Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Unity etc.

Holidays have kept me away from the blogosphere. Congrats to Dion on getting everyone under the big tent as quickly as possible. What will a Rae designed platform look like? Who knows. I'm very curious. Will they bring back the 50/50 post secondary education plan? I'll post more when there's something to post about. I'd post about the wheat board but really I know nothing. It looks like it might help us get some votes out west.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Danforth and Bob

The consensus in the blogosphere is that Bob Rae should make a run at Jack "in-the-box" Layton in my home riding of Toronto-Danforth in the next election. There is an expectation that he could win or at least force Jack to spend more time at home. I have some doubts about Rae's electability that have nothing to do with his tenure as premier. Let's review the results that have come in from Toronto-Danforth in the last year:

Federal (2006 General Election):

Jack Layton (NDP) 48.4%
Deborah Coyne (Lib) 34.2

Provincial (March by-election):

Peter Tabuns (NDP) 47.8%
Ben Chin (Liberal star candidate) 38.9%

Municipal Election:

Ward 29 (Northern, more right wing half):

Case Ootes (centre right former mayor of East York and long time incumbent) 46.3% (5790)
Diane Alexopoulos (NDP) 46.1% (5770)

Ward 30 (Southern, more NDP half)

Paula Fletcher (NDP) 60.2%
Suzanne McCormick 26.3%

Here's the thing, the NDP came within 20 votes of controlling every major electoral position in the riding. In case your wondering, Liberal Gordon Crann lost the election for school trustee, I just don't know whether or not the successful candidate is NDP. Layton's victory alone wouldn't have me skeptical about Rae's odds. The provincial and municipal results have me very skeptical. Unlike a lot of city councilors, Case Ootes didn't deserve to lose his job. He's done a good job. Now a close race might be explained by a very popular NDP mayor (Miller polled at about 60% in the ward) at the top of the ticket, but twenty votes? That's unheard of for a sitting councilor in Toronto who isn't mired in corruption. If anyone watched the results on City, you'd have seen that they called the race for Ootes with like one poll in. They didn't expect it to be close. However, for much of the night, their little check (meaning elected) was beside a name in second place. He pulled it out, but the NDP organization gave him a big scare.

The provincial results tell an even more ominous tale for Rae. Dalton McGuinty found a man he likes and the general populous likes. Ben Chin was a dream candidate. It was a by-election so by default there wasn't an incumbent. Chin ran hard. He lost. He lost pretty badly to the guy who used to ride Jack Layton's coattails into city council. Tabuns had things going for him. He used to be the councilor. It was a by-election which are usually bad news for the government. However, that doesn't explain the kind of margin he got on election day. I exepected Chin to be within 5 points, he wasn't.

With a strong enough Liberal tide Rae could win Toronto-Danforth, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'll work hard for him if he's the candidate on the Danforth but if we want to ensure that he's in parliament, he should run elsewhere. Plus, I think Deborah Coyne earned a run in better circumstances after having to bear the cross of the sponsorship scandal like so many Liberals last time around. I'd love to tell to Jack to hit the road, but I don't know if its in the cards for Bob Rae. I've been saying for a while that I'd like to see Kennedy move out west and run there. That would allow Rae to run in Parkdale-High Park and send Peggy Nash packing. Finally, Jack Layton has proved that no matter how close the race he isn't about to spend time going door to door. He was barely there in 2004 when he won by about 2000 votes and he was there even less in 2006. To be frank, he spends very little time in the riding, period. After all, he lives in Trinity-Spadina. The only NDP leader who has a residence on the Danforth is Howard Hampton.

Friday, December 08, 2006

What's the Matter with Scarborough?

Pop Quiz: Which parliamentary delegation is more socially conservative: Calgary or Scarborough?

The answer according to yesterday's vote in the house of commons? Scarborough. Here's the break down. In cow-town, 6/8 members of parliament voted in favour of reopening the same-sex marriage debate. In Toronto's largest borough, 6/6 members voted in favour. Here's the kicker. The comparison between Calgary and Scarborough is fairly appropriate. Calgary saw some of the largest Conservative pluralities and Scarberia saw some of the largest Liberal pluralities. Indeed, of the Scarborough six only Tom Wappel (Scarborough-Southwest) didn't garner 50% of the vote in the last election. There are a couple ways to rationalize this:
  1. The Parizeau explanation: Yep. It's the ethnic vote. Two things are true of many new Canadians (Can I get away with generalizing for one second?). They are more socially conservative and they vote Liberal. The latter is less true than it used to be. However, they still form a large part of the riding associations out in Scarborough. Thus, it shouldn't be a big surprise that they'd nominate a social conservative.
  2. The Pragmatic Explanation: The party is trying to crowd out the Conservatives on the right by taking away ammunition.
Now, I don't know if either of these hold water. It could just be six independent decisions by local riding associations. I just thought it was curious and tried to figure out how that happened. Anyone else got a theory?

Monday, December 04, 2006


The Globe has a poll out this morning showing the Liberals up six points on the Tories. This poll means absolutely nothing. Still, it is better to be six points ahead then six points behind. As expected Dion has raised strong emotions in Quebec. The good news is most of them are positive. Only 29% of Quebeckers are firmly against his rise to leadership. That could be seen as the Bloc core that is never going to vote Liberal anyway. The Liberal surge appears to be due to weakness not in the Conservatives but in the NDP and the Greens. The six point Liberal gain came at the expense of the NDP (3%) and the Greens (2%). I view this as pro-environment Liberals coming back to the flock or maybe Liberals worried about an Ignatieff victory showing their relief. Either way its nice to see the support back in the Liberal camp.

This poll does show a big problem for Elizabeth May. The Conservatives may be thrilled with Dion's victory, the Greens must be devastated. Last week, they were riding high. Over 20% of the electorate in London North Centre voted Green. Now, they are faced with a greened Liberal party. This is a disaster for the Greens. It is great news for Liberals. This is how Dion can hope to break into the Conservative base out west. The Greens received a higher percentage in Alberta than in any other province in the country. These are people who were a) fed up with government corruption and looking for a fresh face or b) environmentalists. If Dion can prove to people that the Liberal Party is renewed he can capture both of these constituencies and possibly do some damage out West. He could do even more damage if Kennedy decides to move back out there and run. I don't believe in parachute candidates but if Kennedy wants to move out to Edmonton, I would strongly urge him to find a riding there to run in during the next election. Kennedy and Bob Rae happen to want the same riding: Parkdale-High Park. I believe either of them would defeat Peggy Nash. Unless Bob wants to try to take out Layton in Toronto-Danforth (the riding he represented last time he was in Ottawa) I'd advise Kennedy to let Rae have Parkdale, move out West and run from there. All of this is of course contingent on Sam Bulte (the MP for Parkdale who lost in the last election) not wanting another kick at the can.

Finally, isn't it nice to be able to oppose Stephen Harper with all our energy?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Report Card and Crystal Ball

Congratulations are in order. Stephane Dion is the new Leader of her Majesty's Official Opposition, or will be when he's sworn in. Are leaders of the official opposition sworn in? They get to be honourable, right? I don't know. I don't really care. Anyway, Dion ran a great campaign, he won the hearts and minds of Liberals across the country. I look forward to helping him kick Stephen Harper's butt all the way back to Calgary. Having said that, after a seeminglessly endless leadership race we have a winner and a whole bunch of losers. Time to give out some grades and make some predictions. There was a blogger looking for what Gerard Kennedy was going to get for giving Dion the crown. I'll try to answer the question. The predictions about a Dion government are not out of arrogance but confidence. That and the fact that the last Liberal leader who wasn't Prime Minister ran against John A. Macdonald. Stephen Harper ain't Johnny Mac. Let's work from first out to the eventual winner.

Joseph Volpe:

The Volpe campaign got off to a very bad start. Well, actually about as bad as someone trying to lead a scandal plagued party could have gotten off to. The scandals seemed to keep building, and pretty soon the Volpe campaign became a running. He had a very open falling out with his campaign chair which may have cost him delegates on the floor. A disaster from start to finish. Amazingly, he came out of super weekend with delegates. Close to fifth place and looking like an influence maker. Well that didn't translate to Montreal. His delegates just didn't show up. He ended up just a little bit ahead of Martha Hall Findlay. The only positive thing he did was drop out Friday night. However, he backed Bob Rae, another set back. By the time of the last ballot nobody knew or cared where Volpe had parked his ship. All in all a miserable run for the former cabinet minister. He fails in my books but gets some credit for dropping out early.

Grade F+

Crystal Ball: I don't see much in Joe Volpe's future. He will continue to represent Eglinton-Lawrence and collect a pay check in Ottawa. A cabinet post? It doesn't seem likely. A parliamentary-secretary role to the Minister of Immigration? Maybe he sneaks into a minor cabinet portfolio. He retires to little ado.

Martha Hall-Findlay:

Dion was being called the little campaign that could. Really that honour belongs to Martha. To many Liberals she represented the best that the Liberal party could offer. Unfortunately, she was completely unqualified for leadership. She had great ideas on renewal but not much else. In a moment of candor, Martha might admit that this was at least partially about positioning for her future and that looks quite bright. More on that in a second. She came out of super weekend with a few delegates, which was a few more than people expected her to get. Her convention, by all reports, was a complete success. She made a speech to standing ovations. She then got a big boost from ex-officio who wanted her to get ahead of Joe Volpe or Scott Brison on the first ballot. Finally, she chose the right horse to back, being the first leadership hopeful to endorse Stephane Dion. Really she couldn't have hoped for much more.

Grade B+

Crystal Ball: The future is bright! I see a retiring Bill Graham and MPP George Smitherman raising her arms in victory on election night in Toronto-Centre. Cabinet? Depends on when the Liberals get back in power. If it's the next election I'd guess Parliamentary-Secretary to someone big. I'm seeing Treasury Board or Ministry of Finance. If the Liberals lose the next election and win the one after that, I'm thinking Minister of Industry. When Stephane Dion decides to call it quits (2016? 2020?) I see a big red bus with a lot of Liberals on it. Candidates are going to be going to her camp after the first ballot.

Scott Brison:

The member from Kings-Hants was the picture of class throughout this campaign. Four decisions made this a bad day for Brison. Number 1: He began his career in the Progressive Conservative party. This dogged Rae as well. Brison was seen with trepidation especially by the left wing of the party. He was also viewed with trepidation because of decision number 2: that stupid e-mail. He wasn't thinking and in retrospect it wasn't that big a deal but it certainly did not help Liberal fortunes last winter. Liberals remembered that. As a result, he came out of super weekend with a whole lot of Nova Scotia delegates and few others. At the convention, he made two more bad decisions. He first backed Bob Rae and then when he fell off backed Michael Ignatieff. I don't think Stephane Dion will hold it against him but it's not going to help him either.

Grade: C

Crystal Ball: There is great potential here. Brison proved himself in the last parliament handling the brunt of the sponsorship questions with intelligence and class. Next time around, I see Treasury Board. I don't know why. It just seems to fit. If not, maybe Dion remembers his convention speech and gives him the environment. Then again I wouldn't be surprised if Dion took that one himself. Mr. Brison may finally have the gravitas to be considered for federal leadership when the next convention rolls around. I really don't think he wins though. Just a gut feeling. I really don't know why. And no, this has nothing to do with him being gay.

Ken Dryden:

With a little money and a little charisma and... eh forget it. I've figured it out. Ken Dryden is like the guy in high school that all the girls are friends with but none of them will sleep with (I doubt Ken Dryden was that guy when he was in high school, by the way). Do Liberals like Ken Dryden? Absolutely. Did he ever have a chance to be leader? Absolutely not. His performance on super weekend (a distant fifth) was disappointing. His performance at the convention verged on embarrassing. First, he runs out of time for his speech. Not as badly as Dion but still he ran out of time. Then he starts ranting at reporters in the post-speech scrum about how he didn't have any money but gosh darn it he's still second in popularity polls. Then as everyone else is clearing the deck so that we can move on to the big four candidates, Dryden stays around with less than 5% of the vote. Finally, he endorses Bob Rae. Okay, a lot of people backed the wrong horse, and yes Ken got it right eventually. He still backed Rae which helped Rae, well not at all because Kennedy came in after him and backed Dion. A ballot after endorsing Rae, Dryden was on the move again. All in all a shame. And it's such a shame because he's such a good guy...

Grade D+

Crystal Ball: Dryden may have plateaued. I see ministry in a Dion government. Minister of Justice? He was a lawyer. Maybe make him the front man for the feds on the 2010 games? I don't know. In the next race, candidates will be seeking his endorsement, but well before the convention.

Gerard Kennedy:

Kennedy either ran a brilliant campaign or a horrible one. I lean towards brilliant. Here are the cases:

Case 1: A provincial politician with three years of experience at the provincial cabinet table draws support from all across the country where he was completely unknown. Sticks with his convictions and takes a controversial position on the nation question earning the support of Justin Trudeau among others. He goes to the convention, gives an excellent speech and becomes the king-maker securing a bright political future.

Case 2: Top tier candidate completely wipes out in Quebec during super weekend and his campaign stalls. Last ditch effort to appeal to hard-line federalists fails and he is force off after only the second ballot.

As I say, I favour the first interpretation. Kennedy was doomed by his Quebec result but he ran one hell of a campaign. He talked about issues, the other candidates ignored. He challenged academic wisdom. He grew the party out west. Andrew Coyne, of all people, was even impressed by his convention speech. As I say, too bad about that Quebec result.

Grade: A- (maybe a little high? I'm biased, I still think he's great.)

Crystal Ball: He will go as far as long as his wife takes him. Am I getting oracular? What I mean is Jeanette has a job if she wants her husband to continue moving up the ladder: teach him French. Regardless, he goes into Dion's cabinet. Quite possibly as deputy PM. I'd give him Immigration as well. If Dion takes one thing from GK's platform it should be immigrant success.

Bob Rae:

Bob Rae believed this campaign wasn't about ideas. The last politician to say that in this country was Kim Campbell. In comparison, Bob Rae did brilliantly. Realistically, Bob Rae never got the momentum he needed. Endorsement after endorsement came his way. Six former leadership candidates on his side and his support seemed to barely move. Some people attribute this to the fact that he was a disaster in his term as NDP Premier of Ontario. This is part of it. I think it was a huge strategic mistake to run the entire campaign on "I'm Bob Rae!" He needed something more. Months of campaigning and I still don't know what Rae wanted to achieve as Prime Minister. Maybe he thought it was a bad idea to make promises after what happened during his premiership, but something tangible may have lit the fire of this campaign in the ideas of the average voter. Is Bob Rae a good politician? Yes. That doesn't qualify you to be Prime Minister or leader of the Liberal Party. His convention bid seemed doomed from the beginning. You knew if the Kennedy/Dion alliance played out as expected, Rae was toast. It played out, Rae was toast. Did he do the right thing in staying neutral on the last ballot? Maybe. I think he did it because he couldn't in good conscience endorse Michael Ignatieff but Rae's personal affection for Iggy wouldn't allow Rae to Iggy's leadership bid. All in all an unimpressive run by someone with such a big name and so many big names behind him.

Grade B-

Crystal Ball: Does Bob Rae really want to schlep back and forth to Ottawa every week at this point in his career. I don't think so. Unless there's a ministry that he really wants and knows Dion would give him, I think he finds a way to get away from trying to run in the next election. Rae is perfectly suited for the Senate. He could go out and talk to people and present his findings on the issues of the day. He stays in politics but doesn't have to worry about the burden of constituency work and reelection. If I were Dion, he'd be my first choice for the senate when an Ontario seat opens up. That is assuming we're still appointing senators at that point.

Michael Ignatieff:

Ah the prodigal son. Yes, the father forgives the son and takes him in. It doesn't mean that the son goes on to lead the country, particularly when he keeps making mistakes. Yes, the gaffes did it. I think Liberals would have gotten past the whole not really a politician or a Canadian thing if he acted like a politician and a Canadian. Even the gaffes might have been forgiven if he wasn't so damn arrogant about it. He may be smarter than most of the country, but acting like it is not a way to get elected. He alienated everyone in the race. No one was willing to go to the front-runner. That says a lot. There wasn't just an anyone but Iggy campaign, it was an everyone but Iggy campaign. Ok. Scott Brison picked him second, but give me a break. Sen. Smith and his back room boys tried, but Ignatieff defeated himself. It took him four ballots for him to get past the 35% barrier which is team was trumpeting as a first ballot result. Here I'll put in terms Mr. Ignatieff would understand. He blew up too many bridges and didn't make enough bricks (read Empire Light if you're confused). Sure he was only a couple hundred votes shy of victory but there was never a chance that he was going to get there. Almost only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.

Grade: B

Crystal Ball: Can you say Minister of National Defense? I can. Here's why. The Defense Minister is allowed to be a little hawkish, it's his job. It would also send the message to the Americans that the government was serious about security. Failing that, how about ambassador to either the US or the UK?

Stephane Dion:

All hail the conquering hero. Seriously, all hail. We need to unite around Dion and we need to do it now. Stephane won and he won the right way. One of the things that always impressed me about the Dion campaign was his focus on small contributions, his "$100 revolution." This is exactly the kind of thing we need to do as a party. We need to grow our base in order to compete with the Tories. Dion began the campaign as a dismissed long shot and ended up as the consensus of the media and Liberals. He got endorsements from my other two favourite candidates in this race: my candidate, Gerard Kennedy, and Martha Hall Findlay. He used that momentum to overcome both of the establishment candidates. This is a victory for ordinary Liberals. Rejoice!

Grade: A+

Crystal Ball: All I see is an address and a slogan: 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa ON and "It's the environment, stupid!"


Gerard Kennedy ran a great campaign. I'm sad to see him go. Now let's elect a Liberal Canadian! Dion for PM!

And away we go!

Quick thoughts with the first ballot in:
  • Martha tripled her support. I don't know whether this is her popularity or someone decided to help make her result less embarrassing, I don't know. It was nice to see regardless. It will be interesting to see where Martha goes.
  • Ken Dryden is either delusional or an excellent actor. I'm leaning towards delusional. He seems to think he can still win and is determined to stay on the ballot as long as possible. I don't know if delegates at the convention saw his post-speech interview on CPAC. He was angry; angry with his poor performance on super-weekend, angry at his lack of money, angry at his lack of support. It was an ugly thing to see. I really liked Ken Dryden and he had a great speech, but that interview gave me pause.
  • Dion's ahead of Kennedy. This is bad news for Kennedy. No spin, this is bad news.
  • Having said that... a lot of voting occurred before Kennedy's great speech. We don't know where Martha and Scott are going. It's not over by a long shot.
  • Anyone know what happens if there's a tie?
  • Dion has momentum. Can he keep it up?
  • Iggy is in trouble. He needs to show growth on the next ballot or the rats may start abandoning ship.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Name Dropping 101

I'm listening to Bob Rae's speech. So, we should elect you because you've known a lot of Liberals? What the hell do you stand for Bob? "I see a Canada whose vision is of the world" that's nice... Oh he just realized he should probably include some French.... Iraq. More past. Goddamit. Get to the future... School breakfast? Isn't that the great social problem of ten years ago? Still relevant, probably but not exactly groundbreaking... We'll meet Kyoto? Wow, did you drink the kool-aid too? Sorry. This speech is confirming everything I don't like about Bob Rae. His campaign is three P's: Personality, Past, and Platitudes. One P missing: policy.


I just watched Gerard Kennedy's speech courtesy of CPAC. I know I'm biased, but I was blown away. I first heard Kennedy speak at a rally in Toronto in May when I was still deciding who I was going to support. Back then, he had that great story about delivering food to the poor family and a great framework for what he was going to do, but he rambled and seemed to be all over the place. Tonight, he seemed on target and passionate. He was great. I really hope that whoever wins this leadership takes Gerard's ideas to heart. On renewal, he's dead on. On how to win the next election, he's dead on. He needs to be heeded even if he is not elected.

Some quick (generally lighter) thoughts on the speech:
  • I loved the dig at the MSM in the video.
  • I don't know who told Justin Trudeau to enunciate, but please someone, tell him to stop!
  • I was hoping for a Gerry! Gerry! chant a la Jerry Springer. The GK chant is fine, but when it mixed with the chants of Kennedy! Kennedy! it kind of sounded like JC, JC. A little too bible camp for my taste.
  • Whoever decided to put the Quebec flags waving in front of Kennedy's face knew what they were doing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Leadership Convention Questions: Pt. 4

Here are the last five questions:

5. Where do Bob Rae's loyalties lie?

For either Gerard Kennedy or Stephane Dion to win the leadership convention, Bob Rae needs to drop off and endorse them. The question is whether or not Bob Rae is likely to do so. Does he still have loyalty to his old friend Michael Ignatieff? Would that loyalty supersede an ideological alliance with Kennedy/Dion? This may turn into the question of the convention. Unfortunately, only Bob Rae knows the answer.

4. Is the Ignatieff campaign going forwards, backwards or stuck in neutral?

You can find pundits who would say all three. Michael Ignatieff is unlikely to get to fifty percent by racking up endorsements. While an endorsement from Dion or Rae is possible, it also seems unlikely. For Iggy to win he's going to have to do it by bleeding support from all the camps. Forming a consensus, ideally before the last ballot. Thus, the question above. Does Ignatieff have the momentum to get to fifty percent before a one on one showdown? I'm increasingly skeptical.

3. Will Michael Ignatieff make a mistake in the next week?

I know. This is mean. But come on. This guy makes a gaffe every other time there's a microphone in front of him and their are going to be plenty for him this week. The question is can Iggy stay on message and get through this week without shooting himself in the foot. This is important not only to this leadership, but how he may perform in a national election. If I was Iggy's handlers I'd be talking social policy all week. Stay away from foreign affairs and Quebec nationhood where people have questions about his position. They probably won't listen to me, but I'll give them the advice anyway.

2. Are we on the brink of another civil war?

Is there a group at this convention with no second choice? Is there anyone in Montreal this week who plans to walk out of the convention wearing a black armband a la Jean LaPierre? For the sake of the party and the country I hope not. This is an appeal to all Liberals: Get behind whoever wins this convention, your country needs it!

1. Who wins the leadership convention?

Sorry, no prognostication. Conventions, as I think I've demonstrated with these questions are impossible to predict. So, we'll have to wait and see.

I will not be in Montreal this week. C'est dommage. When I signed up for an academic exchange for 2006-2007 the Liberals were still in power. Not that this would have altered my decision, but it simply wasn't a factor. Thus, I will spend the weekend far from the nations I love in the darkness of this small Swedish city. I don't intend to post much during the convention, leave that to people who are there. Maybe some short comments here or there. I will do a wrap up analysis next week.

One last plug. If you don't have a home on the second ballot, go talk to the Gerard Kennedy people. Talk to them in French if you need to, just go with an open mind. He would make a great Prime Minister, I believe that more today than I did six months ago when I decided to support him. This is a man of strong conviction who believes in this country and its promise. He can make Canada a better place to live. I believe it. He believes it. Please, join us in making a Canada we can be proud of.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Glen Pearson Elected in London North Centre

At 9:45 pm Eastern Standard Time (3:45 am where I am, no I really don't sleep), All Politics is Local is prepared to call the by-election races.

In Repentigny: Shocker! Raymond Gravel (BQ) will go to Ottawa. With about 45% of the results in, Gravel has earned 67.1% of the vote almost a full 50 points higher than his nearest opponent. Bad news for the Grits in Quebec. Liberal Christian Turenne currently sits 4th, behind the NDP.

In London North Centre: Glen Pearson (L) is elected. With about 85% of the results in, Pearson has an 8 point lead on Green Party leader Elizabeth May. Now, can all the "Liberals" who have been cheering for the Greens, get back to being Liberals, please? This is bad news for people who wanted the Greens to gain some credibility in the eyes of the mainstream media. Let's review all that went right for the Greens:
  1. They had their newly minted leader running.
  2. They were facing a Liberal Party which is much more concerned with their leadership race then by-elections.
  3. The Conservatives brought in a star candidate and split the vote
  4. The NDP wasn't very strong and thus didn't dilute the environment vote
  5. The Liberal candidate got no press coverage
  6. It's unseasonably warm in London
What more do you want?!?!?! Sorry, no national debates. Not until the Greens can win when a riding is handed to them on a silver platter.

Leadership Convention Questions: Pt. 3

As promised, here is part three of my thrilling four part series. Today we look at questions relating to the top four contenders.

10. Does Stephane Dion have enough momentum to get ahead of Gerard Kennedy?

Dion may be the media's current darling (remember how they fawned over Michael Ignatieff six months ago?), but he still finds himself about sixty delegates away from being able to get into the top three. Dion's campaign will undoubtedly be focused on nothing else between now and the time of that crucial ballot with the top four candidates. The easiest way would be to get an endorsement from candidates 5, 6 or 7 (Martha's endorsement most likely doesn't do him any good). There are about 630 delegates available from Dryden, Volpe and Brison and all Dion needs is sixty more than Kennedy gets. Can he do it? Sure. It is possible that he receives endorsements from any one or more of the three candidates. This is one of those things that are impossible to predict. So I'm not going to try to guess if it happens. Too many variables.

9. Was Stephane Dion too negative?

Dion's path to leadership goes through a final ballot with Michael Ignatieff. There is a big question whether he can get enough support from the Rae and Kennedy camps to win the leadership. While there seems to be an ideological synergy between camps 2,3 and 4, Dion may be regretting his aggressive debating strategy on the last ballot. In the debates Dion went after everyone. If people can't forgive him for his attacks he may find himself going down to defeat on a last ballot. It is conceivable for Dion to get the endorsement of every other candidate and still lose. People don't like being attacked by their friends. I'm not saying this a likely scenario, but if it happens, the Dion camp should watch the debates to learn where they went wrong.

8. Is Gerard Kennedy more or less credible in Quebec?

Kennedy made a very bold move today. My comments are below. Whether or not this pays off with Quebec or Western delegates remains to be seen. Kennedy is going to need more than the 1.7% of Quebec delegates he currently has if he wants to win the leadership. The endorsement by Justin Trudeau may assuage some fears, but there are still a lot of questions. My take? Gerard is more credible in Quebec. I'm not sure if he's credible enough. He needs to go to every French delegate he can find and start a conversation in French. He needs to rehearse the French part of his speech ten times more than he does the English part. He needs to prove he can win in Quebec and this is his last shot.

7. Was Gerard Kennedy too positive?

Gerard Kennedy prided himself on staying away from the mud. If he loses, does he regret not getting his hands dirty? After all, sharp attacks would have been a great way to get more media coverage, something the Kennedy campaign needed desperately. Did he let his opponents get away with too many mistakes? Should he have made the differences more clear? If he loses, the questions will be asked. Frankly, I don't care. I think it's great that Kennedy ran a positive campaign. I hope that he runs a positive and issues based campaign if he wins. About the only thing I will say I like about Ontario PC leader John Tory is that he's stayed away from the mud. It makes him look Premierial (not a word, I know). We need more of it in Canadian politics. We aren't Americans; we shouldn't act like Americans. Kudos to Kennedy for staying clean.

6. Which Bob Rae is on the minds of delegates?

The key to Bob Rae's run to leadership is this question. Are voters looking at the man who ran one of the worst governments in Ontario history or the man who did good work on higher education and Air India. If the former is in the minds of voters, Bob could be done. On a last ballot Rae is going to be looking to appeal to over 800 Ontario delegates from defeated candidates. Can Rae overcome the gut reaction many of them have to his name? If Rae wants to win this weekend he needs to be talking about the future. Future, future, future. Rae has been short on ideas about what he would do as leader. He needs to outline a vision this weekend. He needs a vision that will make people forget about five years of Rae Days.

Tomorrow, the last five questions!

Side note: Dryden has now come out against the nation resolution. If the nation question becomes the question of the convention, does Dryden go to Kennedy? Just asking.

Is Michaelle Jean Quebecois? or Why Kennedy is Right

I have thus far decided against posting on the nation issue. Frankly, I think its a debate for 19th century sociologists. But since the majority of the country disagrees with me, I've given it some thought. I agree that 'Pur Laine' Quebecois constitute a nation. The problem is Quebec is a lot more than pur laine these days. It used to be fairly easy. Quebeckers who spoke French were Quebecois. Nowadays, however, with an influx of immigrants from Haiti, Lebanon, Cote D'Ivoire and other parts of the Francophonie, the distinction is less clear. Thus, the question arises is our Governor General Quebecois? If yes, then 'Quebecois' is not a national distinction, in the academic sense, since there is no shared history and culture and in the case of Lebanese Muslims, religion. If no, we have a problem.

Actually two problems. The first problem is what good is a distinction of a Quebecois nation if not even the entire Bloc caucus is included in the definition. The second is that it runs contrary to the very nature of the country Canadians love. This kind of racially defined distinction runs contrary to Canadian traditions of multi-culturalism and diversity. The Liberal Party prides itself on being the party for new Canadians. Immigrants have a place in our party and our country and should not be made to feel excluded no matter where they live. When we start dividing up our country along racial lines we destroy the greatness of this country. Stephen Harper's resolution divides this country along 19th century European lines. Lines that are not relevant in today's Canada.

This is why I say Gerard Kennedy is right in his assessment of the nation question. That said I think it was an incredibly stupid thing for Kennedy to say. In this situation, the right position is also the one most likely to cost you votes. This is true both at the convention and in a future general election. The sentiment in the country (with the possible exception of Alberta) is that we should recognize the Quebecois nation. Going against the grain on this issue is politically dangerous. I respect Kennedy's decision. I think he's right. However, this may cost him the leadership.

P.S. I'll get on with my convention questions later today.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Liberal Leadership Convention: 20 Questions pt. 2

Another day, another set of questions. For questions 15-20, please scroll down. Don't know why I did 6 questions yesterday, five would have made more sense. Well, what's done is done. To make up for it and because I'm feeling lazy, only four questions today.

14. Whither Joe Volpe?
I really don't want to give Volpe credit for any influence in this convention. Unfortunately, he has delegates and given the close race between Rae, Kennedy and Dion, his delegates could impact who ends up on the last ballot. So when and where does Joe Volpe go? Well, on the when side I'd say there are two possibilities. One, he makes an angry speech and drops out without endorsing anyone. Two, he waits until he's the last name on the ballot (my guess after the second ballot) and is forced to drop off. In this case, he could make no endorsement or he may endorse Gerard Kennedy. This is really just an educated guess. In the first scenario, he makes no endorsement because nobody wants his endorsement. Otherwise, he endorses Kennedy because Volpe has said that he's running for immigrants and who has the most comprehensive immigration policy? Kennedy. He has repeatedly attacked both Iggy and Rae for their lack of Liberal experience so I don't see him going there. As for Dion, while I admit the possibility, I don't see much convergence of ideas between the two. Even if Volpe doesn't endorse Kennedy, his delegates may find a home there for the reasons stated above.

13. How long does Ken Dryden last?
Ken Dryden will decide how long this convention lasts. There's a chance he could go no ballots and there's also a small chance he could go three ballots. I'd say the most likely scenario lies somewhere in between. I think how long Dryden lasts depends on what kind of offers he's hearing from the four front-runners. If he doesn't hear an offer he likes after the first ballot, why should he drop off? My guess is he finds a deal he likes after the second ballot and allows the real convention to begin.

12. Who does Ken Dryden and his delegates endorse?
The quick answer to this is I have no idea. I think there are very good arguments why he would back each of the four candidates. This is a huge wild card and one of the reasons conventions are so hard to predict. There's one interesting thing to note. A good proportion of his ex-officio and elected delegate support comes from Manitoba. Lost in the Justin Trudeau endorsement, was the endorsement Kennedy received from the leader of the Manitoba Liberals. Now, I know very little about Manitoba politics and I have no idea what kind of pull Dr. Gerrard has. If he does have influence though, Kennedy may be able to get some support from Dryden delegates with or without Dryden.

11. How many ballots does it take to get to the final four?
This is really a question that is about the media more than anything else. We need this convention to end in time so that the victory speech is on Sunday night news or at very least in time for the Monday papers. A all-nighter like the 1996 Ontario convention would be bad news for the party. We need all the good press we can get. The length of this convention is decided by how long it takes to get to four candidates. Once that happens it should only take two or three ballots to finish the deal. I have no idea what the answer to this question is, I just hope the bottom four candidates keep it in mind. My guess? Two, which wouldn't be that bad.

Tomorrow, I deal with questions directly related to the top four candidates. So stay tuned!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Liberal Leadership Convention: 20 Questions pt. 1

In one week, Liberals will be gathered in Montreal and voting on who they want to be leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. For your consideration, here are twenty questions which will help determine who leads the party into the next election and back into government:

20. Is there a sympathy vote for Martha Hall Findlay on the first ballot?
Ex-officio delegates have the opportunity to make Martha's defeat a little less embarrassing. If they do so, we may not see the strength of the top four candidates as clearly as we'd like on the first ballot.

19. Who does Martha endorse?
She may not have that many delegates to take with her, but her endorsement will likely come first and may demonstrate who has the big Mo at the convention. In a recent interview on The Agenda with Steve Paikin she identified the environment and finding a solution in Afghanistan as her top two issues. The former appears to favour Stephane Dion while the latter would favour Gerard Kennedy. However, she really could go to any of the top four candidates.

18. Who makes the speech of the convention?
The person who is able to make the best speech might not win but it will do a lot for momentum going into the vote. If its Martha or Scott Brison, it would position them very well for a future run.

17. Do all eight candidates last to the first ballot?
It often occurs in conventions that people use their speech to bow out of the race. Conceivably, any of the bottom four candidates could drop off but I'd say Martha and Brison are the most likely. If Volpe wanted to do something for the good of the party he would have left a long time ago and Dryden figures to play a significant role in deciding who ends up on the last ballot. Martha and Brison who are possible future contenders would also be inclined to do something to ingratiate themselves to Liberal bosses who don't want this thing ending at 4am.

16. How loyal are the delegates?
This question could very well shape the nature of the convention. This applies not only to retention capabilities of the top four but also how much an endorsement by a bottom four candidate will mean. If Brison endorses Ignatieff but his youth delegates go to Kennedy, his endorsement isn't worth quite as much. This is just one scenario, although I think a likely one. His right of centre base may like Iggy but the whole new generation of politicians group may take Kennedy. This question leads perfectly into number 15 which is....

15. Who does Scott Brison endorse?
The assumption seems to be that the right of centre Brison will endorse the most right leaning candidate, Michael Ignatieff. It's a decent assumption. There are a couple of other possibilities. He goes to Dion because he sees him as the most pro-business. He goes to Kennedy because he sees him as the next youngest and the one most likely to provide a new generation of leadership. Still, I think odds are Brison goes to Iggy. Then the question is how loyal are his delegates? Do his youth delegates go to Iggy? What about his Quebec delegates? Surely, they knew about Iggy when they chose to support Brison, maybe they wanted someone else?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Flaherty's Fuzzy Figures

Big news! The Tories plan to eliminate the federal debt in 15 years! Great news, right? Well it would be if it were possible. Flaherty has said that all budget surpluses will be used to pay down the debt. So let's see what will those surpluses look like for the next five years? Hmm... looks like they only add up to $14.4 billion or 3% of the $480 billion debt. So we pay off three percent over five years and 97% over the remaining ten. Great plan Jim.

Fifteen year economic projections are suspect in the first place. But come on, you could at least choose a feasible date. How about 2050? That seems to be a favourite date for this government and plus at least that I would have kind of, almost, believed. More hot air from the Tories. It's disgusting. We need to get rid of these guys and quick.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good News Everyone!

I don't usually do cheerleading stuff for the Kennedy campaign, but this story I like. I met John through a mutual friend this summer and spent a few hours with him distributing literature for his council run. At that time, he was a dyed in the wool Iggy supporter. In spite of this, he was clearly a very smart young man. I am happy to hear that he has seen the light, and decided to join the Kennedy campaign. He is a great addition to any team. Hopefully, he will bring some of his Iggy people with him. It is just one delegate but he moved in the right direction. It makes you wonder exactly how loyal the rest of Iggy's delegates are? Anyway, congrats to John Laforet and the Kennedy Scarborough crew that undoubtedly helped him make the decision.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My Two Cents Revisited

Back in July I gave my assessment of the then 11 candidates for the leadership for the Liberal leadership. With but one week left until the convention, it is time to update the list. Once again I will go from least desirable to most desirable. Not a whole lot has changed in my thinking but I thought it would be good to explain my support for Kennedy one more time before the convention At the end of each comment I will post odds of winning. So once again from worst to best the eight candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada:

Joseph Volpe: Where to begin? Volpe has been to this race what the sponsorship scandal was to the last two election campaigns: a persistent distraction from the important issues. From accepting campaign donations from children to signing up the dead to vote for him, Volpe has disgraced himself and his party. I don't know how Volpe got any delegate support on Super Weekend but he did. Chances are his support will not be sought to overtly by any of the major camps and therefore he will play a very minimal role in the convention. Thank God for that. Do us all a favour, use your convention speech to retire from politics. Chance of victory: Infinite to 1.

Ken Dryden: What went wrong? That has to be the question Ken Dryden has been asking himself for the last few months. How did such a promising candidate become an afterthought? Well, it starts with a total lack of charisma. I'm sorry, that does matter. Add to that Dryden doesn't really bring anything new to the table and you got a large yawn from most Liberals. His "Big Canada" looks far too much like Martin's defeated 2006 platform. Full of pretty words and spread too thinly across policy areas. At the end of the day, he was a man of the past and it doomed him. Chance of victory 250,000 to 1.

Martha Hall-Findlay: Martha was a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, that was about all she was. Her platform involved finding out where her people were going so that she could lead them. The grassroots approach is nice, but some sort of coherent vision of Canada would have been helpful (Kennedy got the grassroots thing right). Combine that with a total lack of recognition and money and Martha's campaign was doomed from the start. She will be the first one off the ballot. I don't believe it's mathematically possible for her to get on the second ballot. Chance of victory: None.

Scott Brison: I briefly flirted with the idea of supporting Scott Brison but quickly realized he was unelectable and decided against it. I don't know if he was hurt by the income trust e-mail debacle last December, but I'm sure it didn't help. He talked about strengthening the economy which was a necessary voice to have in the debates. However, he is still a little to the right of the party and it showed. However, he's young and could very easily reinvent himself between now and the next leadership convention. I am prepared to take a serious look at him next time around, I'm sure I'm not alone. Chance of victory: 400,000 to 1.

Michael Ignatieff: The more I see of Michael Ignatieff the less I like. The man has done a very good impression of Mr. Dithers at various points in his campaign and that should send off alarm bells in a lot of Liberal minds. He is still fundamentally not a politician and really not in tune with the feelings of his home country. His absurd proposal to reopen the constitution proved that to me. Yes, from an academic perspective, it would be nice to get Quebec into the constitution but I'm not willing to break up the country trying. We can't spend the next election getting the foot out of our leader's mouth and hmming and hawing over Quebec's nationhood. We need to be worried about issues that face Canada today like the aging population and the environment not issues of fifteen or twenty-five years ago. Mr. Ignatieff would be a disastrous choice for leadership. The NDP would have a good chance at getting 50 seats, heck, the Greens might elect a member or two. Liberals win when they campaign on the left, Iggy can't do that with any credibility. His age is also a concern. Harper will once again look like the young decisive leader against the old dithering Liberal. Notwithstanding all I've said, there's a very good chance he will lead the party. Chance of Victory: 5 to 2

Bob Rae: I like Bob Rae. Or at least I like the Bob Rae of 2006. I don't like the Rae of 1990-1995. This may or may not be a major issue in the mind of the voters but it will be in the minds of Tory strategists. If Rae is leader, we will spend the next election trying to justify the miserable Ontario NDP regime of the early 1990's instead of where Canada can go in the new millennium. Mr. Rae has done admirable work since his days as premier. He has proven himself on issues from education to Air India. He has run a well organized campaign and chances are good could run a very efficient campaign. I am still unconvinced that he can win in the suburbs and small towns of Ontario so crucial to the next election. Would he increase the margin of victory for Liberals in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal? Probably. Can he pick up new seats? Probably not. The other major problem with Rae is that he is a bit of a tabula rassa on new ideas. What would a Rae platform look like? I have no idea. Sorry Bob, in politics, very few people get a second chance. Your record as premier means that you don't deserve one. Chance of victory 4:1

Stephane Dion: It's not easy being green. Just ask the Green Party. I like a lot of what Stephane Dion says. We do need to fight greenhouse gases in a way that promotes economic growth and yes, the plan he has would probably work. The problem with the Dion campaign is that Stephane Dion is at the head of it. Leaving his suspect English aside, this is the man who introduced Quebeckers to the Clarity Act. Gilles Duceppe is just waiting for the opportunity to remind Quebec of that insult to La Belle Provence. Is the environment important to Quebec? Sure, but he is not the only one who can campaign against the Tory environment plan. I mean anyone can do that. Even Joe Volpe could do that. It's just that easy. Anyone who watched the last debate in Toronto, has to have some pause about Dion. He reminded me of Jack Layton during the 2004 debates: rude. He seemed far too eager to drive the party apart in order to win. In too many ways, Dion is a remnant of the Chretien-Martin era. He's a street-fighter like Chretien, we really don't need another one of those. The civil war is supposed to be over. Chance of victory 6:1

Gerard Kennedy: As was true in July, my choice for Liberal leader is Gerard Kennedy. The former Ontario Minister of Education, continues to defy the media reports of his impending political death. A lot of the criticism that have been brought up about Gerard are similar to the ones brought up about Harper. His French isn't good enough. He has an abrasive leadership style. Therefore he can't win? Well, Harper won and did so beating (in the popular vote) a flawlessly bilingual Liberal leader in Quebec.

As for the positives? Well, the main reason I decided to get involved in the Kennedy campaign was that he was talking about the impending crisis which is coming to our social programs and our country in general. No, not global warming, Western aging. Kennedy has a plan to cope with the retirement of the baby boom. He has a plan that does it through that most Liberal of Canadian institutions: immigration. Making sure immigrants get credit for their credentials is not only morally imperative but also crucial to the future success of the country. If this was Kennedy's entire platform, I would support him. However, he is much more. He put forward a clear, reasonable and pragmatic position on the Israeli-Lebanon conflict and Afghanistan. He recognizes the imperatives presented by global warming. He invited debate on his policy positions. Debate? Yes, Prime Minister there is such a thing.

He proved as minister of education that he can handle hard jobs. Take a look at the record. In the four years before Kennedy was minister three different people held the position. In the six months since two people have held the job. Kennedy held the position for three years and did the impossible: he brought labour peace. Anyone who like me went to school in the Harris era knows how crucial that labour peace was. Liberals underestimated Harper and paid the price. People underestimate Gerard at their own peril. He has the ideas and track record to lead this party in the right direction. Can he win a general election? Well, time will tell but nothing says definitely not, not even his French. That isn't true for the other seven candidates. Chance of victory: 5 to 1.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The World Will Get Hotter

That is the only conclusion I can reach at the end of the Nairobi talks on climate change. Aside from the ridiculous decision to put the issue on the back burner until 2008, the conference perpetuated the single largest flaw of the Kyoto protocol. According to

" China received assurances that future meetings would not result in mandatory emissions cutbacks for developing nations."

This means that the world's emissions are not going to go down. If developing nations like China and India are not brought into the fight against global warming it is doomed to fail. The West can fight as hard as it wants, it will be to no avail. China's exclusion also perpetuates American criticisms of the environmental regime and significantly reduces any chance of bringing reticent nations like the US and Australia into the fold. Canada may have drawn the most criticism, but the entire Nairobi conference gets an F in my book.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Muni election Aftermath

Some quick thoughts on Ontario's local elections:
  • David Miller's reelection is a sad day for the city of Toronto. The man deserved to be defeated, or at least a candidate who would have given him a run for his money. The weak showing by Jane Pitfield and the joke of a candidacy fielded by Stephen LeDrew, makes Toronto seem small time. Adam Vaughan and Michael Thompson ducked questions about their possible future mayoral candidacies last night, I hope they don't them four years from now. Both would make excellent candidates.
  • Liberals like me in Toronto-Danforth should be even more depressed than usual this morning. The good news is that Case Ootes won. The bad news is that the total unknown who the NDP backed came within 20 votes of unseating the former Mayor of East York and Deputy Mayor of Toronto. Now, admittedly Ootes is to the right of the Liberals (more of a John Tory PC from what I can tell) but the NDP being able to mount a strong charge in the northern half of Toronto-Danforth where they are supposed to be weak and getting weaker, is bad news. This is especially when it is coupled with Paula Fletcher's cakewalk south of the Danforth.
  • An equally depressing day for students. In Toronto's Ward 43, U of T student John Laforet finished fourth. Kudos to John on a well fought and honest campaign. In Kingston, Bill Glover was elected in Sydenham Ward. This is terrible news. Not only did the student candidates lose but Glover is well known for being anti-student and will make any issues between students and the city much worse come next fall. Queen's students clearly still don't want to bother to register to vote in Kingston instead of their hometowns (usually not Kingston). As long as this is true, there is going to be a major gap between Queen's campus and city hall, even if it is only a ten minute walk.
  • In other bad news, Rob Ford and Howard Moscoe are back. Yuck, yuck, yuck. We need to do something about this incumbency problem. If jokers like that get huge pluralities the system is seriously broken.
  • On the bright side, Adam Vaughan was elected. Okay, this guy has more hype than Barrack Obama but if he's half the councilor people think he's going to be, he's a blessing to the new council. He also beat Olivia Chow's lapdog Helen Kennedy and proved to the NDP that they don't own Trinity-Spadina. Also, hurricane winds continued to blow in Mississauga as Hazel McCallion was returned to an 11th term. Hazel understands GTA politics better than anyone and is a strong voice for people in Mississauga and across the GTA.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Toronto Election: How you should vote

Because I feel like being important, I will now instruct Toronto voters on how to vote in the upcoming municipal election in certain races.


You ever go to a restaurant and realize there's nothing on the menu that looks good? Well, voters are going to have that feeling tomorrow when they look at the 30+ candidates running for the top job in Toronto. More people vote for the mayor of Toronto than for any other position in the country and yet there's not a candidate out there who deserves your vote. Let's run through the main three:

David Miller: Let's see. Well, he scrapped the island airport bridge at a huge cost to the taxpayer. He hasn't done anything to address Toronto's extraordinarily large garbage problem. Say it with me now: incineration. The budget's a mess. Property taxes are going through the roof. The waterfront revitalization is moving at a snail's pace. The expo bid imploded. He let Howard Moscoe botch the TTC negotiations and didn't try to remove him from his post. He used dirty tactics to get rid of a popular police chief because he disagreed with him. Have I mentioned anything that makes you want to vote for Miller? No? Then don't.

Jane Pitfield: As you can see from above, there's plenty of room to attack Miller. Pitfield has done nothing to advance her position on any of these issues. She seems to be most concerned about homelessness. Homelessness is a major problem, unfortunately Pitfield seems to take her cues from Jim Flaherty i.e. she wants to criminalize it. This is a horrible solution. For taking a golden opportunity and turning it into a joke, I cannot support Jane Pitfield.

Stephen LeDrew: Um... he ran the Liberal Party once, right? Yeah. I think you need a profile to be mayor. He had potential but has been a complete disappointment. No vote for you! Next!

Therefore, who should Toronto voter for? Well, the first name on the ballot is Michael Alexander. I know nothing about him and he doesn't seem to have a website I can locate but if you vote for him it will probably make him happy. So, Michael Alexander for Mayor: He has two first names!


Who you should vote for:

Ward 29: Case Ootes. The deputy mayor under Lastman is my councilor and deserves another kick at the can. He's strong voice of opposition to Miller and his dipper allies. He's also a good local representative working hard for the ward. The former East York mayor deserves another term on council.

Ward 43: John Laforet. This is an open race and I say give John Laforet a chance. Sure, he's young and has little to no experience but frankly this city could use people on council who haven't spent 30 years fighting battles over potholes. He's smart, he's Liberal, he's been campaigning since before the incumbent dropped out and everyone rushed in. Give him some love.

Ward 20: Adam Vaughan. I think this is a no brainer for most progressive minded people. He's smart. He knows the city inside and out. He's passionate about doing what's right for the city. He's responsible only to himself and his constituents. Send him to city hall.

Who needs to be sent home:

Ward 2: Rob Ford. Can you say Conservative nut-job? I can. I can also say turf him. The Star likes Kevin Mark. I'd take a street light over Ford.

Ward 15: Howard Moscoe. What is it with Eglinton-Lawrence and embarrassing politicians? I think Moscoe might be more embarrassing than Volpe. TTC wildcat strike? Moscoe. Corruption? Moscoe again. Let's get some self respect back for Eglinton- Lawrence and send this guy packing. The Star likes Ron Singer. Why not?

School Board:

Just two endorsements:

First, in my home ward. Elect Gordon Crann in Toronto-Danforth. He's a Liberal and has a strong record in the community. Send him to Yonge and Sheppard.

Second, in the ward where I went to high school, St. Paul's, return Josh Matlow. He's involved in the schools and listens to all the stakeholders including students. He is also a big proponent of the rebuilding of my decrepit old alma mater. Back to the board with the young man.

Oh, and if you live in Mississauga, vote for Hazel McCallion. I know I didn't need to say that, but come on, it's Hazel, who doesn't like Hazel?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Woman Two Heartbeats Away from the Presidency

The Democrats appear to have won back the House of Representatives in the land of the free. This makes Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House and subsequently the person third in the presidential succession. This isn't really all that important except that its the highest a woman has ever been in the presidential succession order. In other woman as presdient news, Hillary Clinton rolled over Republican x in her coronation for the US Senate seat in New York. The former first lady can now devote her attention full time to a possible (ok, probable) White House run in 2008. Possible Republican presidential candidate on the other hand George Allen appears to be done. Even if he somehow beats James Webb in his reelection bid(which seems unlikely at this hour), his hopes are, well, stuck in macaca. Rick Santorum's (R) future ambitions have also been quashed by his humiliating defeat to Bob Casey Jr. (D). In other midterm news, two foreign born governors were easily reelected. In California, Ahnold rolled over Phil Angelides and in Michigan, Canadian born Gov. Granholm cruised past her Republican opponent.

Only one comment on the polls regarding the leadership convention. I was surprised to see Stephane Dion's poor showing in delegates who plan on attending the convention. After all, the convention is being held in Quebec where Dion got most of his support. There were bloggers who speculated that Kennedy would be hurt when his delegates from the rest of the country failed to show up, apparently geography is less important than it used to be. Kennedy came first in delegates who plan to attend.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thoughts after a Halloween Snow

It snowed on Halloween here in Lund. This made me happy and sad at the same time. Anyhoo, the course work is done for a little while so back to the blogosphere

  • I know nothing about income trusts. I think this puts me in the same group as 99% of Canadians. I can see a flip-flop when I see one. Good or bad policy, I can't say. I can say that they should have stuck with the decision they made.
  • Why is it that the federal Tories are bad at not creating taxes? I don't remember the last Liberal tax hike federally. Here we have a tax-hike that sends the market into a tailspin. Aren't they supposed to be the business guys?
  • David Miller will win the mayoral election in Toronto in spite of:
    • Inaction on the issue of the last election: garbage
    • A failed expo bid
    • A horrible decision on the island airport that is bad for the economy and the environment
    • A budget mess
    • 58% of people thinking its time for a change
    • Complete bungling of TTC negotiations by his buddy Howard Moscoe
  • This is evidence enough for me that municipal politics need some serious electoral reform
  • The Liberal leadership is mercifully almost over. Nothing new to report. Go ground war go!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Missing: Quebec Delegates

An interesting note on the 'final' delegate results. There are whole bunch of delegate spots that have not been filled and may or may not be filled between now and the convention. There are a few reasons for this. The first is the rules on senior and youth delegates and the ability of candidates to field those specific peopele. The other is party support. The percentage of delegates filled is a fairly good indication of where the party is strongest because it shows a large base of support for a lot of people. Here are the percentage of delegate spots filled by province compared with Liberal strength in the last election:

PEI: 98.46%/52.6%
Manitoba: 94.42%/26%
Ontario: 92.28%/39.9%
Nova Scotia: 92.09%/37.2%
Saskatchewan: 90.76%/22.4%
New Brunswick: 89.47%/39.2%
Newfoundland and Labrador: 88.99/42.8%
Alberta: 87.58%/15.3%
Quebec: 86.59%/20.8%

Results for BC are under review

While the correlation isn't perfect, the fact that Quebec is dead last in filling delegate spots should give all Liberals pause. After all, it has been Quebec which has made the Liberal Party the natural governing party in this country.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

By-Election Fun

Two by-elections have been called for the end of November, days before the Liberal Leadership convention. One's in London North Centre the other in Repentigny. Quick thoughts:
  • There have been questions as to whether or not GK, MHF or Bob Rae should run in London North Centre. One thing I don't think has been said yet. Let's say Rae runs and wins in London North Centre and Kennedy wins the leadership or vice versa. What exactly would that accomplish? There's no need for either to get into parliament before the next election which will in all likelihood in 2007.
  • The new leader of the Greens is running in the riding. There are those like this blogger are calling for the Grits and Dippers to step aside and the let the Greens go after the Conservative nutbar who's running there. This would be incredibly stupid. The Greens garnered all of 5.5% in the last election in London North Centre. How they get ahead of the Tories, even without any other candidates, is beyond me. The Grits need to run a strong local London candidate to knock off the Tory nutbar. May or no May.
  • Over in Repentigny, the Tories are getting heat for not putting up Sen. Michael Fortier as their candidate. I understand that ideologically the Tories should have their cabinet elected, but running in Repentigny would be suicide. The Bloc won the riding with 62.4% of the vote and nothing indicates that either the Tories or the Grits have a prayer here. Fortier should have run in a winnable riding in the last election, getting killed in a race now would prove nothing.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Green Turner?

There are rumours that the former Tory Garth Turner may join the Greens. There are people enthusiastically wishing him to do just that. I do not. First of all, I think the Greens are a joke, until they can elect their own MP's they don't deserve a seat in the house. The Reform Party won a by-election to get national attention in 1993. The Bloc Quebecois when it formed was a fairly large group of MP's not one lone wolf. Turner would just waste media attention on whether or not the Greens should be in the debate and if the Greens get in, waste debate time for a party that won't win party status and probably not a single seat. And now, Gilles Duceppe will debate Elizabeth May on the subject of fiscal responsibility! Be still my heart! You thought the Dryden, Volpe, Hall Findlay was boring!

If Garth Turner seeks re-election, odds are the Liberals will take back Halton. After all, Turner beat Gary Carr in the last election by three points. If the Tories field a candidate to run against Turner as a Green, the vote split will give the Grits the riding. The Greens only add 5.6% to the now split Tory pie. This would mean that either Turner or the Tories would only have to take about 10% of the vote to give the seat to the Liberals. The election would look a lot like the election in Churchill in the last election where sitting MP Bev Desjarlais, expelled by the NDP, split the vote with the NDP candidate Christina Ashton and gave Liberal Tina Keeper the seat:

2006 Election Results for Churchill (MB)
Keeper: 40.2%
Ashton: 28.4%
Desjarlais: 17.2%
Ahmad (C): 11.6%
Fountain (G) 1.6%

I hope Turner runs, we could use Halton.

Thoughts on Debate, Convention

A few thoughts on the debate, which I finally sat down and watched today. The two most impressive candidates on the stage were Gerard Kennedy and Martha Hall Findlay. Gerard was impressive for staying away from personal attacks and sticking to issues. Findlay looked like the elder statesmen in her foreign affairs debate with Rae and Ignatieff. I think her "Gentlemen!" may be the best line of the campaign so far. I didn't really hear anything out of Bob Rae. I have no idea what he stands for. His main message seems to be I've been around longer than the rest of you combined, I'm smart and I have name recognition. I was unimpressed. Iggy looked great in the environment debate and horrible on foreign affairs. While he had Dion crying "that's not fair" in the enviro debate; Rae had Iggy appealing to their friendship on foreign affairs. Dion looked like a school yard bully. He attacked everyone he could and when someone hit back he acted like a wounded animal. It is fair game for someone outside of the Chretien/Martin government to bring up their weak record on the environment for most of their thirteen years in power. It's so fair that Jack Layton would bring it up repeatedly if Dion became leader. Words and policy proposals are very nice Stephane, actions are even better. Also, Dion had annoying habit of appearing to be bitter about the last election. Competitiveness is fine, but Dion was acting like the Liberals were entitled to govern. That's the kind of attitude that got us into opposition in the first place. I generally like Stephane Dion. He is probably my second choice after Kennedy, but he really gave me pause in the debate.

I absolutely refuse to prognosticate the convention. Conventions are about as predictable as a superball; there are too many variables to calculate. Having said that, it is interesting to note that there is the possibility that it may take more than one ballot to get down to the big 4. No one is obliged to drop out after the first ballot except for MHF (I'm assuming she'll be last on the first ballot, not a stretch). Even if Dryden and Brison clear the deck, do you think Joe Volpe is in this race to make people happy? We could be looking at the end of the third or fourth ballot before one of the big 4 has to drop off. That is not the news a front runner at any convention wants to hear. I don't care who you are.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quick Note

Number of Fatalaties on September 11th 2001: 2973
Number of Coalition fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq: 3498

So, do we just choose who dies at the hand of terrorists?

Yes, I know Saddam Hussein was not related to 9/11; even if you take out the casualties caused in the first couple of months of the Iraq war, the numbers are still pretty darn shocking. Also, it is doubtful that there would have ever been an Iraq war without 9/11.

We need a real plan for combatting terror and fast!

I'll post on the debate when I get a chance to see it. It is difficult with the time change and a poor internet connection to watch the debate in Sweden. I will say that from what I've read that Martha's comment on the Iggy/Rae tussle seems to be the most pertinent. We need good ideas not good one-liners.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Some thoughts

  • Watching the bickering going on between the Rae and Ignatieff camps over delegates in BC would be extremely disconcerting. It would be if either Rae or Ignatieff was young enough to make another run at the leadership. This means that we can't have another Chretien/Martin fight for thirteen years.
  • Martha Hall-Findlay might matter after all. With Kennedy and Dion currently separated by 25 delegates, Hall-Findlay 42 delegates could play a crucial role in determining which one of the non-establishment candidates sees the third ballot. This would be particularly true if Dryden and Brison endorse Iggy or Rae.
  • I've updated my projections page with the riding by riding results on it. Still very little riding info available from Quebec so the totals are skewed accordingly.
  • I don't really understand the Iggy camp's claims about the BC delegates. You can remove the delegates who were improperly signed up, but those spots still belong to Rae. There was a reason you just didn't vote for delegates under banners. While this does raise an issue about delegates actually representing the people that voted for them, the system does not disallow it. Also, a similar problem exists in elections where candidates don't have to live in the riding where they are running.
  • Anyone have an idea how Western involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends without cutting and running? I'm stumped.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Michael "Flip-Flop" Ignatieff

I didn't think it was possible for a centrist politician to get low marks from both the Canadian Islamic Congress and B'nai Brith, but Iggy has managed it. I also don't know how someone "doesn't lose any sleep" over something he considers a "war crime." Ignatieff made a huge mistake in trying to pander to pro-Lebanese Quebec by calling Qana a war crime. A Prime Minister cannot go around accusing our allies of war crimes on shoddy evidence. Iggy needs to realize that he can no longer just say whatever comes to the top of his head. He's not an academic any more, people are going to actually care what he thinks.

The last thing the Liberal party needs is another ditherer in office. Iggy's Qana flip-flop should sound warning bells for his supporters. This guy is not ready for the top job. Winning a federal election in Canada requires nuance. You have to play to different regions and interest groups while not alienating anyone. It is a tough juggling act and Iggy has shown himself incapable of juggling. Canada needs a leader who can bring people together and get things done. Hmmm... which leadership candidate has a record of actually getting things done? Oh right, Gerard Kennedy. From getting money for food banks to negotiating contracts for teachers, Kennedy has proven himself capable of bringing people togethter to advance the common good. All Iggy has shown himself capable of is alienating people. From the Etobicoke Ukrainian community (nomination mess), to Albertans (carbon tax), to the Lebanese community (lost sleep) and now the Jewish community (war crimes), Iggy has stepped on land mines everywhere he's gone, let's not follow him on the path to political irrelevance.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Why I Oppose Kyoto

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the accord, let me just say that I think global warming is real. I think that it is a crucial issue which must be confronted. I do not think that the Kyoto Protocol is the way to do it. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. A State Based Solution to A Non-State Based Problem

The Kyoto Protocol asks certain countries to reduce their emissions to varying amounts below 1990 levels. The measuring tool used is all emissions that are actually made in a given country. So a widget produced in Canada causing 1 unit of pollution is added to the Canadian total regardless of where the widget is sold/used. Thus, the ecological cost of a barrel of oil produced in Alberta or a car produced in Ontario is charged to Canada even if it is being used in the United States or Europe. Kyoto assumes that all goods produced in a country are used in a country and that all goods used in a country are produced there. Neither of these things are true. Thus, a country that produces a lot and imports little looks better than a country that produces more and imports less. The great irony of course is that a large importer of goods is actually taxing the environment further by shipping goods from one place to another. A barrel of oil produced in Nigeria and sold in the US is a far greater damage than one produced domestically. These problems are ignored by the protocol because it is trying to work at the state level. The globalized economy is not under state control.

As both Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy point out in their policy documents on the environment, it is essentially an economic issue. Any real solution to the environment on the global scale are to be found at the International Monetary Fund. Well, maybe not the IMF, because it can't do anything, but at an economic summit. It will not be found at a meeting of environment ministers.

2. Europe Does Not a Global Treaty Make

One of Kyoto's most deadly flaws is that it is not a global treaty. The number of non-EU countries still committed to actually doing anything under Kyoto (Appendix I countries) is eight. Of those eight, only three are really non-European: Canada, Japan and New Zealand. The rationale for this is that these are the only countries that can afford to make the changes necessary to abide by Kyoto. I would say that their are a quite a few non-European countires missing from the list. Ignoring for the moment the fact that the US and Australia have withdrawn, where are the oil rich arab states? How about Singapore? South Korea? The list goes on.

However, this accepts Kyoto's logic that only the first world is responsible for cleaning the world. Major polluters like China and India are left to do as they please because they are developping countries. CO2 emissions from China and India are as damaging as they would be from Canada. People argue that it is wrong to deny developping countries a chance to develop as the West did. If China and India are allowed to develop in the same way as the West did, we are in for an environmental catastrophe. Global warming requires a global solution, not a Europe and friends solution.

3. What's In A Date? Quite a Bit!

Ever wonder why Russia has all these credits to sell (see point 4) under the protocol? Well, that's because instead of using as a start date the day the treaty was signed, the signatories agreed to the seeming random date of 1990. Let's see what's happened since 1990 in Russia? Oh yeah, the economy collapsed! Russia didn't go green, it went to shit! However, it isn't just Russia that benefits from that early date. The whole Eastern Bloc has rebuilt the old horribly environmental damaging industries since 1990. Even the Germans benefit.

In North America, a different problem arises with 1990. 1990 is of course before NAFTA came into effect and just after the FTA. Industry from the United States has found home in both Canada and Mexico since 1990, raising our pollution numbers and lowering the Americans. Does it mean that American industry is cleaner? No, it means there's less of it.

4. Pollution for Sale! Today's Special: Carbon Monoxide!

Okay, so that's a little crass. However, the idea that environmental credits can be bought and sold like stock futures is absurd. The world will not get cooler because the Canadian government pays the Russian government for their collapsed economy. Kyoto is supposed to be a starting point. It is supposed to be a first step. Allowing countries to buy their way out, makes it a non-step.

5. Oh, Nobody Else in this Treaty actually has Natural Resources? Woops!

Okay, that's not entirely true but let's face facts. Russia the largest oil producer in the treaty, doesn't have to do a thing about its oil industry in order to comply with Kyoto. The Norwegians, the only other major oil producer outside of Canada, realizing that oil is slightly polluting, set a target for themselves of 101% of 1990 levels. That's a full seven points higher than the Canadian level and 9 points higher than EU states. The reality is, no other country with Canada's committment has an economy so based on the extraction of natural resources, a very environmentally damaging process. Canada is a special case. Kyoto does not acknowledge this. Canada would need to bend over backwards in order to reach its Kyoto targets. I don't think its worth hurting ourselves for a treaty that will not do very much good from an ecological perspective.

Canada should work hard to make its industries as green as possible. We should also work with the international community to get a treaty that will actually help the environment.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In Other Breaking News, The Sky is Blue

I've been reading the liberal blogosphere trying to get a sense of where people are and what's on people's minds. Apparently, the thing on a lot of blogger's minds is Gerard Kennedy. The other blog camps seem to be determined to throw mud at the Kennedy campaign. Now, to be sure there are negatives to Gerard. His French and his weakness in Quebec are problematic, but some of these attacks are funny in that they are so outrageous. The Canadian Republic has one of the funniest attack headlines: "Gerard Kennedy is a Univeristy Drop-Out!" Apparently, the author's been under a rock in a cave on Mars and didn't know that Kennedy abandoned his studies at the University of Alberta to run the food bank in Edmonton. I'll keep my out for other breaking news items from The Canadian Republic.

All the attacks from all corners of the blogosphere worry me. The Liberal Party of Canada went through thirteen years of civil war after the last competitive leadership race. The last thing this party needs is more in-fighting. Let's talk about how we can present a positive alternative vision of this country to Canadians. Let's talk about how we can reach out to all Canadians. Let's stop stabbing each other in the back. Save the daggers for Stephen Harper.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Return from Budapest

I've returned to Sweden from the Hungarian captitol. Wonder of wonders, you can get access to all modern communications. Oh, Iggy. Great trip. Got a chance to see some of the protests that have been going on for the past month. It is amazing to see people so upset about a lying, swearing politician. I have profound respect for their interest in politics. It really puts Canadians to shame. I'll post more later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Short Break

Like Michael Ignatieff, I cannot resist the siren call of Budapest. Really, I can't resist cheap flights. I will try to find out if Budapest is cut off from all forms of communication. I'll be back to Sweden and posting sometime next weekend. Hejdo!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday Thoughts

Well, super weekend is officially over. Only a little bit of counting to do. The results through 409/469 meetings

Iggy: 29.8%
Rae: 19.8%
GK: 16.8%
Dion: 16.6%
Dryden: 4.6%
Volpe: 4.6%
Brison: 3.9%
MHF: 1%
Undeclared: 2.8%

There's great analysis out there in the blogosphere. Cerberus has a fairly solid objective take. I will try to avoid repeating what's already been said. Anyhoo, here are my grades for the candidates after their super weekend exam.

Michael Ignatieff: A-

Iggy probably deserves an A but I really can't stomach it to give it to him. A great performance in winning Quebec. He ran 1st or 2nd in every province in Atlantic Canada. Good showing on the prairies (although hard to judge with so many meetings unreported). Alberta came in strong for him. A bit of weakness in British Columbia. The biggest worry for Ignatieff may be Ontario where he is currently only a little bit ahead of Gerard Kennedy. I think that has to be a disappointment considering the amount of caucus support Iggy has in Ontario and the fact that he should do best in Ontario's Conservative ridings being the only viable right of centre candidate in the province.

Bob Rae: B-

Okay, he might deserve more for coming in a clear second but really there is not that much for him to celebrate. He did really well in BC and the prairies and had a strong showing out east. In Alberta, he failed to reach the 10% mark and currently sits behind Joe Volpe. Finally, he ran third in both Ontario and Quebec. Rae is the former premier of Ontario and his supporters are the Chretien Quebec machine. Being third in the two largest provinces in the country is not a good sign and is certainly a disappointment for the man who was supposed to have all the momentum going into the weekend.

Gerard Kennedy: In Quebec F Everywhere Else B

Kennedy's weekend is really hard to give one grade to. His performance in Quebec is so completely different than his overall result. Less than 2% in Quebec is simply not acceptable for a leadership contender. There are good reasons for the abysmal showing, but that does not change the abysmal showing. Elsewhere, the picture is slightly rosier. Kennedy held his own in most of Atlantic Canada and the Prairies (New Brunswick's result is almost part of the Quebec issue). He is currently winning Alberta (with one meeting left, it looks like he won it), has a chance to win Ontario (20 meetings and only 16 delegates back) and will likely post a strong second in BC. Those results are probably exactly what the campaign was looking for. So, the Kennedy campaign and the rest of the party are left to make sense of his Jekyll and Hyde weekend.

Stephane Dion: B

Here's the thing on Dion. He underperformed everywhere and is still in the race. He lost his home province of Quebec. He had shockingly little support in Ontario, considering his name recognition and platform. He was a non-factor in most of the East. His big Saskatchewan grab of David Orchard currently places him fourth. He had good results in green-friendly BC and should be pleased with his support in Alberta but nothing really jumps out at you. He failed to win a single province and was only 2nd in one, Quebec where he was looking for more. That is probably not the weekend the Dion camp was hoping for. Still he's basically in a tie for third and could still very well win the convention. Go figure.

Ken Dryden: D+

Dryden was widely expected to be up around 10%. Instead he languishes under 5%. His supposed strength in Manitoba currently places him third and only 1 delegate ahead of Kennedy in fourth. He is sixth in his home province of Ontario. He is seventh in Quebec where he spent a good chunk of his life. In other words, his campaign is finished. For being third in Manitoba and for currently holding a slim lead on Joe Volpe he passes but he should not be pleased.

Joe Volpe: F

There are a lot of reasons for failing Joe Volpe. The obvious one being that his scandal plagued campaign has hurt the party. However, I fail him because his vaunted organization disappeared this weekend. He was supposed to be able to run with the big three in Quebec and wreak havoc in Ontario. Instead, he finds himself with only 3% of Quebec delegates and a distant 5th in Ontario. He is currently sixth overall and his endorsement will not be sought by any of the candidates. He has rendered himself and the rest of his delegates irrelevant. Shame on the Liberals who gave him support this weekend.

Scott Brison: In Nova Scotia A; Everywhere Else F

Brison's campaign is the mirror image of Kennedy's. Where Kennedy had 1 bad province, Brison had one good one. He won Nova Scotia. Otherwise, he was invisible this weekend. In Ontario he was 8th. A former cabinet minister and high profile MP finished behind Martha Who-Who. That's just embarassing. He couldn't sell the Atlantic Canada angle outside of Nova Scotia. The less said about his performance out West the better. I like Scott Brison, but this weekend must have been tough for him. He may decide that he wants to give a speech to the convention so that he has a chance next time around but his campaign, like Dryden's is over.

Martha Hall-Findlay: A

Ah, the wonderful burden of low expectations. Yes, Martha Hall-Findlay gets my highest mark this weekend. Why? She didn't finish last in every province. That is a huge victory. She beat Scott Brison in Ontario. She won delegates in other provinces, including one in Quebec. She did well this weekend. No, she won't change the course of this convention, but she has proven that she can fight with the best of them. Well done.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Riding by Riding results

While democraticSPACE is doing a great job trying to assemble the list himself, I've got some more info. All of it, except for a couple, is out there somewhere in the blogosphere. So I'll report the results that I don't think are out there or aren't very visible. To answer all questions, yes, I pay way too much attention. I'm just a bit of stats junky.

  • If you look at the comments under Western Grit's post on Calgary SE and SW you'll find an incomplete result for Calgary Nosehill.
  • The first result in according democraticSPACE was 4 delegates from NL. There's only one club that I know of that has 4 delegates on the rock: Memorial University. Meaning Memorial went 3 Ignatieff, 1 Kennedy.
  • Friday's only Saskatchewan contributions came from Prince Albert and Cypress-Hills Grasslands. This means that the two ridings went: Dion 10, Brison 6, Iggy 5, Rae 5, Kennedy 1, Dryden 1. Don't know how that split but you get the picture.
Anyway, I will try to get all results up on my predictions/results page as soon as my internet connection/google spreadsheets cooperates.

In response to comments on my last post. I don't think that Kennedy's poor showing in Quebec disqualifies him. I do believe that many delegates will have Kennedy's poor performance there on their mind when the Kennedy campaign calls looking for second ballot support. The Dion camp though should be very worried. The fact that Kennedy is nearly tied with Dion (at time of posting) in spite of his lack of Quebec support should worry them.


Yep, just about halfway through the delegate selection process. Here's what we've learned.

  • Kennedy has NO support in Quebec. This could be a huge psychological problem
  • Dion has very little support in Ontario (currently running around 11%)
  • Brison and Dryden are done. Unless Manitoba starts pouring in for Dryden or Brison sweeps the remaining delegates in Nova Scotia. Even then, it seems doubtful that they can survive. Brison might be inclined to go to the convention. Talk to Liberals for a future run. Dryden should drop out before the convention.
  • Volpe will not decide this leadership race. Thank God.
Here's what to look for going in to today:
  • E.T. phone home: All candidates home ridings will vote today. (Both ridings where Rae was elected -Parkdale-High Park and Toronto-Danforth; where MHF was defeated and where she may run next time - Newmarket-Aurora and Toronto-Centre -assuming Graham retires; Kennedy's provincial stomping grounds - Parkdale-High Park; All MP's home ridings)
  • The Battle of Ontario: Will Iggy or GK win Ontario? Outside of student clubs, the race is a virtual dead heat (Iggy by 7 delegates).
  • How the West will be won: Who wins BC? Can Kennedy hold on in Alberta? Is Rae really that strong in Manitoba? Where's the great Orchard bounce in Saskatchewan for Dion?
All these questions and more as over 200 meetings report today! I look forward to it.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Current Results

The results so far are kind of hard to judge. I'm trying to figure out exactly which clubs and ridings are reporting. This is particularly important in places like Ontario where it should be a riding by riding slug fest. Kennedy's results out east are disappointing. We'll see if PEI comes in for him today or not. He looks really good in Ontario, Alberta and BC. I only predicted 50 riding delegates for him in Quebec so I'm not too shocked by his poor showing there.

Dion's strength out east is impressive. He's not running worse than third in the four big provinces so he may be stronger than I anticipated. Rae has to be disappointed with early returns in Ontario. Iggy is where he was expected to be. Note to media: this is a four way race, not a two way race.

I've compiled results to date including declared ex-officio's

Iggy: 385
Dion: 232
Rae: 217
GK: 195
Dryden: 83
Brison: 83
MHF: 21


If you have any riding by riding information please leave it in the comments. I'm trying to get the exact picture. I got the results from Memorial (first poll in; only one in NL with 4 delegates) and UWO

Friday, September 29, 2006


Do they or don't they have an accredited club?

I'm confused.

The pull of Ex-Officio delegates

I received an e-mail today from Deborah Coyne (2006 candidate for Toronto-Danforth) urging me to vote for Iggy. Also an e-mail from the provincial Liberal association detailing which exec members are running for which candidate. A strong majority were running for Iggy. I called the Liberal Pary list in Toronto-Danforth for Gerard Kennedy in July and what I heard over and over again was "I'm not sure but definitely not Michael Ignatieff." Now, we will see what transpires this weekend, but I wonder if all this executive support for Iggy will translate into delegates. I also wonder how much ex-officio endorsements will help all candidates in all ridings. If their endorsements are like Toronto-Danforth, I wonder.


With less than 12 hours before the polls open in Newfoundland and Labrador, it's time to post my final estimate. The link with the details is located on the sidebar. However, here are my national projections:

Iggy: 23.64%
Rae: 19.14%
GK: 18.59%
Dion: 14.79%
Volpe: 9.63%
Dryden: 7.15%
Brison: 6.37%
MHF: 0.70%

The link on the side will also serve as my way of posting results from across the country. I have the spreadsheets itemized by riding association and club. I will try to glean results from all possible sources.

As for one final appeal. I will only provide a link to GK's website and say think about the Canada we can have not just the unpredictability of elections.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some Clarifications

Having read the commentary on recent posts I wish to clarify a few things:

1. I am supporting Gerard Kennedy. I have made that clear in the past. One of the principle reasons I am supporting Kennedy is that he has virtually no baggage. What? He was too generous in contract negotiations with the teachers' unions which had been robbed by Harris? That's a great attack ad! Rae, Ignatieff and Dion have a huge amount of baggage and would make the campaign about their past instead of Canada's future. That's a campaign we don't win. Our opponents are probably hoping for the following things: the Tories are hoping for Rae so that they clean up in the 905; the NDP are hoping for Ignatieff so they can clean up in Toronto and Vancouver; and the Bloc are hoping for Dion so that they can take the few francophone seats the Liberals still hold. Kennedy's positive view on Canada would expose Harper's paucity of ideas; his actual work helping the poor would put Layton to shame and finally Harper has proven that perfect French is not a prerequisite for winning in Quebec (remember that he had trouble answering questions in the French debate), so Kennedy's only glaring weakness should be manageable.

2. I respect the views of Michael Ignatieff on defence. I just wholeheartedly disagree with them. I had to read Empire Lite for my second year IR course and I just don't agree with his theories of rebuilding failed states. I do not share his faith in the ability of overwhelming hegemonic force to guarantee stability. I think the Afghan and Iraqi conflict are excellent examples of where his theory has failed. I don't know how well we do among voters from former colonial states (particularly Canadian Muslims: the Canadian Islamic Congress has already said they don't like Iggy) if we have a candidate who openly favours imperialism. His comments on torture, although I have not read all the context, are troubling and would be troubling to the electorate in a NDP attack ad. I know I couldn't explain it to my neighbours in Toronto-Danforth when I'm canvassing in the next election.

3. The majority of youth don't vote in a general election, thus, they are ignored in most polls. However, the youth which join political parties tend to be the kind that like to vote and chances are will vote in the delegate selection meetings this weekend at least once if not twice (riding association and student club). That's why I think they are important factor when predicting the results of the vote this weekend. Partisans are a very rare breed in Canada; different rules apply to predicting their behaviour.

4. Lastly, this is not in response to any comment, but, my inbox has been flooded with e-mails from the various Bob Rae delegates from Toronto-Danforth. I don't know if this is a Rae campaign strategy or whether there are more than 14 delegates for Rae in my riding and they are jockeying for position but they are the only delegates who are sending e-mails. If it is a tactic of the Rae camp, I say well done. It kind of functions as an electronic lawn sign, if I was undecided it may have moved my decision.
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