Friday, July 29, 2011

Exciting Race Brewing for LPC Presidency

Given the challenges facing the Liberal Party, January's national executive elections could very well be the most important in the party's history. And the way it’s going, it looks like there will be more star power in the race for LPC president than in the race for LPC leader.

Party veterans vie for Liberal presidency
By Jeff Davis, Postmedia News

OTTAWA — Former deputy prime minister Sheila Copps and recently defeated Liberal politicians Mark Holland and Siobhan Coady are all gearing up to challenge for the presidency of the Liberal Party of Canada.

While many would be loath to lead such a gravely wounded party, loyalists are rallying around a Liberal banner they believe can rise again.

Copps says the crushing electoral defeat Liberals suffered got her — and many other Liberals — thinking of a return to active politics.

"When we came out of last election and we were reduced to third party status, I think it was a wake up call for a lot of who have been on the sidelines," she told Postmedia News Wednesday.

The duties of a federal party president are onerous, including party organization, fundraising, expanding membership and liasing with local riding associations.

The article mentions a lot of names who I'm very happy to see mentioned. Sheila Copps' exit in 2004 remains one of the saddest chapters in recent Liberal history, so seeing her back in the fold is outstanding news. Liberals need to let old grievances die and work together, or else the party won't be around in 10 years.

I'm a big fan of Siobhan Coady, and her name would likely be floating around in leadership discussions if she hadn't lost her seat on May 2nd. I'm also a fan of Mark Holland, who gave a barn burner speech on party renewal at this spring's Alberta Liberal convention.

The article also mentions Kingston and the Islands riding president Ron Hartling as a possible candidate. While I don't know Ron personally, there's something to be said for looking past the star power and picking a hard worker who will spend his or her time rebuilding the party, rather than doing panel shows. I've also heard of several other candidates kicking the tires.

So for me it will all come down to who has the best ideas and the clearest roadmap for rebuilding the party. I'm sure we'll hear a lot of talk about "renewal", "engaging members", and "the post-subsidy fundraising world" from all the candidates - but we need more than buzzwords at this point. It's going to take concrete ideas and a dogged determination to implement them.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today in Slightly More Interesting Polling

Tough crowd to please:

Poll: 52 percent approve of God’s job performance
By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) – If you think voters are in cranky mood over politics, a new poll suggests that some of the dissatisfaction may run deeper.

God’s job performance has trouble measuring up to many Americans' expectations, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in North Carolina.

Only 52 percent of Americans approve of God’s job performance, the survey found, though just 9 percent disapprove.

The polling question that prompted this curious response was, "If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its performance?"

"When asked to evaluate God on some of the issues it is responsible for, voters give God its best rating on creating the universe, 71-5," the polling report said. "They also approve of its handling of the animal kingdom 56-11, and even its handling of natural disasters 50-13."

In comparison, here's how Canada's Premiers stack up:

Brad Wall (Sask) 59%
God (Universe) 52%
Greg Selinger (Man) 48%
Kathy Dunderdale (Newf) 43%
David Alward (NB) 40%
Christy Clark (BC) 36%
Ed Stelmach (AB) 27%
Darrell Dexter (NS) 26%
Dalton McGuinty (ON) 19%
Jean Charest (Que) 17%

Suffice to say, it would take an act of God for Brad Wall to lose this fall. And, given these numbers, even that might not be enough to defeat him.


Today in Totally Useless Polling

The Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald have released polling information on the Alberta PC and Alberta Liberal leadership races, giving us valuable information about who is winning...among people who will not vote in the contest.

First, the numbers:


Mar 12%
Morton 8%
Redford 6%
Orman 4.7%
Horner 4.7%
Griffiths 1.5%


Sherman 9%
Blakeman 6.5%
MacDonald 5.4%
Harvey 2.6%
Payne 2.1%

While this is all very interesting, the reality is only 3% of Albertans voted in the last PC leadership race (which, in fairness, isn't much below the province's voter turnout rate in recent elections). For the Liberals? The number is 0.2%, and that's only because I rounded it up.

So, of the 900 people who took part in this survey, there are probably under 30 who will vote in the PC race...and maybe 1 who will take the time to vote for a new Grit boss.

That's not to say we should completely ignore what the general public thinks. After all, despite what some recent decisions might lead you to believe, most parties try to pick leaders who will appeal to the public at large. So a survey measuring how familiar voters are with the candidates and what they think of them isn't a complete waste of space.

But there's absolutely zero benefit in using something like this to try and figure out who is leading.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

"If I have tried to bring anything to federal politics, it is the idea that hope and optimism should be at their heart"

Very sad news today, with Jack Layton announcing he is now battling a new form of cancer.

He will be taking a leave of absence as party leader to focus on getting health, and has recommended that Nycole Turmel take over as interim leader.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

This Week in Alberta - Looking for a Leader

All eyes are on the PC and Liberal leadership races this summer in Alberta. Well, all eyes are on the PC leadership race, and a few eyes are glancing over at the Liberal one every now and then.

Still, the five Liberal candidates held a lively debate in Edmonton on Wednesday - you can read recaps of it here and here. Monday's debate in Calgary appears to have been a bit tamer, but Laurie Blakeman grabbed some headlines by suggesting the party should only run candidates in the seats it can win.

The ALP also earned some (rare) positive media this week, courtesy of the Globe & Mail.

On the PC leadership front, Doug Horner, Gary Mar, and Ted Morton lead the way in terms of caucus support. Mind you, given the increasing number of pot shots the candidates have been taking at their own government, it's unclear whether or not establishment support is actually a good thing.

Finally, for those of you who missed my Stampede Fashion Round-Up, here are some bonus pictures:

All photos save the Rae one, courtesy of Jenn Turcott.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

This Week in Ontario - And They're Off!

Political excitement at the federal level may have evaporated faster than water in downtown Toronto, but the provincial scene is still very much alive this summer across Ontario.

Among this week's highlights:

1. The Liberals scored a big endorsement from David Suzuki, whose foundation criticized the Ontario NDP last week.

2. The NDP played up their "Buy Ontario" platform. Which is a great idea, until the inevitable news story comes out that their lawn signs were made in Michigan, or some equally trivial offense.

3. Tim Hudak is promising to cut red tape - in fact, he's willing to create a whole new ministerial office to do just that. I feel like that should have been a West Wing walk-and-talk, along the the lines of:

"So he wants to cut $30 million in government spending and waste in the Department of Agriculture. How's he going to do that?"
"He'll hire someone, staff him, and have him conduct an extensive review of all spending."
"How much will that cost?"
"$35 million."

I'm sure Aaron Sorkin would have a wittier way to go about it, but you get the point.

Still, Rob Ford rode the gravy train to victory, and Hudak has made the very clever promise to dock his own pay if he can't de-gravy Queen's Park. A pledge like that creates a sense that he's serious and that it's more than the usual political doublespeak.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun with Numbers: The Liberals

As we learned last election, when the political wave rises, it's hard to avoid it. If ever you wanted evidence of just how powerless local campaigns are, look no further than some of the quality men and women who were defeated by phantom candidates who hadn't even set foot in the riding, never mind campaigned there.

But that's not to say local candidates can't make a difference. After all, it's a safe bet that lone spec of red between Winnipeg and Vancouver also known as Wascana would be blue if anyone other than Ralph Goodale had been the Liberal candidate.

It's very difficult to measure the success of local campaigns, but it is possible to get a sense of which candidates did better or worse than expected. To measure this, I've used the same methodology as after the 2008 election. Namely, I've carved Canada up into 30 subregions (i.e. Calgary, Southwest Ontario, Nova Scotia, Northern Quebec, etc) and compared the vote change from 2008 in each riding to the regional swing. So if a given candidate held his support while her party lost 10 points in the region, that's a sign the local campaign had some positive mojo.

With that, I present a list of the 10 Liberal campaigns that most exceeded expectations. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is relative to 2008. People like Gerard Kennedy and Ken Dryden may very well be star candidates who ran top notch campaigns but their residual value for this exercise still comes in around "0" - which is what we'd expect, assuming they ran comparably strong campaigns in the last go around.

So treat this more as a list of ridings that stood out, for a variety of reasons.

1. Winnipeg North (+27 percentage points above expected): No surprise here since I used 2008 and not the by election as the baseline. But even if we give by elections their historical weighting, Lamoureux nets a +10. To become relevant in Western Canada, the Liberal Party needs to find whatever factory made Kevin Lamoureux and order a dozen more.

2. Guelph (+17): Frank Valeriote's vote actually jumped 11 points in Guelph this election, due in part to the collapse of the Greens in this riding.

3. Central Nova (+15): Central Nova makes this list for obvious's not hard to improve upon 0 votes. Central Nova scored a -17 in 2008, so this marks a return to the traditional level of Liberal support..

4. Sault Ste. Marie (+12): While 19% is not a great showing, it still marks an improvement from 2008, at a time when the Liberals were falling everywhere else in Ontario. Still, this riding put up a -7 in 2008, so some of this is nothing more than a "bounce back".

5. Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (+11): Basically the same story as above.

6. Cumberland-Colchester (+10): The Liberals benefit from the retirement of Bill Casey, who pretty much everyone in the riding voted for in 2008.

7. Don Valley West (+10): This is small consolation for Rob Oliphant, who still finds himself unemployed.

8. Calgary Northeast (+8): This was actually the Liberals' best riding in Alberta, with their support jumping 8 points, to 28%. The LPCA should treat this riding the same way the NDP treated Edmonton Strathcona after Linda Duncan's strong second in 2006. Nominate Stewart early, door knock the riding heavily in advance of the next election, and pour resources into it. At the very least, they can make the CPC play defense in Calgary next time.

9. Avalon (+8): Scott Andrews held his ground, despite the Liberals dropping elsewhere in Newfoundland.

10. Surrey North (+8): Once again, 18% isn't a phenomenal result, but it still marks an improvement from 2008.

Honourable Mention: Kitchener-Waterloo, Papineau, Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough, Ajax-Pickering, Nepean-Carleton, Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Eglinton-Lawrence, Malpeque, Random-Burin-St.George's, Medicine Hat, Westmount-Ville Marie

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Sixth Annual Politicians in Cowboy Hats

For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 round-ups.

Although Rick Hansen served as Stampede Parade Grand Marshal, all eyes were on Will and Kate this year. I do find it somewhat perplexing how many of the same people who lambasted Ignatieff for his time outside of the country went absolutely ga-ga over our future head of state visiting us for the first time in years. If a 6-day cross-country tour isn't the definition of "Just Visiting", I don't know what is. That said...

OH MY GOD! Will and Kate looked absolutely dashing!!! So young! So thin! So beautiful! And they pulled off Western wear more perfectly than most people who have lived in Calgary their entire lives! Their outfits were, like, so simple, and yet so perfectly perfect. I hereby crown them "best dressed" of the 2011 Stampede - the king and queen of fashion.

This was Naheed Nenshi's first stampede as mayor, and I know many were worried how the man would look in western wear. After all, Dave Bronconnier left big cowboy boots to fill - the man looked the part of the Mayor of Calgary every Stampede, riding 'ol leroy down 9th Avenue. Nenshi meanwhile, went to Harvard, is a University Professor, and spends his spare time blogging about population density rates in new housing developments. And let's be honest, the man doesn't really look like John Wayne (neither the actor nor the serial killer).

However, Naheed hit it out of the park this year. His outfit is irrelevant - the man rode a horse in the parade, thereby making him a Stampede All-Star.

With Stampede a success, the big question now turns to what he'll wear for pride.


Usually it's the federal politicians who make the biggest splash at the Stampede - for better or worse. After all, Liberal academics, socialists from Toronto, and environmental crusaders don't tend to have a large collection of denim in their closets. Heck, even the "Alberta boy" himself, Stephen Harper, committed the biggest gaffe in Stampede history.

But this year? Everyone's tired out from the election. Jack Layton needs to spend time with Quebec. The Liberal leadership contest hasn't reached the point where candidates need to parade in cowboy hats to court Calgary Liberals.

Stephen Harper did give a speech about how invincible he is (which always ends well in westerns...), but his stylist really earns her money come the second week of July every year, so the PM once again looked fine.

"Here's a pancake. You'll get your eggs once Canada is out of deficit in 2015."


In comparison, provincial politics are rockin' this summer with an election on the horizon, and the PCs and Liberals both in the midst of leadership contests. As always, the media was all abuzz about the chosen one, Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith.

And 5,000 came to the Stampede breakfast, but there were only 5 pancakes and 2 sausages. So Danielle Smith said "bring them to me" and she placed her hands over them. She broke the pancakes and gave them to Prime Minister Harper, telling him to distribute them to the multitudes. Lo and behold, they were all fed, with stacks of pancakes left over. And so the legend of Danielle Smith grew.


The Stampede may be the most important event of the entire PC leadership race. After all, it gives candidates a dozen socials a day to press the flesh in Alberta's largest city. As such, the contenders have all no doubt held countless strategy meetings and focus groups to find that outfit that says "I'm an Albertan, I enjoy a good rodeo, but I don't look like a member of the Village People when wearing a cowboy hat".

So as a public service, I've taken it upon myself to rank the PC leadership contenders choice of western wear.

1. Rick Orman

Winning the "Calgary Grit Best Dressed" trophy will likely be the highlight of the leadership race for Orman, so I hope he savours this. While Orman's outfit isn't Jim Prentice-good by any means, it's the best of a rather uninspiring field. And he gets bonus marks for the 3 cute children in western wear. After all, in politics, nothing beats cute children.

2. Alison Redford

Redford has a bit of a "female Harry Chase" look going on. I know that doesn't sound like a compliment, but it really is, since I consider Chase a stampede fashion superstar.

3. Ted "The Man" Morton

Here's what I said about Ted when I voted him "worst dressed" last year:

Once again, Ted is just trying to hard. When he ran for leadership, he drafted a catchy little country music jingle. He holds "golf and gun" fundraisers. But, really, he's just a university professor from the big city trying to pass himself off as a good 'ol country boy. And, in this case, it shows.

Morton has improved this year, though I'd probably only give the prof a "C-" grade, and the vest above leaves a lot to be desired. However, in browsing the 7 Stampede Breakfast photo-albums on his Facebook page, I did notice he mixed it up and owns at least 2 different cowboy hats, so I'll give him marks for effort.

4. Gary Mar

Here, PC leadership candidate Gary Mar poses with the winner of the Gary Mar lookalike contest.

While I recognize orange is a hot colour politically these days, I'm just not feeling it. I mean, seriously, have you ever seen Clint Eastwood wearing orange?

5. Doug Griffiths

Mercifully, Ed Stelmach no longer wears suit jackets to the Alberta Stampede, but his habit appears to have rubbed off on a few of his MLAs. Quite simply, it's just something you don't do.

6. Doug Horner

Like Griffiths, Horner dons the suit. What knocks him down to the "worst dressed" spot on this list is the cup of Starbucks in his left hand. Quite simply, cowboys do not drink Starbucks.

It appears Yvonne Fritz is equally aghast.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Time News Stories

1. Stephen Gordon reminds us about the Census, and gloomily points out that the Tory majority means we'll likely find ourselves without credible data from 2006 to 2021.

2. Stephen Harper will be guest staring on Murdoch Mysteries next week - presumably detective Murdoch will attempt to get a clear answer about the government's mysterious Strategic Review.

3. There's lots of buzz about why Kai Nagata quit his job. While I take a few issues with parts of his somewhat naive, somewhat self-righteous, and somewhat rambly manifesto, there's a lot of truth in what he's saying and he deserves credit for his principled and gutsy decision.

4. The David Suzuki Foundation goes after the Ontario NDP's platform - and justifiably so. The federal NDP and their provincial counterparts in nearly every province have opposed carbon taxes and supported tax cuts on pollution. There isn't an environmentalist alive who will tell you that's good environmental policy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

About that Liberal Arrogance...

I remember a time, 5 or 6 years ago, when a young Stephen Harper was aghast that Paul Martin would have the nerve to suggest Liberal values were more Canadian than Conservative values. Young Harper railed against "Liberal arrogance" every chance he got.


Harper spends his time predicting his opponents' demise, and telling Canadians "the Conservative Party is Canada's Party" - he actually called them the "natural governing party" in one interview, though even Harper later recognized that may have a poor choice of words. He is, however, confident that "Conservative values are Canadian values and Canadian values are conservative values”.

It's all very good for Harper to enjoy his win. And I get that he's trying to undue years of the Liberal Party stiching its logo to the flag at every opportunity.

But he'll be coming up on a decade in power by the next election. That's usually when Canadians hand governments their walking papers if they start looking even the least bit arrogant. When you become a party of power rather than a party of purpose, you quickly stop becoming a party of power.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Liberal Leadership Marathon Runners

I posted 8 Simple Rules for the Liberal Leadership Race a few weeks ago, prompting a few readers to ask for my thoughts on the candidates. The short answer to that is simply: it's too early to tell. This thing won't be decided for nearly two years, so predicting the outcome at this point is little more than wild speculation.

That said, it's the month of July and there's little else to speculate about in the new majority government reality, so let's go wild!

Consider this the first in a series of Liberal Leadership Power Rankings to be updated every couple of months, ranking the rumoured candidates based on their likelihood of winning. Be forewarned, this is based on little more than idle chatter and my own biased opinions.

1. Dominic LeBlanc: This race is likely to have more of a 2006 than a 2008 feel to it - that is to say, I'd expect a wide open field with a high possibility of a "surprise" winner. But if I had to pick a frontrunner at this point, it would likely be Dom, if for no other reason than he appears to be the only candidate almost certain to run. I thought Dominic was the best candidate last time, and he'd bring a lot to the table - a good mix of youth and experience, and he's likely the best bet to make the party relevant outside of its Toronto-base (if you can call what's left in the GTA a "base").

2. Justin Trudeau: A LeBlanc-Trudeau showdown would bring back memories of the Rae-Ignatieff "roommate races", as the Trudeau and LeBlanc kids all knew each other growing up. While many will no doubt support or oppose Justin because of his name, he's an impressive candidate in his own right, and likely the most charismatic contender at this point. The only reason he doesn't sit number 1 on the list is that he's hinted (publicly at least) he might bide his time and skip the race.

3. Bob Rae: Yes, I know he's said he won't run. And I do take Bob at his word that he has no intention of removing "interim" from his title. But consider a scenario where the Liberals are back in second place in the polls come October 2012. A few anonymous "insiders" begin murmuring to Jane Taber about the great job Bob Rae has done as interim leader, and a "draft Bob" campaign starts up online. It's certainly not science fiction and, despite his age, it would be hard to discount Rae due to his organization, political smarts, and speaking skills.

4. David McGuinty: Like Justin, McGuinty will be judged by his last name. Whether that's for better or for worse will depend on what happens this October, but McGuinty should be able to assemble a fairly strong team if he does decide to run.

5. Marc Garneau: He missed out on the interim job, but if you buy the "alternance" theory or like the idea of poaching some of those orange seats in Quebec, Garneau could make for an intriguing choice. As a bonus, it might be harder for the Tories to smear the reputation of a national hero - obviously they still would, but at least they'd have to work a bit harder at it.

6. Scott Brison: Consider this a sleeper pick of sorts, since Scott has said he's not interested. But a lot can change in 2 years. Brison is young, a gifted communicator, and embodies the "fiscally responsible, socially progressive" label most Liberals assign to themselves.

Although the above are the most talked about candidates, there's a strong change the eventual winner's name isn't on that list. Defeated candidates like Martin Cauchon, Gerard Kennedy, or Martha Hall Findlay could run. With a slew of provincial elections coming up this fall, the timing will be good for any number of provincial politicians to jump federally. Less well known caucus members could make a name for themselves in Parliament.

And heck, maybe if we're lucky we can find a University professor at Harvard with some time on his hands.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fun with Numbers: Most Volatile Ridings

Unless Stephen Harper breaks his own fixed election date law (ha ha ha!), we'll have a new set of ridings for the 2015 election.

So for kicks this summer, I'm looking back at life in the old ridings over the past four elections. I already posted a list of the most exciting ridings in the country - today, a list of the most volatile.

To keep it simple, I've simply tallied up the percentage point swing between each election, to find out which ridings had the largest changes. So if from 2004 to 2006 the Tories fell 8 points in a given riding, the Liberals fell 8 points, the NDP rose 8 points, and the Greens rose 8 points, that riding would be recorded as a 32-point swing.

And with that, the most volatile ridings in the county over the past decade:

1. Cumberland Colchester (285-point swing): No surprise here, as the Tory vote yo-yo'd thanks to the Bill Casey fiasco.

2. Portneuf-Jacques Cartier (194): Like Cumberland Colchester, Portneuf rises to the top due to the rise and fall of an independent conservative, Andre Arthur.

3. Jonquiere-Alma (184): This riding was on the frontlines of both the rise of the Tories and the rise of the Dippers in Quebec.

4. Labrador (179): Labrador saw a 30-point shift from the Tories to the Liberals this May.

5. Beauce (169): I feel like the riding should get "volatility bonus points", due to the personality of its MP.

6. Trois-Rivières (162): The orange wave was particularly strong here last election, with NDP support sextupling from 9% to 54%.

7. Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles (159): A similar story to many Quebec ridings on this list - the Tories jumped 26 points in 2006, and the NDP jumped 32 points in 2011.

8. St. John's East (153): Thanks in large part to a mind blowing 57-point jump in support for Jack Harris during the 2008 election.

9. Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou (150): Ninth in volatility, but first in cumbersomeness of the riding's name.

10. Rivière-du-Nord (150): Over half that swing came last election.

And just missing the Top 10...

11. Central Nova (148): Thanks to Lizzie May.

12. Saanich - Gulf Islands (141): See above.

On the list of most stable ridings, there are few surprises with 7 tory-blue Alberta ridings in the top 10, led by Crowfoot (only a 20-point swing). Dartmouth-Cole Harbour (28%) comes in at number 3 to add a bit of orange to the list, with Malpeque the only solidly Liberal riding in the top 10.

And finally, taking the riding-by-riding averages, the most volatile provinces politically over the past decade:

1. Newfoundland: Thanks to Danny Williams
2. Quebec: I corrected for the presence of the Bloc here, dropping them to second
3. Nova Scotia
4. Manitoba
5. New Brunswick
6. BC
7. Ontario
8. Saskatchewan
9. PEI
10. Alberta

The top 2 and bottom 2 stand out, with the rest all bunched closely together.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

"I've got to say that meeting celebrities isn't my shtick, that was the shtick of the previous guy"

That was Harper's dig on Paul Martin four years ago, after turning down a meeting with Bono. Since then, Harper has been a bit more hot and cold on the issue.

A Tale of Two Cities

I had some fun last fall comparing the elections of Naheed Nenshi in Calgary and Rob Ford in Toronto. Fairly or unfairly, it appears the two will be forever linked. We got yet another example of that this week with the news that Nenshi will become the first Mayor to lead Calgary's pride parade, after Ford became the first Mayor in over 20 years to skip Toronto's.

Now, I don't think anyone should be surprised by Ford's decision. A lot of Ford's supporters likely feel he has his priorities straight by choosing the cottage over pride. Still, there were plenty of other Pride Week events Ford could have attended, to show his support for an event which is important to his city and many of the people who live there.

Ford missed an opportunity to expand his base - instead, all he's done is needlessly fire up his opponents.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Bart's Books

The good folks in Samara are hosting a fun contest this summer, asking Canadians to vote for their favourite political books. I for one think this is a great idea, and it's something I'd considered doing as a bracketed summer contest on this blog in the past.

After soliciting nominations, they've named 12 finalists and voting will be open throughout July. There's certainly a good mix of books, despite an 80-year gap in subject-matter from about 1890 to 1970. Among the nominees:

Best Laid Plans was one of the two books I nominated which made the final list, and it's the only work of fiction in the finals (well, apart from Ezra's). As someone who appreciates the humour in politics, I loved Terry Fallis' book, the sequel, and urge the CBC to turn it into a mini-series!

Right Side Up was my other nominee. Paul Wells' soon-to-be-sequelled book on the fall of Paul Martin and the rise of Stephen Harper is the most enjoyable read out there on "modern" Canadian politics.

Fights of our Lives by John Duffy may be the best overview of Canada's political history, looking at the great elections of our history. This book was published in 2002, begging the obvious question of whether or not the 2006 or 2011 elections warrant inclusion as "defining" elections in our history. In my mind, one of them should be, and whether it's the former or the latter will depend on whether the Liberals and Bloc bounce back in 2015.

In addition to the above, there's a book on John A, one on Trudeau, and one on Mulroney. No autobiographies made list, though I think you could make a case for Chretien and Mulroney's memoirs as being deserving of nominations. I'm also little disappointed Will Ferguson's Bastards and Boneheads didn't make the final cut, if only to have something a bit lighter on the list.