Friday, March 30, 2007

Better Know a Riding

I'm heading down to Calgary for the ALP convention this weekend so no updates until Sunday. Until then, I am pleased to present the first part of a 308 part series, Better Know a Riding. Today - Central Nova! The fighting Novas!

Central Nova is home to St. Francis Xavier University, and its neckless President Dr. Sean Riley (left). Their sports teams are the X-Men and X-Women, although instead of telepathy and flight, their super powers include winning the MacLeans school rankings and...I dunno...chemistry. Alumni include Brian Mulroney, Frank McKenna, and, I kid you not, Ronald MacDonald.

Which MP, described as "the closest thing to eye candy on the diplomatic circuit" by the New York Times has the stuff to lead this proud riding? Well, it's none other than Peter MacKay. Today, I profile the battle royale between Mr. MacKay and Elizabeth May. [The Frog Lady has a good run down here as well]

First of all, here are the results from the last election:

Peter MacKay CPC 40.66%
Alexis MacDonald NDP 32.89%
Dan Walsh LIB 24.56%
David Orton GRN 1.59%
Allan H. Bezanson ML 0.29%

So all May has to do is increase the Green Party vote by 2600% to win the riding. There's rampant speculation that the Liberals might not run a candidate which would be HUGE since, if you assume every single Liberal in the riding votes for May, that moves the Green Party all the way from fourth to third. One other thing which I think people are overlooking is that the Marxists-Lenninists might also not field a candidate this time as part of the "Stop MacKay" movement which might prove to be just the momentum boost she needs.

But numbers only tell part of the story so I've decided to compare the candidates on a few topics to see who comes out on top.

Famous Insults

MacKay: Calls Belinda Stronach a dog
May: Calls Canadians stupid
Edge: McKay. There are 100,000 Canadian voters May may have offended with her remarks. On the flip side, neither Belinda Stronach nor any dogs have votes in Central Nova.

How They Handle Losing

MacKay: Kicks chairs. Spends time with his dog.
May: We'll find out soon enough
Edge: Probably May

Rumoured Secret Alliance

MacKay: Condi Rice
May: Liberal Party of Canada
Edge: Nobody does it better than the Republicans - edge MacKay

David vs. Goliath

MacKay: Become Tory leader by beating David Orchard
May: Become Green leader by beating David Chernushenko
Edge: Chernushenko seems slightly more stable than Orchard so May gets the edge here

Recent Gaffes

MacKay: Confuses Halifax with Toronto at East Coast Music Awards
May: Decides to run in Central Nova
Edge: Toss-up

So, really, both candidates seem quite evenly matched. I'll take MacKay by a nose (which, in his case, could mean quite a large margin of victory...).

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  • There is a scenario that makes this an interesting fight. No doubt there will be a candidate for every stripe, but if both the Libs and the Dippers lay low in this town for the duration of the election, and McKay loses some support for his crazy behaviour, then we could see a result something like:
    Democracy, Trees and Lizzie: 36%
    Poochie Peter: 35%
    No name Lib: 15%
    No name Dipper: 14%

    By Blogger PolarDan, at 4:36 p.m.  

  • Heheh. Hilarious!

    polardan: No chance the Dippers lay low, zero, none at all.


    By Blogger lance, at 5:11 p.m.  

  • very funny!

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 5:27 p.m.  

  • Hehe, as someone originally from Central Nova, I loved your profile (and generally, all the attention the area is getting; no one usually cares about it because it's one of those "safe seats"). Anyway no way the NDP gets 14%. If they go below 20-25% I'll be fairly surprised. The NDP has some genuine strength there. Even though Alexis MacDonald is unlikely to run (unless she heavily pressured), the NDP will find some decent. 14% for the Liberals is certainly possible though, especially with a fairly good number of local Libs going for May and still others going to the NDP.

    I really don't see how MacKay loses with the centre-left split three ways. It's an even better situation for him than in 2006.

    By Blogger CanadianRyan, at 5:30 p.m.  

  • LOL !!
    May stands no chance.

    By Blogger PITT, at 6:06 p.m.  

  • It was a great funny post. Polardan, the NDP have come 2nd in this riding for the past 2 elections, so you are dreaming about 14% for the dips. And if the Marxist/lenanist didn't run a candidate, those voters wouldn't be going to May - as greens are conservative economically.

    By Blogger susansmith, at 6:48 p.m.  

  • Interesting analysis, and commentary by jan and demi.

    I was trying to think of a historical analogy to this race. The best and most timely I could come up with is the plight of Mario Dumond. Check out the voting history of his provincial riding, Rivière-du-Loup.

    1985 Quebec general election (won by Liberals – Bourassa)

    53.32 %
    Levesque,Denise M.(P.Q.) 42.82 %
    Tremblay,Marius(N.P.D.Q.) 3.24 %
    Sévigny,Evelyne (P.S.C.) 0.62 %

    1989 Quebec general election (won by Liberals – Bourassa)

    54.48 %
    LeBel,Harold (P.Q.) 42.05 %
    Malenfant,Pierre-Paul(PMLQ) 3.47 %

    1994 Quebec general election (won by PQ - Parizeau )

    54.77 %
    LeBel,Harold (P.Q.) 27.20 %
    D'Amour, Jean (P.L.Q.) 17.39 %
    Cimon, L. Richard (IND.) 0.41 %
    Pouliot, Armand (PLNQ) 0.23 %

    I wonder what Mario's tacticians and strategists would have advised him back in 1994, running against a two term incumbent, of the ruling party, and having won with over 50% of the vote both previous times. Obviously, Mario looked at things differently, both short and long term. Maybe we should look at this riding in a similar way.

    Interesting that CG picked this riding, the first of 308. I didn't follow Quebec politics back in 1994, but I do recall the amount of media coverage in english Canada that Mario's split from the Liberals caused. I'm sure within Quebec it was many times more what I was exposed to (perhaps to be repeated in NS?)

    Will history be repeated? Maybe.

    Keep blogging the subject- if only to move into top spot.

    If you search "Peter Mackay and Elizabeth May” on google, you still come up second :)

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 10:03 p.m.  

  • Oh yeah, forgot to mention - May's task pales in comparison to what mario faced in 1994.

    May has to increase votes only by only 2600%, which pales in comparison to Mario's task at that time (isn't 54.77% divided by zero infinity?)

    Dreaming to go from second to third? Jean D'Amour begs to differ.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 10:11 p.m.  

  • Ah just to point out Mysterious Green your scenario seems a bit flawed. Your own numbers indicate that the incumbant had retired and the PLQ was running a different candidate. Thus Dumont was facing a neophyte rather than an incumbent.

    By Blogger Chris, at 10:47 p.m.  

  • The wild card here is the NDP vote.

    Alexis McDonough was a strong candidate.

    Will she run again?

    If a weak NDP candidate and a weak Liberal run, this could get interesting.

    If you find the trigger, Mackay has a tendency to utter just the wrong thing at just the right time (bitch).

    At other times, it's like he spent the last half hour day-dreaming and someone woke him up to speak (East Coast Music awards).

    Add to that, he is the political champion of the province that just got royally shafted and things get interesting.

    A recent indication that may bear further observation is that a large fire hydrant has been "erected" in the riding that is proving very popular with dogs.

    My opinion?

    "Too Close to Call".

    But thanks for reading down this far.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:44 p.m.  

  • Yes, tough to get something completely analagous. You have to be a bit creative, or think outside of the norm.

    But heck, consider this.

    MacKay was first elected in 1996 in
    PICTOU--ANTIGONISH--GUYSBOROUGH (1996-2003), a new riding.

    He beat a twice elected incumbent Liberal, Francis G. Leblanc, then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Jean Chretien, who ran against him due to redistricting, I assume.

    The other riding that formed part of P-A-G, was Central Nova (1966-1996) held by a Liberal, Roseanne Stoke.

    Only in the last two elections in Central Nova have the NDP placed higher than the Liberals, perhaps due to the quality of their candidate, who I understand is not running again.

    With a weaker NDP candidate, and no star Lib, I think it is entirely within the realm of a May victory.

    The incumbent Liberal MacKay defeated in 1996 was no neophyte.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 11:47 p.m.  

  • Thanks to CG for his hard work.


    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:56 p.m.  

  • He beat a twice elected incumbent Liberal, Francis G. Leblanc, then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Jean Chretien, who ran against him due to redistricting, I assume.

    In 1993, all eleven NS seats went Liberal. Elmers' lad wasn't an incumbent in 1997.

    Leblanc beat Skoke for the nomination. That matchup, not Leblanc-Elmer's lad, was a result of redistribution (redistricting is the US term.)

    By Blogger WJM, at 11:57 p.m.  

  • "In 1993, all eleven NS seats went Liberal. Elmers' lad wasn't an incumbent in 1997."

    Yeah, I was refering to the person MacKay beat as the incumbent.

    I stand corrected on my political jargon thanks. Must be watching too much US tv (though it's odd to me that the local political association is called an EDA)

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 12:11 a.m.  

  • Only in the last two elections in Central Nova have the NDP placed higher than the Liberals, perhaps due to the quality of their candidate, who I understand is not running again.

    With a weaker NDP candidate, and no star Lib, I think it is entirely within the realm of a May victory.

    The NDP placed higher than the Liberals because they have gained support across the province, both in Halifax and, more recently, much of the rural mainland. In the last provincial election, the NDP won two of the five seats within the federal riding, and was within a few hundred votes of the winning Tory in another. The Liberals hold none of the seats.

    So, NDP support in Central Nova is no chimera, nor is it within the realm of possibility that May will win. She'll be starting from effectively nothing, and will need most of the riding's Liberal support and a good chunk of the NDP support. If she couldn't win in a by-election in urban Ontario with low turnout, she will not win in rural NS.

    I should add that while it's true that Nova Scotians are not unfamiliar with May, she is as well known for her flakey behaviour in the Sierra Club as anything else (such as going on a hunger strike to leave the longhorn beetle alone - must look after those invasive species, after all). Otherwise, she's lived in Ottawa mostly over the past two decades and has no roots in the riding. And the Green Party hasn't the slightest semblance of an organization in this province, *especially* in the rural areas.

    By Blogger JG, at 1:17 a.m.  

  • (such as going on a hunger strike to leave the longhorn beetle alone - must look after those invasive species, after all).

    Perhaps her hunger strike was inspired by Liberal Senator Jacques Hebert's similar effort to save Katimavik in 1983.

    I think hers was in 2001 to get the Jean Chretien Liberals to clean up the Sydney tar ponds, perhaps not such a flakey cause afterall.

    While you would know NS better than I, something to keep in mind with the London North Centre by-election.(I am quite familiar with this area)

    The campaign was essentially a two week effort. All of Ontario was undergoing civic elections for the first few weeks of the Fed by-election, so much of the media coverage was focused on Joe Fontana's run for mayor; and alderman, controller races etc.

    E May was a newly elected leader of a party that had extremely low awareness in London, and a parachute candidate to boot. For all intents and purposes, she was starting from scratch, with little advance notice when the by-election was called.

    Awarness of the Green Party, some green issues, and her success in that by-election since November has certainly been reflected in party polling, reaching historical highs of late.

    Whether that will translate into success in Central Nova remains to be seen. But if they get their stuff together, and get organized, who knows?

    I don't think it's that implausible.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 1:59 a.m.  

  • We could safely assume that Stephen Harper wants every seat he can get in the next election so that he can get a majority.

    For that reason alone, he would support Peter MacKay.

    But I'm guessing that if Peter lost, Stephen wouldn't be heartbroken.

    Peter has served his strategic purpose for Stephen with the voluntary unification of the PC and Alliance/Reform into the CPC.

    He can now contribute little more than the potential to embarrass the government on a regular basis.

    It will be interesting to see how strongly the party supports Peter.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 8:08 a.m.  

  • No predictions to offer - though I think anything is possible here, and that it could easily swing better for her than London - but this is one funny, funny post, CG. You took your funny pills yesterday morning.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:49 a.m.  

  • can't swing a dead cat in Antigonish & Guysborough counties without hitting a Macdonald or a MacDonald. The names Chisholm & Macdonald (either spelling) constitute about two-thirds the population. (Throw in the Camerons and that's everybody.) Lots of Ronalds, Donalds, DDs, Rodneys, Johns A, B, & C, etc... Not surprisingly, a lot of their offspring attend St. FX. That's how the locals figure out who's "From Away". Anyone with another name is obviously a university student or a professor.

    Class of '87

    By Blogger herringchoker, at 9:27 a.m.  

  • She just can't win. I'm probably sounding arrogant right now but take it from someone who lived there almost his entire life. She can't win. This is rural Nova Scotia. This is not a winnable seat for the Green party, even if it is the leader running. It isn't going to happen. I really dislike Peter MacKay and I want nothing more than for him to lose. But I understand that our best chance is with the NDP and May is ruining everything by running here. Stupid.

    By Blogger CanadianRyan, at 10:22 a.m.  

  • She just won't and can't win. Despite the green party having increased support, it will desolve on election day.

    Send your gossip to me !

    By Blogger PITT, at 12:53 p.m.  

  • May will finish 3rd - if she is lucky.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 5:24 p.m.  

  • Hey Riddler (?????) and all the other naysayers, check out today's column in the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
    Someone please remind Harper of ’97 election

    Someone please remind Harper of ’97 election


    REMEMBER THE Class of 1997 that Nova Scotia voters sent to Ottawa?
    So, why the history lesson?

    Because the deep roots that often attach provincial MLAs to their electorate, and certainly municipal politicians to their neighbourhood seats, seem to be a lot more fickle when it comes to federal politics. Close a coal mine, mess with EI benefits and cut the military, then see what the voters from this province have in store next time federal incumbents come knocking.

    It all happened here in 1997. And if Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t stop the bleeding soon, the potential lurks for a similar repudiation in Nova Scotia should an expected federal election come in the next few months.
    The foreign affairs minister needs to come up with something good. He surely did not ingratiate himself with Nova Scotians with his talk this week about "we" (Ottawa) and "them" (Nova Scotia). Methinks he forgot who elected him.
    It is MacKay who might be most at risk. If the talk is true that Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has agreed not to run a Liberal candidate in Central Nova in an effort to help Green party Leader Elizabeth May win the seat, MacKay could face a stiffer challenge in the next election than Casey and Keddy.

    The combined NDP-Liberal vote last time was about 24,000 votes, compared to MacKay’s win with 17,000 votes. Depending on how many of those voters May might be able to pull her way, and particularly how that Liberal vote could split, MacKay may have a fight on his hands.

    One way or the other, the high profile race will ensure that the MP from Central Nova will remain in the national spotlight in the months to come.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 5:27 p.m.  

  • The anonymous green, the problem is that the article assumes that the leftishness of the Green Party is the kind of leftist movement that understands poverty.

    Now, never mind that Harper has pumped money into ACOA, but Central Nova, if it does make a leftward lurch, isn't going to do so for a latte liberal Green Party.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 8:41 p.m.  

  • Well done!!

    I am still laughing.....

    By Blogger Mark Graham, at 9:35 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 10:39 p.m.  

  • Hoser,

    If this local reporter continues to dig, as her column suggests she will "in the months to come", she might find May could probably "understand poverty" better than most, based upon what I have read about her life in Cape Breton from her late teens, to mid to late twenties.

    If, as Tip O'Neill suggested: "All politics is local", I think she'd do well if the riding "lurches left".

    But, I'm not from there...

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 10:58 p.m.  

  • The anonymous green, the problem is that the article assumes that the leftishness of the Green Party is the kind of leftist movement that understands poverty.

    Now, never mind that Harper has pumped money into ACOA, but Central Nova, if it does make a leftward lurch, isn't going to do so for a latte liberal Green Party.

    More to the point, the Green Party isn't about to win offer unionist and/or populist NDP supporters. May is simply not the star she is made out to be - heck, if Marc Garneau or someone with the profile of Peter Kent couldn't win in 2006, nor will May whenever the next election occurs. She may have an idea of what poverty is like, but her solutions are hardly in touch with that segment of the population.

    By Blogger JG, at 2:48 a.m.  

  • This is a completely unrelated posting and it's April 1st so this could be a bad April fool's joke. If it's not an April Fool's joke, then I believe they should measure Jack Layton for a straitjacket.

    Layton says rise of ADQ is a sign Quebecers are prepared to vote NDP

    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!


    HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

    I'll be okay, seriously....

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 10:06 a.m.  

  • No Sean, that one was serious. He's such a bitter disappointment, that Jack.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 11:46 a.m.  

  • Hey Sean,

    Your link just goes to show how desperate Jack is for new ideas - he has to resort to stealing really bad spins.

    What Jack said Mar 30th:

    Layton told about 100 NDP supporters on Saturday that the rise of the ADQ was spurred by a rejection of the province's two "old" parties.

    "They wanted to see something new," he said of Quebec voters.

    From the Green Party news release Mar 27th, three days earlier:

    Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May said today that the provincial election in Quebec, in which the ADQ made a major breakthrough and the Greens had their best-ever result, is yet another sign that voters are hungry for real change.

    “The result in Quebec provides further evidence that Canadians from all regions and backgrounds are tired of the same old parties offering the same old choices,” said Ms. May. “Voters are now prepared to listen to new voices with new ideas, and they are liking what they hear.”

    Vive le Québec vert! Greens make big gains in provincial election

    A bit ironic, Jack suggesting he has new ideas, when even this one was stolen from another party.


    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 1:21 p.m.  

  • To paraphrase what they say so often on the CEEB...long time reader, first time commentor :)

    Before anything, thanks to CG for another great post, and for your fine blog.

    Firstly, I think that someone who grew up in Cape Breton- and if you doubt that EMay is a Cape Bretoner, just listen to her talk- won't have trouble being 'in touch' with segments of the population.
    I think this manifests itself in May being linked to the Antongonish movement, and in May's vocal support of the Green Party's Gauranteed Annual Income. Local solutions, personal dignitiy offered by someone who grew up with the problems.

    Secondly, I think that the very poor result for Nova Scotia is a clear indicator that the incumbent doesn't seem to be in touch with the riding! Sure that bar is set low, but Emay is jumping way higher than that :)

    In fact, in a random twist that only the Net can bring up, an Albertan anarchist has a great post about how well Emay's personal philosophy will fit in.

    I wonder what it must be like to be a politicoe in Central Nova, reading two good profiles written by Albertans on your home riding?


    By Blogger Kyle Bailey, at 6:34 p.m.  

  • Another BTW Bart

    RE: David vs. Goliath

    Mackay actually beat Jim Prentice to become leader of the federal PCs. Orcard was already off the ballot when he and Peter made their notorious deal.

    By Blogger herringchoker, at 11:33 p.m.  

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