Friday, March 31, 2017

The Pollcast: What to watch for in Monday's byelections


The five federal byelections being held on Monday are not expected to be nail-biters. They are taking place in traditionally safe seats for the incumbent Conservatives and Liberals.

But there are still some things to watch for when the votes are counted.


You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.


The byelections are being held to fill the seats vacated by Stéphane Dion (Saint-Laurent), Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa–Vanier), John McCallum (Markham–Thornhill), Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore) and Stephen Harper (Calgary Heritage).

In the 2015 election, the closest contest of these (Markham–Thornhill) was still decided by a margin of 23 points — so a change in the seat count is not expected.

But there are a few questions that the byelections can help answer. Will the Liberals be hurt by the controversies surrounding the nomination processes in Markham–Thornhill and Saint-Laurent? Has the Conservative leadership race helped attract new support to the party, or has it put voters off? And will the NDP do better than the last byelection that was held, when the party finished with just one per cent of the vote?

I'm joined by the National Post's David Akin to discuss.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

30 comments:

  1. I will be looking at how well the Tories and NDP do in Ottawa-Vanier as a gauge of where both parties stand in urban Canada. The Liberals should easily win the riding. Given the rise in the polls of late the Tories should expect to do at least somewhat better than their 32% general election result. For the NDP success would be 15%-a five per cent gain. St. Laurent-Cartierville will be the riding to watch for the NDP. If the NDP is to be competitive they need to improve on their meager 11.5%-they should be striving to overtake the Conservatives for second place. The relative order of the opposition parties may give us a hint of which one will be the Liberals' main competition for 2019 in Quebec.

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    1. Saint-Laurent is not very representative of the rest of Quebec. It must be one of the, if not the, most multicultural and multilingual ridings in Quebec. Ultimately, swing francophone voters decide elections in Quebec and there simply aren't that many of them in Saint-Laurent.

      Also, two of the parties don't have leaders at the moment. Quebecers are on average less interested in federal politics and therefore have less partisan attachment than the average Canadian. So who the leaders will be will matter more in Quebec in 2019 than it will elsewhere.

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  2. Not a very good night for the NDP-they did not manage 10% of the vote! Fell behind the Green Party for fourth in St-Laurent. St-Laurent was a comparative success because in Markham, and the two Calgary ridings the NDP only managed 2000 votes between them. They had a surprising strong showing in Ottawa-Vanier, the only indication the party still has some life left in its bones. However, it sure looks like the NDP should have pursued a merger with the Liberals when they had a chance. Justin is taking all of their oxygen. By-elections are particular beasts but, at this rate the NDP will simply fade away before the next election.

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    1. Ah yes, the usual tired old "The NDP is doomed, I tell ya!" talk that comes up every single time they have an even marginally lousy night.

      The NDP and its supporters are demoralized, to be sure, and the public (and the media) are still generally head-over-heels for Trudeau, but the New Democrats have gotten out of worse places than this many, many times over the past several decades -- they've had to if they even wanted to survive to this point.

      The Liberals actually dropped vote share in each of the five ridings up for by-elections. If anyone "won" the night, it was the Tories, and even their results were a mixed bag.

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    2. The NDP did not manage 10% of the popular vote! In Saint-Laurent they fell behind the Green Party. In Markham and the Calgary seats they averaged below 3%!

      Wake up! The NDP is only attracting 3% of the vote in English Canada! Sure, it's only a by-election and they are strange beasts that may or may not have an impact on the future but, 3%? That is a failure to communicate.

      At some point Dipper need to take responsibility. Yes, they are leaderless. Yes, they are demoralised. Yes, they still have the same leader from the last election even though they don't. Take responsibility.

      Marginally lousy night? No. It was a night that demonstrated the NDP message is not resonating even in a time where Trudeau's lustre has worn off and the Liberals lost popular vote share in every riding. It should be a message for the NDP but, what I hear from the NDP; "We are too stubborn to listen. We know best, the people should follow". Repeating the same action and expecting different results is a sign of insanity.

      The NDP badly needs to modernise. It's constitutional policies in particular are long passed the time for a thorough re-write. It's federal-provincial structure needs to be re-examined. Is having such close bonds to provincial counterparts still a net-positive? What about that name change? The Sherebrooke Declaration is losing them votes in Ontario and probably the Maritimes with the possibility of the PQ becoming Government in the near future maybe that should be re-examined as well? It is too bad because other policies such as a "guaranteed national income" could prove popular but, the NDP discredits itself with less tenable policies instead.

      Alas, the NDP put their collective heads in the sand. It's why they have such a hard time winning elections. The NDP can't handle the truth!

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    3. What is it with you and your irrational hatred of the NDP? What personal affront have they dealt you? Is it the lingering Red Scare left over from the Cold War? Or is it just partisan arrogance?

      Of course the NDP's vote share collapsed in four ridings that were widely considered safe for the incumbent parties. Considering the turnout in all five ridings, a lot of other voters share the "why bother" mindset when it comes to by-elections. The NDP has a habit of their vote share collapsing in "no hope" by-elections and then coming back in a general election; this is nothing new.

      And of course, you're deliberately ignoring Ottawa-Vanier, where the NDP did mount a strong local campaign and got their second-highest results ever aside from 2011. You're writing that off as an anomaly because it runs counter to your narrative that the NDP are somehow doomed by a few nigh-inconsequential by-elections.

      Yes, constant change is a necessary thing. Everyone knows that. The NDP management, for all their many campaign missteps, are not as absolutely brain-dead as you claim they are.

      The Liberals are riding high because they are excellent communicators who present an extremely attractive facade to the world at large. But their vote share is slowly eroding to the Conservatives' benefit as the public is starting to realize that they got duped into voting for false change once again.

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    4. Irrational hatred? For what? Stating the facts, asking questions, challenging assumptions, telling others what I have learned, Offering my analysis?

      I don't mind the NDP even though some small minded Dipper partisans on occaision level ad hominem attacks at me for pointing out the obvious-It's only politics, why would I take it personally?

      I do mention Vanier but, even with Vanier the NDP managed less than 10% of the vote in five by-elections! I agree by-elections are strange beasts they are conclusive of absolutely nothing, however, a decent showing for a distant second, does not make up for the extremely low popular vote totals and falling to fourth in Saint-Laurent Cartierville.

      As for the NDP brain trust being brain dead or not. I think their electoral record speaks for itself. No matter how wise NDP management Canadians in their collective wisdom more often than not don't want what they have on offer. One can gripe about "false change once again" but, have you ever thought: that is what Canadians want.

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    5. So you think the NDP inherently "can't handle the truth" and should just fade away because you think they're losers, etc. etc., and I should just take that as rational thought? Just because YOU sneer at a party's ideology or a party's electoral record doesn't make them irrelevant. People have been writing the NDP's obituary continuously for a year and a half, not to mention all their other hard times over the past century, and -- how shocking! -- they're still here, despite all their missteps.

      Let's look at the five ridings: two Conservative strongholds in Alberta, a Conservative/Liberal swing riding in the northern GTA, and two longtime Liberal strongholds in Ottawa and Montreal. Do you seriously think these are a representative cross-section of Canadian politics? Everyone's been insistently painting these five ridings as total Liberal vs. Conservative contests, and that's almost what they ended up being -- with the exception of Ottawa-Vanier where the NDP made a strong push.

      But you seem to like facts and analysis, or at least your idea of them, so let's look at some.

      Across the five ridings in the 2017 by-elections we just concluded, the NDP earned a total of 12,224 votes out of 124,393 cast, for a vote share of 9.83%. (Okay, so your 10% is a little generous.) Across all five of the exact same ridings in the 2015 federal election, the NDP earned a total of 30,605 votes out of 268,534 cast, for a vote share of ... wait for it ... 11.40%.

      So you're calling a party's utter demise because they declined from 11.40% of the vote to 9.83% of the vote in five inherently unfriendly ridings? Because that's actually less severe than the apparent magnitude of the NDP's decline in the federal polls since the 2015 election. That's not imminent doom, that's surprising resilience.

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    6. I did not write you should take my or anyone's writing as rational or not. Rationality doesn't really have much to do with politics. Politics is about people not reason. Stop putting words in my mouth please. Why are you making this about me anyway? Are you incapable of debating issues without drawing in personal animosity? If so, maybe politics is not for you?

      Nor do I opine the NDP should fade away. I merely state the way things are going they will become superseded by the Liberal and Green parties. Canadian history shows political parties ebb and flow are born and die. The NDP is not healthy.

      I do write the "NDP can't handle the truth" because they make the same political, policy and electoral mistakes over and over again, yet, are perplexed they can not win elections. It's not rocket science or neurosurgery-it's politics-you only need more votes than the other guy!

      I do not think think the five by-elections were representative, nor declare them such! Last week they only managed 3% in Calgary. Yes, the ridings were not as friendly as some in Calgary to the NDP but, 3% is awfully low.

      By contrast in the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant by-election last year to replace Jenny Kwan the BC Liberals, in a riding as solidly NDP as any in the country if not the most; still managed 11%, the Green Party came second with 26%. Perhaps that is an apple to oranges comparison; however, to achieve 10% in Calgary Heritage or Minapore for the NDP should be achievable even at meaningless by-elections. It should be the minimum if the NDP is serious about winning Government.

      In a way dropping 1.5% is a sign of resilience and it is in line with the 12% they currently poll in English Canada.

      The larger context demonstrates why this is a problem: Of 12 jurisdictions with party parliamentary government the NDP has a competitive shot at Government in only 5: B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon. That is not a winning combination to achieve national government. More importantly the trend is one of decline. They failed to build upon their beachhead in Quebec, just as they did in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. After a while the perception of not being able to win discourages potential supporters. It becomes a vicious cycle; the NDP can not win because they are perceived to be unelectable. A wasted vote. A "change" voter is better off voting for the Greens, Tories or Grits.

      Will all this change come October when a new leader is chosen? One can hope so but, at some point the NDP needs to acknowledge (for whatever reason) it has difficulty appealing to Canadians, particularly English-Canadians.
      My suggestion: consecutive poor electoral performances are due to fundamental policy position errors "out-of-step" with the preferences, desires and values of Canadians.

      What is the purpose of a political party if not to win Government? Individual members would be far better as the "Conscience(s) of Parliament".
      I guess if you are happy for the NDP to remain a minor, barely national, opposition party that is fine with me. I had hoped Dippers would be in it to win it! Rather, from this conversation it appears Dippers are happy in opposition. Good for you!

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    7. I would be able to take your points much more easily if they weren't couched in plenty of targeted dismissive arrogance. You praise the Greens even though they are stuck even further from power and government than the NDP is (and locked in the same cycle of losses creating expectations of defeat and vice versa). That indicates to me that your supposed concern is merely a thin veneer for specific contempt for the NDP and their members.

      The purpose of any party is to advance their policies, positions and causes. Winning governmental power is the easiest and swiftest way to do that, but it is not the only way. Power is just another means to the party's end goals.

      If you think that governmental power is the be-all and end-all of politics, then no wonder you are so devoted to the old-guard status-quo Liberals and Conservatives. They have by far the easiest time -- verging on an outright free ride -- convincing Canadian voters to let them back into government. It certainly helps to be well-established with abundant friends in the media and corporate Canada to spin your party in the most positive light possible while belittling and demonizing the unwelcome intruders.

      It's no accident that the federal NDP's highest moment in recent memory came on the heels of the provincial victory in Alberta. It shattered voters' long-held expectations and, at least temporarily, broke that cycle you described. And how did the Alberta NDP do it in such a right-wing province? By being prepared in the right place and the right time, by sticking to their leftist platform and by offering a bold and reasonable option for change from the then-hated PCs. It wasn't by racing to the political centre, as shown in the recent losses in BC, in Manitoba, in Ontario, in Nova Scotia, in New Brunswick and so on, not to mention the federal loss where Mulcair tried to take the party to the centre and got outflanked by Trudeau selling a supposedly more leftist vision. Your call for shifting the NDP to the centre-right to woo voters doesn't actually line up with the NDP's results in reality. So what do you want?

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    8. I think your first paragraph says it all; New Democrats are simply incapable of debating politely. Low class stuff-it costs nothing to be polite. You write about arrogance yet, every post directed at me has included an ad hominem attack! New Democrats should be attempting to build Canadians' trust, instead I see New Democrats treat their fellow Canadians with contempt, if, they hold even minor divergent positions or try to correct what they see as a current or future problem. It is very sad.
      Now clearly defeated you cower behind the Tories and Grits; they have "friends" in corporate Canada and the media- boo hooo waaaah! Perhaps, if Dippers were a little politer they would gain friends in both the corporate and media world and level the playing field? Instead, you communicate through insults? It is not puzzling to see why the NDP is a party in decline. Until the NDP stop blaming others; corporate Canada, the media; for their consecutive poor electoral outcomes-they have no hope. As I wrote before the NDP loses elections due to "fundamental policy position errors "out-of-step" with the preferences, desires and values of Canadians". Your idea of a “verging on a free ride” for the Tories and Grits from whom in the media? or Corporate Canada? Which voters? Stop making ridiculous excuses. You reinforce my point; something very wrong with the health of the NDP. Why is the NDP treated less favourably? Is it their policies or is it their people? The NDP must recognise this crucial piece; They will have difficulty winning elections so long as the median voter is not in agreement. It's not neurosurgery its politics-sadly the NDP does not appear to be very good at it.

      Why do you continually put words in my mouth? I merely state current constitutional policies of the NDP lose them votes. They are a hindrance; For 84 years, the NDP has run on a promise to abolish the Senate. I think it an understatement to suggest, this idea has not caught fire. Indeed, other parties have had greater success proposing reform instead-something the NDP should be amenable to, however, stubbornness or some other trait, cements this policy into Dipper foundations even when it is no longer of any use. It is poor strategy, the NDP should be in favour of a reformed Senate because there is every reason to think a reformed Senate selection process would be more favourable to the NDP and would increase the NDP’s leverage in Parliament and ability to “advance their policies, positions and causes”.

      The Green party is on the rise and it will be at the expense of the NDP, capably filling the void a decreasing social-democratic presence presents. They garnered 3.5% of the vote at the byelections, slightly exceeding their 2015 national performance and increased their support in three out of five constituencies. Green supporters are polite and they know effecting policy change requires political victories and vision! Yes, the Green Party has many of the same problems facing the NDP, however, they also monopolise one policy issue of great and increasing importance: Climate change. You suppose the Greens farther from power than the NDP, look around; Mr. Bevan-Baker is very popular in Prince Edward Island as is Mr. Weaver in B.C. It is not inconceivable to think both may hold the balance of power at the next election. If they are to be believed, polls predict Mr. Weaver will be kingmaker on May 9th denying the Liberals or more likely, the NDP, a majority government. Don’t kid yourself either; the Alberta NDP won the 2015 election for two equally important reasons; Rachel Notley and her debate performance and Prentice’s unpopular tax raising budget. I doubt more than a handful of Albertans read the NDP platform. They campaigned on message and Notley did a superb job on the hustings-that is why Albertans voted for her. She gave them confidence. Today all I hear from the NDP is they are quite content to be an opposition social movement. Good for you!


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    9. Alright, "dismissive arrogance" was the wrong description to apply to you. You're just plain-old smug. You're actually happy at the NDP's misfortune. You complain about me supposedly going all ad-hominem on you, and yet all that comes across throughout your "arguments" is how the NDP are apparently irredeemably stupid while you mock and belittle their supporters at every turn. You have no desire to ever see the NDP anywhere near power and, clearly, their current situation and trajectory suit you just fine -- so your "concern" rings absolutely hollow.

      Sure, policies like the insistence on Senate abolition need to be modernized -- as it stands, abolition would just concentrate more power in the hands of the PMO via their iron grip on the Commons. But it's far from the centrepiece of the NDP's platform and any politically informed voter should be able to see that fact easily.

      Misguidedly rushing the NDP to the centre-right is what has been shooting the party in the proverbial foot in provincial and federal elections all over the place. It alienates even core supporters and confuses the electorate.
      Making a better case for progressive and leftist policies, while patching the dumber holes in the platform, is what will help the NDP recover (along with a good new leader).

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    10. A.S.,

      It is people such as yourself who keep the NDP as a minor party through poor policy and strategy and by not treating your fellow Canadians with respect.

      Here is a prediction: The B.C. Liberals will win five in a row!~

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    11. Eric's poling numbers simply say you are very, very wrong Pete

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    12. Sadly, only the CBC has poll numbers now :( Polls and votes are two different things. Eric's poll numbers said Adrian Dix was to be premier. The race is tied at the moment and various externalities favour either the Liberals or the NDP. 50/50 odds at the moment.

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  3. As expected nothing changed for the parties. However one big change Four wommen elected from ridings that had elected men before !!! Great IMO

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    1. So Canada is better because Stephanie Kusie is more accomplished and better representative than Jason Kenny? Mary Ng is better than McCallum? Mona Fortier is a superior person to Mauril Bélanger and Emmanuella Lambropoulos is better than ex-liberal leader Dion.

      The Men being replaced were all cabinet ministers that had very impressive resumes before being elected and were very capable individuals.

      It sounds like you would be willing to have your Heart surgery done by a female GP rather than a male surgeon.

      Good luck with that.

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    2. I see the "woman haters" are out in force.
      Women numbers in this country are larger than male numbers but that is not true of Parliament. At least Trudeau got the Cabinet numbers right !!

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    3. I fully support extremely competent and qualified and experienced women need to run for office and get elected.

      I am all for great individuals that would be successful in non-political careers who have made the sacrifice to serve as MPs and political leaders.

      But you fully understand this as you immediately resorted to name calling.

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    4. Trudeau had his feminist posing handed to him by the female CEO of You Tube.

      Trudeau was focused on lower barriers for women to provide content, as though the Kardasian's have barriers.

      Wojcicki provided a much deeper dive into the feminism issue:

      She said she was happy to discuss content creation, but also wanted to discuss a long-standing concern of hers: "It's been an issue for a long time — that we don't have enough women in technology. I really see this as a societal issue."

      To me this is a clear dilatation between substance and sizzle.

      Trudeau is all about the sizzle....

      Wojcicki sounds like she is mansplaining to the pretty boy the facts of feminism.

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    5. Irrelevant, IMO.

      Gender should not matter.

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  4. This idea that it is "great" that people with particular genitals are being elected is kinda perverse IMO. Women account for over half of Canadians votes cast, so to say they are not properly represented is false.

    Am I to believe that Sarah Palin, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, and Liz Warren all are inherently better for society since they would help the conformity to the utopian ideal of equal outcomes? Do these women have common cause, that uplifts all women? Answer is obviously no.

    I have nothing against women as people, but this extra privilege they are afforded, as a group, in the political arena is straight sexist as far as I can see. When your caucus is 75% male and cabinet is 50% male it is obvious that many qualified men were denied positions based on their gender. Is this equality? I say no.

    Women have more legal rights than men do in our society already. Statistics show that they serve less time for the same crimes. Any attack on a female politician either left or right is generally met with cries of misogyny before any other defense is even tried. Truly strong independent women will never use this tactic. It is a shame to see it so widespread these days.

    Bottom line is that all the nagging and whining about oppression from modern feminists has me disgusted with even the idea of "womens rights". There are ONLY human rights (in my view).

    All these attempts to divide by race and gender have been horribly corrosive to public discourse, and only fuels straight white male forms of identity politics. The left around the world better wake up to this, since I feel that time is growing shorter, and some possibly heavy violence which I would rather avoid is building across the Western world.

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    1. Come on, guys, you can't be serious. When women make up over 50% of the population but 27% of the House of Commons, you can't be seriously defending the idea that women have "privilege".

      The House of Commons is supposed to be some sort of representative body, reflecting the will of the population. But that doesn't work if one part of the population is hugely under-represented.

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  5. Women's Rights are Human Rights!

    Article 2 UN Declaration of Human Rights:

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as
    race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the
    country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

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  6. I'd like us all to look at reality for a moment. Consider the comments here on 308. Are they generally evenly divided between men and women? If not, why not? Sexism? Patriarchy? I'd guess the comment are over 90% men. Maybe we need to force women to be more interested in politics so we can all feel good that a magic 50% ratio was finally achieved.

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    1. We shouldn't be grouping people together at all. We should be treating each other as individuals - only individuals. That's the only fair way.

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    2. Is this comment board a representative body? Does it have the power to tax, jail and pass laws over all Canadians because of the legitimacy it supposedly derives from representing all its citizens?

      There is nothing wrong with pointing out that our representative institutions under-represent large proportions of the population, and that electing or appointing certain people would address that.


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    3. I agree Ira, it would be nice if people were treated as individuals. Is that the current state of our society, or are some of us required to "check our privilege" first?

      Have you ever heard of any concern about "violence against men?". Not likely, even though men experience violence at much higher rates. When will the commission for missing and murdered aboriginal men be starting? No one seems to care about them, even they go missing and murdered at multiples of aboriginal women.

      Even though women, as a group, pay less in taxes, and receive more in government services, they are still considered "oppressed" by our society, and in need of special help.

      Women live longer on average. 90% of workplace deaths are men. 80% of suicides are men. Do you ever hear this mentioned? Where is the equal outcome outrage at these imbalances? Never a peep.

      Are women truly equal? I think so, but they are DIFFERENT. They do not have to be 50% of all STEM jobs, or MPs. The drive to make these ratios happen has disadvantaged men in our society. I could list dozens more examples if I chose.

      Name one legal right men have that women don't. I can name several that women have that men don't. For example, women can renounce parenthood at any point from conception to one day before birth. Men can't. The reason we cannot even pass a sensible law in Canada restricting 3rd term abortion, is since Canada as a society values women's perceived "rights" and feelings as predominant over a highly developed human being with a functioning brain. I think this is significant evidence that in our society, women have dominate advantages according to the law.
      They also receive much lower sentences for the same crimes.

      There are many individual women whom I love and respect. As a group, modern feminist culture is overly-entitled, and fraying the edges of western society. Men are responsible for this as well. It is in our nature to want to please women, and sacrifice for them. This has been taken advantage of IMHO, and to bad effect.

      I'm sure many will read this and assume that I am a morally bad guy, evil misogynist and all that. To any who think this, I'd invite you to refute one thing I've said in this crazy rant.

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    4. In response to GI, I was pointing out the comments here as representative of hardcore interest in politics. Why do you think the ratio on this site is so skewed towards men? Could this translate into less women running for office as well? If there are less women interested, and we force the 50% ratio anyway, then we are doing disservice not only to men, but to women as well. We deserve the best representatives in government. Advancing women artificially undermines any concept of meritocracy in our government. It should stop, but I don't think it will. It certainly has been showing signs of speeding up the last few years.

      I'll apologize to Eric right now for wandering off topic, and no doubt ruffling feathers. If you don't want to publish it, I'll understand. This is a very touchy subject, but I think this is a vitally important issue facing the Western world today, and people need to stand up and speak out for men and boys. They are not "toxic". They are not "hyperactive". They are just men and boys. It is sad to see the culture they have to endure today from pre-school through their working lives. When I start to see some of these issues raised in the MSM, or by our political class, I will then know we are starting towards true equality.

      Margaret Thatcher set an extremely high bar for world leaders period, but more poignantly for women leaders. She famously claimed to "owe feminism nothing". She is correct. She achieved through force of will, personality, and intellect. We will never see another like her if we lower the bar of entry for women into politics. Weird that the high point of female accomplishment was achieved by someone who renounced feminism. Maybe there is some reason for that?

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  7. I'm a different guy than when I last posted regularly, and I realize those screeds might be perceived as hateful, or unhinged to those uninitiated in the developments of the culture wars these past couple years, but it has really come into focus for me.

    I am now proudly a cultural conservative, in that I want to conserve what mutual and beneficial culture Canadians still possess.

    Even one year ago, I might have heard the word "nationalist" and thought Nazi. That is not the case. A nationalist is someone who values their countries independence, nothing more.

    So that's me now. An evil cultural conservative nationalist. It is a reactionary position in many ways I'll admit. It is also now a radical position, since the elite power structures are mostly against this type of thinking. Radical and reactionary without even being a contradiction in terms. I know it's different that who I was, but it feels like I have grown-up and seen the world as it is, not as I'd wish it to be.

    Another side consequence is that I am no longer hawkish in world affairs. I'm for only limited intervention with clear goals in the national interest. The guy I was would have been itching to topple Assad, now just thinking about it makes me sick. Let's take care of our own and preserve what was handed down to us, before we become Sweden 2.0. We are already running in that direction, and it's not pretty.

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