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.
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