Wednesday, September 10, 2008

May's Day

May's in.

The Liberals get what they wanted, and will be hurt because of it.

The Tories get what they didn't want, and will benefit because of it.

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34 Comments:

  • Yup!

    By Blogger leftdog, at 8:36 PM  

  • The nature of the debates will change. Harper won't just be attacking Dion's policies. He'll be attacking the notion of the Liberals having a vice-prime ministerial candidate, Elizabeth May.

    By Blogger Skinny Dipper, at 8:45 PM  

  • I think this will hurt Harper. May is not a good debater, but she has nothing to lose, and will interrupt and castigate Harper, while Dion plays the statesman.

    Secondly, many Green policy are somewhat conservative. If she communicates that vision, she may lose votes to the Liberals/NDP, while picking up a few Conservatives. If her predecessor, Harris had been in, for instance, he could have played well to old PC voters. May's shrillness (and I am not saying this because she is a woman - I find Clinton, Palin, Campbell, McDonough and McLaughlin to NOT be shrill... Sheila Copps is shrill) and leftishness may actually kibosh her own plans to attack Harper.

    It also means that, at the end of the day, Harper only has 20% of the speaking time - which is the main reason I don't want May in the debates. You have things skewed so that the parties that got 66% of the vote and have a chance to form a government, get 40% of the speaking time.

    What I would do as Harper would be to challenge Dion to a debate, one-on-one (in addition to the all-party debate), no rules. Dion would reject the offer (unless there was the prospect of a French and English debate), and ultimately look like a wimp (moreso).

    Oh and since we are on the topic, I just plain can't stand Elizabeth May. She only flushes the toilet once a day and rides a freakin' tricycle because she can't ride a bike. Jack Layton and Dion may be environmentalists, but at least at the end of the day they accept that there should be tradeoffs - like say, not living likes its 1491.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 9:09 PM  

  • The Liberals could be winners in this.

    Being forced to truly examine their policies and fight for the youth, environmental and centre/left vote will force them to get back in touch with Canadians.

    The Conservatives haven't exactly challenged the Liberals to improve their game. Face it, the Liberals have been wiping their bottoms and presenting the results as their social and environmental policies. You can do that and win a debate with the Tories, but not the combined socialist/environmental might of NDP/Green.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 9:09 PM  

  • Oh and since we are on the topic, I just plain can't stand Elizabeth May. She only flushes the toilet once a day and rides a freakin' tricycle because she can't ride a bike. Jack Layton and Dion may be environmentalists, but at least at the end of the day they accept that there should be tradeoffs - like say, not living likes its 1491.

    Oh... yes. Her adult-sized tricycle. I share your dislike for her - it's not a matter of being shrill, she's moralistic, self-righteous, and alarmist, and reflects the certain hysteria within segments of the environmental movement.

    By Blogger Josh G, at 9:33 PM  

  • The only thing this does is elevate yet another centre-left party the Liberals need to fight with for votes.

    I can appreciate the arguments for their inclusion, but truthfully the Greens are not equals because they have not yet elected a member to Parliament (Blair Wilson was elected as a Liberal) or are they competitive in a large number of ridings like the other parties are.

    The inclusion of the Greens will generate additional votes for the party at the expense of the Liberals. Not exactly a winning formula for keeping Harper out of Majority territory.

    But I guess we are supposed to be excited because it expands Democracy. Tell that the host of Canadians short-changed by Harper after the election because they aren't part of his Q-West suburban/rural governing coalition. Tell that to the Canadian troops who need to continue their fighting in part of Bush's useless war in Afghanistan. Etc. etc. etc. Yeh, great for Democracy but it just helps keep a Conservative government in office probably at a lower percentage than before. Somehow the principle of "great for Democracy" seems a little less attractive in reality.

    By Anonymous rob c, at 9:35 PM  

  • Am I the only one who thinks Elizabeth May walks funny?

    I feel bad for thinking that, but I don't know why.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:26 PM  

  • Wow, double-edged sword. It's great to see the Greens in -- they're national, the Bloc isn't; separatists have a voice in the debates but environmentalists don't - nice -- but man, Elizabeth May is not ready to be Prime Minister. At all. She's not even ready to be Opposition. I wish she'd retire and get out of the way for a real leader.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 11:42 PM  

  • I think you're underestimating the right-wing appeal of the Greens. I know and have heard from MANY disenchanted former PC conservatives who can't bear to vote Liberal who are planning to park their vote with a Green candidate.

    I can't believe that nobody has polled the former voting habits of Green Party supporters, but my entirely unscientific impression is that they will sap votes from the Cons, Libs and NDP more or less in equal proportion.

    BTW, when I saw Elizabeth May a year ago, she was using a cane. I vaguely remember reading something about arthroscopic surgery for arthritis.

    By Blogger Jennifer Smith, at 12:39 AM  

  • It's kind of funny because the left-wing Green supporters who always champion PR because the current system mis-appropriates vote totals are the ones who will probably hand Harper a majority with 38% of the vote, due to them spliting the vote on the left.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 12:56 AM  

  • Congratulations to May, Blair Wilson and the GP. This is a big breakthrough.

    Hopefully, we get a better turnout from voters.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:04 AM  

  • Finally, somebody else who agrees with me!

    I don't know why Harper and Dion had the positions they did!

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 1:31 AM  

  • Ben: Because the Greens will draw down the numbers for the NDP more than the Liberals, and (bizarrely) draw down almost as many from the Conservatives as the Liberals.

    (Odd, but the blue/green switcher does exist.)

    Plus, as someone else said, May can spend the entire debate in full-throated attack mode on Harper and Layton, while Dion focuses on looking like a statesman.

    And, in the medium/long term, it shows the NDP that they are probably not going to replace the Liberals, because someone is gunning at them from their own flank. That makes it more likely that, in any merger talks, the NDP will be the junior partner.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:35 AM  

  • I'm not entirely sure the Tories will benefit from it. As others have pointed out Green Voters aren't uniformly drawn from one part of the political spectrum (Although I'll grant that I would be extremely surprised if it were a even split).

    I also see an upside to May's inclusion... it will almost certainly increase the amount of focus put on the environment in the debate and the environment is a topic that Mr. Dion should be quite comfortable discussing at length and it's one more voice attacking Stephan Harper if nothing else.

    Politics aside I think it's the right thing to do. She's the leader of a party that's gotten enough votes to qualify for federal funding and has a sitting (Thou not elected as a Green) MP... that's good enough for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:29 AM  

  • ....May walks funny...I can't believe I'm reading this - did you ever watch Harper walk?

    May just had hip surgery...petty people in this world.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 AM  

  • Am I the only one who thinks Elizabeth May walks funny?

    She only flushes the toilet once a day and rides a freakin' tricycle because she can't ride a bike.


    Oh... yes. Her adult-sized tricycle.


    Elizabeth May recently had hip replacement surgery after suffering for several years and languishing on a waiting list like other Canadians who typically wait for 12-18 months for joint replacement surgery.

    The small-minded ignorance of these comments is reminiscent of the Con attacks on Chretien's disfigured face.

    Yes, the Greens will take votes from the Liberals. That's democracy for you. The darned old people and their silly votes. The people demanded Elizabeth's inclusion in these debates by a margin of 4 to 1.

    Surely, Dion has known all along that he Greens are taking LPC supporters. It wasn't until GPC support got into the double-digits that he saw fit to change his tune on carbon taxes and adopt a long held Green policy.

    Unfortunately, we have an unfair FPTP electoral system. It has been disproportionally rewarding the big, old parties forever. The Liberals have been a big beneficiary of this archaic unfair system and have never acted to improve it. Maybe if they are victimized by FPTP they'll be motivated.

    JB

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 8:50 AM  

  • I told you that they couldn't keep her out now!

    By Anonymous mike, at 9:29 AM  

  • i voted Green once.
    but will not now.

    By Blogger art, at 10:03 AM  

  • So some people, including me, have suggested the Greens might get more right-wing votes. After looking at the data I became a bit more skeptical though - not even Frank De Jong's* Ontario Green party did so (which is definitely to the right of the Liberals).

    From a poll in the 2007 Ontario election:
    Green Party supporters are most likely to mention the NDP as their second choice (32%), followed by the Liberals (29%) and the Progressive Conservatives (16%). Ten percent of Green Party supporters say, unaided, that they would not vote for any other party.

    From the 2004 Federal Election Survey (N of 78):

    Liberal: 4
    NDP: 11
    Green Party: 30 (there was a BC election in 2000 in which the Green Party did well - Canadians are often bad at separating provincial and federal politics)
    Conservative: 2
    Don't Know (this one captured people that couldn't/didn't vote as well): 29
    Marijuana Party: 2

    In terms of party identification, most did not identify with a party. However, 22 did identify with the Liberals, 7 with the Green Party, 10 with the NDP, and 3 with the Conservatives. Among leaners, 6 were Liberal leaners, 6 were NDP leaners, 6 were Green Party leaners and 3 were Conservative leaners.

    On the other hand this may be because nobody is familiar with their platform.

    *De Jong was my brother's design and tech teacher at Fern P.S.. He had a temper problem and threw a kid into a wall.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:17 AM  

  • On the issues? Green supporters are little different from Dippers.

    23% of NDP'ers support defence cuts, versus 25% of Green voters.
    33% of NDP voters supported more welfare spending, versus 37% of Greens.
    85% of NDP voters supported more healthcare spending, versus 80% of Greens.
    67% of NDP voters supported more environmental spending, as opposed to 81% of Greens.
    63% of NDP'ers support more subsidized housing, as opposed to 58% of Greens.
    70% of NDP'ers supported raising income taxes, or keeping them the same, versus 61% of Greens.
    65% of NDP'ers supported corporate tax increases, as opposed to 67% of Green Party members.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:21 AM  

  • Those are interesting figures, Hoosier. Where to they come from? I don't dispute them. I wonder what the percentages for Liberals supporters are on those issues. Canadians are like-minded on lots of issues. We mostly seem to like eating 2 or 3 meals a day. We mostly like to come in out of the rain. We mostly like to bitch about whichever party is in power.

    What sets the various parties apart from one another are their policies. Currently, the Green Party has at least 29 policy proposals that are unique to the Greens. Recently, the Liberals adopted one of 30+ long term GPC policies with their adoption of our tax shift policy. We say they are welcome to take as many more as they'd like. That goes for the other parties, too -- especially the Conservatives.

    I see none the small-minded ignoramuses who smeared Elizabeth's disability have had the balls to apologize or recant yet. Way to keep the campaign on the high road.

    JB

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 11:03 AM  

  • The figures are from the Federal Election Survey, which is conducted (I think by Universite de Montreal, though Queen's University has a lot of good public opinion data through CORA) after each election - Canada's version of the exit polls.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 11:09 AM  

  • 29% of Liberals support more welfare spending, versus 17% of Conservatives.

    52% of Liberals support more social housing, versus 38% of Conservatives.

    65% of Liberals support more environmental spending, versus 47% of Conservatives.

    46% of Liberals support more military spending, versus 69% of Conservatives.

    70% of Liberals support keeping taxes the same or raising them, versus 48% of Conservatives.

    52% of Liberals support raising corporate taxes, versus 41% of Conservatives.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 11:14 AM  

  • Interesting numbers - thanks for posting them.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:29 PM  

  • Dan, I don't agree with your analysis, but we'll know more in a few weeks.

    By Blogger Saskboy, at 1:11 PM  

  • Yes, interesting NDP-vs-Green numbers.

    It would be a different story if Harris (or Chernushenko) was the leader.

    May is more a socialist than she is an environmentalist.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:10 PM  

  • Robert, this is from 2004 when Harris was still the leader of the Green Party.

    See I think we are assuming Green party members actually realize that their fiscal policies are regressive and will screw the working class.

    This entry from stuffwhitepeoplelike is probably a good proxy for the average green party supporter thought process:

    http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/10/62-knowing-whats-best-for-poor-people/

    "Like whoa, the environment is like, important. But like what party would share my values of sustainability and stuff. Hmmm... Like whoa, there is a party called the Green Party. They must be progressive because like, green is the colour of plants and stuff. OMG maybe after I vote Green I can get an internship at UNESCO. I have an idea to save Africa. Like, what if people there totally planted trees, so like, they would have an eco system. But like, guilt factor alert - how can I make Africans start recycling 'n stuff without being all imperialist like that fascist Bush... hmmm maybe we could get some Captain Planet episodes and like, translate them to African."

    [naps and gratuitous toking were ommitted from the above excerpt]

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:39 PM  

  • Whooee! Clever generalizing and typecasting, Hoosier. The only trouble is that your characterization of Greens doesn't match reality. Maybe someone was smoking something.

    I've been active in the GPC for a number of years and attended a good number of party events. I'm a 59 YO grandfather. I'm not the oldest or youngest at most GPC events I've been to. In my local EDA, the executive (I'm one) are all about my age.

    We aren't a bunch of idealistic, dope-smoking teenagers. We aren't a bunch of dirty, hairy, shoeless hippies. We are mostly baby boomers and grandparents. We're concerned about the planet we're leaving for the future generations and we're attempting to work within the political system, to ensure our grandchildren enjoy a standard of living similar to what we've enjoyed.

    Elizabeth May worked for that well-known socialist cabal, the Sierra Club, for many years. She's a real commie, alright. Sheesh!

    JB

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 6:54 PM  

  • "We aren't a bunch of dirty, hairy, shoeless hippies."

    "We are mostly baby boomers..."

    Er, which generation was it that did Woodstock again?

    Seriously though, my intention was more to imply that Green supporters were smarmy holier-than-thou upper middle class hipsters (mostly on the young side).

    Actually it is an interesting product of our generation gap (I'm 25) that we think differently of people with certain attitudes. I don't think of Greens as being dirty (except Elizabeth May, based on her toilet-flushing comments) or shoeless - after all Greenness is the new way one can "keep up with the Joneses". This annoys me, because it means that my fellow "screw the poor" voters have these lame social justice objectives I don't care for. I just want to swirl a glass of port, as I sit in a high-backed chair, despising the common man.

    Your assertion that most greens are baby boomers or grandparents is probably wrong though.

    Ipsos Reid's last poll had an age breakdown for the Greens:
    18-34: 14%
    35-54: 10%
    55+: 7%

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 9:04 PM  

  • Ipsos Reid's last poll had an age breakdown for the Greens:
    18-34: 14%
    35-54: 10%
    55+: 7%


    Huh? That only adds up to 31%. I'm pretty sure there's 69% of Greens missing from those numbers.

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 12:21 AM  

  • It's a breakdown of how many people in each age group support the Greens, not how many Green supporters are in each age group.

    14% of 18-34 year-olds support the Greens.
    10% of 35-54 year-olds support the Greens.
    7% of over-55 year-olds support the Greens.

    Back to the original topic: Based on the criteria I came up with for debate inclusion a few years back (at least one elected MP or a candidate in all 308 ridings), I supported the Greens being included in 2004 and 2006, but not this year (by my last count, they're only running a maximum of 306).

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:54 AM  

  • It's a breakdown of how many people in each age group support the Greens, not how many Green supporters are in each age group.

    So, 31% of all Canadians are Green supporters? Great! Super great!! That's the highest level of support I've ever seen in a poll but I'll accept that explanation... with big reservations and a large grain of salt.

    Every discussion on the debate inclusion issue seems to have one or two people who are willing to make up criteria and rules and then wish to dictate those rules to the country. You've got a future in the Broadcast Consortium.

    I've said we should let Elections Canada set some rules. We let Elections Canada make rules on many, if not most, aspects of federal elections. If, as seems to be the case, we consider these debates vitally important to the process, we should have an official body setting the criteria.

    JB

    By Blogger JimBobby, at 7:47 AM  

  • I agree - a lot of the Green policies screw the working class. But same for most environmental proposals we've heard.

    Dion wants to increase the cost of essentials like transportation, heat and food and in return provide an income tax cut to people who probably don't earn enough to notice the difference (students, working poor, retired seniors, etc).

    Layton wants to shut down all tar sands development, raising energy prices, and cutting jobs.

    Seems like the net result of everyone's environmental plans is that more people will be more dependent on the government.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:05 AM  

  • JimBobby: So, 31% of all Canadians are Green supporters?

    It seems the the Canadian education system is failing to teach basic math. Go read what I wrote again, and think about it. (Hint: When you have percentages from different demographics, you don't just add them together to get the overall figure.)

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 11:11 PM  

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