Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Canadian General election 2008
Canada Elects: The Alternative North America Goes to the Polls by David T. Jones
(American Diplomacy) In case you hadn’t noticed, the election is over. To be sure, not the U.S. national federal election that the world has been watching to the extent that it is virtually a global election.
But on Tuesday, October 14, the Canadian electorate returned its incumbent Tory (conservative) government with an enhanced, albeit still minority, mandate. The outcome, of course, is of great significance to Canadians, but will not be irrelevant to Americans as there are potential scenarios that can be played against possible outcomes in the U.S. presidential election.
It’s not the Parliament voters wanted
Electoral dysfunction, yet again
(Fair vote Canada) Greens deserved more than 20 seats – voting system also punished New Democrats, western Liberals and urban Conservatives
Once again, Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post system wasted millions of votes, distorted results, severely punished large blocks of voters, exaggerated regional differences, created an unrepresentative Parliament and contributed to a record low voter turnout.
The chief victims of the October 14 federal election were:
Green Party: 940,000 voters supporting the Green Party sent no one to Parliament, setting a new record for the most votes cast for any party that gained no parliamentary representation. By comparison, 813,000 Conservative voters in Alberta alone were able to elect 27 MPs.
Prairie Liberals and New Democrats: In the prairie provinces, Conservatives received roughly twice the vote of the Liberals and NDP, but took seven times as many seats.
Urban Conservatives: Similar to the last election, a quarter-million Conservative voters in Toronto elected no one and neither did Conservative voters in Montreal.
New Democrats: The NDP attracted 1.1 million more votes than the Bloc, but the voting system gave the Bloc 50 seats, the NDP 37.
Had the votes on October 14 been cast under a fair and proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seat allocation would have been approximately as follows:
Conservatives – 38% of the popular vote: 117 seats (not 143)
Liberals – 26% of the popular vote: 81 seats (not 76)
NDP – 18% of the popular vote: 57 seats (not 37)
Bloc – 10% of the popular vote: 28 seats (not 50)
Greens – 7% of the popular vote: 23 seats (not 0)
Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum
Boone: Election night coverage over almost before it begins
Was that worth waiting for?
At 9:44 p.m. – 14 minutes after its election special began – the Global television network became the first to make a call: Conservative minority Tuesday night.
CTV agreed five minutes later – but not before anchor Lloyd Robertson emphasized that the projection was being made by the network’s computer nerd desk, under the direction of news chief Robert Hurst.
CBC held off until 10. At that point, Peter Mansbridge said there would be a Conservative government but reserved judgment on whether Stephen Harper would get a majority. Mark Kelly, reporting 10 minutes later from Stéphane Dion headquarters, said he was already hearing buzz about a leadership review. By 10:15, Andrew Coyne on the CBC’s At Issue panel was seeing the Conservatives exceed their poll numbers by four per cent, marching to power but, Chantal Hébert pointed out, “marching without Quebec.”
Voter turnout drops to record low An estimated 59.1 per cent of Canadians cast votes in Tuesday’s general election — a figure that appears to be a record low in the history of Confederation.
Canadians ‘voted to move our country forward,’ Harper says of strong minority
Canadians have entrusted the Conservatives with a strengthened mandate at a time of economic uncertainty and the party “will deliver,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said early Wednesday following his party’s minority victory in the federal election.
The result of Tuesday’s national vote gives Canadians their third consecutive minority government, and is also likely to trigger further speculation over the future of Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion.
Dion vows to stay the course in spite of heavy Liberal losses
MONTREAL – Liberal Leader Stephane Dion called Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a minority Conservative government was declared Tuesday to assure him the economy is his priority and his depleted official Opposition party will co-operate to ensure Canadians are protected.
In his election-night address to supporters, Dion made no mention of the heavy Liberal losses at the polls, nor did he address the future of his fragile leadership, as one adviser said he would.
The 53-year-old MP who led a national campaign for his party for the first time pledged that “we Liberals will do our part responsibly to make sure this Parliament works” in the face of “an economic storm.”
Liberals bleed seats in Ontario
New Democrats and Conservatives saw their fortunes rise Tuesday in the key battleground of Ontario while Liberal support was depleted across the province as the Conservatives moved into minority territory, according to CBC projections.
With half the votes counted, Liberals were elected or leading in 38 Ontario ridings, compared to 54 in the 2006 federal election, while the Conservatives had the potential to take 51 seats, up from 40.
New Democrats were elected or leading in 17, up from 12.
Layton urges parties to set aside differences, work together
Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred supporters, Layton pledged to keep fighting to defend the interests of average Canadians instead of the corporate boardrooms. But he also highlighted that this would be done in the context of a minority government.
“No party has a mandate to implement an agenda without agreement from the other parties,” Layton said to cheers. “I believe the people of Canada have called on all the parties to put aside the acrimony that arises in campaigns and to come together in the public interest.”
Liberals’ survival under Dion a long shot from the start
By Juliet O’Neill
In the last election, the Liberals won 103 seats. By falling far short of matching that mark in Tuesday’s vote, Dion’s chances of fending off discontent are likely low.
Fortier only ousted cabinet minister, Trudeau, Kennedy, Garneau win for Liberals
Former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier also won his Beauce riding [as predicted], taking 62.45 per cent of the vote as 255 of 269 polls were reporting. Outremont: Mulcair wins stuff contest
Ahuntsic: Race will come down to the wire
Blackout broken: Election results available early online
Several blogs and social networking sites that are available across the country posted comments and information about results in Eastern Canada while voters in western regions were still heading to the polls.
And satellite TV beamed Atlantic Canada’s results to the West well before the law permits.
Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act bans the transmission of election results from any electoral district where polls have closed to districts where the polls are still open.
(The Economist) VOTERS in Canada elect a new government on Tuesday October 14th, as an atmosphere of dark foreboding cloaks the country. Stephen Harper, the prime minister, called the elections at the beginning of September in the hope of winning a parliamentary majority for his Conservative minority government. But his muted reaction to the worsening financial crisis has not pleased the electorate. The economy is still growing slowly and Canada’s banks, less exposed to toxic assets than many around the world, are faring reasonably well, although stockmarkets are foundering. The likely outcome is a parliamentary make-up much like before the election.
Races to watch
The Conservatives need an additional 28 seats to win a majority government. If a similar number of seats migrate from the Tories to, for example, the Liberals instead, Stéphane Dion will be the next prime minister of Canada.
For starters, take a good hard look at the stats: only 49 seats were decided by less than five per cent of the vote in the 2006 election. And historically, wide swings in the party preferences of Canadian voters are rare, so any attempt to figure out what ridings could swing starts there. Races in Quebec
A full moon election
Nasty, chaotic campaign. As Canadians head out to vote today, pollsters say there’s no clear outcome
After five weeks of at times nasty campaigning, wild swings in polling data and the background noise caused by world economic turmoil, it’s decision time today for Canadians, including 5.3 million Quebecers who can cast ballots for 438 candidates in the province’s 75 federal ridings.
Be ready for surprises when the votes are counted tonight, Norman Webster
The unpredicted fall of the stock market turned the campaign upside down
(The Gazette) The dread Second Law of Practical Politics kicked in big-time in the final days of the federal election, knocking everything for a loop. Tonight’s results will hold plenty of surprises.
The Second Law is a politician’s nightmare. It notes ominously that many unforeseen things can happen in a political campaign, most of them disagreeable. And if they can happen, they probably will. (The First Law says simply: Don’t wear funny hats.)
Stephen Harper spent the latter days of the campaign with the dazed expression of someone who has gone eight rounds with an octopus and isn’t quite sure what hit him. Every politician knows there will be bad days – when one misspells “potato,” for example, or a speechwriter plagiarizes John Howard. But a return of the Great Depression? It does seem a bit unfair.
Canada begins vote amid economic uncertainty
(AFP) Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is predicted to win his second mandate since January 2006, with the latest polls giving him a five percent lead over his main rival, Liberal leader Stephane Dion.
But with one-third of voters still uncertain, and three other mainstream parties nipping at the frontrunner’s heels, a Conservative victory is by no means assured.
Harper set to retain power in Canada election
(The Independent) The election is the third in four years and – according to virtually every poll over the last month – will produce Canada’s third successive minority government. Harper, who defeated a minority Liberal administration in January 2006, foresees another election relatively soon.
Leaders fear new voting rules will discourage aboriginal voters
They say a requirement that voters must show identification — including proof of an address — poses a challenge for aboriginal people. Many don’t have a lot of government-issued identification or a recognized address complete with name and street number.
Harper still draws strong emotions
(Toronto Star) Thirty-seven campaign days later, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has definitively emerged as the most polarizing figure Canada has seen in almost two decades, eliciting negative emotions of a visceral strength not registered on the federal political scale since Brian Mulroney.
In office, the Harperites have been happy to be defined by those who oppose them rather than by those they win over. They have sought out wedge issues. Even without the assistance of the Bloc, that approach was bound to backfire in Quebec, a place that overcomes a deep divide on its political future by favouring a consensual approach to social and economic policy.
Finally, Harper and his brain trust seem to equate meanness with leadership. That sense might well be reinforced by a Conservative victory tomorrow. And yet, one only needs to think back to the likes of Peter Lougheed, Lucien Bouchard and Frank McKenna to know that truly strong leaders do not need to systematically divide to conquer.
Harper considers eliminating questions Sunday
Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested voters should ignore the opinion polls in the closing hours of the federal election campaign, while Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said his child care, doctor training and national drug plans could be delayed because of the economic slowdown.
Flaherty vows to speed up infrastructure projects
Mr. Flaherty’s 2007 budget promised spending on roads, ports and other infrastructure of more than $18-billion. But not much of that money has been spent because the federal government has had to negotiate agreements with each of the provinces and territories. Those talks are now complete, and Mr. Flaherty said the state of the economy provides incentive to start those projects as soon as possible.
A Radio Serialist’s Next Episode: Running for Canada’s Parliament
(NYT) AS a writer, Thomas King has twice been nominated for Canada’s main literary prize, the Governor General’s Literary Awards, and his work as an academic has brought him acclaim and honors. But Mr. King’s popularity comes mainly from his performances as Tom King, an often frustrated, somewhat assimilated Canadian Indian who is the straight man in “The Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour,” a popular and long-running series of 15-minute radio programs he created and wrote.
Now Mr. King, 65, has set aside the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s microphones to make his first foray into electoral politics. His decision to run for a seat in the House of Commons in a campaign that ends Tuesday is, in an American context, about as predictable as Garrison Keillor abandoning Lake Wobegon for a shot at Congress.
(Globe & Mail) Decline in support spells minority government for Tories: poll
(Ottawa Citizen) post-Thanksgiving election looking like a turkey for Tories
He never technically panicked. But with the polls turning sour in the final week of this craziest of volatile campaigns, Stephen Harper’s invocation of his rival as a potential prime minister was the …
Dion’s rise as swift as economy’s fall
How a rout became a bout
John Ivison, National Post
The Liberal leader needed an electoral miracle to get back in the game. The meltdown in financial markets, coupled with a rash response from Stephen Harper, who said this week that the market crash represents a buying opportunity, provided him with one.
Tories won’t need to make budget cuts, Harper says
A Conservative government would not need to cut spending to keep the government from running a deficit, leader Stephen Harper said Saturday.
The economy is not going into recession, and “our plans are more than affordable,” he said while campaigning in southern Ontario.
Harper’s criticism of Dion interview ‘double standard’: Duceppe
Tory minority seems likely, latest poll shows
Please have the decency to panic
(The Economist) As the campaign for Canada’s October 14th general election entered its final days, the chances of Stephen Harper, the prime minister, winning a parliamentary majority for his Conservative minority government seemed to be diminishing. The Conservatives’ earlier 15-point lead over the Liberals halved, as the opposition parties accused Mr Harper of complacency in the face of world financial turmoil. See article
Pembina Institute Scores Parties’ Plans for Pricing Pollution
Ottawa, October 8, 2008-The Pembina Institute today released an in-depth assessment of each major federal party’s proposal for putting a price on greenhouse gas pollution – widely agreed to be the most important element of any Canadian plan to fight global warming.
Harper hammered on economy in leaders’ debate
(Toronto Star) OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper found himself the target of four-headed fury in the televised French-language leaders debate Wednesday night.
John Moore: It’s not about plagiarism
Cribbing copy without attribution can get a student flunked, a professor fired and a journalist summarily sacked but outside of academia and professional writing the issue is about as compelling as a debate about the difference between meaning and understanding. Except that it’s not about plagiarism.
By leveling the accusation the Liberals are merely reminding Canadians that Stephen Harper was wrong about Iraq. On the most vital issue a nation can face — whether to commit money and lives to war — Harper bought the bogus American case and couldn’t even find his own words to make his position to Canadians. Those with good memories will also recall that Harper later chastised our country in a foreign newspaper for failing to join the ill considered invasion.
John Moore on the arts: worth and value
Independent candidates ready to take on parties
Earlier this year, the Conservative party said it wouldn’t support [David] Marler’s bid to run again in the riding. So he decided to go it alone.
Marler said he wants to go to Ottawa and be able to say things freely “because that is the role — the traditional role — of the parliamentarian.”
“We’re a little feisty down in Brome-Missisquoi,” he recently told CBC. “We’re going to look after ourselves. We’re not going to follow party lines if party lines are not serving us.”
Sunday 21 September 2008
OTTAWA: POLL SHOWS LARGE LEAD FOR CONSERVATIVE PARTY
A new opinion poll shows the Conservative Party has a large lead over the opposition Liberal Party and stands a good chance of winning a Parliamentary majority on October 14. The Ipsos Reid survey for CanWest News Service gives the Conservatives 40 per cent of voter support, two per centage points higher than in a poll by the same company a week ago. The Liberals dropped two points to 27 per cent, while the left-leaning New Democratic Party climbed two points to 15 per cent.
Sept 11: Harper, Layton Carbon Tax Comments
(Pembina Institute) Matthew Bramley, Director of the Pembina Institute’s Climate Change Program, made the following statement in response to both Stephen Harper’s claim today that “the new Liberal tax will plunge Canada into a recession and Jack Layton’s renewed criticism of carbon taxes.
Harper plays populist tune on arts cuts
No point funding programs ‘people actually don’t wan’t’
TORONTO — In his first detailed defence of $45-million in controversial cuts to arts and culture funding, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper called his party’s decisions good governance and said the government must walk “a fine line” between providing financial stability and “funding things that people actually don’t want.”
Key Election Issues: Environment and the ‘Green Shift’
Arts And Cultural Industries Add Billions Of Dollars To Canadian Economy
Ottawa, August 26, 2008 — Canada’s cultural sector directly contributed about $46 billion—or 3.8 per cent—to overall Canadian gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, according to a Conference Board report released today. Moreover, this analysis, Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy, has determined that culture sector’s impact on the economy is much broader—$84.6 billion in 2007, or 7.4 per cent of total real GDP.
The Tories as internationalists?
Lessons learned and forgotten a thousand times: When promoting our arts overseas, politicians and bureaucrats need to study promise and long-term payoff. And to ponder why making “political” (inevitably ideological) budget cuts in cultural diplomacy is dumb, dumb politics.
Tory candidate claims he was turfed for not following ad scheme
OTTAWA — As Prime Minister Stephen Harper shrugged off headlines reporting on allegations that his party broke federal laws in the 2006 election, a former Conservative candidate says he refused to go along with the party’s in-and-out financing scheme because he didn’t think it passed the smell test.
David Marler, who ran in a Quebec Eastern Townships riding, believes that decision may have cost him the chance to be the Conservative candidate in the next election.