Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Odds & Ends

1. I've always found it interesting that the polls which get attention are usually the abnormal ones. Case in found, today's Gregg poll which has Harper up by 5. I think the general trend has the two parties in a dead heat so it's best to assume that's where they are.

2. On the whole "decade of darkness" discussion, thanks to SG for sending this in:

"I do not intend to dispute in any way the need for defence cuts and the need for government spending cuts in general...I do not share a not in by backyard approach to government spending reductions."

- Stephen Harper, Hansard, May 23, 1995.
(Harper has since roundly criticized spending cuts in the mid-1990s.

3. Mad out of budget spending on the eve of an election? I've heard this story before...

4. The Hill Times has the weekly election spec.

5. There's some talk floating around about Elizabeth May taking on Peter MacKay in Central Nova...with the Libs and Dippers not running candidates. Interesting...

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  • The result of the next federal election will probably be determined by the result of the Quebec provincial election.

    Quebec Liberal victory, Federal Conservative majority.

    Quebec PQ victory, Federal Liberal majority.

    Canada will desparately need Dion if the PQ are in power in Quebec.

    Canadians will take the tax cuts and supposed strong leadership of Harper if they have no fear of Quebec separation.

    Once again, Ontario with its 108 seats, will be the greatest swing province (as it has been the last two elections).


    By Blogger Peter, at 3:10 p.m.  

  • Re: #2, the quote is in fact from March 23, 1995, not May 23, and reads in full as follows:

    "I want to spend my time mainly on the issue of the infrastructure rationalization and Calgary's role in that. In doing so I do not intend to dispute in any way the need for defence cuts and the need for government spending cuts in general. All parties in the House have recognized that, although the Bloc Quebecois is very open to defence cuts as long as not a penny of it is in Quebec. I do not share that view. I do not share a not in my backyard approach to government spending reductions."

    In talking about his "backyard," Harper is therefore talking not about the military but about Calgary, albeit in the context of military spending.

    Of course the basic point remains, given Harper's intent not "to dispute in any way the need for defence cuts." One might be able to read this line as a temporary refusal to dispute - in other words, he may simply have been focusing his speech rather than abandoning the point altogether - but I agree that the simple reading is a concession that military cuts were indeed necessary.

    (Full text here.)

    By Blogger Mader, at 3:43 p.m.  

  • I don't really see either party getting a majority in the next election, barring a major collapse (the prospects for an electoral majority is actually the subject of one of my university poli-sci papers, so hopefully everyone can refrain from winning one until I'm done, lest the whole thing be rendered obsolete).

    As to the Mackay rumours, after the gaffe at the ECMAs, it's all downhill for him. Forgetting you're in Halifax is bad enough; mistaking it for Toronto is unforgiveable.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 3:49 p.m.  

  • I agree that people are focusing too much on the polls that show a gap between the parties. I think the parties are probably about tied in the polls although Dion has certainly had a rough couple weeks in the media.

    By Blogger KC, at 4:08 p.m.  

  • I think the general trend has the two parties in a dead heat so it's best to assume that's where they are.

    I think the only way one can detect any general trend is to compare Ipsos-Reid poll with Ipsos-Reid poll, Decima poll with Decima poll, Gregg poll with Gregg poll, etc. To compare, for example, a Gregg poll with a Decima poll, is a bit misleading, since each poll taker has its own way and style of doing polls.

    Feel free to disagree (I'd be surprised if you agreed), but I think the general trend is away from the Liberals and toward the other parties (mostly the Tories), indicating that the Dion honeymoon is well and truly over.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 4:12 p.m.  

  • "I do not intend to dispute in any way the need for defence cuts and the need for government spending cuts in general...I do not share a not in by backyard approach to government spending reductions."

    - Stephen Harper, Hansard, May 23, 1995.
    (Harper has since roundly criticized spending cuts in the mid-1990s.

    The budget was balanced by 1998. The quote is moot.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • As I've just written on my blog, it will be the voting intentions of several groups of voters that will determine the outcome of the next election.
    The polls don't give us much indication of how the swing voters will go.
    I'd like to see a poll of Ontario that excludes Toronto. Or a national poll that excludes Toronto, anglo Montreal and Alberta.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 4:20 p.m.  

  • Whether the numbers in the Gregg poll are 100% correct or not is, really, irrelevant.

    What IS relevant is that CTV News, the most watched nightly news program in the country, led with the Gregg/Strategic Counsel poll results.

    So accurate numbers or not, how many million Canadians went to bed last night with the impression that Stephen Harper is awesome, and Stephane Dion isn't?

    In a time where Canadians are trying to make up their mind about Dion, the impact of this poll is huge.


    By Blogger le politico, at 4:36 p.m.  

  • These polls mean nothing to me. I thought Harper was a joke in Opposition, but Day 2 of the campaign I knew he was going to win, and knew he was going to be a good PM.

    Dion is really weak right now - bordering at certain times on joke territory - but he's only finding his feet. In time, he'll get his bearings. He is a smart man and could make a good PM.

    Overall, let's face it - Liberal support *is* down. But so what?! It's not Election Day, so it doesn't really matter. Anything can happen between now and Then.

    Canada will desparately need Dion if the PQ are in power in Quebec.

    Oh, give me a break. Harper or Dion will do alright.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:55 p.m.  

  • le politico is dead on.

    This is not about the polls. It is the way the entire MSM has spun the polls. Unfortunately, millions of Canadians are hearing everyday, from CTV to CBC, that the Tories are rising and Dion/Liberal Party is falling apart. I’ve never seen something that seems like political consensus from the media in a long time (from the Toronto Star to the National Post).

    The party needs to do something to take back the story.

    By Blogger In_The_Centre, at 4:56 p.m.  

  • Whoa, I didn't see #5 (and couldn't figure out what islandliberal was talking about).

    Wow. Wonder what that would turn out like.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:59 p.m.  

  • Am I the only one that thinks Dion or his office even thinking about not running a Liberal against May is one of the dumbest idea's ever?

    If May wants to run unopposed she clearly does not have what it takes to sit in the House.

    The Dippers will knock McKay off next time anyway and end the farce that his time in politics has been.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 5:06 p.m.  

  • Polls sometimes validate that "gut feeling". Of course, when they do, we are heroes.

    I have felt, from the moment Dion was elected leader of the Liberals, that it was just a gift to the Tories. Let's face it, he just is not going to resonate with most English speaking Canadians, the federal Liberal brand is still in tough shape in Quebec, and some of his recent gaffs and the impression of being weak as a leader do not do him well in the public eye.

    You may not agree with Harper's politics, but he is decisive, and most would not dispute that most policies are right down the middle and thought out.

    I have said it before and I say it again, the Liberals are at least one more election away from forming a government, and at this point I do suspect the next election will result in a Tory majority. Not a huge one, but the gut tells me they will be able to eek one out.

    By Blogger avb, at 5:23 p.m.  

  • most policies are right down the middle

    I certainly agree, which is why I like him. Really, he could be a Liberal or a Tory.

    the Liberals are at least one more election away from forming a government, and at this point I do suspect the next election will result in a Tory majority

    Yes, and I think it's best - even for the Liberals. They need a bigger time-out than this - 5 or 6 years would be in everyone's best interest. And after a term or two, back to the Conservatives.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 6:29 p.m.  

  • "So accurate numbers or not, how many million Canadians went to bed last night with the impression that Stephen Harper is awesome, and Stephane Dion isn't?"

    And then they woke up and forgot about the poll while they fought the traffic on their morning commute. They might have been reminded again if they happened to read the G&M but they would again have forgot about it as the dealt with the daily grind.

    Although polls have the ability to sway public opinion it is limited by the short attention spans of the electorate.

    I would also point out that polls are not an indicator of future events, no matter how much the MSM like to spin it as much.

    If they were then Paul Martin would have won a solid majority in 2004, because just before the election the Liberals were sitting at 43% and the Conservatives at 24%.

    By Blogger ottlib, at 7:06 p.m.  

  • YEs Brian in Calgary i agree. Strategic Council had the Tories at 42% Jan 15th 2006, just before the last poll of the election, when they changed their questions to be less biased, so they could hold on to a shred of crediblity and pretend they are not a conservative propaganda machine.

    Comparing Strategic Council poll to Strategic Council poll, this means the Cons are down 8% from the just before the election last year, not a great reason to go to the polls.

    SES is the only consistently accurate unbiased polling firm. Go by their numbers and you wll be bang on.

    By Blogger s.b., at 7:13 p.m.  

  • I actually live in Central Nova (when I'm not at university).

    Peter is beatable, he really is, but like so many ridings in Canada, to beat him the opposition to him needs to be focused on one candidate. I'm a Liberal but I'll vote for anyone (Liberal, NDP or Green) who I think can beat him.

    Remember this is not Toronto or even London, Ontario. This is a very rural, traditional riding. Even without Liberals or NDP, the chance of May, charismatic and wonderful though she may be, beating Peter here are questionable at best.

    Alexis MacDonald set the world on fire here for the NDP last time; she's young, talented, intelligent, and the NDP are definitely on the upswing here (they now hold 2 of the provincial seats within the federal riding). She can do it. May? Maybe.

    By Blogger CanadianRyan, at 7:19 p.m.  

  • I'll wait to see Nik Nanos polling as he's generally bang on nineteen times out of twenty.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 7:39 p.m.  

  • It is sad that with their track record, SC keeps generating leading stories for CTV and the Globe and Mail. Incompetence clearly isn't a concern for BellGlobal.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 9:09 p.m.  

  • I doubt the general public pays too much attention to polls like this outside of election time. I don't see it having a huge impact on public opinion one way or the other.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:19 p.m.  

  • I can't for the life of me understand why May (much less her fellow Greens) would think that running in rural Nova Scotia (Cape Breton or not) is a particularly good idea. The Green Party won a mere 2.6 percent of the vote in 2006, and their local organization is nearly non-existent. As Ryan said, this isn't Toronto, much less London, and if Nova Scotians are familiar with May at all, it comes from her sometimes questionable local advocacy.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 9:28 p.m.  

  • Actually Josh, I agree - if she wants to run in the Maritimes, there seem more opportune spots.

    Surely there's a riding in BC waiting for a Green leader to vote in.

    In Toronto, I imagine that I live in her best shot, and I don't think she'd take this one (well, especially with Rae and Kennedy ready for it).

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:46 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Ramsey, at 10:56 p.m.  

  • I sensed the turn in tide over the last 2 weeks. Harper is very close to a majority, and I agree, a charest majority, hands one to Harper as well.

    Why have the liberals fallen? Dion has moved sharply to the left, leaving centre/centre right people like myself to the conservatives. We could never cut our emmisions by nearly 40% in 5 years without going into a great depression. We should leave the lofty and unrealistic goal to the socialists, the NDP. We also shouldn't be soft on terrorism.

    By Blogger Ramsey, at 10:58 p.m.  

  • Not a single person in my office today knew anything about these polls - and they are all well informed people. They just have more important things to do at the moment, like life, to spend time looking at polling results. Yet, when the election comes (whenever that may be) they will make sure they are informed before they vote. I know this because of the many lively political discussions around the lunch room during the campaign.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 10:59 p.m.  

  • Here’s an overview of the landscape.

    The Kyoto Accord passed in 1997. Ratified by Canada in 2002. But, America had no interest in signing on until the disastrous reports from recent climate change findings.

    The Accord was only ratified globally (55% of global output) in 2005 with Russia’s inclusion. Fact: Kyoto requires Canada to reduce CO2 to 6% below 1990 level. Currently, we are about 30% over 1990.

    The Conservatives say that we cannot achieve the Kyoto target by 2012 without a severe recession. They do not agree to carbon trading (i.e. transfers to the 3rd World). However, carbon trading can be funded by cuts to foreign aid and defense. This is the Dion reply to the neo-conservative worldview.

    What’s Dion intention with the Rodriguez bill? It is a fait accompli forcing any government to act. Dion would also be obliged to honour Kyoto targets, even against internal dissent. Question is whether Dion has done his numbers carefully.

    In the last two months, Dion has been busy in parliament and in party affairs. He has neglected outreach to the public. And, Harper has reaped the benefit.

    The Liberals need to launch a public campaign and media blitz to inform the public. We can play catch up with government action; by passing legislature and buying carbon credits. However, on-going progress requires public efforts to conserve, and business participation in market-based opportunities.

    Last week, McGuinty sent a solicitation for funds. How many of you understood the intention and donated money? The fact is that the Liberal Party is still dysfunctional. Dion won’t win until he sorts the party out.

    What are the chances of Dion doing that by spring?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:22 a.m.  

  • Yeah. I asked people if they saw the news.

    No one here did.

    Most were watching Women's Curling.

    I'm thinking it was a slow news day.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:34 a.m.  

  • "The fact is that the Liberal Party is still dysfunctional."

    Gee, do ya think so. If not,read this story

    "Ex-PM sought support of terrorist group"

    go to http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=a9c35e65-4482-4b7d-9074-482470952f01&k=8573

    horny Toad

    By Blogger Fred Mc, at 2:41 a.m.  

  • For Fred MC,

    What has Martin's electioneering have to do with party dysfunction?

    I was making the point that the party and Dion are still not consistent in strategy and execution.

    Martin's folly has been dragged out of the past to smear the Liberals as soft on terrorism.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:58 a.m.  

  • The Conservatives say that we cannot achieve the Kyoto target by 2012 without a severe recession.

    Disingenuous crap. There are loads of non-Conservatives who say we can't reach those targets without a recession.

    Pray tell, just how exactly were you planning we do otherwise?

    They do not agree to carbon trading (i.e. transfers to the 3rd World).

    Um, neither do I - or most Canadians. Why would we send money to "developing" nations like, say, China, when Canada's low population and great CO2-eating forests make us a non-contributor to global warming?

    If we reached the targets by 2012, the difference would be re-made in 3 months by China's emissions anyway. Kyoto does NOTHING TO REDUCE EMISSIONS.

    However, carbon trading can be funded by cuts to foreign aid and defense.

    Please. Not even worth a response.

    I'd be awfully interested in knowing how you've personally contributed to stopping global warming, by the way. I've reduced animal food products by 80-90% in my diet (An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition report by David Pimentel and Marcia Pimentel indicated that it takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make a calorie of animal protein as it does to make a calorie of plant protein) and I bike through the snow all winter.

    I'm hardly Dick Cheney. I'm an environmentalist through and through, and even I have deep suspicions over the effectiveness of Kyoto to truly reduce our GHG emissions.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:22 a.m.  

  • I'd intended to link to how a vegan diet can reduce your GHG emissions. Oops.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:25 a.m.  

  • And to be clear, I do wish Canada to reduce our GHG emissions - to Kyoto target levels, even.

    However, we should not be forking over money to other countries. We should be investing in the environment and in green technologies, giving serious tax breaks to hybrid cars, and even bigger tax breaks for converting your car to an electric system. We should be investing in nuclear, with wind. We should take simple, obvious steps like Australia just did: banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs, which will save them almost a million tonnes annually of carbon emission.

    Carded hydro-electrical meters that display clearly how much energy you are using at any one time in your home has also proven to a terrific way to coax people into using what they need, and reducing their consumption.

    How can we afford these measures if we're shipping the needed cash to Russia and China?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:31 a.m.  

  • For Jason,

    "Disingenuous crap. There are loads of non-Conservatives who say we can't reach those targets without a recession."

    I don't understand your logic. Why am I being disingenuous?

    The recession scenario is the argument that baird uses. Yes, others are of the same opinion. Usually, they share the same refusal to pay up for past excesses.

    Dion intends to use carbon trading to play catch up. It is possible to pay for transfers with cuts to defense. So, is money or bullets more effective in helping the 3rd World?

    Dion needs to flesh out a budget in order to show his priorities. I don't suppose that you are an economist.

    I'm amused by your amazing example of abstinence and fortitude. Do you feel stupid when you cycle in winter, as a huge SUV drives past you spewing CO2?

    How will we limit the production of CO2 without full pricing? You should support carbon taxes if you are an environmentalist. Western Europe has shown that they can stabilize the production of CO2, by making choices.

    Please don’t make a personal attack on me. You have no idea what sacrifices I have made for sustainability.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:46 p.m.  

  • As I understand it, the Kyoto Accord recognizes how difficult it is to make carbon cuts and freeze carbon levels. Particularly on a global scale. It is pointless for a few countries to make cuts while the rest continue polluting.

    Therefore, Kyoto introduced the mechanism of carbon trading. It allows affluent countries to make a choice. They can either make cuts to their carbon levels or pay for carbon-reduction projects in the 3rd World.

    The rationale is that 3rd World countries don’t have the reserves to do the job. Therefore, carbon trading is meant to get them to join a global commitment while allowing them to keep growing.

    Yes, China and India are rapidly growing. So, the next round of carbon reduction (post-2012) will involve targets for China and India. In fact, they have recently agreed in principle. Therefore, they are building on their Kyoto participation.

    Yes, the Kyoto Accord is very imperfect. It forces the 1st World countries to shoulder the burden till 2012. However, it is better than nothing. With regards to a global agreement, it is all or nothing. The Liberal government had dithered while waiting for the Americans to sign up.

    Yes, there will be a growth in carbon trading within the 1st World. Municipalities and businesses will buy carbon credits from entities that are efficient or choose to be low-polluting. This is a price mechanism that rewards innovation and sacrifice. We don’t have to buy all the carbon credits from the 3rd World.

    Naturally, the Kyoto targets are arbitrary. Russia will benefit because of the collapse of heir heavy industries since 1990.

    The Americans would rather ignore the 1990 target and freeze current carbon levels. However, it is unclear if current levels are sufficient. Will the sea level rise by 1 meter or 3 meters?

    We don’t know because of the long lead times. However, we need to realize that we have enjoyed the rewards of three generations of pollution. It is our responsibility to act now, and act decisively.

    Hopefully, Dion and the Liberal Party will make this argument in a forceful way.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:08 p.m.  

  • "What has Martin's electioneering have to do with party dysfunction? . . .

    Martin's folly has been dragged out of the past to smear the Liberals as soft on terrorism."

    How about this?

    Seems a large number of Dion delegates were provided by a fellow A sitting Liberal MP, no less) with rather close ties to the ISYF, Babbar Khalsa, and the attempted murder of Tara Singh Harar. And now Dion wants to end the very Investigational Hearings that would compel this Liberal MP's father-in-law to give evidence in the Air India Bombing. Hmmm. Hmmm.

    By Blogger The Rat, at 2:39 p.m.  

  • Actually, I don't feel stupid at all. Nor do I feel greatly fortitudinous, or abstinent - but since zealots like yourself so often and so disingenuously attribute any anti-Kyoto position to "neoconservative" global warming deniers, I feel it's needed to make it clear that I am hardly Mark Steyn regarding the issue.

    And since I never get snarled in traffic, I feel pretty speedy, too!

    As for Europe, Kyoto's not working out so well for them, is it?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:37 p.m.  

  • Jason,

    We’re obviously on different pages.

    BTW, here’s a quote from the wikipedia on the Kyoto Accord.

    “In December, 2002, the EU created an emissions trading system in an effort to meet these tough targets. Quotas were introduced in six key industries: energy, steel, cement, glass, brick making, and paper/cardboard. There are also fines for member nations that fail to meet their obligations, starting at €40/ton of carbon dioxide in 2005, and rising to €100/ton in 2008. Current EU projections suggest that by 2008 the EU will be at 4.7% below 1990 levels.”

    Are they doing badly? Obviously, their system is subject to criticism. No system is perfect or ideal. The point is that they have acted, whilst Canada and America have not.

    Why has Canada and America not acted? Various groups are protecting their own interests. Others use their prejudices as excuses for not acting. Still others believe that they have done their bit for the environment.

    The fact is that nothing substantial will be done unless the nation chooses to act. The environmentalists represent a dedicated cadre of advocates. However, there still must be political leadership to shape the agenda.

    It has fallen to Stephane Dion (of all people) to lead this crusade. He’s a poor leader and horrendous communicator. However, the alternative is Harper’s delaying strategy. So, pick your choice.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:33 p.m.  

  • The Rat is a modern day "Joe McCarthy"

    Guilt by association ?

    Is that the kind of Canada we want?

    Is that our future under a Stephen Harper led PC government?

    Ask your friends?

    Quote Stephen Harper
    ( and "the Rat" )

    Spread the word ... this issue has legs and goes beyond partisanship.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:55 a.m.  

  • Anti-Terrorism Act?

    Why has the government never used the 72-hour preventive detention law? That’s because it’s tactically better to saturate a suspect with surveillance. That way, the suspect leads you to his co-conspirators and weapons.

    Arresting a suspect alerts his fellow plotters who may fled or accelerate their WMD attack.

    What happens if the police truly believe that a suspect needs to be detained? The police have it in their power to arrest a person and detain him until a writ of habeas corpus is served. And, the police will do that if they have high level political backing.

    Therefore, the provision for 72-hours detention is unnecessary.

    What we should worry about is the potential for abuse by police officers that can threaten anyone with detention. Are you going to co-operate with us, or what?

    The second provision is more troubling. How do we compel someone to testify?

    Do we detain them until they testify? How would that be different from Quantanamo torture camp?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:41 a.m.  

  • Regarding Liz May in Central Nova:

    Running in the hearth of the MacKay dynasty will be difficult for any challenger. This, my home riding is perhaps one of the safest conservative seats in the country. Certainly one of the safest outside alberta.

    Last election, though, Antigonish (the second centre of the riding)voted NDP. As such, MacKay was almost defeated by a twentysomething female newbie.

    So chances that MacKay could lose are not that far fetched.

    This aside, the only tactical reason I can see for May to run this is to create a splash.

    Running against a senior minister on homw turf will create a fairly dramatic political story.

    Even if it not her best chance at getting into the house, then, her party could gain from the PR.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 4:12 p.m.  

  • I want to end it all political issue they make us fool.

    By Anonymous overcoat, at 9:12 a.m.  

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