Monday, April 25, 2011


It's sort of a weird sensation, as my own party entertains historically worrying scenarios, yet I'm fascinated by what is easily the most shocking polling I've seen since I started this blog. Earlier in the day Environics showed the NDP vaulting into second, more interesting from my perspective a stunning 41% in Quebec. Then later, not to be out done, EKOS delivers a result which has turned the world upside down. At this stage, digesting apparent partisan demise, I'm now fully focused on any scenario which denies Harper a majority, even better if we can cobble together a union that can run the country, even if it is Prime Minister Layton! (sweet lord, I said it without my sides erupting). It could all change, and I still suspect a thing or two, but the old Canadian order is surely challenged.

Environics gives CPC 39%, NDP 25%, Libs 22%. I call this a secondary poll, because with the sheer volume, for my purposes the more established track records get top billing. That said, the Quebec number for the NDP is also replicated by EKOS, furthering the evidence that YES, all bets are off in that province, we could well be witnessing the Bloc's retreat, by the most unlikely of sources. If only the Liberals had listened to persistent pleas... oh sorry- see I am conflicted- but I'll save that for post mortems. Anyways, EKOS gives the NDP 38.7% in Quebec, the Bloc 25%, similar to Environics, as the orange wave sweeps the province. The potential seat change math is electric.

¤ 33.7% CPC
¤ 23.7% LPC
¤ 28.0% NDP
¤ 7.2% Green
¤ 6.2% BQ
¤ 1.2% other

Chew on that for a moment, to we Liberals it's like leather, but perhaps just as tough for the Cons. If EKOS is remotely accurate, then we could have 162 NDP/Liberal seats, with the NDP holding a mind numbing 100. I give the numbers just to help digest the reality, although I'd be VERY cautious here, particularly with the NDP rising now in Ontario, hard to ascertain true seat breakdowns. EKOS has the NDP leading in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and narrowing in on British Columbia (when I saw Harper playing defence on Vancouver Island, I suspected their internals revealed weakness).

I would classify the situation as extremely fluid, so I'm not prepared to seriously get on side with any scenario. The fact of the matter, no one has entertained these dynamics, so to think you can predict the ultimate shakeout is a bit silly. However, the NDP surge is VERY real, particularly in Quebec I think voters have moved and will stay, just a question of extent now. It's the rest of the country that's unclear, I'm expecting to be surprised election night. The Liberals are in a desperate way, worst case was last week, this is just a nightmare to be honest. But, there is time to rebound slightly, hold in Ontario, that is possible. It's also possible Harper is on the cusp of majority, or he's on the cusp of a career at the Fraser Institute. I'll never stop hoping for the latter, so Jack be good, whatever, just hope for any scenario that doesn't give ultimate power. As a student of Canadian politics this election is proving to be historic, which is quite the feat, given the assumptions heading in. It's just a complete and utter stunner, that latent angst sparked, now running rampant, flipping the bird at the status quo. I will never stop appreciating that fact, it's what gives a democracy oxygen.


Hishighness said...

It's been a great time for me, first we elect the Orange menace for the first time in my home province of NS and now we're possibly going to make them the Government in a coalition?

I'm looking around my apartment for a rope to hang myself with.

Kirbycairo said...

Well hang away Hishighness, hang away!!!

As for me, even though I am closer to the NDP than the Liberals, I confess to being baffled by the whole thing. Perhaps we really are on the verge of one of those monumental changes in the Country's political landscape. Maybe not. Let's face it, the death of political party's has been exaggerated in the past. Either way, I think that Liberal Party has some soul searching to do in order to present themselves as a party that is a genuine alternative to the Tories. That is the most basic reason, I think, for the NDP surge, people want an alternative and they don't see the LPC as a real alternative.

We will see.

bigcitylib said...

PM Layton! I'll be able to drop acid in public again! Booyah!

Shiner said...

The thing that strikes me about this, and has me smiling a bit, is how completely off all the pundits were who suggested a coalition would be the death of the Liberals. I think it's fair to say the Libs are at a nadir and the NDP is picking up support that, according to most pundits, doesn't actually exist. At this point, I think it's fair to say that, yes, a combined progressive party would get at least 50% of the vote. It blows apart this narrative that the Liberals have to go centre-right to survive.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one. Crikey!

sharonapple88 said...

Yay, no Conservative majority.

Boo at the loss of Liberal seats.

It's interesting to compare the current numbers with the ones in 2008.

It ain't over till it's over. (Still, I think I'm going to get very drunk on election night. Either that or go play pinball for 5 hours straight.... :P )

Gene Rayburn said...

It would be a very nice change from the current "my way of the highway" type of governing we got. Jack is personable though I will miss saying that Harper was assembled in South Korea.

Strange days indeed. Im having memories of Peter Mansbridge in the Ontario election in 1990.

Erin Bow said...

I think what is even more intriguing is the previous Ekos poll, which gave the NDP a sudden surge in Saskatchewan/Manitoba. It's since fallen back to something that seems to be more rational, but let's entertain this thought a moment: If the NDP surge is real in Saskatchewan, that costs the Conservatives seats. If all else is stable in Ontario, that means goodbye Harper majority.

Hopefully that will brighten your day a little.

CK said...

Don't lull yourselves into a false sense of security.

Nanos said this morning that the Hareprcons are way ahead in Ontario. Enough to 'squeak' a majority. This would be closer to reality as Nanos usually is.

All three parties are needed to stave off a harper majority.

Furthermore, this still isn't translating to seats. So far, the Ralph Nader projection which could only help Harpercons in rural Quebec.

Steve V said...

"Don't lull yourselves into a false sense of security."

My friend, did you read the post? Lulling is about the last thing happening here.

As for the Nader comment, those seat projections people are referring to are OUTDATED and useless, these latest numbers translate to tons of seats.

Steve V said...

Just to clarify as well, EKOS has as good, if not better record than Nanos, so don't weight one over the other here.

denialawareness said...

The process I've been observing is that people of all political stripes are becoming turned off by Harper's extremism, so then they think that they are going to vote Liberal. Then inevitably someone pipes up with "They're both the same!" and the only recourse at that point is the NDP. The Green Party is still only for those who prefer to colour way outside the lines.

sharonapple88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharonapple88 said...

Just to clarify as well, EKOS has as good, if not better record than Nanos, so don't weight one over the other here.

Great, I'll get the drinking started now. ;)

Then inevitably someone pipes up with "They're both the same!" and the only recourse at that point is the NDP.

I hate that political argument -- all parties are alike. I heard that in 2000 when Bush beat Gore. It didn't matter -- Bush and Gore are alike.... For some reason, I don't think Gore would have invaded Iraq or cut taxes and then brought the country into a massive deficit.

The parties are different. The people they attract are different.... sometimes it's a matter of settling for the lesser evil, but there are differences.

If this is 1990, I hope we avoid the "Common Sense" revolution.

Gayle said...

I admit it. I'm excited at the prospect but really don't trust these numbers to hold once voters start considering the prospect of an NDP government.

I've voted NDP every election until 1993 when I voted for Anne McLellan. That was when I finally decided I had to be pragmatic instead of idealistic. I've been donating to the LPC since 2006 because I saw them as the best chance to take Harper out.

Never in a million years did I think the rest of the country could go left. I will believe it when I see it.

I should also point out a Layton led government would end the NDP's ability to make wild promises without being held accountable for them. What is Quebec going to say when he fails to reopen the Consfitution?

James Bow said...

41% popular support in Quebec, if it holds, is a landslide for the NDP, especially considering that the NDP support doesn't seem to be falling into the francophone/anglophone dynamic that has characterized previous provincial and federal elections (like when the Liberals surged into first place ahead of the PQ, but looked to fall short on seats because of the PQ's strength outside of Montreal).

As for the rest of Canada, where no comparable Orange Crush yet exists, anybody wanting to stave off a Harper majority should continue to keep their ears to the ground and vote in a finely-grained strategic way. Here are some simple rules:

1. If your riding has a non-Conservative incumbent, vote for that incumbent (stop the Conservatives from picking off the NDP seat of Welland)
2. If your riding had the Liberals place second in 2008, vote Liberal (Kitchener Centre and Kitchener-Waterloo are still pretty much a Conservative-Liberal dynamic with the NDP a distant though respectable third. An NDP surge here could keep these seats Conservative).
3. If your riding had the New Democrats place second in 2008, vote New Democrat (many ridings in Saskatchewan and some in Manitoba have New Democrats nipping at Conservative heels. Liberals could push them over the top. The same goes for the Ontario riding of Oshawa).
4. If your riding is Saanich-Gulf Islands or Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, vote Green (those are their only chances against Conservative incumbents)

But keep your ear to the ground, listen to the people around you, try to get a sense of how the campaigns are going and, on May 2nd, vote how you see fit.

sharonapple88 said...

What is Quebec going to say when he fails to reopen the Consfitution?

Oh God, not another referendum.

But keep your ear to the ground, listen to the people around you, try to get a sense of how the campaigns are going and, on May 2nd, vote how you see fit.

Best advice.

Also talk to your friends and family about voting. It might come down to a few votes in every riding.

Dave Brodbeck said...

My fear is that we end up with an NDP government that spends like nuts, and we end up, later, with a backlash like ON when Mike Harris was elected. Now, with a potential coalition, with some moderating Liberal influence, we can hopefully avoid that. No matter what, this has been a really interesting election.....

I still am not sure the NDP support will hold, but I thought that when Rae won ON...

ricky said...

My fav tweet of the campaign so far...

Most forgettable quote of #elxn41 "We need a majority mandate to fend off Quebec separatists" - Stephen Harper #npd #ndp

Thats from leftdog

MKL said...

How much give and take would their be in an potential NDP/LPC coalition if the NDP have the most seats? Will some time in power provide them with a bit of humility or will they be steadfast in their policies.

The Liberals spent a decade building an image of fiscal responsibility under Chretien/Martin and I don't think they will be so quick to throw it away in a coalition.

Dave Brodbeck said...

MKL this is my hope that if there is a coalition (and I think the idea of coalitions is a fine one) . My hope is that the Liberals will sort of keep them in check.

Kirk said...

For me all these poll numbers mean is that we'll have a lot more shit to deal with after this election than we had before the election.

Also with 6 points difference for the Cons in these 2 polls you really have 2 different worlds being presented. One is quite likely a Harper majority and the other is a slim minority.

Jack Layton as Leader of the Opposition to a majority Conservatives will be a tiring parade of pomposity and a situation he is not well suited to. We'll get endless criticism from someone with a shallow platform and a self righteous streak. He also completely loses his "making Parliament work" shtick that he relies on so heavily now.

In a minority govt we'll simply have chaos with Layton's pumped up ambition ruling his every move. Will he still try to "make Parliament work"? Doubtful. Will he look as good when he loses that halo? Doubtful.

If the EKOS numbers are actually the truer then the Liberals have an opportunity here to put themselves as the moderate alternative to the NDP. And it is that moderate center-center right that is the biggest segment of Canadians. At 33% the Cons would be moving back to appeasing their base with a fury, whipping these remaining loyal supporters up to combat the socialist hordes as they will have lost many centrist voters once they move into the low thirties.

There is opportunity for the Liberals if EKOS is right. The Cons have lost 0.7% and the Liberals 1% from the 04/21 EKOS poll while the NDP are up 3.3%, mainly from a now Quebec dominated NDP that will have to shift policies accordingly.

If the Liberals can get back centrist voters from a Harper Con party about to put us into another tiresome Con minority Parliament by appealing to those who have seen the ugly writing on the wall for Harper as a 3rd term minority leader but aren't willing to move all the way over to the NDP they can keep that big red tent at least partially filled.

Susan said...

Avaaz has an on-line riding by riding breakdown for strategic voting. It is more important than ever to look at that - there is only one really terrifying outcome - a harper majority.

Jerry Prager said...

Kirk:spare us more attempts to woo the right. It's Ignatieff's attempts to woo Harper voters with tar sands are wonderful rhetoric and the like that put us here.

Tof KW said...

Jerry, you should stop trying to vilify the right-end of the Liberal party. There are people like me who are voting for the LPC precisely because you are not the NDP. The LPC has held government, slayed run-away deficits, balanced budgets even created surpluses. Outside of Saskatchewan, NDP governments can't do any of these, and can only do so in SK thanks to potash and gas/petrol. Without these I'm sure the NDP would suck there too.

If the LPC ever went the way of the loonie NDP, you'd lose my vote along with the remainder of the blue grit/red tory end. I'm actually much more at home with the Conservatives, except that they've been taken over by the Hee-Haw crowd and are no longer fiscal conservatives. That leaves them with almost no redeeming qualities what-so-ever.

Dame said...

For me the main thing about liberals and their party is they CREATED the Country I think the best of the democratic field .. I like to see the balanced approach about the Economy as the best tool for making life for the people ... US as good as we have /or had/ the HUMAN side is what I am cherishing the most. Did they make mistakes?? sure they are HUMANS but on the positivve admit and fix it ...
our present leader is an exceptionally intelligent fellow with warm heart and decency. we should applaud him all the way in his quest to be part of our building the Country for an even better Future..
trust him and appriciate him.

Kirk said...

Jerry, I'm not on the right of the Liberal Party at all but Ignatieff's comments on the Tar Sands have nothing to do with where the Liberals are now.

I'd say that former NDP premier Bob Rae did more damage to the Liberals position by advocating Canada stay in Afghanistan. The damage from this was felt in Quebec to the benefit of the NDP there. Playing grand statesman was more of a mistake than playing hangman and letting the Conservatives twist in the wind all alone on this issue.

And no matter what you want to think, more Canadians mistake Harper for a centrist than are on the left in it's entirety. And the Liberals are a centrist party.

Saying all this I don't think much of the traditional left-right analysis of politics these days at all.

Jerry Prager said...

T of KW I am not a Liberal, I'm part of the coalition of liberal democratic voters who united in 1935 to defeat corporatism, and who have been fighting rear guard sorties against corporatism after it lost WW2 but won the Cold War. The right side of the liberal party is corporatist, continentalist, and will sell out the nation to gangster capitalists at the drop of a writ. Which makes them allies of Harrisites and Harpercons.

Kirbycairo said...

Mr. Pager is quite right at a very basic and rational level. Though the long post war boom, which might be considered a sustained Kondratieff cycle, saw a great deal of prosperity for the citizens of Western capitalist nations, things have changed since the post war boom ended around 1970 and the period of globalization began. Since then we have seen the gradual colonization of every part of our society by a corporate ideology. William Dugger, a business prof,. wrote a great book on this process called Corporate Hegemony. This process has not only been deeply damaging to democracy but has led to the relative impoverishment of many people. The gap between rich and poor has grown exponentially since the 1980s and power of corporations to design the tax policies and environmental policies of nations is now unquestioned. It is funny that the Liberals are considered centrists because 40 years ago their economic policies of today would have made them part of the far right. The LPC might continue to attempt to put a "human face" on capitalism but in reality they are clearly part of the neo-liberal process of Globalization. The NDP is the only party that even vaguely stands against this agenda.

Dame said...

what am I expecting on may 2?? anythng BUT what the polls suggest .
I found it completely absurd to expect the idea most seats will stay as they are..
the seat projections say only a few will change the rest just as is...?????????????????????????????
no way.

Jerry Prager said...


Liberalism itself will lead liberals to liberate democracy from party systems. The NDP cannot escape the powers that control the party, those labout leaders who need to negotiate best deals with corporatists traps them in corporatism: the Greens are relatively free of that now, but they are so from power.
Harper is manifest corporatism: he must be stopped. liberal democratic voters are the only people who can stop him, riding by riding.

Tof KW said...

Jerry & kirbycairo... yes the Liberal Party has harboured liberal corporatist policy almost since the beginning of confederation, or at least ever since Laurier basically sold us to the Americans and doomed us to being a branch-plant of the US. This was the original party of deregulated trade with the US (bet you didn't know it was Trudeau's administration that first studied what would become the original US-Canada Free Trade deal). But then the PCs went neo-liberal with Mulroney and the new CPofC are 100% corporate sell-outs.

And yes both main parties are driving Canada off a cliff, but at least the Libs don't have their foot on the accelerator like the Reformatories do.

As for the NDP, the Bob Rae government showed me how they operate. I actually liked Rae as premier (also Mike Farnan as solicitor general & Floyd Laughren @ finance was at least competent) but the rest of them were a group of ex-social workers & poly-sci dropouts that should have never been ministers. After that it was no wonder Ontario swung hard right with Mike Harris ...twice!

So in my view the current Liberals are the best of a bad lot, at least they are solid economic managers. They were good to small business, which is part of my tepid support for them now.

This might all change after this next election, as no one knows how this one will play out anymore. But something tells me that politics in this country will all change dramatically in the next couple of years after May 2nd, 2011.

BTW - my fearless prediction based on what's happening in Quebec over the past week - and I think I'm sticking with this for the final stretch:

CPC - 132
NDP - 86
LPC - 76
Bloc - 12
Ind - 2

Result - very unstable Harper minority, which could fall upon the speech from the throne.

Bonus bold prediction ...Gilles Duceppe will lose his own seat to the NDP!

Kirbycairo said...

Interesting points T of KW. I just find it frustrating that it has come to the point where we need to think in those terms. Because let's face it, unless someone stands against the neo-liberal agenda, the world is in very deep doo-doo.

Interesting predictions, I hope it pans out. If Duceppe loses his seat it could spell the complete end of the Bloc.

Omar said...

My wife and I decided over the weekend that the Orange Wave is something we want to be part of. Surfs up, Canada!

Deanna said...

In BC: Cons are playing attack ads vs the NDP. Topic? Coalition with separatists.

I think they may be out of tune with the times, or are hoping that weakening Con voters haven't realized that the NDP appears to be replacing the Bloc in Quebec (hardly likely to make the Bloc want to work with them).

Morakon said...

Here's a thought. Harper's basically said that if he gets a minority there will be a coalition. So if it looks like a weak Con minority close to election day with the NDP as potential coalition leader will there be a shift of Red Tories from the Cons to the Libs to stop Layton?

Jerry Prager said...

TofKW my only issue with your analysis is the word neo-liberal, a term created by a conservative economist. Mulroney was not neo-liberal, he was neo-corporatist, mentored by Daniel Johnson Senior, retired leader of the Union Nationale, Canada's longest serving corporatist party.

Jerry Prager said...

Morakon, many Red Tories vote green,but if green vote collapses, lots of Orangemen-labour might leave cons for Jack, NDP orange almost the colour of transience, used in donut shops.

sharonapple88 said...

As for the NDP, the Bob Rae government showed me how they operate. I actually liked Rae as premier (also Mike Farnan as solicitor general & Floyd Laughren @ finance was at least competent) but the rest of them were a group of ex-social workers & poly-sci dropouts that should have never been ministers.

In this election, two Ontario NDP candidates have deflected -- one to the Liberals, the other to the Conservatives. In Ajax-Pickering, the NDP candidate refused to reschedule his vacation for this election.... Call me crazy, but I don't think these guys expect the NDP to win... at least not in their ridings.

I think they may be out of tune with the times, or are hoping that weakening Con voters haven't realized that the NDP appears to be replacing the Bloc in Quebec (hardly likely to make the Bloc want to work with them).

If they wanted to hit them, they should try running something on this.

Omar said...

"..neo-liberal, a term created by a conservative economist."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always assumed that the label "neo-liberal" was a take on 'neoclassical liberalism'. The ideology dating from the 19th century that argued (among other things) that government should be as small as possible in order to leave as much room as possible for the exercise of individual freedoms.

Kirbycairo said...

That is exactly what the phrase implies Omar. But it makes more sense to a European audience. In the States people tend to talk about Neo-Conservatism because it makes more sense to them.

Omar said...

Well, that's what I thought. I'm thus confused as to what Jerry is saying. While I agree Mulroney was some sort of "corporatist" he was also certainly neo-liberal. Is the conservative economist that he maintains invented the word one from the 19th century or from today's neo-conservative crowd? (apologies if this is making little sense) ;-)

Kirbycairo said...

Actually I have heard conflicting claims about who coined this word. Ultimately it doesn't matter who said it first, the meaning is what matters. And European critics of Capitalism actively use the phrase in many languages.

But an argument can be made that in North America we should probably use the phrase Neo-Conservatism to imply the modern version of pro-corporate ideology. Of course one can say that corporatism goes way back and perhaps we should begin to use the phrase Corporatism instead of any other phrase.

Ultimately, whatever we call it, it is economics and politics in favor of the rich and powerful.

Tof KW said...

kirbycairo said...
Interesting predictions, I hope it pans out. If Duceppe loses his seat it could spell the complete end of the Bloc.

I thought I'd go out on a limb and be bold here. Not likely, however Layton actually had the balls to campaign with the local dipper candidate in Duceppe's riding a few days back. Who the hell does that? Can you imagine Iggy campaigning in Harper's riding, or Harper in Layton's? Either he's just grandstanding, or, maybe internal polls are showing Laurier—Sainte-Marie can flip?

Also, the term neo-liberal applies to economic policies of minimalist government intervention into the market. The thinking is the market will always correct itself, and ultimately this freedom spurs economic growth by allowing transnational corporations to do pretty much whatever the hell they want ...totally forgetting how brutal this policy was in the 19th century, and utterly failing in 1929.

Neo-conservatism relates more to the forces of social conservatism and nationalism. Strong military, strong policing, strong religion/nationalism, and ultimately the curbing of individual liberties for the betterment of the 'common good' & the nation.

They are two are different things really, though the US Republicans have adopted both quite strongly.

Kirbycairo said...

T of KW - It doesn't seem to me that it is as clear cut as that. Though I know what you are saying and perhaps it is a useful distinction. However, a number of German theorists, for example, use the phrase Neo-conservative to refer to their own country. And I have even seen some English political scientists use it in regard to Britain.

Either way, the real irony is that when Thatcher, Reagan, and Mulroney left office, government was larger, taxes were higher, and debts were bigger than when they came into office. So much for smaller government and letting the market decide!

Jerry Prager said...

Mussolini defined corporatism as fascism: the merger of corporations and the state. Liberalism can never escape the fact that it is essentially rooted in individual liberty, or greatest equal liberty, and therefor neo-liberalism should really about freeing enterprise from both the state and Big business, ie, from corporatism.

Möbius said...

"will there be a shift of Red Tories from the Cons to the Libs to stop Layton?"