Sunday, September 30, 2007

Random MMP based thoughts

Woke up this morning to some good news in the form of the Toronto Star rejecting MMP from their editorial page. Now, editorials don't mean as much as people may think but I'd still rather have the Star on side then off side. I just came back from canvassing here in Kingston. People are in general very happy to receive any information regarding the referendum. The failure, thus far, of Elections Ontario's education campaign is downright pathetic. I don't care which side of this referendum you support. However, the pro-MMP side's advantage was on display for me again today. They had apparently canvassed the same area yesterday and I found numerous mailboxes loaded up with both vote for MMP propaganda and the the supposedly neutral Citizens' Assembly flyers. No MMP has cobbled together our pennies and paid for a few radio ads in major centres this week. So keep your ears out. I missed the TVO debate Thursday night but I look forward to watching it when it is released on the Agenda's website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

London North Centre and Windsor Tecumseh

Into the southwest for two more ridings.

London North Centre: The incumbent here is Liberal Deb Matthews. She should have little trouble getting re-elected. She may not be a household name province wide, but Matthews has a strong base of support in London. The riding was held previously by Diane Cunningham but don't expect a Tory revival this time around.

Tory candidate Rob Alder brings a wealth of local experience to the table. He is not a political neophyte but I just don't see him garnering enough support to knock off Matthews. The NDP candidate is the definition of neophyte. They've gone back to their proletariat roots and dug up Steve Holmes who has had such relevant experience as driving a taxi. I believe everyone deserves a chance at elected office. However, there's little in Mr. Holmes' resume that leads me to believe that he can run an effective campaign against a popular incumbent. The lack of a strong NDP candidate hurts Tory chances here. A left wing split would make Alder a more viable candidate. The Green candidate is Brent McKenzie.

Prediction: Probably Liberal

Windsor Tecumseh: There may be some resentment towards the high profile Dwight Duncan's inability to prevent Windsor's slow decline. There could also be a backlash against the man who was responsible for McGuinty's broken coal plant promise as Minister of Energy. That said, this is still Dwight Duncan we're talking about and name recognition alone should guarantee his victory here.

The NDP hold this riding federally, and would be the logical party to challenge Duncan. They've nominated Helmi Charif a local small business owner to challenge Duncan. I assume the plan was to try to tap into the large Muslim community in the riding which would normally go Grit. Like the riding in London above, a bigger name is needed to be taken seriously.

The Tories have nominated a former head of the University of Windsor student government. It is mildly impressive that a Tory became the head of Windsor student government, but that does not mean anything in a provincial election. The Green candidate is Andrew McAvoy.

Prediction: Safe Liberal

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Referendum? What Referendum

A good editorial today in the Star complaining about the lack of knowledge regarding the referendum. I particularly like the accompanying cartoon.

By the way, another prominent Liberal blogger has said No to MMP.

Pickering-Scarborough East and Welland

Onward and upward so to speak. Two more ridings as we trudge towards election day in this most listless of campaigns.

Pickering-Scarborough East
: This riding holds the unique distinction of containing four area codes within its boundaries (416, 905, 647 and 289). This strange hybrid of the eastern edge of Toronto and the western part of Pickering is yet another product of redistribution. However, redistribution basically only served to merge parts of two Liberal ridings. Wayne Arthurs, the Liberal incumbent here, has the advantage of being the former mayor of Pickering where one would expect the Liberals to be weaker. Add this to the parts of fortress Scarborough now included, the Liberal victory should be fairly easy.

The Tory candidate, Diana Hall, ran unsuccessfully for city council on the Scarborough side last November. She was narrowly defeated by Ron Moeser. She has experience working in city hall in Toronto. While she may have garnered 6000 votes in part of the riding municipally, that is not enough to get elected provincially.

The NDP is hard pressed in much of the 905 and Scarborough so the combination, does not suit them. Thus, they have no problem handing the reins over to youth long shot Andrea Moffat who links her Facebook and MySpace pages on her site. The Green candidate is Anita Lachlan.

Prediction: Probably Liberal

Welland: The citizens of Welland have a love affair with Peter Kormos. There are not a lot of people in the province who share their sentiment but that shouldn't matter. Kormos should have no problem here. He's been the MPP for a dog's age. Nothing in this election to indicate a change. Not with the NDP polling higher province wide than they have in 17 years.

The Liberals have nominated former mayoralty candidate John Mastroianni to bear the torch. He may be able to get a few votes from people tired of supporting Kormos and his antics, but that won't be enough to sway voters.

Complicating matters for the Liberals is the presence of former Port Colborne mayor Ron Bodner running for the Tories. Bodner and Mastroianni will split the centre right so severely as to leave plenty of room for Kormos even if there is some dissatisfaction.

The Greens are running Mark Grenier.

Prediction: Safe NDP

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tory Wants the F&%$ing Natives Out of the Park

In yet another throwback to the Harris era, John Tory has threatened to crack down on illegal land occupations.

Sunday Musings

Here are some quick thoughts after a busy week:

- Dalton did well to survive the leaders' debate. Debates are always tough on the party in power and this was no exception.
- I'm still not sure why the debate was so early. The election is still more than two weeks away.
- After going door to door for No MMP in Kingston a couple of times last week, I am quite pleased with the results. Voters seem desperate for any information about the referendum and many are willing to listen to our side of the argument.
- Why is there no debate about the referendum akin to the leaders' debate?
- John Tory's gone negative? What a shock!
- I know Hampton was sick but I stopped watching the debate because I couldn't listen to his bull any longer.
- The Tories want to run a campaign on nuclear power. I don't necessarily disagreee with the policy, but it is not exactly populist politics. Far better that the energy attack came from the right than from the left for the Liberals.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Whitby-Oshawa and Vaughan

The 905 is growing rapidly and thus underwent significant redistricting since last time around. Here are a couple of ridings where that doesn't matter:

Whitby-Oshawa: Christine Elliot may not have her husband's (federal finance minister Jim Flaherty's) name but she does have all his popularity in this riding. I think of Flaherty and Elliot as the Canadian answer to Dick and Lynne Cheney or the Conservative answer to Jack Layton and Olivia Chow. Like the Cheney's they are both unabashedly right wing. Elliot took over the seat after her husband decided to pursue his federal ambitions. Defeated MP Judi Longfield gave Elliot a minor scare in the 2006 by-election, but is not around to oppose her this time around. Redistribution has given her parts of two other Tory held seats so it should cement her place.

The Liberals have nominated Laura Hammer, a local small business woman. She'll get a bunch of votes primarily because the NDP shouldn't be a factor here and the anyone but Elliot vote will go to her. The NDP candidate is a university professor named Nigel Moses. The Green candidate is Doug Anderson. If you want to read his extensive bio, here's the link.

Prediction: Probably Progressive Conservative

Vaughan: The city above Toronto is home to the man who holds the provincial coffers. Greg Sorbara is McGuinty's right hand man and is the man responsible for the provincial campaign as a whole. The brief absence from the cabinet because of an investigation into his family's business will have no impact here. Not only because Sorbara's name should never have been on the warrant in the first place but also because Sorbara probably could have been re-elected even with being under investigation. Sorbara topped 60% in 2003 and should come close to that this time around.

The PC is Gayani Weerasinghe a health care advocate among other things. The NDPer is Rick Morelli. The Green is Russel Korus. None of those names will mean anything after October 10th.

Prediction: Safe Liberal

York Centre and Windsor West

A couple of Liberal ridings today. I realize I am going to have to pick up the pace by election day. I am still going to try to finish.

York Centre: The ageless Monte Kwinter has represented for a dog's age. There have been a few bumps along the way. A tough campaign in the Tory landslide of 1995 and a nomination battle in 1999 were cause for concern. However, Kwinter was re-elected in 2003 with a majority of the votes. Kwinter was then put into cabinet as Minister of Community and Correctional Services. Although not exactly a high profile post, it does give Kwinter credibility as a person who has access to power. Kwinter's age is starting to become a factor. At 76, he's no spring chicken and unlike the US Senate, the Ontario legislature is not a retirement community.

Kwinter's challenge in this election comes from PC Igor Toutchinski. Toutchinski is getting some attention because of his roots in the riding's large Russian community and his experience in ethnic media. I discount that slightly because of Kwinter's appeal to the riding's large Jewish community including Jewish Russians. Toutchinski ran unsuccessfully for council in this area so at least half of the riding will recognize the name. However, I am unsure that will be enough to overcome Kwinter's incumbency.

The NDP (who got about 10% last time out) are putting up a Peruvian immigrant and union gal named Claudia Rodriguez. The base will be happy with the nomination, they may be less pleased when she loses badly. The Green candidate is Maria Minic.

At the end of the day, Kwinter's experience should be enough.

Prediction: Leans Liberal

Windsor West: Sandra Pupatello has had a bit of a wild ride around the cabinet table holding four different positions in four years. She briefly held the education portfolio but has since moved back into a less visible portfolio (Women's Issues). Pupatello made a name for herself on the opposition benches as a fierce critic. Her time in government has been less inspiring. All of this should mean very little in Windsor West. This is Herb Grey's old seat federally and while the NDP has claimed it federally, the riding still does not seem to turf incumbents too quickly. Pupatello is also personally very popular in the riding.

The NDP would love to win a seat in Windsor. The only problem is the prominent Liberal cabinet ministers holding the seats (Duncan's got the other seat). The NDP have thus decided to move on. If you don't believe me, check out candidate Mariano Klimowicz's website.

The Tories know their chances in Windsor are slim to nil. They've nominated Lisa Lumley who is big on full tunneling (border issue). She will lose but may be able to get some attention from Pupatello for her cause.

Prediction: Safe Liberal

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does the Establishment have Cooties?

So the Vote for MMP folk are putting out the message that the No MMP campaign is a bunch of establishment types. A couple of points:

1. The official No MMP campaign is not exactly being run or backed by a bunch of big names. Unless the establishment is being secretly controlled by a retired engineer, a immigrant university professor, a PhD candidate and other such nefarious types as the No MMP campaign is. The fact that a lot of media types have come out against MMP is a symptom of the problems with MMP not some grand conspiracy. Secondly, this line of argumentation is being put forward by a group backed quite publicly by folks like Hugh Segal and George Smitherman. Who's the establishment here?

2. Second of all, what exactly is the problem with the establishment? I kind of get this line of argument from dippers but when Grits (like Scott Tribe on MMP and the YLC) start spewing this stuff... The establishment believes in such terrible things as public health care and economic prosperity. Wouldn't want to agree with them. Give me a break!

Poster Trouble

A couple of political posters that have caught my eye for mostly the wrong reasons. First up, the new red revolution poster.

Okay, if you haven't heard by now the red revolution is the new YLC campaign to get more youth and have them be more involved etc. First up. Red revolution? Really???? I ain't no dirty communist. Secondly, check out the small print. "Challenge Everything"? Are we kidding? Did we become the NDP? We are a centrist party. We like the status quo, most of the time. We don't like Harper. But everything?

The other poster I can't find an image of. Anyway, it's an Elections Ontario poster. Same theme as those Elections Canada ads where the person is getting their hair cut to someone else's specifications. Except I think Elections Ontario's campaign borders on xenophobia. The recurring message is that other people aren't like you. It has the words "other people" in every line. Something like "Other People don't think like you do, Other People don't share your beliefs." If anyone can find the poster, I'd love not to paraphrase. I just think they've taken it a little too far.

This is Far From Insignificant

Francophones of Ontario have come out against MMP!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trinity-Spadina and Parkdale-High Park

Two more Dipper held seats for today. We'll call it in honour of the NDP win in Outremont.

Trinity-Spadina: Rosario Marchese can probably hold this seat as long as he wants. Since defeating a Grit incumbent in 1990, Marchese has won easily. The condos that are springing up at the foot of Bathurst don't favour the NDP but their are enough artists down there to make the demographics about as significant as they are in Toronto-Danforth. That is little to no impact. Marchese's solid base in the riding's large Portugese community makes him almost invulnerable.

Unlike other NDP seats the Liberals are still trying in Trin-Spa. They plucked Kate Holloway from the Greens with much fanfare. However, there is little evidence to support the amount of excitement that followed the move. Like Tories in St. Paul's, Trin-Spa Liberals are doomed to perpetual demographic hope.

Speaking of Tories, they don't matter here. Expect their candidate, Tyler Currie, to finish well back.

Prediction: Probably NDP

Parkdale- High Park: The last time Cheri Di Novo and Sylvia Watson met in a campaign there were fireworks. Watson blasted Di Novo over comments on convicts. Di Novo responded by wiping the floor with Watson in the by-election. Yes, this is Gerard Kennedy's old seat and he's probably the only Grit who could take Di Novo.

Di Novo, a former minister (in the religious, not political sense), has high popularity in the riding. This is a riding that has a had a string of very personally popular MPP's. Starting with Bob Rae and continuing with Kennedy and now di Novo. The NDP has solid support here all personalities aside, and that certainly helps.

Sylvia Watson, a former local councilor, turned a lot of voters off by attacking the good minister last time out. I don't know that the damage can be undone and frankly I was a little surprised to see her trotted out again. It's not that Watson couldn't steal this riding, it's just that I would have that Dalton and company would want to get away from what was a disastrous by-election.

Once again the Tories are basically irrelevant. Dave Hutcheon is the placeholder. The Greens are running Bruce Hearns.

Prediction: Leans NDP

Monday, September 17, 2007

Campbell on MMP

Murray Campbell in the Globe on MMP:

Let's Not Do Anything Rash...

If the by-election in Outremont doesn't go our way tonight it is not the end of the world. It does not mean that Stephane Dion has failed as a leader, or that the party is necessarily dead in Quebec. There will be those who will argue for an immediate change in direction. I say let's see what we can do in a general election. Until then, let's sit tight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Can we find Elections Ontario some boxes?

This is ridiculous. Why on earth are we putting the referendum ballots in the same box as the election ballots. Why don't we have two sets of boxes? It would save hours of separating the two ballots at the end. What were they thinking?

Kingston No MMP Campaign

Anyone interested in getting involved in the No MMP campaign in Kingston, please send me an e-mail at Actually, no matter what part of the province you live in, if you want to get involved e-mail that address.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington

I was going to hold off on this riding. Mostly because I don't want Randy Hillier to win. That said, Mr. Hillier looks like a lock so here it goes.

If you want to see a candidate who speaks to the right wing of the Tory base, look no further than Mr. Hillier. Mr. Hillier is the co-founder of the local farmer's association which gained provincial notoriety for massive protests. He's out to show that Ontario is more than Toronto. Apparently, Mike Harris wasn't enough for him. The fact that Dalton is of course from Ottawa eludes him as well. In fact, the only leader from Toronto is Hillier's man, John Tory. Someone should probably tell him. He is very popular among the farmers in this largely rural ridings. If Hillier can even get a sniff in the small towns of this riding like Napanee, he should win easily.

Ian Wilson holds the banner for the Grits after Leona Dombrowsky decided to avoid a head-to-head confrontation with Mr. Hillier. Mr. Wilson has all sorts of experience working in the public interest locally. Against an ordinary Tory candidate I might give the political neophyte a prayer. However, the riding redistribution makes this riding pretty safe to begin with and when you add in the Hillier factor it's game over.

The NDP has no ground game to speak of in rural southern Ontario and LFLA is no exception. Russ Sutherland, who lost in part of the new riding last time out can expect about the same 10% this time around. His background is in health, if you are interested.

Prediction: Safe Progressive Conservative

Monday, September 10, 2007

Beaches-East York

I guess this riding needs to be renamed after the name change for the area. So I will call it The Beach-East York from now on. Seriously though, another NDP stronghold in east Toronto here's the breakdown.

The incumbent is Michael Prue, a former mayor of the old burough of East York. East York is where the NDP is weakest in neighbouring Toronto-Danforth so having Prue on the ballot serves to marginalize a potential NDP weakness. When you add in the traditional strength of the affluent but left leaning residents of the beach, this riding becomes a cakewalk. The main difference between the riding federally and provincially is probably Prue's appeal in East York and the increased viability of the PC's in the riding splitting the right of centre vote. Thus, Minna wins easily and Prue does too. The riding is notoriously environmentalist and the NDP have a strong enough green message to carry the day here.

Tom Teahen will carry the banner for the Liberals. Teahen is a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Labour with a law background. Local guy, which is always nice. If things go well for the Grits he might give Prue a scare but its not likely.

The Greens have nominated Caroline Law. Here's the local PC riding association's website. If you can find a candidate, all the power to you.

Here's the Star's breakdown of the riding.

Prediction: Safe NDP

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday, boring Sunday

So, I've got the day before school starts blues. I will get back to my local prognosticating (hopefully tomorrow). Right now, more thoughts...

  • This article in the Star is the best representation of the whole referendum thing. I particularly like the stuff about the seven part educational video. I don't like referenda as a means of lawmaking. People just don't care enough. Particularly when the topic is perceived to be as dry as electoral reform.
  • The NFL season starts today. My Bills have a brutal first five weeks. I'm praying for one win.
  • Anyone notice this is the second week of CIS football? No? Anyone? Queen's beat Western last week which makes me very happy. Didn't hear about it? Really?
  • I think the Liberals should just say nothing the entire campaign and watch John Tory shoot himself in the foot. It is so amusing. He's made the election about his foolish education idea. I was worried about defending broken promises.
  • This is scary and disgusting.
  • This is a tough issue. I see both sides of it. I think we probably need a little curtained off area in the voting where a female DRO could verify identity. Voting should not bring you shame. On the other hand, you should not be able to put on a veil and vote ten times.
  • MMP is still bad for Ontario. I know I haven't said that in a while. It is.
  • On that note, the reason we want to bring attention to the use of Citizens' Assembly literature by the pro-MMP campaign is because we'd like that kind of government support. We have no problem with information. However, the government said that they weren't going to fund either side. This is funding one side. Also, the CA literature says things like "MMP strengthens representation." That is only information if you are working for the Iraqi Ministry of Information under Saddam Hussein. Otherwise, it's propaganda.
  • The election campaign kicks off tomorrow. I will start going through the reasons to vote Liberal soon. Right now I'm just going to say if you like teaching evolution and not creationism, Vote Liberal!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Things I think on this sunny Kingston afternoon...
  • I think if Dalton McGuinty wins a majority, it will be because John Tory is such an abysmal campaigner. Teaching creationism... with my money....
  • I think that Elections Ontario needs to fix its funding of the referendum campaign. Citizens' Assembly material is pro-MMP literature. Your tax dollars paid for it. Cherniak has all the info here.
  • I think that we are in for one interesting provincial election.
  • I think I'm happy to be back at Queen's after about 16 months.

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