Friday, October 06, 2006

Not So Super Weekend Leadership News

1. Joan Bryden reports on the massive recount in Quebec which, one imagines, will trim a few delegates off the totals of the three front runners in that province.

More alarmingly, the story claims that only 10% of Liberal Party members voted at their delegate meetings. With 37000 card carrying Liberals in Quebec, that means there were only around 3700 votes cast last weekend. By comparison, in Alberta there were 3299 votes (plus the aboriginal ballot). Given that Alberta has 37% of the ridings and 0% of the MPs Quebec has, I'd say there's a lot of work which needs to be done rebuilding the Liberal Party in Quebec. On a more partisan nature, I'd also say that it shows none of the candidates were overly successful at winning the hearts and minds of Quebecers over during this leadership race and that there will be big challenges for whomever wins. While Kennedy may have bombed in Quebec, the truth of the matter is, so did everyone.

2. Despite winning BC, Bob Rae's campaign manager from that province, Mason Loh, has resigned after it was revealed that 37 signatures had been forged on delegate forms. While the Rae team will be allowed to run alternates in most of those ridings, it may still cost them a handful of delegates in Montreal.

3. Gerard Kennedy gave a great interview on The Current which everyone can listen to here. Seriously - check it out if you're a delegate for this convention.

4. This is really interesting. Infoscape is tracking what bloggers are saying about the Liberal leadership race. Among the things they're tracking is the tone of coverage on the frontrunnes - as you can see, it's been a good week for Iggy:

They've also got graphs on the amount of volume of coverage candidates are getting on the blogs and in the media. For comparison's sake, I'll include the blog/media percent of coverage for all eight candidates here:

Ignatieff 25% blog, 24% media
Rae 20% / 28%
Dion 15% / 24%
Kennedy 13% / 6%
Volpe 9% / 5%
Dryden 8% / 5%
Brison 6% / 4%
Findlay 4% / 4%

I generally don't like to complain about media biases and all that, but given that Kennedy and Dion came out of last weekend neck and neck for the number of delegates, does it strike anyone as odd that Dion has gotten four times as much mainstream media coverage as Kennedy?


  • It might be better for Kennedy if he doesn't get mainstream coverage. Margaret Wente revealed in the Globe that Kennedy arranged new contracts with Ontario teachers, but didn't give the school boards the money to pay, handing Kennedy's successor a ticking time bomb.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:23 a.m.  

  • 3cad3What story has had the most impact on you recently?

    Amish school shooting 49%
    Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan 19%
    N. Korea threatens to test nuclear weapons 9%
    Montreal college shooting 8%
    U.S. sex scandal over congressional pages 2%
    *Liberal leadership race 1%
    Montreal viaduct collapse 6%
    Britain foils airline bombing 5%

    Total Votes for this Question: 1108

    By Blogger wilson, at 1:14 a.m.  

  • nuna d. above,

    Margaret Wente revealed nothing, she made a statement that is really an opinion.


    that shows an increase of 18% of education funding to school boards while the 2%, 2%, 2.5%, 3% annual raises signed with the teachers equals less than 10%.

    Some boards have overbloated administrations, some boards provide programs that are not required, and some boards just don't understand their mandate: the Toronto District School Board is the new primary provider of Employment Services for the Government of Canada in the City of Mississauga.

    Teacher's unions accepting only 10% over 4 years is an incredible achievement. The reason for them signing was the great relationship/respect the Minister of Education had with teachers and the great support he had from his premier.


    By Blogger Peter, at 6:09 a.m.  

  • CalgaryGrit,

    Up until today, I had not formulated an opinion if the "one member, one vote" approach that some Liberals are proposing is better/worse than the present system of a set number of delegates per riding being sent to a convention.

    Today, I clearly have to agree with the "one member, one vote" method of selecting a leader. Your analysis helped me decide.

    If the 10% number by MSM is correct, approximately 3,700 Liberal votes in Quebec will send about 1,100 delegates to Montreal, while 3,300 Liberal votes in Alberta will send only 400 delegates. That is 1 delegate per 3.36 votes in Quebec and 1 delegate per 8.25 votes in Alberta. In Ontario, I would not be surprised if the numbers were in the 1 delegate per 15-20 votes range.

    After the final delegate numbers are determined, I hope the Liberal Party of Canada also reveals how many votes were actually cast in every province.

    I don't think I am the only one to say that I was hooked and impressed with the way the numbers were released on last week. But why have delegate numbers from only 2 of the final 61 meetings been revealed since Monday?


    By Blogger Peter, at 6:44 a.m.  

  • The rise in Kennedy's negative coverage seems to co-relate with superweekend. I read this as a testament to how well Kennedy did.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 8:53 a.m.  

  • The Quebec numbers are all the more disappointing considering the party didn't have enough people to man the polls, so many used mail-in ballots instead. Imagine if people actually had to show up.

    By Blogger Steve V, at 9:02 a.m.  

  • When the final Quebec numbers come out, it will tend to show the need for new blood in Quebec and the failure of the current organizers (who have chosen not to support Kennedy).

    Ridings where noone voted, ridings which elect 14 delegates with 6 votes. 3,700 votes in total, and most of them in a few ridings.

    If Dion and Ignatieff want to say this shows they have support in Quebec, let them.

    By Blogger Stephen Jenuth, at 9:29 a.m.  

  • Kennedy's media challenge seems to be that he has kept his Ontario cabinet job media people and bolstered them with other Ontario political media folk. Unlike every other candidate in the race - save perhaps Hall Findlay - this means his team does not have relationships with the press who are reporting on this and doesn't know how best to push buttons and grease wheels of the Ottawa press corps.

    It is a real shame and has been a huge strategic error on the part of the GK campaign. If there is one area where national experience is most important it is media relations. They should at the very have media people based in Ottawa.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 10:56 a.m.  

  • peter; I'm still a little uneasy about 1 member, 1 vote since it would really shift the focus to Toronto and the mass sign-ups which go on there. Maybe there should be some sort of rule that you need at least X votes in a riding per delegate (so you don't get the 2 votes for 14 delegates we saw in some Quebec ridings).

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:27 p.m.  

  • "given that Kennedy and Dion came out of last weekend neck and neck for the number of delegates, does it strike anyone as odd that Dion has gotten four times as much mainstream media coverage as Kennedy?"

    Not really.

    Dion has served in multiple federal cabinet positions for years and was THE guy for post-referendum issues. Whereas Kennedy, though very experienced in a lot of ways, has only been a provincial cabinet minister for less than a term.

    That the media would focus on Dion prior to having hard numbers on the relative support of candidates is not surprising at all.

    If, now knowing the extent of Kennedy's support, the national media continues to ignore him, that would be unfair.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 1:54 p.m.  

  • Interesting numbers... it seems as if all candidates are converging to the same level of negative opinion. Interesting that Rae's is going up, perhaps memories of his Ontario premiership are starting to resurface more.

    By Blogger cat mutant, at 2:15 p.m.  

  • What I think is more telling is that (based on the graphs at for their meager 3700 votes, Quebec Liberals will send 1073 delegates to Montreal. That's one delegate for each 3.44 votes. Alberta is screwed again... for the 3200+ votes cast here, 413 delegates. Why isn't a Calgary Liberal out screaming this from the rooftops?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:46 p.m.  

  • Wow, interesting numbers.

    I'm inclined to agree with you, man - it does look like everyone bombed out in Quebec.

    And - pardon my English, but just what the fuck is going on with Alberta getting so royally screwed on say/votes yet again?

    Honestly, I'm amazed (and grateful) Alberta sticks it through with us - their charitable spirit to Canada knows, it seems, no bounds.

    (I say that based vastly more on the House of Commons than this leadership race, of course)

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:09 p.m.  

  • There is a lesson to be learned from the leadership selection.

    Its not that we should move to one member, one vote; or that we should abandon weighting by constituency.

    Weighting is a valid exercise. In a general election, you have to get votes from everywhere and elections are effectively weighted. So our leadership should be also.

    On the other hand, the rotten boroughs of Quebec ought not to rule either.

    I would (and probably will) propose a constitutional amendment which would provide that the maximum number of delegates are 14, but that the number a particular constituency gets is the number of persons who vote divided by 15 and rounded to the next whole number.

    Thus a constituency like mine where 253 people actually came out to vote would get the full complement of 14 delegates. A constituency like 2 in Quebec were 0 voted, would get 0; and a constituency where 6 people voted would be treated like it should be and get one delegate.

    I expect that such an approach would have trimed the Quebec vote down to about 246 delegates, which is not completely out of line.

    It would also have reduced some Alberta constituencies, but that this not wrong IMHO.

    By Blogger Stephen Jenuth, at 3:33 p.m.  

  • yyclaw:

    That's a really interesting proposal, and would probably sort out the problems with delegates per vote across the country. That said, delegates per vote is not the major problem. It's weighted out of recognition that the leader has to be able to develop support that is spread across ridings, not all focussed in one place. The delegate per vote discrepencies are a trade-off.

    What doesn't have any justifying trade-off is the cost of attending. The Liberal Party tries to make this easier, and does a lot, but there's only so much they can do until people can vote for the leader the same way they vote for MP.

    The regressive effects of the cost of national conventions is the reason for calling for a weighted one-member one-vote system.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 5:15 p.m.  

  • re: Alberta getting screwed - That's only compared to Quebec. The numbers in Ontario are probably 20 votes per delegate (just a wild guess on my part).

    Matthew; I think those media numbers ARE for the week after DEMs.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 6:32 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Peter, at 7:08 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Peter, at 7:24 p.m.  

  • nbpolitico,

    You know, I have grown to not second guess Gerard. The reason being, that at the end of the day, he always succeeds (with the exception of the 5th ballot loss at 4:00 a.m. - which in no way could he have prepared for, and would have probably ended with a more favourable result if it had occurred 6 hours earlier).

    Gerard has led a very tight, honest, positive campaign. Bringing in too many outsiders could jeopardize some of the relationships he has. Also, many times outsiders mess up. Unlike most campaigns now and in the past (and definitely Harper's hanger-ons), his supporters are not backing him because they expect patronage appointments or to become lobbyists. They are there because they admire Gerard's sincerity, integrity and decency.

    Don't get me wrong, Gerard's campaign is filled with many, many great excellent people who did not even know he existed in January.


    By Blogger Peter, at 7:24 p.m.  

  • CG
    You are an excellent blogger and astute commentator. I enjoy reading your musings. Kinsella has you on his link which is neat, however my opinion of him is not favorable. I see him as a wayward soul, who has joined the establishment and sold out his party. On to the race...

    Without sounding too cynical, it appears there is a conspiracy at work. Gerard is by far one of the strongest candidates, and is getting a deliberate cold shoulder from media outlets, at the behest of powerful puppet masters. I have said it the entire race, that the power-brokers in Ottawa (and Mtl/Tor) cannot be trusted to select a viable candidate. The plutocrats are intent on either Ignatieff or Rae for obvious reasons. Without one of them, they'd be out of work, or cast aside. I like Stephane Dion. He appears to be a solid guy, however I believe Gerard has more to offer. It is time for someone to get in there and clean out this party. I do not trust David Peterson, John Rae, Greg Sorbara, or any other connected "petit bourgeous" to revamp this party.I signed up as a member of the party to see someone like Gerard or Dryden win; not opportunistic inside men.

    By Blogger Derek Robert Lipman, at 10:08 p.m.  

  • Interesting.

    The other thing I note is that Rae receives much less blog coverage than he does media coverage.

    It's not particularly strong evidence, but it's consistent with the view that Rae's campaign is fuelled mainly by the media, not an outpouring of grassroots Liberal support.

    By Blogger Winnipeg Liberal, at 1:29 a.m.  

  • bob gets some share of blog coverage ---

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 7:43 a.m.  

  • One member - one vote is really pretty simple.

    308 ridings: each is allocated 100 votes.

    Example 1: candidate A receives 100 votes, candidate B receives 50 votes- A is allocated 67, B is allocated 33.

    Example 2: less than a hundred ballots cast.

    A receives 35, B receives 10
    only these ballots are counted.

    By Blogger Don, at 11:24 a.m.  

  • It doesn't strike me as odd that Kennedy received less coverage than Dion, notwithstanding similar delegate tallies, for two reasons:
    a. Dion is a known federal quantity; and
    b. For that reason, in addition to his better bilingualism, is more likely to be the anti-Iggy on the final ballot.

    By Blogger matt, at 12:41 p.m.  

  • steve v,

    Not all news coverage is negative on Gerard.

    A very nice, easy read, in The Star today.

    By Blogger Peter, at 12:45 p.m.  

  • Kennedy gets a nice spread in the Toronto star today.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 p.m.  

  • Amigo, when will you get it straight: THE MAN DON'T SPEAK FRENCH. HE AIN'T GONNA WIN. NO LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA CONVENTION WILL EVER ELECT A MAN WHO CAN'T SPEAK FRENCH. And stop bullshitting yourselves - he isn't 'bilingual'. That's why people who haven't drunk the kool-aid aren't taking him seriously as a contender, and it's probably the main reason that only Ignatieff, Dion and Rae are getting a lot of coverage.

    Think long-term. Maybe after Ignatieff retires, and Kennedy has had a few years in federal Parliament, he'll be a serious contender for the leadership in the future -- assuming he does the homework and learns to speak French in the meantime (I think he will).

    Though I personally hope it'll be a woman next time, all other things being equal...

    By Blogger Jay, at 7:23 p.m.  

  • The interesting thing to me about those numbers is the dichotomy between MSM and bloggers.

    Not that we in anyway represent the "grassroots", but we are more insiders than the media so there may be something interesting to note about media created phenomenon vs. grassroots when you think that Rae and Dion have a far higher MSM rating than blogger rating, Iggy ends up even and Kennedy has the reverse.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 7:55 p.m.  

  • calgarygrit said...
    re: Alberta getting screwed - That's only compared to Quebec. The numbers in Ontario are probably 20 votes per delegate (just a wild guess on my part).

    OK, so as long as Ontario is getting screwed too, it's OK to kow-tow to Quebec? I don't follow. Fact is, for far too long, Quebec has wagged the Liberal dog... illustrated by the alternating French/English leadership m.o., the amount of tax dollars thrown at Quebec by Chretien & Co., and the beleif that to win Canada, you have to take Quebec.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 p.m.  

  • I suspect the stuff Rae and his team have done is much worse than fraudulently forging some Form 6's! That's child's play for the Rae team.

    Why does he get to fill the spots with alternates? To my reading, a candidate can fill a spot with an alternate if he/she won the spot fair and square. If the Form 6's were forged and are to be disregarded, it seems to me Rae did not win those spots fair and square and should not be allowed to fill them.

    If he's allowed, what's prevents a person from forging a From 6 for the 50 most influential Liberals in each riding in ordet to influence the vote. Then, when they are revoked, fill them with no name alternates?

    By Blogger Concerned YL, at 11:16 a.m.  

  • Excellent point CG, I do think everyone bombed in Quebec.

    Winnepeg Liberal: I think that's a fair comment in reality. I've noticed it as well that Rae doesn't seem to have very much blog support going for him. But considering how much support he received at the convention, it might be that blogs aren't representative of the 'grassroots'.

    By Blogger Eric, at 3:11 p.m.  

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