Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The sleeper scenario, that no one predicted, which avoids weeks of second guessing and nauseating over analysis. Prior to the by-elections, I wrote a post Ignatieff's Outremont, basically a realization that there was risk of a leadership crisis repeat, if we didn't appreciate the stakes and act accordingly. In the final analysis, Ignatieff's attention, the "all hands on deck" approach in both ridings, made a difference and offered a clear rebuke to the nonsensical naysayers who said "why bother?". Last night the Liberals showed some Grit, of that there is no question.

This was my sleeper scenario, primarily because it destroyed all the pre-election narratives that were establishing themselves. A Liberal win in Vaughan seemed an uphill battle, as did one in an NDP stronghold. From what I was able to gleam, we had the momentum in Winnipeg North in recent days, there was a buzz in the air, people cautious but upbeat. Ignatieff sent in the troops, organizers and outside help augmented a strong ground game. We had a well know candidate, but as the NDP pointed out yesterday, the overlap only amounted to 1/4 of the riding, something which makes the victory that much more impressive. Name recognition, with a work until the last minute attitude (the amount of MP's on hand last night in Winnipeg a testament) congealed into a surprising victory, which turned the punditry on its head and rendered all pre-conceptions obsolete. The kind of result which makes politics what is, and thank goodness.

The Liberals lost Vaughan, there is one more Conservative MP today than there was yesterday, but the pure facts aside, it feels like a moral victory of sorts. All the doom and gloom prognostications, of which I admit I began to believe, it seemed the stage was set for much hand wringing. As it turns out, Fantino squeaked out a slight victory, the gap less than 1000 voters, something no one predicted. A bit of a slap in the face to the peekaboo campaign style, clearly some were turned off by the entitlement flavour of the Fantino campaign. On the name recognition front, Fantino is as high profile as they come, even Don Cherry comes calling for added emphasis. I think this result was closer than expected because the Liberals didn't give up, GOTV was impressive, people worked their asses off, the leadership included. Again, had Ignatieff listened to some of the Liberal "insiders" and other snake oil salesman, we would have downplayed, kept people away and we probably would have lost by a much bigger margin. There is a lesson here for everyone- dubious sources are just that and definitive statements fail to understand historical precedents. By-elections, by their nature are unpredictable and bring surprises. You have to applaud the Liberals for effort, it made a difference in the end.

The NDP are the big losers last night, no question. For a fourth place party, anytime they lose a seat, it's a setback. The Conservatives can claim victory, simple math their ally. For the Liberals, we lost one, gained one, but when you factor in the predictions, the lead up, the general consensus, the EXPECTATIONS game, feels like a winner from here. Grit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NDP's Winnipeg North Candidate Donated To Federal Liberals?

The Winnipeg North bi-election looks to be a tight battle between the NDP and Liberals. Interesting that, when it comes to the wallet, the NDP candidate Kevin Chief would seem to prefer the federal Liberals, or at least the Winnipeg Center Federal Liberal Riding Association:

There doesn't appear to be any donations to the NDP coffers, just these two donations to the Liberals. Note the date, just a couple weeks after the last federal election, which begs the question- did Kevin Chief vote Liberal in the last election? A bit odd to say the least...


Pundits Guide has an NDP response.


There seems some confusion about Lloyd Axworthy and endorsements. Maybe a quick refresher is in order:

October 1, 2010
Kevin Lamoureux demands apology from NDP candidate for misleading voters

WINNIPEG – Winnipeg North Liberal candidate Kevin Lamoureux today demanded an apology from NDP candidate Kevin Chief for blatantly misleading the people of Winnipeg North by falsely portraying a statement from former Liberal MP Lloyd Axworthy as an endorsement in a campaign brochure circulated throughout the riding.

“Mr. Chief should be ashamed for creating the false impression in Winnipeg North that he has the support of former Liberal MP Lloyd Axworthy,” said Mr. Lamoureux. “This is the lowest form of politics, and if the NDP think they can get away with fooling voters through this kind of deceit and trickery, they’re dead wrong.”

The brochure prominently features Dr. Axworthy and is clearly styled to appear as a political endorsement. Dr. Axworthy has said that, given his position at the University of Winnipeg, it would be inappropriate for him to endorse any political candidate. Dr. Axworthy did not give his permission for his photo or comment to be used as an endorsement.

“If Mr. Chief has any honour, he will do the right thing by retracting this false endorsement and apologize immediately,” said Mr. Lamoureux. “The people of Winnipeg North should be able to expect any individual seeking to represent them to act honestly and in good faith, and this deliberate attempt to mislead them shows a lack of respect and judgment from Mr. Chief.”

A federal by-election is expected to be called soon in Winnipeg North, to elect a new MP to fill the seat vacated by former MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis who stepped down to run for mayor of Winnipeg.

“I had hoped that Mr. Chief and the NDP would run a clean and fair campaign focussed on the issues, but after bringing this breach to his campaign’s attention, I am deeply disappointed by the continued circulation of this flyer and the dishonourable conduct this shows before the by-election has even started,” concluded. Mr. Lamoureux.


The Lamoureux campaign has put out an open letter:
With the federal by-election campaign entering the home stretch, I am appealing directly to you and your party to stop the dirty tricks and clean up your campaign.

Critiquing the policies of other candidates is fair game, but I’m disappointed that you have sunk to misleading and personal attacks.

With only a few days left in this election, your campaign has distributed official literature that mentions nothing about the issues in Winnipeg North, but instead attacks the Leader of Liberal Party – a man who has visited Winnipeg North four times since July, participated in two town
halls and understands the needs of our community.

Before the election, you sent out literature which gave the false impression that former Liberal MP Lloyd Axworthy endorsed you.

My eighteen years in politics have taught me that Winnipeggers don’t appreciate dirty tricks. They want an honest representative with a record of community-based solutions who can deliver results

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fantino Releases Cure For Insomnia

Julian Fantino will once again avoid the voters of Vaughan tonight, failing to appear at an ALL candidates debate. Honestly and truly, what a gutless campaign this guy is running, surprised he isn't wearing a cone around his head to keep him from licking the incision. Anyways, to be fair, while Fantino is afraid of the voters he wants to represent, his campaign has been kind enough to make a valuable contribution in the fight against insomnia:

Good grief.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Right Decision

It would appear the Liberals are moving towards the only reasonable option, a full debate on an Afghanistan mission extension:
Ignatieff open to vote on Afghan training work

Michael Ignatieff says he's willing to go along with the idea of a vote in the Commons on Canada's decision to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014.

I had a discussion with a very prominent and passionate supporter of extending the Afghan mission. I won't reveal that person's name, but there was some concern that people weren't being fair to Rae's courageous decision. My argument, the process, the lack of full debate before our representative body is siphoning off many people who would otherwise be supportive of this type of mission extension. The problem- this notion of bypassing Parliament has created other issues surrounding our democracy, the idea of backroom deals, a bunch of self inflicted nonsense that doesn't need to be part of a serious debate. Remove the irritant, and one can expect more support for the idea. I would argue many Liberals expressing concern aren't undermining the idea of extension, just the process by which it is coming to be, a very big distinction.

I still have a problem with the idea of Liberals coming to this vote conclusion late and in reaction to criticism, but how we get there is secondary to actually bringing this extension to a more formal public debate. I would add however, we've seen once again that you can't do an end around and not expect blow back, any attempt to avoid Liberal divisions has only exasperated them.

Now that Ignatieff, and others, have signalled a vote would be amenable, we can move on to the actual substance of the new mandate. In that regard, I fully support a training mission, that's been our policy and it's a sound, reasonable response to a trying situation. No matter your personal view of how we got there, whether we should have gone in the first place, the fact remains we did go, we are there and "dates" are arbitrary realities that don't do justice to the ongoing process, whether it be training, development, nation building, etc. Canada has invested much, so the idea of fully retreating seems intellectually immature- not only isn't it practical but it isn't morally irresponsible in IMHO. Canada also has an obligation to it's partners, so if we can find a way to offer support, while respecting domestic concerns, it's a satisfactory compromise.

The Liberals are very much a big tent on this issue. I simply don't fear dissent, and I'd argue that the path to avoid open debate actually risked creating worse divisions. Let's have the debate, supporters of the mission need not worry, the numbers are there, even if some in our party are squimish or against. Let all views be heard and put it to a vote. Ignatieff is expressing the only real option, as I argued earlier, it really is vote or bust, anything less, met with a stench that will cloud the legitimacy of this mission- it's as simple as that.

Democracy is messy and protracted. Supporters might not like the disjointed path, but it's a necessary part of the equation, which we can't sacrifice, just because one take a particular view. If the Liberals have truly taken the voting option off the table, then it eliminates chief hesitations, allowing many of us to support this extension purely on the grounds, rather than the process distractions. It's the right decision.


It's been hard to get details about the Afghan detainee document working group's progress. I've been a big critic of the "deal", but today we finally have something substantive. Here's the group in action:

Looks about right.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where's Waldino?

The now fully established standard operation procedure for Conservative candidates is really quite disturbing, maybe moreso because they seem to pull it off with little recourse. The latest installment, tough guy Julian Fantino afraid of voters armed with questions, some maybe loaded even:
Fantino’s camp has cleared things up: Mr. Fantino will attend the Rogers debate (to be aired Nov. 23, but prerecorded). On Nov. 23, though, he has a family commitment to attend to that evening and cannot attend the Citizen’s debate. Stephen Lecce from Fantino’s campaign says they weren’t given any options for debate dates.

Of note, Fantino's camp was offered Nov 16 for the same debate, but also declined that date, so this excuse of no options is categorically false. Fantino has agreed to the Rogers debate, which just so happens to NOT include an audience, unscripted questions, media and is moderated by a former Harris cabinet minister.

It's just pathetic, the way these Conservative candidates do the bare minimum, in terms of exposure. We've seen the same in Winnipeg North, and the examples are endless during previous bi-elections and/or general elections. What are they afraid of? Are these Conservative candidates so inept and incompetent that they can't face the voters? Every party thinks they have the solutions, everyone has a point of view, an audience, so to actually fear exposure and dialogue, it's just an affront to the pure notion of grassroots democracy.

I keep ending up in the same place these days. Astounded on one level, then resigned, because the Conservatives DO get away with this endless crap. Fantino should be drawing the rage of voters for this peekaboo style of campaign he is running. And yet....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Julie Javier Mania Sweeps Winnipeg North

If you visit Conservative candidate Julie Javier's website, you find pictures of Jason Kenney's recent visit to the riding, to boost her bi-election bid in Winnipeg North. A few tight shots that denote a pleasant visit from a high profile Conservative Minister. However, those pictures don't quite give the visit the justice it deserves. I found another photo- which I might forward to Jane Taber- illustrating the massive momentum enjoyed by the Javier campaign, not to mention what a terrific draw Jason Kenney can be:

I can't confirm if the fire department was called, but you do the math.


I just can't get my head around the slew of columns, praising the "bi-partisan", "above politics" result on the Afghan file. There seems the most serious error in logic, as well as a fundamental betrayal of the word "bi-partisan".

Both the Conservatives and several Liberals are saying that the government of the day doesn't need Parliamentary approval to extend this mission, so long as it is not military in nature. If you take this defence for the lack of a formal debate and vote, then you have effectively neutered this notion of politicians from both sides putting aside partisanship and working in "bi-partisan" fashion. If the government doesn't need Parliament's approval, then why the hell do they need to get the Liberals on board?? If the government is well within its mandate, as argued by Liberals themselves, then there is no need to cobble together a multi-party approval, right? All these accolades, people rising above the fray, is pure bull, because there is no "bi-partisan" effort.

I'm arguing a fine line here, because I don't approve of the leaks, at least those that name names. However, what is clear and NOT surprising, the Liberals are anything but "bi-partisan" on this issue. In fact, it would appear the Liberals are horribly divided on this Afghan issue, so to claim that we have some real mutual agreement only stands if you toss out democracy, and instead focus on what amounts to a few people coming to a meeting of the minds. "Bi-partisan" is a complete and utter mirage, and it's sad that people praise this horribly flawed description.

I can understand why this issue is blowing up in the Liberals face, because it looks like MP's weren't consulted, at least not in a way our DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED representatives deserve. The after the fact "oh by the way" flavour to this whole story is disturbing. Once again, we see evidence of a top down approach, which snubs core tenets.

There is something anti-democratic, backroom, end around, to this whole affair. No matter the rationalizations, the stench is there and it is very, very real. It has become even more bizarre now, that we have people lauding this process and bastardizing the word "bi-partisan". Frankly, it's a joke at this point to say the Liberals support this Afghanistan extension. As a matter of fact, it looks like most Liberal MP's don't, which explains the detour tactics employed (I actually do, in general, but that is completely irrelevant to the notion of democratic accountability). Just don't insult everyone with these nonsensical characterizations, and misguided praise that fails basic logic.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I think we can all agree, partisanship aside, there is nothing worse than a RAT. The Liberals have been plagued by anonymous sources, "senior" Liberals, and they've done harm to the party over the years. Sometimes people should step forward and challenge, I have no qualms with this type of "dissent". However, this column by Jane Taber represents the ultimate betrayal. To actually name individual MP's who expressed an opinion, inside a closed door meeting, is just pure and utter crap:
Several Liberals, including Toronto MPs Rob Oliphant and Gerard Kennedy, spoke about their displeasure with the way in which the decision was handled, the source said. At least one Quebec MP also spoke out against the process.

Another MP told The Globe he came to the Liberal Party to “have a voice,” adding that he was “very, very displeased with how this was handled.” Many MPs first heard about the Liberal position in the media.

“They were furious,” the caucus insider said. “The general consensus ... was that Harper has pulled the rug out from underneath Michael and that Michael should have been prepared.”

The source noted, however, that Mr. Oliphant did say that at the end of the day he supported the leader, but he believes the Liberal position could be a “tough sell” for him in his riding.

You know what's funny? I agree with everything in the piece, the way the Liberal brass has handled this Afghan file is ridiculous. If I was an MP, I'd be furious too, the lack of consultation simply insulting. I'm proud that Kennedy rose up and questioned this process, good on ya Gerard! However, I shouldn't know what Kennedy said behind closed doors, during a private meeting, wherein MP's should have the freedom to speak their minds. That a fellow MP would leave this meeting and run to Jane Taber, well, I'd move heaven and earth to find out who and TURF them from caucus immediately.

We know have a situation where MP's can't even debate, without the fear of the RAT outing their concerns by NAME. What a coward, what a cad, what a low life, that doesn't deserve to be part of any "team", or any party I want to associate with. Again, no matter your affiliation, we should all decry this betrayal. A general comment on a raucus meeting, I have no problem with, but to out these MP's....wow.



Wow, everyone just running to the press with names. Sheesh.


Biggest Frauds In Canadian History

Never before, have we seen a gang take office and so truly and fundamentally betray everything they supposedly stand for. The Conservatives aren't unique in failing to live up to their promises, but when it comes to projecting overt moral superiority, they simply have NO peer. The gap between reality and rhetoric becomes that much more pronounced when you grasp the populist origins of the new Conservative Party.

Last night, in Winnipeg North, the Conservative candidate was a no show for the candidates debate. Important to note, this complete affront to the notion of democratic accountability isn't unique, the Conservatives have pulled this stunt, time and again, across the country. Taken further, incorporate Fantino, his "protective custody" style of campaign, and you are left with what just might be the biggest fraud of party since confederation.

Where are you Reform hypocrites, blogging bories, all you white horse mount pure types, as you watch the transparent, accountable party operate like a totalitarian regime? Not only are Harper's Conservatives not accountable, transparent, populist, they make the former Liberal regimes look downright progressive by comparison. It's absolutely stunning, that the Tim Horton's party can operate in such an elitist, detached, snub your nose, bite me electorate, fashion. And yet, they can....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vote Or Bust

Having just finished watching the NDP's Paul Dewar speak on the Afghanistan question, it only confirmed a "becoming obvious" point- the Liberals will be on the defensive until we demand a vote on the mission extension.

First off, the Liberals have supported this type of mission for months, there is no philosophical alteration. If anything, this whole process is merely the Conservatives coming to the Liberal way of thinking, moving forward. In that sense, one can understand why the Conservatives developed this extension math, because they foresaw broader support for the concept. In addition, in the most simplistic fashion, one can also follow the logic that would see the Liberals giving approving "cues", again because the idea is nothing foreign to on the record, stated Liberal policy. However, and this is the key point, none of these facts, the chronology, really matters, because it is this lack of a VOTE that casts a massive shadow over the entire affair.

Until the Liberals agree to a vote, then they might as well resign themselves to giving the NDP carte blanche to pound the snot out of us, make us look like co-conspirators, usurping democratic will, blah, blah, blah. The Conservatives "broke their promise" to consult Parliament, and by arguing the finer details of Parliamentary protocols, the Liberals allow themselves to get lumped in and opponents have a free ride. The NDP doesn't make sense on Afghanistan, in many respects, but by not holding the government to full and formal account, it's no matter, they are allowed to go on pure and effective offence. Fair? Whatever. Right or wrong? Who cares. Bottom line? We'll lose the argument, because we lack the soundbite position, we are lost in the detail, while others react with powerful indignation.

IMHO, it's vote or bust for the Liberals. Forget about the "system", what government's can or can't do, it is not the Liberals job to educate us all on Parliamentary precedent. The Liberals are running around the country telling us all "you can't trust these guys", a persuasive narrative, rife with easily understood examples, and yet we don't take this Afghan debate to the most transparent conclusion. It's not to say a vote guarantees anything, but a vote says to Canadians "here's what we will support" and if it strays from those voted on parameters, then the government is offside. A vote still allows the NDP to protest the position, but all of the behind closed doors stuff, the guilty by association, broken promise routine, is neutered. No matter the semantics, you will forever lose the public relations battle, when your position refuses to bring a matter this important before the elected Parliaments, the optics NEVER work.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Help Me Out Bob?

For the life of me, I don't get what the Liberals are doing on the Afghanistan file. Well I do, in terms of wanting to avoid a potential divisive debate, but apart from the politics, it just reeks on the principle front. Here's the problem:
Mr. Dewar was reacting to news from Korea that the Prime Minister will not seek parliamentary approval to allow Canadian troops to remain in Afghanistan post-2011 in some yet-to-be defined training mission. In addition, Bob Rae, the Liberal foreign affairs critic, told The Globe on Friday morning that he was fine with that.

“Whether there's a parliamentary resolution is not a matter of law (or even custom) but a choice of the government,” Mr. Rae said. “In the current circumstance I fully understand the government's decision.”

Mr. Dewar noted that Mr. Rae was in conversation with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon about a training plan. The Liberals have long pushed for Canadian troops to remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission is scheduled to end this summer.

How can Rae sign off, when the mission is "yet to be defined"? Isn't that lack of accountability a recipe for abuse? Why isn't Rae saying we support the training principle, but want a formal proposal that must go through the elected Parliament?

The Liberals have supported continued training, that's nothing new, the broad strokes consistent with the party stance. However, that philosophical consistency falls to pieces when one considers the ambiguity of what "training" entails. It is fair to ask if this is just an end around way to remain in theater, as we wait for the other shoe to drop?

Where are the Liberal safeguards here, to ensure that what the Conservatives have vaguely outlined meets our criteria? You mean, we are left to private conversations between the Conservatives and Liberals, without the light of day, without the most basic of public accountability? I'm sorry, but any democrat can't endorse this process, no matter if one agrees with staying or not. There's a way to proceed, and this is starting to resemble a star chamber feel, that insults the notion of true representation.

First, we have a key foreign policy plank articulated by a useless political hack, which is then followed days later by a strange out of country declaration by the Prime Minister. It would seem the Liberals are feeding this bizarre announcement with our own lack of basic accountability. Bob Rae giving the okay to a unilateral decision, under cover of some procedural precedent is weak, PARTICULARLY because nobody knows what exactly the government has in mind. I don't get it, don't support it and judging by my email inbox, I'm not alone...

BCL: "A Backroom Deal"


“Canada’s Institutions Need New Blood And New Ideas”

This column is provocative, but has some merit in a broad sense:
For democracy to be healthy, the people who represent us need to know that they work for us and not the other way around. In the recent U.S. mid-term elections it was considered a massive wave of new blood as incumbents losing their seats seemed to be the theme. Turns out that was false.

The re-election rate for incumbents that sought re-election was 86%, down just slightly from the usual rate of about 90%. According to an analysis of re-election rates for incumbents conducted by punditsguide.ca, things here in Canada aren’t much better. In the last five elections the lowest re-election rate for the bums already filling the seats is 82.7%. Since 1968 the rate has remained high, with the exception of two elections: 1984, when Brian Mulroney swept to power, and 1993, when Jean Chretien reversed the tide.

If Canadians are fed up with politics as usual, as the polls seem to tell us they are, then there is only one answer: Throw the bums out.

Nothing will change if we keep putting the same people in and let them get cosy.

This column, obviously inspired by outgoing Liberal MP Keith Martin:
“Canada’s institutions need new blood and new ideas, it is neither sensible nor fair for someone to stay too long”

Amen brother!

I believe Canadians do want to "throw the bums out", they literally CRAVE new blood, new direction, new ideas, fresh and timely, without the baggage and bullshit that pervades our political discourse. The problem is, despite obvious indifference and apathy, the polls rarely move, primarily because our system is so entrenched it's basically the status quo or stay home.

To often, an MP is elected and rarely does he/she face any real challenge after they establish themselves in the riding. This circumstance isn't unique to Canada, but a truly progressive approach would incorporate mechanisms to ensure nobody gets to "cozy", locks up a riding and turns it into their personal fiefdom. Good luck to any upstart, nothing but loyalists and food chain partisans.

Who's kidding who, there are many, many MP's in Ottawa essentially going through the motions. You can see it in the body language, the forced, robotic outrage, it smells stale and it looks old. Seems more about status and perks, than a real burning desire, in many cases, across party lines.

As an aside, it is sheer comedy for the Liberals to think they can project a fresh direction, reinvigorate their brand, while putting the likes ofRalph Goodale in front of the cameras, on what seems EVERY issue imaginable. Stand down Ralph supporters, take out the emotional attachment, it's hard to see how an old Liberal government warhorse is optically attractive when your brand suffers like it does. I'll say it, the optics are crap, regardless of what a great man, respected, etc. Canadians want to see NEW faces, new perspectives and we give them the blast from the past more than any other MP, by a country mile. I'll never get it, and to me it represents a hint that we just don't quite get the mood out there just yet. Again, not a personal attack, Goodale effective, intelligent, seasoned, respected, just the antithesis of fresh and current, what we desperately need to jumpstart this tired presentation.

I would like to see some revolutionary ideas in terms of incumbency. I would like to see parties adopt some mandatory guidelines that continually mix up participation on the riding executive level, and further to the MP's themselves. I would also like to see a party leader who isn't afraid to say "it's time" and refuse to sign nomination papers. Whatever, one thing is clear- our political system is overwhelmingly biased towards the status quo, entrenched self interest. You can't really effectively claim the "change" mantra, when you rarely do yourselves.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The latest EKOS is out, with some fairly major shifts poll to poll. I admit a bit stumped to explain the Conservatives plummeting 4.5% and the NDP rising 4.2%, big moves for an EKOS poll. The regionals look a bit wacky to me, I'll leave it at that ;)

What I do find noteworthy, this now recurring circumstance, wherein the two main parties both poll below 30% simultaneously. I believe this is the third time now that EKOS has published this dynamic recently, as well as a relatively recent Harris Decima poll. Also worth a mention, NDP support when we've seen this result isn't remarkable, actually averaging below 2008 levels. In this poll we see a sizeable NDP gain, but that wasn't the case for EKOS the two previous times we've seen the "everyone below" 30 release.

I see this result as further evidence, supporting my general thesis that people are decidedly unimpressed with any of the traditional options. As someone pointed out to me, there is no historical precedent in Canadian history, wherein Libs and Cons both poll so low, simultaneously. Add in NDP stagnation, you are left with a compelling case. EKOS pegs Green support at 10.7%, which is actually down week to week. Given that the environment no longer registers as a top voter issue, that the Greens continue to grow in support, is that much more telling. It would seem the Green draw is now that of a true alternative to the establishment parties.

All I know, no matter the opposition positioning, no one should fear a sitting government that polls so low, that has very poor "direction" ratings. The Conservatives are not a juggernaut, no love exists in the land. In my view, this reality sugggests a real vulnerability as well as a latent CHANGE feeling brewing in the electorate. An election may very well be a spark in this regard.

EKOS also asks about the F35 issue, with some interesting results. On the face, we see a slim majority opposing the F35 purchase, 54%-46%. However, in terms of strong feeling, we see 33% opposed, only 20% support. Looking at the regionals, it becomes more unclear if the Conservatives really benefit being the only party on the "support" side. A complicating factor, if one takes the Liberal position, some of the support side could be siphoned off. I would argue this point because the Liberals aren't saying no planes, just not these planes. The EKOS phrasing here doesn't incorporate alternative purchases and I suspect many that support F35s would be amenable to another plane. Is it this plane, or the general sense that you support or oppose replacing our current fighter jet? Big distinction in my view.

Anyways, another poll, providing further confirmation of a uninspired electorate...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Election Anyone?

The latest Nanos is pretty much more of the same, a "political rut" as characterized by the pollster. I'd like to look at these number, in the context of what is required to change the "political impasse".

The horserace numbers, fall into the same boring pattern we've seen since the Ignatieff honeymoon phase. In fact, there really is nothing more to be gleemed from these numbers, the dynamic never changes, we all just chase statistical noise that rarely sustains itself.

The only area of interest, and we've seen this "new low" dynamic from a couple pollsters, Harper looks increasingly vulnerable. Nanos gives Harper the lowest best PM score since he took office. People will remember, the last EKOS saw the lowest direction of government score "in a decade". While these numbers aren't translating necessarily to the horserace, they denote an underlying erosion in sentiment for this government. This erosion is masked by the failure of the opposition to capture votes, but it remains under the surface and the potential to exploit is certainly there.

My new working thesis, it's status quo until an election. Liberals waiting for the optimal polling conditions will wait forever, notwithstanding some massive government implosion, voters aren't coming in any meaningful way. People simply aren't paying attention to the daily machinations, only an election will force some consideration, everything else is just jockeying. Harper is losing popularity, but voters aren't moving to alternatives, because they lack confidence and/or inspiration. Ignatieff is unlikely to get traction until the big lights of an election allow for re-positioning.

I'm not saying we force an election. However, we now have the defined points of distinction for the next election, the broad themes already there in my view. Of course, we still have to see platforms, the details, but everyone knows where this election debate will be fought. With this knowledge in mind, it's almost a "get on with it" feel developing, and Nanos seems to confirm that fact with his commentary. Again, don't be provocative, but when the next line in the sand comes, Liberals shouldn't cower because they are waiting for the ideal conditions to arrive. Those conditions aren't coming, an election seems the only catalyst that can change this "rut".

Monday, November 08, 2010

Rule #1 In Canadian Politics: Nobody Gives A Shit

Not so much an epiphany, but a resignation. The much respected Susan Delacourt opines on the Afghanistan issue with "why the heck are we putting up with Harper's silence on this today?". A great question, that sadly requires the new standard answer in Canadian politics- nobody gives a shit. Blunt, but ooohhhh so accurate.

I believe "nobody gives a shit" has become the template, the premise which underlies almost all of this government's actions. Harper doesn't take questions from the press, at least not in any meaningful way. Does Harper suffer because of this disposition? The answer a resounding no, primarily because you don't suffer consequences when your audience is both disengaged, as well as entirely absent. We don't have national conversations anymore. The fact that something so fundamental as "war" so easily manipulated, illustrates just how much the "nobody gives a shit" thesis has taken hold. All understandings must incorporate this inherent truth to fully appreciate the situation.

I have to give this government begrudging credit, they have accurately exploited the mood of the country. The rampant apathy, the knowledge that the pundits don't matter, the shows, the digestion, the debate, all an esoteric exercise. With each successive "escape", further reinforcement of the shrewd Conservation revelation. We don't "give a shit", which translates to almost dangerous impunity. Shut down committee's, chill the civil service, ignore issues of accountability, etc, obstruct, confuse, dismantle, with little real worry of consequence.

Wondering why a certain issue isn't costing Harper in the polls? Nobody gives a shit. Can't understand how Harper gets away with manipulating the media? Nobody gives a shit. Wonder how the Conservatives can destroy our international reputation? Nobody gives a shit. You get the point, but the key consideration, when we tackle the next "issue", remember that the Conservatives operate with this intimate knowledge and masterfully use it govern this country in whatever fashion they see fit. "Nobody gives a shit" is Rule #1 in understanding Canadian Politics.