Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dion and Harper Explained

Dion
We want an election...no we don't...yes we do...no we don't...yes we do...it's awful that Harper wants an election. I won't meet with Harper because this discussion is too important to have over the phone...but not important enough for me to reschedule a single event of mine over the next two weeks.

Harper
Parliament is dysfunctional, even though we passed all the legislation we wanted. It's so dysfunctional that I'm going to break my own election law to end this parliament. I'd rather govern until October 2009...but govern an extra week in order to meet the other party leaders? Are you insane?

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21 Comments:

  • My initial reaction: Election call in the first 10 days September. The Conservatives are about as high as they will get in the polls. They return with another minority government. There will be seats that change hands between the parties but not enough to be more than a 5 seat swing either way.

    As much as I like Dion, this election will put his leadership to an end. I hope an election will bring out the best in him and the public warms up to him, but I don't see it honestly happening.

    We are in an era of minority governments imho. The Conservative united will garner enough seats in the west and Ontario to prevent a Liberal majority if the Bloc continues to dominate federal politics in Quebec. The only hope for the Liberals is domination of Ontario ridings...which is much more unlikely now for several reasons compared to the happy days of Jean Chretien.

    By Anonymous rob c, at 8:58 AM  

  • The only hope for the Liberals is domination of Ontario ridings...which is much more unlikely now for several reasons compared to the happy days of Jean Chretien.

    By rob c, at 8:58 AM

    I disagree with you on that, rob. Ontarians have not forgotten the nightmare years of the Harris govt. & its aftermath. And with 3 top MP's in Cabinet from the Harris regime PLUS Giorno now running the PMO it will be a deterrent to most of us in giving votes to the Harper disctatorship.

    By Blogger penlan, at 9:31 AM  

  • Haha, well done, CG.

    I'm going to too wrapped up in the US election to get the most out of this one, if it happens. My money would be on Harper winning... minority or a majority, too early to say.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:49 AM  

  • LOL... pretty good analysis on both leaders!

    By Blogger Christian Conservative, at 10:01 AM  

  • They said the Alliance was dead ... he revived it.

    They said the right would never unite ... he united it.

    They said the Liberals would enjoy endless majority governments ... he knocked them down to minority status.

    They said the Conservatives would never win more than 2 seats in Quebec ... he won 10.

    They said the Conservatives would never govern ... he's governing.

    Now they say he can't win a majority?

    I don't know about you, but I'm done underestimating Harper. I don't care what seems possible or impossible, I'm calling Harper majority. (I'm not voting for him though).

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:26 AM  

  • I disagree with you on that, rob. Ontarians have not forgotten the nightmare years of the Harris govt. & its aftermath. - penlan

    I agree that Ontarians have not forgotten the Harris years. I hope you are right that it becomes an issue in the campaign. But the reasons why I think it is unlikely the Liberals will achieve a dominance in Ontario ridings and the federal ridings in Quebec anytime soon is

    1) United right can no longer be dependent on splitting the vote in marginally competitive ridings. Even in bad years the CPC should take 20 - 25 seats of Ontario's 100 + ridings. In competitive years they will now take 30 - 40. I can say confidently unless there is another split on the right the days of 100+ LPC seats in Ontario are over.

    2) More competition for centre-left votes with Greens polling around 10%. It makes some previously safe ridings more competitive (spending more resources & money). The NDP is also a stronger party with Layton but I believe they have hit their ceiling in Ontario and are likely to drop a few seats in the next election.

    3) Federalist vote in Quebec will no longer be a solo LPC act. Quebec voters are re-discovering political issues outside of sovereignty. This is evidenced by the last couple of provincial and federal elections. There are conservatives in Quebec Even if the CPC has trouble pulling 25% of the vote again, a 15 - 20% will still garner between 5 - 7 MPs and cause enough split in the federalist vote to cause a few seats that would have been LPC to go Bloc.


    However, I will add that I think a solid Liberal leader that the public warms us to could change the scenario helping LPC candidates win in larger numbers in Ontario and west of Ontario where every LPC gain usually comes at the expense of a CPC.

    Personally, I don't see the public warming up to either Harper or Dion now. If the public had great confidence in Harper the CPC would be in the 40% range. The other opportunity is a major scandal in the Harper government that peals away the soft support of the CPC - a distinct possibility given the perfomance of Canada's "new" government (read Bernier girlfriend, Bev Oda's limos, and questionable fundraising)

    My best case scenario for a fall election is a Dion minority government which could be used to build a majority government in the the election following.

    By Anonymous rob c, at 10:31 AM  

  • "The other opportunity is a major scandal in the Harper government that peals away the soft support of the CPC - a distinct possibility given the perfomance of Canada's 'new' government (read Bernier girlfriend, Bev Oda's limos, and questionable fundraising)."

    Read tainted meat scandal--read about it in today's Globe.

    By Anonymous ace, at 12:10 PM  

  • Are you serious? Dion has been baiting for an election for over a year. He has instructed his MPs to abstain from voting (which is what they were elected to do, BTW) has no control over Liberal reps in the Senate and has continued his meddling ways doing everything in his power to obstruct the governing of Canada.
    It is painfully obvious that his own (and Party) aspirations are the only things important to this man. He doesn't care about Canada or it's citizens or he would put their importance first. Not really the qualities I look for in a leader.

    By Anonymous Jan in Alberta, at 1:25 PM  

  • I think Dion is a less than stellar leader, a poor decider, unable to galvanize troops or focus... but not caring about Canada or its citizens? That seems far-fetched to me. Whatever disagreements I have with him, he seems sincere.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 1:39 PM  

  • Most unexplainable of all is actually Gilles Duceppe who appears hell bent on marching towards an election he'll lose a ton of seats in.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:54 PM  

  • Dan -- How long do you predict Duceppe will be able to hold on after this round of elections if the Bloc loses ground?

    By Anonymous daveberta, at 2:33 PM  

  • penlan,

    the notion that Ontarians will never elect Conservatives after Harper is ridiculous. Ernie Eves, at certain points in his tenure, tied or ran ahead of McGuinty, despite the Harris years, as did Tory. Yes the Ontario PC's have sucked it up in elections, but it had nothing to do with McGuinty tying them to Harris, rather it had to do with the faith-based education issue.

    Harper did quite well in Ontario, running with Hariss' two most high-profile ministers (Flaherty and Clement). Moreover, Harper's policies have been pretty un-Harris-like (has Harper cut spending on ANYthing?). Moreover, it doesn't take 50%+1 of Ontarians for Harper to do well in Ontario. It only takes about 40% (and there are a good chunk of Ontarians - like the 40-45% of folks that voted for Harris - for whom Harris is not a negative). Mike Harris is an effective attack because it unites the left, not because it hurts the Tories, but if you are from Toronto, penlan, I guess it wouldn't surprise me that you would just assume everybody hates Harris, because Torontonians generally do.

    Moreover, are negative memories of Harris MORE likely to come to the fore in 2008 than in 2006? That hardly makes sense to me - Harris has now been out of office for 7 years. Indeed, if your reasoning is that Harris kept the federal Tories down in 2006, wouldn't he keep them down LESS in 2008?

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:07 PM  

  • Dave - I think Duceppe wants out. He's been doing this for a long time, there's nothing more he can accomplish, and he had that whole fiasco with the 1 day PQ leadership run. I assume he'll be glad to exit after this election, regardless of how the Bloc does.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:19 PM  

  • this is the best post I have seen this week. slightly better than Andrew Coyne's "election truth or dare" on macleans.ca

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:22 PM  

  • Here is a poll that helps make my point. Although 58% of people (I took out the "don't knows" thought Tory would govern like Harris, he lead in this poll.

    http://www.thestar.com/News/article/177779

    Anyhow, I figured I would plug the latest Ipsos numbers in UBC election stock market's predictor:

    Ontario
    CPC: 44 (+4)
    LPC: 53 (-1)
    NDP: 9 (-3)

    However, a 3 point swing to the CPC would produce
    CPC: 56 (+16)
    LPC: 40 (-14)
    NDP: 10 (-2)

    So Ontario is near a breaking point. What about Quebec?

    CPC: 11 (+1, doesn't count by-elections)
    LPC: 20 (+7)
    NDP: 0
    Bloc: 43 (-8)

    What if there were a 3 point swing from the Bloc to the Tories?

    CPC: 15 (+5)
    LPC: 21 (+8)
    Bloc: 38 (-13)

    British Columbia?

    CPC: 28 (+11)
    LPC: 7 (-2)
    NDP: 1 (-9)

    And if there were a 3-point swing to the Conservatives (from the Liberals)?

    CPC: 31 (+14)
    LPC: 4 (-5)
    NDP: 1 (-9)

    Atlantic Canada?
    CPC: 13 (+4)
    LPC: 16 (-4)
    NDP: 3

    And if there were a 3 point swing to the Conservatives from the Liberals?

    CPC: 17 (+8)
    LPC: 12 (-8)
    NDP: 3

    Can a campaign shift public opinion by 3 points? Does Harper believe, given the Conservative tendency to rise in elections (because they have a large base among low-info voters), and given organizational/fundraising advantages far more than three seats are likely to change hands. In fact I would be very surprised if that happened.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:33 PM  

  • WOW, hoosier... you really make me wonder. This (possible) election could get very exciting.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 6:50 PM  

  • Hoosier's numbers, plus the status quo on the Prairies, give the Liberals around 99 seats and a leadership convention.
    With the unpopularity of the provincial Liberals in BC and the Irvings opposed to the carbon tax in NB, the Consevatives could make gains.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 8:05 PM  

  • Nice sum of the leaders, Personally as much as I dislike Layton and Dion's, Plans for the country I would never label them as uncaring for Canada, Just as I feel Harper cares for Canada, they just all go about it in different ways. The only party which hates Canada are Duccepe and his monkeys. Who should probably have been tried for treason but you know...that would lose the governing party votes in Quebec.

    By Anonymous Manuel, at 11:18 PM  

  • Pretty funny stuff here. I don't know whwere hoosier got his numbers? I haven't seen any polls comparable.
    I do know that Stephen Harper is not an idiot, despite what many Lefties wish to believe. Does anyone really believe he is chomping at the bit for an election because he knows he will lose ground? With the CPC money advantage you can bet they have internal polls coming out of the yingyang telling them to roll the dice now.
    One thing Steve is is pragmatic...he plays to win!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:16 AM  

  • "One thing Steve is is pragmatic...he plays to win!!!"

    That must be why he made O'Conner defense minister and Bernier foreign minster. Oh! Let's not forget the two ministers of the environment.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:40 AM  

  • My numbers are from the August 19th poll by Ipsos Reid, plugged into the UBC election stock market election forecaster. In reality the numbers would differ - I plugged in province-by-province numbers, and assumed a universal swing across the whole province. Obviously reality differs - for instance, in Quebec, the Liberal resurgence is probably largely concentrated around Montreal (a fact that will be amplified by how campaigns spend money - ie. on winnable ridings).

    I think there is a degree of game theory going on here, but it makes sense for Harper to call for an election. By doing so one of two things will happen:

    1. The other parties will cave into his agenda.
    2. The other parties will not, and there will be an election.

    Harper's starting point in the election is fairly strong, and he has the edge in fundraising, organization etc. Moreover, if you look at where the Conservative party is in the polls, they could drop a few points without losing many seats in a worst case scenario.

    If Harper can at least maintain the status quo, the many gunning for Dion's job will turf out Dion (even if Dion won a weak minority government, it is hard to imagine it surviving, given the rifts within the party. That sends the Liberals into a leadership election - during which they can't really fund-raise - even though the Liberals have been essentially broke since 2004 (it will probably be divisive too), and gives Harper a year to implement whatever policies he wants.

    Also, the Bloc is nearly certain to lose a fair number of seats itself, with much of the sheen coming of Duceppe since 2004. Duceppe is old, and will probably quit as leader as well, prompting yet another leadership election.

    With an election Harper also misses:
    1. The possibility of a year with negative economic growth (those reports come out later)
    2. A Julie Couillard book
    3. A possible deficit
    4. The resolution of the in-and-out scandal (which may not favour him)

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:45 AM  

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