Election in Canada this Spring

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Election in Canada this Spring

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was defeated in a non-confidence motion earlier today after being found in contempt of Parliament for failing to disclose the costs of various programs. Harper's Conservative Party have been in a minority government for about 5 years now after having thrown out the incumbent Liberal party over a corruption scandal.

From the CBC

Spoiler:
It's official — the government has fallen from power, clearing the way for a spring election.

The opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois came together Friday afternoon in a historic vote to say they no longer have confidence in the Conservative government.

After the vote, Speaker Peter Milliken addressed Stephen Harper as a member of Parliament rather than as prime minister when Harper rose to move the House adjourn. Conservative MPs left the House chamber quickly for a caucus meeting.

Harper later addressed reporters and said he would meet the Governor General on Saturday "to inform him of the situation and to take the only course of action that remains," referring to the disolution of Parliament and an immediate election campaign.

Harper began his remarks by saying that while Canada's economic recovery has been strong, the global economy is still fragile.

"The budget presented this week by the minister of finance, the next phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, is critically important," Harper said.

"There's nothing — nothing — in the budget that the opposition could not or should not have supported. Unfortunately Mr. Ignatieff and his coalition partners, the NDP and the Bloc, had already decided they wanted to force an election instead," Harper said. "The fourth election in seven years. An election Canadians clearly don't want."

"Thus the vote today that disappoints me, will, I expect, disappoint Canadians," Harper said.

He did not take questions.

Opposition leaders react

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff addressed reporters after Harper.

"We've seen an historic moment in our democracy ... a prime minister condemned by the chamber for contempt," Ignatieff said. "He's lost the confidence of the House of Commons."

"Over 36 days we'll present an appeal to Canadians who don't just want to restrain him but replace him," Ignatieff said in reference to the campaign.

Ignatieff was repeatedly pressed by reporters to state "yes" or "no" to the question of whether he would seek to form a coalition government in the event of another Conservative minority, but he would only say he was focused on presenting a Liberal alternative to the Conservatives.

"If you vote for the NDP, if you vote for the Bloc, if you vote for the Greens, you will get more of this," Ignatieff said, gesturing back to the House chamber. "More contempt for democracy, more neglect of the priorities of Canadian families."

NDP Leader Jack Layton portrayed his party as the alternative to the Conservatives.

"New Democrats will be all across the country taking on the Conservatives, and we'll show that we're the only party capable of defeating the Conservatives coast to coast to coast," Layton said.

"Ottawa is clearly broken and this election is going to be about how we're going to fix it," Layton added.

Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe said Harper "wanted an election and he got an election."
A historic vote

Only five other non-confidence votes have happened in Canada's history, according to information on the Library of Parliament website. This is the first time it has occurred because a majority of MPs voted that they believed the government was in contempt of Parliament.

Former Conservative — now Independent — MP Helena Guergis and independent MP André Arthur both voted against the Liberal motion. Liberal MP Keith Martin, who is not seeking re-election, was not in the House for the vote.

In the moments before the vote, many opposing MPs, including Harper and Ignatieff shook hands.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says the Conservative government had lost the confidence of the House of Commons, as he speaks in support of a motion to defeat the government Friday.Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says the Conservative government had lost the confidence of the House of Commons, as he speaks in support of a motion to defeat the government Friday. Adrian Wyld/Canadian PressIgnatieff had kicked off debate earlier Friday, urging MPs to defeat the government.

"A government that breaks the rules and conceals the facts from the Canadian people does not deserve to remain in office," he said.

The motion said the House agrees with a Commons committee report tabled earlier this week that found the government in contempt of Parliament, "which is unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary history, and consequently the House has lost confidence in the Government."

Speaking for the Tories, Government House Leader John Baird said the opposition is ending the work of a Parliament that's gotten a lot done recently.

"The Liberal members over there claimed to have found that the government has done something wrong," Baird said. "What they aren't telling Canadians is that this was an opposition-stacked committee who used the tyranny of the majority to get the predetermined outcome they wanted."

Earlier this week, the procedure and House affairs committee tabled a report that said the government is in contempt of parliament for refusing to supply enough information on the cost of the F-35 fighter jets, their justice system reforms and their projections for corporate profits and tax rates.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Antimony-120 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:38 pm UTC

I actually almost forgot this was the day it was official. It's been known for some time, what with the ads and all.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:58 pm UTC

Unfortunately, my country doesn't want me to vote, since they've not presented me with a worthy candidate. Fudge.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Antimony-120 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:18 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Unfortunately, my country doesn't want me to vote, since they've not presented me with a worthy candidate. Fudge.


What? You don't like Beady Eyes McWeasal, Proffessor Harvard, and Moustachio of the moustache party?

I do wish the best speaker of the bunch, the one who seems most passionate and articulate, wasn't from the Bloc.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:12 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Unfortunately, my country doesn't want me to vote, since they've not presented me with a worthy candidate. Fudge.


Unfortunately, not voting means that one is fine with the status quo and is therefore indirectly voting for the Conservative Party. Or so I've been told.

Although it can be difficult when their isn't an interesting Candidate. The best I could do would be to see which party's policies most agree with mine and vote based off of that.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:47 pm UTC

A friend's comment when posting a news article on facebook about sums it up - the Conservatives could run a fencepost as candidate here and still win by a huge margin. I might see if anyone is giving out candy or something and vote for them.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Antimony-120 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:04 am UTC

PhoenixEnigma wrote:A friend's comment when posting a news article on facebook about sums it up - the Conservatives could run a fencepost as candidate here and still win by a huge margin. I might see if anyone is giving out candy or something and vote for them.


Depends on which riding. In Buttfuck nowhere Alberta? Damn straight. In Montreal? Lot less likely.

In actuallity I've seen people calling it from a Conservative Majority to a Liberal Majority to a NDP-Liberal coallition.

Personally I suspect it will be a Conservative minority of slightly lessened numbers. I'll admit I'm hoping for a Liberal minority.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Radical_Initiator » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:43 am UTC

PhoenixEnigma wrote:A friend's comment when posting a news article on facebook about sums it up - the Conservatives could run a fencepost as candidate here and still win by a huge margin. I might see if anyone is giving out candy or something and vote for them.


I thought Harper was a fencepost?
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby poxic » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:13 am UTC

A particularly uncharismatic fencepost.

I feel I have to vote Liberal* to keep Harper from getting a majority. I do NOT want someone fully in charge here who thinks Bush Jr. had it right. >.<


* Federal Liberal, an important distinction in BC where the right-wing party call themselves The Liberals. :evil:
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Vieto » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:06 am UTC

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I'm debating about who to vote for, considering this is my first actual election, after all.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:09 am UTC

poxic wrote:A particularly uncharismatic fencepost.

I feel I have to vote Liberal* to keep Harper from getting a majority. I do NOT want someone fully in charge here who thinks Bush Jr. had it right. >.<


* Federal Liberal, an important distinction in BC where the right-wing party call themselves The Liberals. :evil:


I believe this is called 'strategic voting' where you vote less because you agree with one candidate's policies and more because you want to keep a candidate out. From the way it was explained to me, this is something that shouldn't be happening, yet still occurs due to the nature of Canada's electoral system.

In any case, this will be my first Federal Election, so I want to try and vote for my selected party carefully.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby hanecter » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:37 am UTC

That's very common in the US as well. I don't know how many times I've heard "I don't really like the Republican candidate, but I'll vote for him because I like the Democratic candidate less." Or vice versa, of course.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:40 am UTC

hanecter wrote:That's very common in the US as well. I don't know how many times I've heard "I don't really like the Republican candidate, but I'll vote for him because I like the Democratic candidate less." Or vice versa, of course.


This is not how Democracy is supposed to work. Is there any way of dealing with this?
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby LtNOWIS » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:54 am UTC

See the "alternate voting systems" thread in Serious Business. Personally, anything beyond a 2-round runoff system, or perhaps Instant Runoff Voting, is too complex for most people to understand IMHO.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:57 am UTC

Thank you. I'll need to check this out when I am not experiencing a period of being unnerved by the internet and am not tired out of my mind.

In any case, I expect the attack ads to begin any day now.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby ginadagny » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:43 am UTC

poxic wrote:A particularly uncharismatic fencepost.

I feel I have to vote Liberal* to keep Harper from getting a majority. I do NOT want someone fully in charge here who thinks Bush Jr. had it right. >.<


* Federal Liberal, an important distinction in BC where the right-wing party call themselves The Liberals. :evil:


Image

Iggy's holding you to that.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby poxic » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:53 am UTC

Technically, I'm voting for Hedy Fry, who's not a distressingly bad human being. The fact that Iggy* gets in if enough of his minions do should bring nothing to bear on that, but, yeah.


*
Spoiler:
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Diadem » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

poxic wrote:* Federal Liberal, an important distinction in BC where the right-wing party call themselves The Liberals. :evil:

Wow, a farpondian party that gets the terminology right. O happy days! :)
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby firechicago » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:17 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I believe this is called 'strategic voting' where you vote less because you agree with one candidate's policies and more because you want to keep a candidate out. From the way it was explained to me, this is something that shouldn't be happening, yet still occurs due to the nature of Canada's electoral system.

This isn't technically strategic voting, because you're still voting for the candidate you prefer. Strategic voting is when you vote for a candidate that is not your preferred candidate in order to have a greater chance of affecting the outcome.

So if A and B are running and you hate both of them, but you vote for A because you hate A slightly less, that's not strategic voting, it's just voting for the candidate you prefer. But if there's also a candidate C in the race, who you love, but who doesn't have a chance of winning, and you still choose to vote for A (because C can't win, whereas a vote for A might make a difference) then you're voting strategically.

Of course this has the result of artificially depressing C's vote count, which makes C look like even more of a no-hoper. This sort of vicious spiral is one of the main reasons many people consider the likelihood of strategic voting to be a negative in a voting system.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:38 pm UTC

Thank you for correcting me on that. I thoughT I was missing something.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Negated » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:05 am UTC

I am thinking about Green Party as well, even though I have not heard of any news about them for a long, long time. It seems to me they have not progressed to make themselves known and present themselves as credible alternative to the other 3 (or 4 if you live in Quebec) larger parties. Perhaps they just need the breakout seat to make something happen.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby hidden » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:24 am UTC

Harper: you said coalition
Ignatieff: no you said coalition
Harper: no you said it
Ignatieff: No you said it
Harper: no to the infinity.. i win!!!

... and we wonder why people watch jersey shore and other such quality television :roll:

Honestly, 4 elections in 7 years is ridiculous, a big fat waste of money. 2008 had the worst voter turn out in the history of elections
We've come out fairly solvent after the recession, the current budget (if it can be trusted) projected a surplus sometime before 2020, why oh why is it so difficult for our country leaders stop acting like a bunch of 12 year old girls for a brief second and put our country first for once, instead of their massive egos.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby LtNOWIS » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:27 am UTC

There is something comforting about the regular two year cycle of elections in the American system. Every two years in November we get to vote for Congress, and every 4 years for president, since the 1790s into the indefinite future, like clockwork.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:31 am UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:There is something comforting about the regular two year cycle of elections in the American system. Every two years in November we get to vote for Congress, and every 4 years for president, since the 1790s into the indefinite future, like clockwork.


One of the flaws of this system, however, is that the government shuts down once every two years or so as everyone drops what they're doing and focuses on the election. Say what you will about a random election time, but not knowing when one is going to occur really helps to prevent that slowdown from occurring.

At all.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Chen » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:45 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:One of the flaws of this system, however, is that the government shuts down once every two years or so as everyone drops what they're doing and focuses on the election. Say what you will about a random election time, but not knowing when one is going to occur really helps to prevent that slowdown from occurring.

At all.


Also elections here in Canada are at least fairly quickly done with. I mean its the end of March and the elections are the at beginning of May. I just remember the last US elections being absurdly long, or at least all the news reports about them.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby mike-l » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:44 pm UTC

hidden wrote:Honestly, 4 elections in 7 years is ridiculous, a big fat waste of money. 2008 had the worst voter turn out in the history of elections
We've come out fairly solvent after the recession, the current budget (if it can be trusted) projected a surplus sometime before 2020, why oh why is it so difficult for our country leaders stop acting like a bunch of 12 year old girls for a brief second and put our country first for once, instead of their massive egos.


As much as I agree that we're having elections far too frequently, for the 2nd time in our history an MP was given a citation for contempt of parliament, and for the first time, the entire cabinet was. It's up to the voters whether this matters to us, but I think it's definitely grounds for an election. (6 citations for contempt have been issued, 2 of them were to appointed positions, 1 was to a citizen who refused to testify to the house)

As far as voting systems and strategic voting go, I think it's pretty silly to have a 4+ party system without having instant runoff, but that's just me.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:06 pm UTC

LtNOWIS wrote:See the "alternate voting systems" thread in Serious Business. Personally, anything beyond a 2-round runoff system, or perhaps Instant Runoff Voting, is too complex for most people to understand IMHO.

That is a problem, why? If we combine ranked voting with STV runoffs, we can have elections that take only one ballot and do not require a separate runoff election if there is no clear leader. Then again, my voting jurisdiction is the US and we have the Electoral College, which is another problem for another thread.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Jessica » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:46 pm UTC

The previous elections may not have been warranted, but this one is. For one, it was going to happen before they were found in contempt (really, Harper was running political ads in January... he knew there was an election coming whether someone else forced him or he did it), and we really need a chance to choose other people in parliament. The shit that the conservatives have been doing...

But of course, Harper being the slimy weasel that he is, he'll blame the opposition for what he did and probably come out on top, because of voter apathy and anger at having to do their constitutional duty.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby mike-l » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:55 pm UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:
LtNOWIS wrote:See the "alternate voting systems" thread in Serious Business. Personally, anything beyond a 2-round runoff system, or perhaps Instant Runoff Voting, is too complex for most people to understand IMHO.

That is a problem, why? If we combine ranked voting with STV runoffs, we can have elections that take only one ballot and do not require a separate runoff election if there is no clear leader. Then again, my voting jurisdiction is the US and we have the Electoral College, which is another problem for another thread.

It's important for the average voter to be able to understand the outcome, as well as the procedure. You could use the Schulze method, which seems to me to be the best technical alternative to a simple positional voting system (of which we use a very basic one), but the actual computation is complex enough that most people's eyes will roll over trying to follow it. Plurality has its issues (and many if you ask me), but at least it's clear to the population what happened in any given election (except for maybe in Florida)

Also keep in mind, any voting system has flaws.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby hanecter » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:One of the flaws of this system, however, is that the government shuts down once every two years or so as everyone drops what they're doing and focuses on the election. Say what you will about a random election time, but not knowing when one is going to occur really helps to prevent that slowdown from occurring.

At all.


Also elections here in Canada are at least fairly quickly done with. I mean its the end of March and the elections are the at beginning of May. I just remember the last US elections being absurdly long, or at least all the news reports about them.

Yeah. The first official candidate just filled out his paperwork in the last week or so, I believe. The elections aren't until November 2012. It's messed up.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Dauric » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

hanecter wrote:
Chen wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:One of the flaws of this system, however, is that the government shuts down once every two years or so as everyone drops what they're doing and focuses on the election. Say what you will about a random election time, but not knowing when one is going to occur really helps to prevent that slowdown from occurring.

At all.


Also elections here in Canada are at least fairly quickly done with. I mean its the end of March and the elections are the at beginning of May. I just remember the last US elections being absurdly long, or at least all the news reports about them.

Yeah. The first official candidate just filled out his paperwork in the last week or so, I believe. The elections aren't until November 2012. It's messed up.


It's not that the actual election process is long, it's that there's no (meaningful) restrictions on the campaigning process. Everyone wants to be a "household name" by the time of the elections, so they all start their paperwork as early as they can to get their federal assistance money for their campaigns, and then they start the advertising blitz. Even before the advertising begins though there's massive time and effort spent in various flavors of fundraisers for their next campaign.

Of course as much as the public would love to have some kind of reform that would prevent these @$$holes from eating our airwaves every two of four years (unless your district has a mid-term election, then you get non-stop coverage), it's these self-same douchebags that would have to reform the system.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby hanecter » Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

The two parties are so ingrained into the politics of the country, I'd consider their primaries to be part of the election process. In that case, the Iowa caucus (where essentially the voters of each party in Iowa vote on who to nominate for the presidential election) is on February 6th of next year. The presidential election is November 6th. That's 9 months...ridiculous.

And yeah, Dauric, I agree. Reform is not likely because it has to come from the asshats who benefit from the current system.

I don't want to hijack this thread, but would the Canadiens be okay with me asking a few questions about your elections?

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:14 pm UTC

hanecter wrote:I don't want to hijack this thread, but would the Canadiens be okay with me asking a few questions about your elections?
Go for it, sounds pretty on topic to me.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:53 pm UTC

Thought I'd just give some my general analysis on where things stand to get things rolling a bit.

I think this election is really going to come down to a referendum on Michael Ignatieff. Harper is pretty solid in his position--people pretty much know what to expect from him, and his base probably isn't going to budge in the near-future unless he makes a really, really, horrible mistake. I add that barring such a mistake, it's fairly likely we'll return with another Harper minority, since Harper is unlikely to slide below ~30% in the polls. Whether or not he gets a majority, though, probably has less to do with what he personally does, and more about how well the Liberals are able to perform. Harper has already weathered a number of scandals and hasn't seen any sizable decline, although it's also possible that people really don't care about what's going on outside of election time. There are certainly enough things that have happened that people have pretty good reasons not to vote for him if there was a better alternative. Harper's platform will probably be similarly modest to 2008 (it's suggested that, for practical purposes, his platform will be the budget).

Ignatieff is still fairly unknown. He's had the misfortune to let the Conservatives largely dictate the narrative on him for a long time, so he's got a ways to go, and so far we haven't seen much different from him since the election started. It will be interesting to see if he's able to propose anything sufficiently visionary to be able to really distinguish himself from the Conservatives, and yet still sufficiently robust that he won't get demolished like his predecessor was. A win for Ignatieff would be getting to the point where his seats combined with the NDP would form a majority. He's not in the position to hope for better, but if he does manage this, then he could actually become Prime Minister with a coalition case-by-case cooperative union with the NDP. While I think it's possible that Ignatieff could squeeze out a minority, it's not currently in the realm of possibility.

Layton is in many respects in the same position as Ignatieff, except that he's fairly well-liked and well-known. He's trying to pick up as many seats as he can to bolster his position for a coalition case-by-case cooperative union with the Liberals. The danger will be if the NDP/Liberals end up on the losing side of a lot of splits with the Conservatives. The NDP is unlikely to steal voters from the Conservatives, so Layton has the potential to help elect Harper if he does too much damage to Ignatieff. Given his health, I think this is probably Layton's last election.

Duceppe just has to maintain his position. He doesn't really have any particular need to do anything really dramatic this election.

As for Elizabeth May... at this point, a vote for Green is effectively a vote for Conservative. She might have a shot at winning Saanich/Gulf Islands, but probably shouldn't put much effort into even campaigning in any other ridings. Environmentally conscious people are probably better off voting strategically for NDP/Liberal.

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:21 pm UTC

Total Contributions to each Federal party in Canada in the last half of 2010:

CPC: 4,123,785.33 + 5,230,303.65 = 9,354,088.98
GPC: 248,855.68 + 537,039.75 = 785,895.43
BQ: 71,989.31 + 348,099.49 = 420,088.8
LPC: 1,610,610.10 + 2,186,777.12 = 3,797,387.22
NDP: 711,958.37 + 1,660,427.13 = 2,372,385.5

(Sum of last two quarters).

In case you are wondering why the CPC is dictating the dialog, it is at least partly because they have a larger budget than every other political party combined. The CPC goes over well with people willing to donate ~1000$.
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby mike-l » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Harper is pretty solid in his position--people pretty much know what to expect from him, and his base probably isn't going to budge in the near-future unless he makes a really, really, horrible mistake. I add that barring such a mistake, it's fairly likely we'll return with another Harper minority, since Harper is unlikely to slide below ~30% in the polls. Whether or not he gets a majority, though, probably has less to do with what he personally does, and more about how well the Liberals are able to perform. Harper has already weathered a number of scandals and hasn't seen any sizable decline, although it's also possible that people really don't care about what's going on outside of election time. There are certainly enough things that have happened that people have pretty good reasons not to vote for him if there was a better alternative


This is what I don't get. I feel like the Chretien-Dion government pretty much got toppled due to the sponsorship scandal. Why is there not a swing back the other way in the face of recent happenings?
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:55 pm UTC

Quebec cared about adscam, as it occurred in Quebec (and its justification was paternal towards Quebec), and Liberals relied on Quebec for their majority?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby Jessica » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Harper is pretty solid in his position--people pretty much know what to expect from him, and his base probably isn't going to budge in the near-future unless he makes a really, really, horrible mistake. I add that barring such a mistake, it's fairly likely we'll return with another Harper minority, since Harper is unlikely to slide below ~30% in the polls. Whether or not he gets a majority, though, probably has less to do with what he personally does, and more about how well the Liberals are able to perform. Harper has already weathered a number of scandals and hasn't seen any sizable decline, although it's also possible that people really don't care about what's going on outside of election time. There are certainly enough things that have happened that people have pretty good reasons not to vote for him if there was a better alternative
This is what I don't get. I feel like the Chretien-Martin government pretty much got toppled due to the sponsorship scandal. Why is there not a swing back the other way in the face of recent happenings?
Spin. Also, Dion was never Prime minister, Paul Martin was. So, I think it would be more accurate to say the chretien-martin, over Chretien-Dion
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Re: Election in Canada this Spring

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Harper is pretty solid in his position--people pretty much know what to expect from him, and his base probably isn't going to budge in the near-future unless he makes a really, really, horrible mistake. I add that barring such a mistake, it's fairly likely we'll return with another Harper minority, since Harper is unlikely to slide below ~30% in the polls. Whether or not he gets a majority, though, probably has less to do with what he personally does, and more about how well the Liberals are able to perform. Harper has already weathered a number of scandals and hasn't seen any sizable decline, although it's also possible that people really don't care about what's going on outside of election time. There are certainly enough things that have happened that people have pretty good reasons not to vote for him if there was a better alternative


This is what I don't get. I feel like the Chretien-Dion government pretty much got toppled due to the sponsorship scandal. Why is there not a swing back the other way in the face of recent happenings?


I think the toppling of the Martin government had more to do with the uniting of the right wing parties than with the sponsorship scandal, to be honest. Chretien's popular votes were 41.2%, 38.5%, 40.9%, in '93, '97, and '00; Martin picked up 36.7% in '04, after the sponsorship scandal broke--only a 5% loss over the previous election, and Chretien had won a comfortable majority with less than 2% more (he lost another 5% in 2006, mostly to the NDP). Mulroney's coalition, at 50% in '84 and 43% in '88 fractured into the PCs, Reform and the Bloc. Both Reform and PCs both polled between 15-20% in the Chretien years, but the PCs lost most of the splits because Reform was more concentrated in the West. After the merger, the Conservatives have now almost recovered the total vote share of the Reform + PCs, and have a similar seat distribution. The Progressive Conservatives polled 30% or higher since '53 up until the split, and if we count the PC + Reform together during the Chretien years, have polled >30% in every election since the 50s. Compared to previous scandals in the Conservative party, what Harper has seen is pretty mild, and his base is untouched. The difference is that it used to be that 30% would put you in opposition; now 30% puts you in government.

Interestingly, the swing voters seem to mostly be about 10% who move between the Liberals and NDP, and the 10% who are currently parked with the Bloc.


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