll of 689 people have Oliver winning handily.

    2. Because we all know a single data point from months before a possible election is canon. Let's pull another pull from 6 months ago and we've got a whole trend established!

      How much cash are you willing to bet that Oliver wins by double digits? I'll take whatever you're offering.

    3. I think that a safe bet. You have to go back a very long way to find a Minister of Finance who didn't win re-election.

    4. Is that about as long ago as the last time a conservative won two consecutive elections in Eglinton-Lawrence?

      Conservatives are going to see their 2011 successes in the 416 scaled back considerably come the next election. Same goes for much of the 905. I won't say the Liberals win, largely because of the built in electoral efficiency advantage the cons currently enjoy which would require more than a couple percentage points to govern, but I don't see the conservatives winning another majority given their historic performances in urban areas. That they had not won a single federal riding in toronto since 1988 prior to the 2011 breakthrough - which saw the liberal party at its historic worst and vote splitting at its most rampant - seems noteworthy. If the GTA swings back to the Liberals, which seems fairly likely, I don't think the math adds up for a majority.

  7. Do you have the full data for all incumbents Eric, and would you by any chance be willing to share it? It would be very helpful in modelling open list PR. As would the numbers for non-incumbents.

  8. Eve Adams is an opportunist. I cannot imagine her winning the Eglinton-Lawrence Liberal nomination against a local candidate with a head start and the riding MPP and former MP against her candidacy.

    As for Joe Oliver, he may be finance minister, but he is not much of a constituency politician. He is still somewhat of a low profile minister compared to the late Flaherty. He got elected in suburban GTA's Conservative tide of 2011 and whether he returns in 2015 depends on how the parties fare in this region.

  9. My model gives a 10,1% lead to the LPC on the CPC in Eglinton-Lawrence (50,1% LPC to 40,7% CPC). My model is much more simplee than Eric's, so it doesn't take into account the "status" of the candidate, be it minister or incumbent. Considering this, the polls' margin of error and the time until the election, this is not a done deal yet. But for the moment, we can say that Mr Oliver's seat is far from a safe bet.

    1. Mr. Soucie

      According to the Forum poll of the riding your model provides no value at all... possibly negative value.

      Either the national polls are wrong, the Riding poll is wrong , or you just can't force the national numbers to the riding level.

      None of these are acceptable options for us political junkies and my conclusion is that polls are for entertainment value only and/or are used as campaign devices to influence the vote.

    2. The poll had Oliver beating Adams, but losing to Colle. How he would do against a lesser known Liberal candidate is unknown. I think it stands to reason that Adams is a particularly toxic candidate, not that the model (his or mine) is wrong. If Oliver can lose to Colle, that certainly suggests we're not wrong.

    3. Colle is a 14 year back bencher MP that best qualifications to win his provincial seat is that he was born in Italy.

      What is the most significant thing he has done or said in his political career?

      "If Eve Adams becomes the federal Liberal candidate in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, local MPP Mike Colle says it will be over his dead body."

      This is as close as you can say that Trudeau had another "Bozo eruption" as you can say without using the word Bozo.

    4. "I think it stands to reason that Adams is a particularly toxic candidate," and I think with that simple phrase Eric you have hit the real nail on the head. Adams can't defeat Oliver and /or any other Conservative possibly. So we may have another Justin fubar. Time will tell.

    5. BC VoR,

      Actually, Colle is a popular 20 year MPP that has easily won election every time. His son is the municipal councillor in the same riding. Moreover, he is a former cabinet minister that held a couple of mid level portfolios during the McGuinty years.

      I'd agree with you that one cannot force "national" (technically provincial) numbers on a riding with a unique scenario.

      At the same time is useful to look at provincial and regional numbers to see a shifting landscape. Polls have consistently shown suburban 416 has been returning to the Liberal fold and the expense of both Conservatives and the NDP.

      There is no evidence yet that Joe Oliver is so popular in Eglinton-Lawrence that he will buck the trend and get re-elected. At the time being, it is a vulnerable seat for the governing party.

      The scenario will be:

      A. Conservatives repeat their 2011 success in the GTA and Oliver gets re-elected. Doesn't matter who the Liberal candidate is.

      B. Liberals do well in the GTA as they always do before 2011. Oliver is defeated. Does not matter who the Liberal candidate is.

      C. Liberals do well in the GTA but Oliver retains his seat because of Eve Adams.

      D. Liberals do well in the GTA but Oliver retains his seat against another Liberal candidate, due to Oliver's being finance minister and popular among a segment of the local electorate.

    6. "Colle is a 14 year back bencher MP that best qualifications to win his provincial seat is that he was born in Italy."

      Why does he keep winning re election? Do you think his constituents are doing that because, in your curious reasoning, he was born in Italy?

    7. I can't explain why he would be winning elections.

      albeit from wikipedia in his only role as Cabinet minister: Colle was criticized for his role in giving out $32 million in government grants to immigrant and cultural groups without official applications or formal statements of purpose. In one case that the auditor general highlighted, the Ontario Cricket Association received $1 million when it asked for $150,000.[5] Premier McGuinty agreed to commission a special report on the matter, to be released in July 2007.[6] Colle was to appear before the Standing Committee on Estimates before the Legislature was prorogued by the Premier. Some believe this was arranged to prevent his testimony from going public.[7]
      On July 26, 2007, Colle resigned as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

      Since then he has been given the minimal level of responsibility as Ignatieff and Bob Rae gave to Justin Trudeau.... as little as possible.

  10. Local issues do matter, no question. Up here in Thunder Bay-Superior North it used to be a strong Liberal riding, then with lots of work it became an NDP one, and now it might become a Green one. But last election the Liberal candidate was a very, very weak one and they got just 16.7% - in the last 7 federal elections the Liberal vote went from 65 to 51 to 48 to 43 to 36 to 28 to 16.7%... a very ugly drop thanks to a mix of a candidate quitting (after the 36% he switched to the Conservatives over same sex marriage) and poor choices in local candidates since. I doubt the Liberals could've won even with a super-strong candidate last time but a good one would've put them in much better position going into this election.

    This election they do have a much better candidate but she has been fighting city council on funding for a homeless shelter where the likely NDP candidate (now a city councillor) has been key in the battle. So up here we have the Greens with an election office up and running and the incumbent MP, the Liberals door knocking, and the NDP likely having a city councillor who had to fight against more funding for a homeless shelter. Odds are the Conservatives will be running a non-factor despite coming in 2nd last time. Hard to know what to expect. I have seen local polls of course, but not public (they give me great hope though as a Green).

    Local matters. Eve Adams will be like the Liberal was here last time - toxic and hurting the vote for them drastically. The best thing the Liberals can do is find a strong local candidate there and send Adams back to the drawing board again. I wonder if Trudeau was hoping her trying to step in would get organizers in that riding to wake up and start chasing good candidates down quickly and signing up lots of new members... that is the only reason I can see for this silly mess outside of the 'sinking ship' headlines the Conservatives got for a day out of it.

    1. It will be interesting to see how the vote breaks down in Thunder Bay-Superior North because of the Bruce Hyer/Green factor. Will he raise the Green vote? Does he have a chance at winning? Odds would seem to be against the Greens winning in Northern Ontario, but who knows.

      Since I assume the NDP wants to beat Bruce Hyer after he left the NDP and became a Green, I'm surprised the NDP has taken a while to get their candidate nominated. Perhaps that will give the Liberals the opportunity to win the riding back on a vote split between the NDP & Greens. Justin Trudeau was up in Thunder Bay this past week campaigning with the Liberal candidate.

    2. There is a bit of local thinking that a city councillor will run for the NDP - problem being he was just re-elected last fall so he'd be in for less than 1 year of a 4 year term which would look bad. Someone else on city council is working on motions to make it clear how to fill a position if someone leaves which is just increasing speculation. The problem for the NDP is the gun registry is poison up here and they are pushing for a new one (many hunters live here, many count on tourism from hunting as well). I am very curious what will happen if an early election is called as that would put tons of pressure on the NDP to move quickly. If it is a later election then they might get enough space since the municipal election to avoid it being an issue.

  11. Another insight into Justin's competence and he fails the test. This is a candidate who was caught trying to cheat in order to secure a conservative nomination. Maybe the Trudeau brain-trust think Soudas has some valuable campaign knowledge. The fact Trudeau has acquired a candidate who would be unable to defeat any Tory much less the Minister of Finance says all anyone needs to know about Trudeau's decision making ability.

    1. By refusing to accept floor-crossers, what does this then say of Mulcair?

    2. Mulcair has accepted Maria Mourani as a candidate for next election. Not a pure floor crossing, but if someone leaves a party (BQ) and announces they are running for another next election (NDP) and have joined that party as a member then they might as well have crossed the floor. The difference is a technical one only.

      Refusing to accept floor-crossing is something Mulcair is doing just so he has something extra to fight a fair number of battles with in the next election as the NDP has lost a few members to other parties (Hyer to Green, Claude Patry to BQ, Lise St-Denis to Liberals). Well, at least he hasn't lost one to the Conservatives ... yet.

    3. I expect Mulcair to make a big deal of the "too tainted for Harper, but Trudeau still accepted her" angle.

    4. John,

      It's not a merely technical difference. People elect members of a specific party - which are alleged to (or may in fact) have platforms representing specific programmes and policies. Someone crossing the floor is turning their back on their constituents, who voted for a representative of a given party. Mourani, if re-elected, will be elected as an NDPer, not as something else. It's a critical distinction - if anyone thinks there ought to be meaningful differences between parties.

    5. chirumenga,

      If Mourani's intention is to run for the NDP in October then she is unlikely to be focusing on implementing the BQ's platform today. We don't elect parties in Canada we elect M.P.s

    6. I don't see it that way at all. We elect representatives for our areas to Ottawa, not parties. If it was just voting for parties then we should be using a pure proportional representation method as local individuals wouldn't matter at all. Right now the big 3 all demand MP's vote the party line, with the NDP being the strongest on that (pack voting in every vote since the long gun registry and Hyer leaving and Rafferty voting against the NDPs policy).

      So, should Hyer and Rafferty have voted the NDP party line, or the way they said they'd vote during the election, or should they have just been robots who did whatever the party said? How often does an MP have to vote against a party policy before they are no longer part of that party? Often MP's will stand for some of what a party stands for but not 100% of it and there are cases of this in each party.

      Basically my point is that many may vote purely on a party basis but our system is not one that rewards that type of voting, although the big 3 wish it did without being willing to change it to a system that would (ie: proportional). So people shifting from one party to another should be viewed more as the MP deciding that party X no longer represents their worldview and shifting to party Y makes sense.

      As to an MP staying independent there are strong reasons not to - an independent MP cannot get donations inbetween elections while parties can. An independent MP gets fewer questions in question period and cannot be on committees. Plus many other issues designed to push out any non-party MP's.

    7. bede dunelm,

      I would put it to you that yes, we elect individuals as MPs but in essence we are really voting for party leaders. It's either I love or hate Harper. Ditto for the other party leaders.

      When I cast a ballot, all I'm thinking is that I want either to stop or support national leader "X".

    8. Actually we elect both. Stating one of the other is short sighted on both ends.

      In Mourani's case I'm 90% ok with what she's done, she did not floor cross and is sitting as an independent. She has stated her intent to run as an NDP candidate this year and has been accepted to do so.

      Ideally she should have resigned as an MP when she left the BQ but I'm ok that she still willing to sit unaffiliated because her voters are better served with an MP then a bi-election.

    9. So should all NDP MP's have resigned after a new leader was picked? We all know the main reason most won was Jack Layton (esp in those no hope ridings in Quebec where one candidate was in Vegas when the election happened) so his passing away and being replaced by Mulcair who is not at all like Layton is a bigger shift than people shifting parties.

    10. Ronald,

      We elect individuals. You can think how you like when you vote even if your perception is at odds with reality.

  12. Bede, BCVoR, Peter M: In case you misunderstood, Eve Adams isn't the LPC candidate in E-L or anywhere. She has indicated her intention to run there, but she almost certainly won't win the nomination. Justin was happy to facilitate the departure of yet another Tory MP by welcoming her to caucus, but doesn't seem to be promoting her candidacy anywhere, let alone in such an important riding. Paving the way for Adams to win the nomination in E-L would probably blow the LPC's chances, but that simply isn't what is happening.

    The NDP saying they don't take floor crossers or allow senators is like a person who can't afford a car or to buy red meat saying they don't drive or ear steak for environmental or ethical reasons - when you lack opportunity, might as well claim the moral high ground for refraining.

    1. Justin was at the same news conference as Eve Adams promoting an Adams candidacy. You can't accept her into caucus yet, not support her as a candidate-that is totally hypocritical not to mention disrespectful toward voters. Justin has accepted a person into the Liberal caucus who allegedly tried to pervert and subvert the democratic process. If Adams doesn't get the nomination after Justin all but promised it to her in E-L then what good is Trudeau's word even among Liberals?

  13. We elect representatives, not parties.

    But we elect those representatives based on their campaigns, and those campaigns are closely tied to their parties. As such, I don't object to an MP saying she no longer thinks she can work within a party (effectively saying that it is no longer consistent with her campaign), but sitting as an independent is then the right thing to do.

    Switching to a different party mid-term would require considerably more explanation. Keith Martin's was good. Belinda Stronach's was not.


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