Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Uptick in Alberta for Mulcair's NDP?

The federal projection has been updated, incorporating the latest polling data from EKOS Research, Léger, and CROP. The overall results have not shifted much, though the Conservative seat count has dipped to the benefit of the Liberals. You can see all the details here.

An interesting development does seem to be underway in Alberta, however, where the New Democrats are polling at their highest level in a year. Is the NDP on the upswing in the province for real?

First, let's briefly go over the new polls added to the model.

In EKOS's poll for iPolitics, the Liberals moved ahead with a gain of 1.6 points since the previous week to 32.1%. The Conservatives dropped 2.7 points to 30.2%, while the NDP was up 1.5 points to 21.2%.

Only the Conservative decrease was outside the margin of error, though the Liberal bump does end a losing streak for the party. Overall, however, the poll is well within EKOS's usual range.

The Léger poll reported by CTV Montreal showed a similarly close race, with the Liberals at 35%, the Conservatives at 34%, and the NDP at 20%. Compared to Léger's previous poll of Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, the Liberals held firm, the Tories were up two, and the NDP was unchanged. Suffice to say, those shifts would not be outside the margin of error of similarly sized probabilistic samples.

Finally, the poll by CROP for La Presse gave the New Democrats the lead in Quebec with 30%, unchanged from CROP's previous two surveys in the province. The Liberals dropped four points to 29%, while the Conservatives were up two points to 18% and the Bloc Québécois was up one point to 18%.

None of these shifts would be statistically significant. Noteworthy, however, is that the Liberals have dropped in two consecutive surveys (from 37%) while the Conservatives have increased their support over that time (from 13%). Also note that the results from CROP are broadly in agreement with those from Léger for the province.

Alberta turning a little orange

The longest and largest streak (both in real terms and proportionately) in the country currently belongs to the New Democrats in Alberta. Their numbers have been increasing over five consecutive weeks in the province, from 11.9% at the beginning of February to 16.3% in today's update. That is a gain worth 4.4 points, or an increase of more than one-third since that low ebb.

This upswing for the NDP in Alberta has coincided with a period of Conservative decline, as the party has slipped 4.2 points over the last five weeks from 54.7% to 50.5%.

(The third-longest streak at the moment is in Quebec, where the Liberals have fallen over four consecutive weeks from 30.3% to 27.7%.)

This jump for the NDP has pushed the party to two seats in the projection (Edmonton Strathcona and Edmonton Griesbach, though the latter is by a very slim margin). It has also put the New Democrats in play in Lethbridge.

The shift has been registered in most polls. In the two newest surveys, Léger has the NDP up five points in the province and EKOS has them up almost 10 points since the poll it conducted at the same time as Léger's last outing. Over the last eight polls, the NDP has managed between 13% and 19%. In the previous eight, that range was from 10% to 17%.

Whether or not the increase has come directly from the Conservatives is harder to determine. In those same most recent eight polls, the Conservatives have ranged between 49% and 54%. In the previous eight, that range was 47% to 61%. That suggests the Tories' numbers have just become more volatile, rather than necessarily dropping in the face of NDP gains.

The reality is rarely ever linear, and in this instance we may be seeing voters heading in every direction, the net result being an NDP uptick.

But why would this be taking place? We cannot definitively chalk it up to an improved performance by Thomas Mulcair, whose personal numbers in Alberta show no such clear trend line as those of his party.

We instead might be seeing a bit of cross-pollination between the provincial and federal scenes. Talk in Alberta is about the possibility of the New Democrats, under new leader Rachel Notley, taking over from Wildrose as the Official Opposition after the next election. The better press for the provincial NDP may be having a positive impact on the federal party.

The real question, as is always the case, is whether or not these numbers will prove to be sustainable or a mere flash in the pan. In the grand scheme of things, it does not have much impact on the national portrait. But with the race looking as close as it is, even losing an extra seat or two to the NDP in Alberta can have an important effect on the Conservatives' electoral calculations.


  1. The Alberta NDP under Rachel Notley is showing a low of momentum these days and I suspect that is helping drive up the federal NDP numbers as well. FWIW the federal riding of Edmonton-Griesbach is composed of two Alberta NDP ridings - one of which is super-safe and the other more marginal. Definitely a seat on the "watch list"

  2. Mulcairmania in Alberta? Probably not. I agree with the assumption that it might be due to the positive press coverage of Rachel Notley's provincial NDP.

    NDP support is concentrated in Edmonton, so this can translate into one or even two more seats for them along with the one they currently hold in that city. It may also hamper the Liberals chances of making gains in that city. The Liberals are more focused on Calgary anyways.

    1. As Éric noted, "It has also put the New Democrats in play in Lethbridge."

    2. Does it though? According to Eric's riding projection (and perhaps they have not been updated to include the latest two polls) The Tories hold a 37%-30% lead over the Dippers. That is close perhaps but, given the wide lead the Conservatives hold in Alberta the probability of a NDP win seems almost infinitesimally small. If polls continue to improve for the NDP then so will their odds but, at the moment Edmonton looks like the only place in the Province where opposition parties can win.

    3. I agree I think we're seeing a Rachel Notley bump for the NDP.

    4. With the current aggregate, I have the NDP slightly less than 3% from the CPC in Lethbridge. You may put less credibility in my model, but it does support Eric's claim that the NDP is in play and not that far away from making a gain there.

  3. I don't really expect Justin Trudeau to do that well in Alberta, so I wouldn't be surprised to see voters tired of Harper drift toward Mulcair instead.

    1. I agree young Trudeau just seems out of place in Alberta. Obviously his dad's legacy doesn't help but, it is something more personal than that he could be a Vancouverite or Montrealais or even a Torontonian but, an Edmontonian or Cowtowner seems impossible.

      I think Alberta is one of the few places where the opposition could more-or-less coalesce behind a single party for the election. I hope this latest oill price drop and the generally poor governance the Province has experience over the last half century have finally brought about the recognisable need to have a true Opposition in the Province for accountabity's sake and good governance if nothing else.

    2. The Liberals did well in the Calgary Centre and Fort McMurray-Athabasca by-elections.

      Times have changed in some parts of the province. The Trudeau Sr. boogeyman does not work a generation later.

      Even Tories acknowledge that after riding distribution and demographic changes, the Liberals have potential to pick up 3-4 seats in Calgary.

  4. I had a look at the polls that count towards the current 308 estimate. I threw out the Ipsos Reid poll as it was the only one to exclude the Greens, and I threw out the Forum poll from Feb 9-10, as the Liberal rating was an obvious outlier (beyond 3% from the average).

    Support for the CPC is covarient with support for the LPC.
    Support for the NDP is covarient with support for the LPC and BQ.
    Support for the LPC is covarient with support for the NDP and CPC.
    Support for the BQ is covarient with support for the GP, NDP, and Others.
    Support for the GP is covarient with support for the Others and BQ.
    Support for the Others is covarient with support for the GP and BQ.

    To me, this suggests three strong components to the variability of polling results: support shifting between the big 3 and the alternative parties, Quebec support shifting between NDP/BQ and everyone else, and most interestingly, support shifting between CPC/LPC and everyone else. These relationships suggests to me that NDP voters are the most likely to shift to another party and to win a majority, the LPC/CPC need to court the smaller party voters more than each other. Thus, this will be a campaign of polarization between the LPC/CPC as compared to the NDP platform.

    1. "LPC/CPC need to court the smaller party voters more than each other".

      I have trouble with this statement because LPC/CPC voters represent nearly 2/3 of the electorate. So while they may have a better chance gaining "smaller party voters" even achieving a 100% success rate may not be enough to push them over the top. It seems to me the "median voter" is very much within the LPC/CPC/NDP (and perhaps BQ and Green) sphere since they account for 90% of voters.

    2. In the last 30 years (8 elections, 5 majorities), the vote share needed averaged 40.64% (39.62% 2011 Harper, 40.85% 2000 Chretien, 38.46% 1997 Chretien, 41.24% 1993 Chretien, 43.02% 1988 Mulroney) with a stdev of 1.54%. To reach that number from current levels, they would need to convert approximately 21.5% of non-CPC/LPC voters. In fact, if you lump the NDP in with everyone else, the national split is 34.6 Other, 33.2 LPC, 32.2 CPC, thus they're a larger population to court. Obviously, policy choices must be made not to alienate the core, but there is more to gain by reducing the vote split.

    3. You're ignoring turnout. In past elections, one of the CPC's core strategies was to suppress Liberal voter turnout, and it worked pretty well.

    4. Vote supression was present in 2011, but the findings were that it wasn't significant enough to disrupt the CPC majority. It's hard to say how much of an effect this could be. From the actual turnout numbers they rose from 58.8% in 2008 to 61.1% in 2011 with Alberta (-0.6%), Manitoba (-1.1%), and Ontario (-1.5%) being the only provinces with lower numbers. Without Ontario, the other 9 provinces had an average increase of 2.0%, so in theory, if the full difference in Ontario was suppressed Liberal voters, they would have taken 26.2% instead of 25.3% and the Conservatives drop from 44.4% to 42.9%.

    5. Might not be that simple.

      The Conservatives know they cannot replicate their 2011 success. Trudeau would do better than the low bar set by Ignatieff. The Conservatives are bound to lose seats to the Liberals - especially in BC, Ontario and Atlantic Canada. The question is how many seats they lose.

      To offset those losses the Conservatives need to gain in Quebec. Their support in Quebec will more likely come from people who have voted for the Bloc and NDP in the past.

    6. Actually, the CPC isn't that far from majority grounds again. They already are leading in most of their possible Quebec seats (6 more seats have the CPC within 9% of the leading party). If Harper is going to get another majority, it's going to come gains in BC (8 more), Quebec (6 more), and Ontario (13 more, from now, net loss compared to 2011).

  5. "But with the race looking as close as it is, even losing an extra seat or two to the NDP in Alberta can have an important effect on the Conservatives' electoral calculations."

    Well I guess that the NDP taking an extra seat or 2 in Alberta would be off set by the Cons taking 11 extra seats from the NDP in Quebec.

    1. Unfortunately, with the resurgent Liberals in Ontario, and the added seats overall, the CPC needs both.

      They might still get both. They're excellent campaigners.

    2. Well I guess that the NDP taking an extra seat or 2 in Alberta would be off set by the Cons taking 11 extra seats from the NDP in Quebec.

      Dream on. Not happening.

    3. totally agree... NDP will not be taking these seats in Alberta....

      Eric is using the poll numbers as presented.

  6. There's a lot of organising going on to be ready for the expected Alberta provincial election this Spring. The Lethbridge NDP is optimistic.

    At very least the troops will be a well oiled machine ready for the federal election.

    Yes, the CPC will sweep rural Alberta, but urban downtowns are fertile ground for the opposition. But LPC, NDP and Greens will generally split the opposition vote in urban Alberta.

  7. Have you seen this poll that shows the provincial parties in a statistical tie?

    1. One definitely sees the Rachel Notley effect in this poll. 23% for the NDP is good, one also sees the futility and mistake of the Liberals picking Sherman as leader-steady at 20% amongst what has been a chaotic few months in Alberta is nothing short of a failure. Instead it appears Wildrose is experiencing a slight re-bound and I would suspect are well placed to remain the Opposition after the presumed Spring election.

      Having said that 30% for the PCs is incredibly low and a couple more points for the NDP, Wildrose or Liberals could produce a hung parliament or even a small Wildrose or NDP or Liberal plurality. All-in-all even at 30% one has to assume the PCs are the odds on favourite to remain in Government.

    2. I'm not surprised at the Wildrose rebound. If Prentice's comments of the last few months show anything, it's that Alberta needs some opposition on the right.

      I just hope the party can get its internal affairs in order (they have some efficiency problems) in time to mount an effective campaign.

    3. before you analysis this poll please google "A BAYESIAN, RIVER-SAMPLING METHODOLOGY – ONLINE AND MOBILE" which is the methodology that this survey uses as per its footnotes.

      And tell me how this statistic sampling method of predicting how many fish in an area when you can't catch any.

      It sounds like you if you can't find and NDP or Liberal in Alberta there must be a way to show that some exist. There must be some.

    4. Intuitively the people of Alberta would be upset with Prentice for raising taxes.. .. It would not be logical on any plane that they would take this vote to the NDP as Prentice does what the NDP would want to do on a larger basis.

    5. The elephant in the room - and it's a hefty one - is that after 50 years of Conservative governments shackling the Alberta economy to gas and petroleum without either diversifying or charging meaningful royalties (à la Norway or even Newfoundland), there’s no longer any room for manoeuvre as oil prices drop. Prentice & Co. have taken the opportunity to exacerbate matters by imposing sharp austerity measures (which wasn’t how the Conservative government in the 1980s dealt with a similar downturn in the economy). So, you know, people aren’t happy with the combination of a precarious economy, high cost of living, gutted social programmes, and promised higher costs for the necessities of life. Yeah, that might just have turned people off the Conservative Dynasty. Plus, the tawdry Conservative/Wild Rose power plays of the last 6 months. Leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    6. Don't forget the extremely high wages. With Albertans earning 60% more than the typical Canadian, they have a lot more wiggle room in terms of a high cost of living.

    7. BC VoR,

      A wee correction. The NDP does not support the kind of tax increases that Prentice is imposing, increases that disproportionately impact the middle class and poor. The NDP proposes higher taxes for corporations and the wealthy, that is, a more equitable tax system, with those who have more paying more and those who have less paying less. It's a tricky distinction, I know, largely because the corporate media, business, and spokespeople from the Conservative, Liberal, and like-minded parties avoid making it with complete discipline. You're left to your own devices to see through the schoolyard taunts of "tax and spend" to find the truth of the matter.

    8. High cost of living is relative; houses in Edmonton and Calgary are a third of Vancouver and about half what one pays in Toronto.

      The Alberta oil and gas royalty is tied to price so while the price has gone down so has the royalty-this obviously helpful for producers though the effect will be quite marginal.

      I wish I could blame subsequent Alberta governments of the last 50/60 years for not diversifying the economy but, the blame lies squarely with Albertans who lapped up the platitudes with reckless abandon and shirked the tough work of building better cities and Province. The cities in Alberta also hold great responsibility for failing to diversify the economy-low taxes became synonymous with re-election not good governance-that is a failure of the electorate more so than the elected.

    9. From the mid-80s to late-90s oil prices were under half of what they are now. I'm going to suggest that oil prices will recover to the $80-$100 range by mid-2018.

    10. Maybe but, if one accounts for inflation oil prices will stick around $30-$50 until 2030 or longer. Of course the oil market is speculative so a recovery to $80 may well occur. For Alberta oil proponents the calculus is as much about costs as price. When oil was below $20 a barrel, pre-Second Iraq War, oil companies were mining and making money in Alberta. While I suspect some companies will continue many will cease production in the hope $80-$100 oil will return.

    11. You can't focus on housing costs alone; the cost of living in Alberta is significantly higher than the rest of the country. Stats Canada reports that the consumer price index for the whole country in 2014 was 125.2. In Calgary it was 132.7, in Edmonton, 131.8, but in Vancouver it was 120.5 and in Toronto it was 126.4. Wages are, on average, high in Alberta, but that fact is a bit misleading. Wages are high in certain sectors, disproportionately raising the average; for those who work in services, etc. and receiving the minimum wage, it’s a tough go. The minimum wage is lower in Alberta than anywhere else in the country, and coupled with the high cost of living makes for a miserable existence for many. Fortunately, with the help of Canada’s most concentrated corporate media (along with that of Quebec), we’re so focused on the wonders of oil that we don’t have to notice this underclass working two or three jobs to get by in this capitalist paradise.

  8. After all the war rhetoric and all the tax funded advertising, all Harper can muster is a an 8 seat lead? He is in big trouble.

    1. Not really those 8 seats still equal a plurality and continued prime ministership. Also it is only an estimate, the high range put the Tories 22 seatrrs beyond a simple majority to have a final outcome somewhere in between is probably the likely scenario. In any bcase the scrutiny will be on Trudeau come the campaign not Harper, I would suggest that if a "saviour" can't save he may strike a mortal wound.

    2. Jimmy

      The Monthly polling averages for July 2014 (8 months ago) generated a seat count of 159 Liberal 101 Cons and 74 NDP.

      So the polls have indicated an change over the last 8 months of

      Liberal -31
      CPC +35
      NDP -6

      And this is without a campaign that Eric tends to point out have drastically increase the CPC support over the last 3 elections.

      Even without a campaign a even the organic growth of the CPC support over the next 7 months would easily have them bumping up another 35 seats,

      And when you add the campaign into it !!!

      Maybe Trudeau and Mulcair will be the Obama like in their first campaigns as leaders...

      But I have seen now indication of this to date.

    3. If there's a small Conservative plurality but not a majority, which currently looks like the most likely outcome, it's not at all clear whether Harper stays as prime minister. I see the Liberals and NDP as much more likely to try a coalition than they were in the 2000s... of course, since they didn't then, "more likely" doesn't mean it will happen!

    4. Actually, jbalin, it is clear Harper stays as PM until defeated on a confidence motion-this is the basic principle of responsible government. If defeated it is up to the Crown to appoint a PM. Harper as the outgoing PM will have the ability to advise the Crown, and he may advise a dissolution!

      Keep in mind that while it is generally advisable to recall Parliament within a fairly short timeframe after a general election, the legal requirement is only that Parliament sits once a year. In short the opposition may not get the chance to defeat the Government.

    5. No sure. Does Mulcair allow Trudeau to be the PM, just so Trudeau can appear prime-ministerial and wipe the NDP out in the subsequent election.

    6. Walter,

      It really isn't up to Mulcair; the Crown will appoint who His Excellency deems fit. Mulcair could decline I suppose and in so doing make young Trudeau PM by default but, the Crown may deem it inappropriate to appoint the leader of the third party to such high office (assuming the parties relative position remains the same).

      From an internal party perspective Mulcair would have to accept appointment or resign as NDP leader. Most would argue that if he is wavering on the issue now he should step down.

    7. bede, Canadian law about formation of government is not codified, so it's all about how tradition is interpreted. Following the Westminster model, Harper has first shot to form a majority, whether "naturally" or in a coalition, then the Trudeau and Mulclair. If no majority can be formed, then Harper becomes the minority PM.

    8. BCVoR,

      Why do you insist on ignoring the natural variation of numbers?

      To use your own style argument, in July 2014 (42 months ago) generated a seat count of 162 Conservatives, 102 NDP, and 41 Liberals.

      So the polls have indicated a change over the last 42 months of

      LPC +83
      CPC -42
      NDP -42

      Even without a campaign even the organic growth of the LPC support over the next 7 months would easily have them bumping up another 14 seats.

      Of course, this is all faulty logic, just as your statements was.

    9. Mapleson,

      I am well aware we are dealing with precedent but, that does not change the constitutional requirements or the legal obligation of the parties involved.

      This idea of a "first shot"implying someone has the "next shot" and so forth is just wrong! That is not how the Westminster model works, or the principles of Government formations or the constitutional precedents that effect the Crown.

      Mulcair and Trudeau have no right to test the will of the House unless appointed as PM by the Crown. The Crown is not obligated constitutionally or by legal or by constitutional precedent to offer high office to the party leaders relative to their party's seat count. The Crown unilaterally and without the need for justification (if His Excellency so decides) who to appoint as PM!

      Harper doesn't need a majority he only needs the Speech from the Throne to pass-that only requires a pluraity not a coalition or majority.

    10. bede, looking at the last century of minority coalitions in the UK, we have the 1923 minority government where the Conservatives won a plurality of seats, but a Liberal-Labour pact allowed the second place Labour party to formed the government. In 1929, Labour won a plurality of seats, and with a similar Lib-Lab pact had the confidence of the house. The Liberals did however have an offer from the Conservatives to alternatively place the Conservatives in power. In 1979, second place Labour again formed government with a limited pact with the Liberals. Finally, in 2010 the Converatives and Liberals formed a 5-year coalition deal for control specific departments.

      In Canada, we have two examples, Mackenzie in 1873 and Meighen in 1926. The King-Byng affair is most telling as precedence in that the PM asked the GG for an election and the GG said not and allowed a minority Conservative government with the support of third parties.

      Thus, out of the four minority governments in the 90 years, three were formed by the second place party. Specifically, it is the Governor General's discression to allow the party most likely to command the confidence of the House to attempt to form the government. Harper might win the most seats and under normal conditions that translates into most likely to command the confidence of the House, but not under all circumstances. The Governor General is free to appoint Harper, Mulcair, Trudeau, or even May as Prime Minister. The scope of this discretion is not limited, but guided by precedence.

    11. In all those examples the second place party became Government because they could control a majority in the House not because they were second place party or had "second crack at the can". King-Byng and the Australian Constitutional crisis of 1975 also follow that example. In the King-Byng affairs Lord Byng erroneously assumed Meighen could control the House, in the end he could not and an election was held later in 1926.

      Secondly, precedence; is the relative order of something (often state officials). A Precedent is a constitutional and or legal principle with a degree of legal, constitutional or cultural force.

      Harper undoubtedly, has a constitutional right to test the will of the House and unless defeated on the Speech from the Throne and so remains as PM. In regards to the British examples you cite it is important to remember the respective PMs tendered their resignations and so the Crown was free to act. Maggie Thatcher won the 1979 and became PM after James Callaghan resigned. The Conservatives won a majority.

      It would not be appropriate and would damage the legitimacy of the Crown (one of the Crown's primary concern if no the primary concern) to dismiss a PM without reason. In the case of both Tupper and Gough Whitlam from Australia significant constitutional precedents had not been followed in the case of Tupper (he had failed to test the will of the House on a confidence motion after the 1896 election) and in the case of Gough Whitlam his inability to pass a budget gave the Crown a legitimate reason for dismissal.

      I am not saying second or third place parties do not form Govwernment I am simply pointing out that no relative order based on party standing exists either in the Constitutional canon or constitutional precedent. When second or third place party do form Government it is because the Crown believes they can control the House not because of some imaginary relative order of government formation.

  9. These polls have Alberta as less orange than Alberta was red in 1980. I don't think you can reasonably call the 1980 election a success for Liberals in Alberta either.

  10. With the new aggregate, I get:

    138 CPC
    113 LPC
    79 NDP
    6 BQ
    2 GPC

    By region, it gives:

    23 LPC
    6 CPC
    3 NDP

    36 NDP
    22 LPC
    14 CPC
    6 BQ

    54 CPC
    48 LPC
    19 NDP

    16 CPC
    6 LPC
    6 NDP

    28 CPC
    4 LPC
    2 NDP

    British Columbia
    20 CPC
    12 LPC
    8 NDP
    2 GPC

    2 LPC
    1 NDP

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  12. It seems that the big Duffy expense scandal that was going to hurt Harper so badly is in the process of being defused..... by the Toronto Star of all entities.

    If the Toronto Star says there is nothing to see here as per March 25 commentary by John Barber then there really is nothing.

    From the tone of the article it would be worrisome for the anti-Harper brigade that this might seem to be an over-reach by the un-elected Crown prosecutors acting on political agendas and give support to Harper's meme that the courts and legal system are over stepping their bounds.

    1. I think you are quite right. If the Duffy scandal ever contained a bombshell, or in fact, anything significantly damaging to PM Harper, Harper would have called an election by now to avoid a certain loss in October.
      The fact remains: Harper can still win big in October. And recent developments suggest Harper managed to outclass and outmaneuver the opposition, namely Trudeau (C-51 and ISIS mission). The economy is now the PM's biggest headache.

    2. Harper's opinion is that anyone not listening to him are overstepping their bounds. Nigel Wright was not cleared of wrongdoing, he was not charged with wrongdoing. There is a hugh difference legally. While many Senate claims rules are unclear "primary residence" is not. Let's allow the lawyers and judges to make legal decisions and the media pundits to tell us about it. Otherwise, they are overstepping their bounds.

    3. Maopleson; legally being cleared and or not being charged are essentially the same thing; the presumption of innocence and the conclusion no "wrong doing" was committed.

    4. bede, that's no more true than claiming that being pardoned and being found not guilty are the same thing.

    5. To be pardoned one must be found guilty so, yes, in a round-about-way they are the same thing.

      To be found not guilty at trial; hence innocent and not being charged; hence retaining the presumption of innocence are once again essentially the same.

      I am pretty sure if you put some thought into the matter you will conclude the same, chirumenga.

    6. Condescension aside, you missed the point. Contrary to your assertion that "legally being cleared and or not being charged are essentially the same thing", the former removes any doubt as to culpability, while the latter does not. A cloud may hang over someone not charged but believed guilty, but someone who has been cleared of wrongdoing has had their innocence affirmed. A related example is that of Steven Truscott, whose 2006 defence team pressed for a declaration of factual innocence. Your comment compels me to be pedantic, but a pardon leaves a cloud over the convicted person, while a not guilty verdict substantially removes it. This is why so many wrongfully-convicted people have been dissatisfied with being pardoned - pardoned for what, exactly, when they haven't committed a crime? And so they fight for the clean slate that a not guilty verdict provides, or indeed, a declaration of innocence.

    7. If one is not charged culpability not assigned! No question exists as to culpability in that case and so the former and the latter are essentially the same-innocent!

      Legally a pardon removes that "cloud" and a not guilty does so as well, though, as you note from a cultural or societal context some doubt may remain. The problem for the wrongly convicted is they have committed a crime and been convicted of doing so in the eyes of the law. Usually they have had a trial and often several appeals which presumably they have lost and so a declaration of innocence is not possible unless the case is re-tried. A retrial poses its own dangers and prejudices and the accused runs the risk of being convicted again. In some cases a fair trial may not be possible because of the passage of time for example. A pardon should leave a cloud over a convicted person because they have committed a crime! A pardon may exonerate an individual but, it does not negate his or her past deeds.

      Finally it seems bizarre to me that you would argue to narrow the scope of the presumption of innocence and in so doing argue against the principles of fundamental justice, Common Law and human rights law. You are either the most socially conservative New Democrat who ever existed or not a New Democrat at all. The late F.R. Scott would be shaking his head.

    8. You don't understand the difference between exoneration and a pardon. I'll make the point again. A pardon forgives a person for the crime of which they’ve been found guilty, which is why so many wrongfully-convicted do not accept being pardoned (when that occurs). They fight for exoneration, that is, a declaration of innocence - precisely what Truscott asked for (and was, unfortunately, denied). Legally, a pardon precisely does not remove the cloud of guilt. Your summary of the plight of the wrongfully-convicted is prima facie wrong. By definition, the wrongfully-convicted have not committed a crime, but the judicial process has – for whatever specific reasons – found them guilty and accordingly sentenced them. In successful cases, they have eventually been acquitted, sometimes pardoned, and occasionally declared innocent. Truscott asked for a declaration of innocence because of the infamy of his case (which had necessitated that he change his name after his release) and because of the overwhelmingly unfair and prejudiced police and legal proceedings against him. That is, he wanted the cloud of suspicion over him utterly removed. He wanted to be exonerated.
      As I seem to have to repeat to you without it ever sinking in, I am not a New Democrat. And I make no personal claims with regard to presumption of innocence - as usual, you're putting words in my mouth. I’m describing things as they are, not how I would like them to be (which would be quite different indeed). Should I assume that your last paragraph is simply more condescending, bullying projection on your part? The alternative is that you truly can’t understand the plain English that I wrote.

      With that, I hope this discussion is done.

    9. Let's get back to specifics here. Nigel Wright was investigated on an account of Fraud on the Government, but not charged. There is no question about his direct actions, giving Duffy a cheque for $90,172 in order to repay invalid housing expense claims. Senator Duffy subsequently would not testify in audit hearings. The RCMP case is lacking in explicitly showing that the Senator’s actions were a result of taking the payment, rather than merely a consequence. In addition, it is not Mr. Wright who benefits from this action, but the CPC, thus another nebulous connection that ultimately sets Mr. Wright up as a pawn.
      The Senator, however, 31 specific criminal charges against him of which only three are related to Nigel’s cheque: Bribery of a Judicial Officer, Breach of Trust, and Fraud of the Government. The last charge will most likely fall due to the same evidentiary limitations with Nigel Wright, unless there is some new evidence that comes to light and Mr. Wright can be charged after the fact. The other two charges stand on their own merits and are related specifically to the Senator’s position and actions.

    10. I always think when somebody uses Latin phrases incorrectly they use the terminology to appear smarter than they are. In fact, my summary of the wrongly convicted: "the wrongly convicted... have committed a crime and been convicted of doing so in the eyes of the law". Is exactly what has happened from a legal standpoint. Otherwise they would not be convicted of doing so! We can say a crime occurred because the statement of fact at trial would acknowledge as much thus, is it speculation that someone is wrongly convicted both legally and in the historical record.

      As for my last paragraph in the past you have claimed to be a New Democrat, I am very happy you no longer support a party which long ago morphed from socialism to champagne socialism.

    11. Oh dear, a Latin gaffe. My meaning was "from first sight". But if you prefer, "res ipsa loquitur". And you've used Latin phrases plenty, Mr. Pot.

      The wrongfully-convicted... the significance is that they did not commit the crime in question - a point utterly lost in your summary, which holds exclusively to the legal and prosecutorial side of matters, thereby drifting away from the matter of the discussion.

      Again, you demonstrate that you will not or cannot read carefully. I have never claimed to be a New Democrat - that is your fantasy, presumably because you can only handle stereotypes as a way of understanding the world. If you want to discuss my politics, contact me directly. I'm tired of your willful misreading of my comments and political orientation. It's troll-like behaviour. If you want the last word on this, now futile, discussion I'll leave it to Éric to decide whether it's worth posting.

    12. Chirumenga, you have stated in the past that you support the NDP, why you deny the fact today I do not know but, I assume it is because you are embarrassed by your own political record.

      Who is Mr. Pot? Yes, I have used Latin phrases correctly many times a fact I don't deny. To say something speaks for itself means that something completely different than at first sight, and does not fit the legal context of prima facie in any case. It is you who have failed to read carefully, I write in the eyes of the law the wrongly convicted have committed a crime-a fact that if you weren't so stubborn-we could both agree on!

      For somebody who complains of me being condescending, it is intellectually inconsistent to then, call me a troll! Do as I say not as I do-is that your modus operandi? As for the last word since, you keep replying it appears you want it!

  13. The irony for the East coast is that their best chance of having an Maritimes PM (after a 100 year absence) is for Harper to get a majority and then step down after about 3 years. Peter MacKay is one of the leading candidates to succeed Harper.

    Instead, their voting patterns indicate that there may not be another leader from the East Coast for another 100 years.

    1. I think you have to get in line.

      With the Liberals chasing the Quebec vote for decades the last time there was a PM from Ontario was Lester Pearson in 1968.

      Turner was Pm for a brief bit but was not a sitting MP at the time so technically he was not a PM from Ontario.

      Harper was as close as you could get to an Ontario PM having been born and raised there,

      The Atlantic provinces got heavily bribed to join the confederation (4 seats for PEI) .. 30 senators from Atlantic Canada with only 24 from Ontario and 6 each for BC and Alberta.

      Jack Layton was the only party leader from Ontario since Turner.

      The Liberals missed a chance with their complete two time rejection of Martha Hall Findlay.

      I think the next PM will be from Ontario will be a CPC Female MP from Ontario: Lisa Raitt, Kellie Leitch, Dianne Finley or long shot Stella Ambler.

    2. The Atlantic generally vote for the party that forms government; the 1997 and 1972 election being the exceptions over the last 70 years. Stanfield of course came close. Peter MacKay is certainly the Atlantic's best bet for PM in the short or medium term. Dominic LeBlanc is almost certain to run for Liberal leader at some point I think but, given young Trudeau's age such an event could be 10 even 20 years off.

      Good prediction on a female PM BCVoR. I think Leitch would be great, but, it will be a crowded field when Harper steps aside-who knows what will happen?

    3. Jack Layton was born and lived in Québec until his university years, so saying he's from Ontario is also somehwat untrue.

    4. Ed Broadbent was also from Ontario and Paul Martin at least has some claim to Ontarioness.

    5. @Thierry Soucie - By that reasoning, though, Stephen Harper is from Ontario, which defeats the entire line of reasoning.

  14. I missed on Broadbent... Mr. Layton was an Ontario elected MP who was the leader of a Federal party.

    It would be an interesting statistical correlation if the NDP benefited from having the only Ontario leader.

    Things went poorly for them when they went to Audrey McLaughlin (from Ontario but MP from Yukon) and Alexa McDonough of Halifax as their leader.

    For the most part after the NDP stuck to Ontario leadership almost as firmly as the Liberal party stuck to Quebec leadership.

    1. McDonough did well in the 1997 election; 21 seats and11% of the popular vote are about par for the course for the NDP. McDonough laid the ground work for invigorated provincial parties in the Maritimes and arguably set the foundation for Dexter's Government in 2009.

      I don't think it conicidence the NDP's two best elections happened under leaders from Ontario; 43 seats for Broadbent in 1988 and 103 for Layton in 2011. Two thirds of the seats are located in Central Canada, it is hardly surprising a Central Canadian leader is able to capitalise.

  15. Eric (and Mr. Soucie)

    The Ottawa citizen ran an analysis of the party break down by ridings by counting $200 + donations.

    Sort of like an opt in poll that requires a $200 entry fee.

    This would seem to be a measurement of the GOTV support and influence the turn out rate.

    It makes sense (well to me anyway) the ridings that have more local people willing to pony up $200 worth would have more serious campaign workers.

    As well just party members count by riding would be a good indication the efficiency or lack thereof of of turning polled voters into actual voters.

    Do either of you make any attempt to account for ground game in converting poll numbers to seat counts?

    1. I find the Citizen's analysis of donations by riding interesting, but it neglected some important points. First, historically the Conservatives both raise and spend more money per seat won. It's interesting that they are running this analysis when the fundraising quarter ends tomorrow. Also, it looks at total contributions rather than number of contributors, so a single donation of $1000 is considered to give equal party support as 5 $200 contributions. For example, a quarter of the NDPs contributions ($4.408M) came from a single estate (Peter Kirk Sinclair $1.12M). While it's great for his former riding, it doesn't reflect much about voting patterns there.

    2. I downloaded the political contributions from the Election Canada website from Ontario for CPC, NDP, Liberal and Green parties. Just from individuals (includes the big contribution from estates) … I asked for 0 to 10000000. Date range Jan 1, 2014 to March 30,2015 The smallest contributions were $50 (1,825)

      A lot of people gave $50 a few times.

      The total # of donations in Ontario is 11,874,285.69

      There were a total of 12 donations over 1,500.. 1 cpc donation of 1,800, 4 liberal donations of around 2,000, 1 Liberal donation or 20,000 and another for 25,000. The Estate of Peter Kirk Sinclair left 3 donations to the NDP totalling 1.12M plus 1 estate to the NDP for 5,000 and one of 10,000.

      So much for the CPC being the party of big money.

      Conservative Party of Canada Total 3,864,297.64 33%
      Green Party of Canada Total 410,026.53 3%
      Liberal Party of Canada Total 5,229,279.93 44%
      New Democratic Party Total 2,370,681.59 20%
      Dropping the duplicate names bring the donor list down to 17,555

      Conservative Party of Canada Count 6254 36%
      Green Party of Canada Count 756 4%
      Liberal Party of Canada Count 8154 46%
      New Democratic Party Count 2391 14%

      The Liberals seem to be in better shape in Ontario to GOTV with more money and more committed supporters.

    3. If turnout pattern is the same as in the past, then yes, it takes it into account (as the model is based on past elections per riding). If that changes, then no, not really. It would be interesting for me to use a Québec only model for 2011 (I didn't have a model back then) and see how the pre-electoral polls would project into seats (as well as the election). If there is a major change, then it would indicate my model cannot take sudden changes into account, but if it's fairly close, then it would mean that, while it can't predict it 100% since it's all new behaviour, it can at least simulate different turnout. I know my model didn't do too bad for the CAQ in the last Québec election (which had less votes but more seats), so who knows... my model uses trends, so the actual turnout is considered different in this election than the last and it will be different for the next. That is why, for the LPC in my model, it is difficult to gain many seats, as they have been on a constant downward trend.

    4. So I made a simplified version of my model for the Canadian election in Québec in 2011. I'll start by reminding the actualt results, which are:

      59 NDP
      7 LPC
      5 CPC
      4 BQ

      So using the election results, I get:

      60 NDP
      6 CPC
      5 LPC
      4 BQ

      That is very close. By riding though, I did notice a few differences, so the total may be good, but the details may differ somewhat (I didn't look at all of them). The lead was so wide for the NDP, though, that not projecting them as winning almost all the seats would have been a failure.

  16. I'd like to know why on such an imprtant vote the CPC couldn't get it's majority to vote ??

    1. You assume they wanted to win.

    2. Because of pairing. It is a long held parliamentary tradition that members who know they will be away from the House on a certain day inform their whip who then informs his opposition colleagues. According if a Government M.P. is away due to parliamentary business or illness opposition M.P. from each opposition party is asked to not attend the House that day. In this way the relative standing of the parties remain the same for votes.

      The Conservatives did produce a majority vote that day as the final tally was 142-127.

    3. Pairing is reciprocal, so, if an opposition M.P. is away from the House for whatever reason a Government M.P. is asked to stay away.

    4. Then bede please exp;lain why virtually every opposition member was there and over 20 CPC weren't ??

    5. Well Peter,

      if you read the Globe and Mail you would know that many opposition members were absent including Irwin Cotler! According to the House of Commons only 17 M.P.s failed to vote and the newest Liberal Ms. Eve Adams voted with the Government (great judgement Justin! hahahaha!)

    6. How many bede given there are less than the CPC by a big margin !!

    7. Well Peter,

      if the vote was 142-129 that would indicate17 Conservatives were absent-why you decided to be economical with the truth and say 20 or missed the vote is beyond me but, it does demonstrate Liberals aren't very good at math. You really should do your own research. Did you know the House of Commons has its own website? Where information on votes is freely available!

    8. The vote was 142-129 with 33 abstaining or not present. Irwin Cotler abstained. However, 3 cabinet members didn't vote: Maxime Bernier, Greg Rickford and Gerry Ritz. The official record of the vote does not show any paired MPs. The official record also does not record which MPs present opted to abstain on a vote. There were 19 Conservatives that didn't vote, 5 NDP, 5 LPC, and 4 others.

    9. Which raises the real question of why did 19 Cons including 3 Cabinet Ministers abstain ??

    10. 17 Tories did not vote. What is your problem or antipathy toward basic adding and subtraction? The Speaker is a Tory therefore 159-142=17! Why didn't Irwin Cotler vote-he is supposed to be the Liberal critic on Rights and Freedoms and International Justice-Isn't this his purview?

    11. The 19 excludes the speaker. 308 - 3 (vacant) - 1 (speaker) - 142 (voted for) - 129 (voted against) - 14 (non-CPC non-vote) = 19

      Conservatives absent (19):
      ■Keith Ashfield.
      ■Leon Benoit.
      ■Maxime Bernier.
      ■Garry Breitkreuz.
      ■Blaine Calkins.
      ■Bob Dechert.
      ■Nina Grewal.
      ■Richard Harris.
      ■Jim Hillyer.
      ■Ryan Leef.
      ■Larry Miller.
      ■Gordon O'Connor.
      ■Blake Richards.
      ■Greg Rickford.
      ■Gerry Ritz.
      ■Kyle Seeback.
      ■Mark Strahl.
      ■Dave Van Kesteren.
      ■John Weston.

      Irwin Cotler abstained, among his statements ""In October, I was unable to support the government’s motion because of the prime minister’s statement that Canada would give a veto to the criminal Assad regime. I remain unable to support the government in this matter because its proposed expansion of Canada’s mission continues to allow Assad to assault Syrian civilians with impunity. Moreover, the government’s lack of clarity in October has only been compounded by a lack of forthrightness since."

      He did not vote with his caucus but abstained from the original vote on the mission last fall, citing a need to be consistent with his principles. The LPC does not whip their vote to the same extend as the CPC.

  17. Eric

    Very interesting piece on the CBC about NDP rise. Thanks

    Also latest Nanos has Trudeau well ahead of Harper as best PM and Liberals moving further ahead of CPC. Interesting days ?


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