Canada: 2011 Federal election

Written by  //  June 22, 2011  //  Canada, David/Terry Jones, Politics  //  4 Comments

Orphaned Voter : Canada’s electoral system is broken
More women running this election – but many in hopeless races
“Very often what I hear from young women is that they really feel they’re interested in politics, but they feel sort of turned off the way politics plays out, the way it’s done.”

Once Again, Angus Reid Provides Best Forecast of Canadian Election
Paul Wells —The untold story of the 2011 election: Introduction and Chapter 1
Behind the scenes of an epic campaign that turned Canadian politics on its head, and finally gave Harper his majority. A comprehensive, well written and intelligent analysis that we would say is a Must Read.
Political passion leaves its mark

In Ottawa, we’re defined by politics, Ian MacLeod and Glen McGregor write. This likely explains why, as a group, we turn out at the polls in droves
(Ottawa Citizen) … four of the top 10 ridings for voter turnout in Monday’s federal election were in the national capital region. Almost seven out of 10 eligible voters -68.3 per cent -cast ballots, about seven percentage points above the national average.
Voter turnout estimated at 61.4 per cent nationally
Despite the metamorphosis in Canada’s political scene and a slight bump up from the previous election, some 40 per cent of eligible voters stayed away from the ballot box for this week’s landmark election.
Updated with winners: The Globe’s 50 ridings to watch
How we stacked up: Revisiting The Globe’s 50 ridings to watch
(25 March) 50 ridings to watch in the 2011 election
Policy Options June 2011 “The Winner”presents a range of views on the election outcome


Canada’s ‘kid’ lawmakers poised to shake-up staid Parliament
(CSM) Canada’s recent election brought a crop of young lawmakers – including college students – to Parliament as members of the opposition New Democratic Party.
At 20 years old and just halfway through college, history and cultural studies student Laurin Liu has little in common with the middle-aged white men who dominate Canadian politics. But since her election in May as one of Canada’s youngest-ever lawmakers, Ms. Liu has become a symbol of both the problems and opportunities facing her party – the socialist-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) – in its new role as Official Opposition in the national Parliament.
(Policy Options/June 2011) … A stable, four-year majority government will make it possible to address/implement tough bilateral initiatives. Long-deferred work needs to be done, ranging from continental perimeter security to upgrading intellectual property protection. What was hypothetical can now become reality.
Michael Valpy: A pollster’s painful reckoning: ‘How could I have screwed up so badly?’
(Globe & Mail) Election 2011 revealed a voting fault line delineated by a generation gap.
On one side of the gap: Canadians over 45 enthusiastically favouring the Conservatives, with a likelihood of voting starting at about 60 per cent and rising with age to more than 80 per cent.
On the other side: younger Canadians generally disliking the Conservatives, but with a voting likelihood of at most 40 per cent, decreasing to about 30 per cent for the youngest electoral cohort, those under the age of 25.
The proportion of Canadians who vote has always increased with age, but the differential has never been as great as it is now. In addition, the values gulf between young and old probably has never been greater. And the demographic skewing of the population – proportionately so many older people – is almost certainly unprecedented.
29 May
The McGill Four
(CBC/Sunday edition) … a quartet of university undergrads elected to the House of Commons in the NDP wave that swept across the province of Quebec in this month’s election.
Unlike other numerically named groups of the past – like the Chicago Seven or the Birmingham Six, for example – they’re not student protesters or accused pub bombers. In fact, they were all full-time students in their very early twenties until they became full-time federal lawmakers in their very early twenties.
Next week, they will formally take their seats in the House, but this morning we’ve crammed them all into our studio in Ottawa.
Representing Chambly-Borduas is Matthew Dubé, former co-president on NDP McGill and president of the Quebec Young New Democrats. Mylène Freeman, also a co-president of NDP McGill, is the MP for Argenteuil-Papineau-Mirabel. The new MP for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is twenty-year old Laurin Liu, who was co-president of the youth wing of the Quebec section of the NDP. And last but not least is Charmaine Borg, the federal MP for Terrebonne-Blainville and a former co-president of the NDP club at McGill.
23 May
The Youth Vote
(The Charlatan) The May 2 federal election brought many unforeseen changes — a majority Conservative government, a New Democratic Party official opposition, and the first elected Green party member. Yet, what was less clear was its effect was on Canadian youth.
According to CBC estimates, voter turnout in the recent election was 61.4 per cent. That’s up 58.8 per cent from 2008, which saw one of the lowest youth voter turnouts in Canadian history.
Paul Adams, an associate professor of journalism at Carleton, said although the youth vote was up slightly from the 2008 election, it’s still far too low. … The official voter turnout statistics will not be released until late 2011 or early 2012, according to Elections Canada.
14 May
Recount gives NDP a 59th seat in Quebec
(National Post) A judicial recount in a Quebec riding has given the NDPtheir 59th seat in Quebec, while reducing Conservative party holdings in the province to five.
8 May
Harper leads into new territory
How to interpret the Conservative prime minister’s decisive win—and how he should use his new mandate
(The Economist) Two sets of reasons explain this shift in the political landscape. The first is that Canada is quietly changing. The Liberals ruled for most of the 20th century by offering consensual, centrist politics with a dash of European social democracy to a coalition of industrial workers, the suburban middle class and immigrants. But the Liberals’ industrial base has contracted and Canada’s centre of economic gravity has shifted, westward and towards natural resources. And many immigrants have discovered that they rather like the Conservative appeal to the rugged individualism and family values of the Prairies.
Secondly, Mr Harper out-fought and out-thought his opponents. Harper’s champagne moment The death of Liberal Canada produces a Conservative majority. What now?
2 May
The At Issue Panel’s Election Night Analysisas always, worthwhile.
Jeffrey Simpson: An abundance of teachable moments
What did the last five years, capped by Monday night’s election results, teach us and the political parties?
For starters, negative television attack ads work. They will now become a fixture, if they are not already, of Conservative Party politics. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, other parties might follow along.
Dan Leger: Voting day is payback time for six weeks of nastinessNot, unfortunately, a prescient column
(Chronicle Herald) So ends the Great Fear Campaign of 2011, five scary weeks of reckless coalitions, hidden agendas, attack ads, name-calling, dirty tricks and pork-barrel promises. The national parties will have to answer for all of that. It’s payback day at the polls.
It’s not just the fading Liberals and the best-before Bloc facing the reckoning. The Conservatives began the campaign with much to gain against a Liberal leader they had undermined by years of savage attacks. By demonizing Michael Ignatieff, they tried to scare the electorate into their arms. It didn’t work because Ignatieff wasn’t the only threat.
30 April
Anyone but Harper: A dissenting endorsement
(Globe & Mail) One of the editorial board’s key reasons for the endorsement is what they refer to as the “successful stewardship of the economy.” On this point, however, it could be persuasively argued that the Liberals’ solid managing of the economy in the 13 years prior to Mr. Harper’s election is what made Canada especially resilient after the severe 2008 recession. The Liberals beat back an excessive deficit and have rightly been praised internationally for having done so.
27 April
Horrors: an endorsement for the Conservatives The Globe’s election endorsement: Facing up to our challenges
We are nearing the end of an unremarkable (in retrospect it was not unremarkable in terms of outcomes, but we must agree that it wasn’t outstanding in terms of issues) and disappointing election campaign, marked by petty scandals, policy convergences and a dearth of serious debate. Canadians deserved better. We were not presented with an opportunity to vote for something bigger and bolder, nor has there been an honest recognition of the most critical issues that lie ahead: a volatile economy, ballooning public debts and the unwieldy future of our health-care system.
21 April
Ban on Twitter, Facebook election-night posts draconian
(Montreal Gazette) … Imagine living in a country where it was illegal for ordinary citizens living in Newfoundland or New Brunswick to post comments about election results on their personal Facebook walls before the polls had closed on Vancouver Island.
Imagine living in a country where you could face a maximum $25,000 fine, or up to five years in prison, for “tweeting” about election results in your region on Twitter without government permission.
It shouldn’t be hard. You already live there.
Anne Lagacé DowsonCanada Election 2011: Harper Conservatives and voter suppression
(Hour Community) It was a frightening moment at the University of Guelph last Thursday. In the student union, a long line of students were waiting patiently to vote at a special poll. Suddenly a Conservative Party operative storms through the line and tries to steal the ballot box. The upshot of this incident, for students across Canada, has terrible repercussions.
Here’s the background: Political junkies in Canada have watched with dismay as the Harper Conservatives import the strategy and tactics of the Republican right. The two literally worship at the same evangelical altar. But perhaps nothing is more dangerous than the strategy known as voter suppression. If you are between 18 and 25, the Tories don’t respect your right to vote.
15 April
University-cast ballots are valid: Elections Canada
The ballots cast at a special University of Guelph voting station are valid and will be counted, Elections Canada said Friday, in response to the Conservative party’s attempt to have the votes nullified.
The Conservative party on Thursday asked Elections Canada to void the votes cast during a one-day special ballot at the Ontario university earlier this week, saying the polling station was illegal and unauthorized.
9 April
Jeffrey Simpson: The election ain’t over till the voters sing
If a shift in public opinion occurs in an election, it happens in the second half of the campaign. So no one should read significance into the fact that the polls haven’t moved much. Maybe they never will. If they do move, it won’t start happening until about a week from now.
Shifts – if they occur – take place after the televised debates, assuming a leader made a strong positive or negative impression. Late in the campaign, undecided voters make up their minds.
8 April
Nanos Poll:With Harper holding steady lead, Layton faces campaign nadir
After two weeks of election campaigning, the news is less than cheery for NDP Leader Jack Layton.
The Nanos Research Leadership Index, a daily tracking of voter attitudes toward the party leaders based on questions of trust, competence and vision, continues to show Conservative Leader Stephen Harper well ahead of his opponents
Funny, but sadly true
Fed up: the bold election platform edition
(Vancouver Courier) … we caught the Conservative party candidate boldly going out on a limb and dropping this political bombshell: “The Conservative party is for families and is for people.” Shocking, we know.
It goes without saying that a party has a bit of an image problem when they have to go out of their way to express that, contrary to popular belief, they are not for the destruction or maiming of not just families but human beings in general. We’re going to take a guess that most federal parties are pro family and pro people. Except perhaps the Natural Law Party who see people for what they really are… energy forces.
So what other bold political stands have the parties been taking this week? Here’s a rundown:
– Conservatives are for families, people, duck hunters who find it demeaning and too time consuming to register the firearms they inherited from their duck hunting ancestors, singing songs by former Beatles who were killed as a result of lax firearm laws, longer prison sentences, more jails, bales of hay, hockey and Tim Hortons.
– The Liberals are for families, people, leaders who say this election is not about the leaders, something called “rural equality,” sticking it to corporations… sort of, reading, long walks on moonlit beaches and Tim Hortons.
– The NDP is for families, people–even old people, rocking in the free world, sticking it to credit card companies, drinking from glacier-fed streams, the colour orange and Tim Hortons.
– The Bloc Quebecois is for families and people if they speak French and live in the sovereign nation of Quebec, Mitsou’s “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy,” love, laughter and St. Hubert Chicken because Tim Hortons is a tool of the oppressor.
– The Green Party is for families, people, the environment, getting on the televised leadership debate… um… what else… environmental families, whole grains… the environment.
5 April
Conservatives try to explain student ejections from rallieswith help from the inimitable Dmitri Soudas
(CBC) By now, we’ve all heard about the stories of students (and veterans’ advocates) barred from attending Conservative rallies with Stephen Harper in recent days in Halifax, London and Guelph.
Today, the Conservative leader said it’s a matter for his staff and he can’t comment on it. He added that his party is attracting more people to its rallies than all his rival parties combined. (The Conservative Party has offered no evidence for this statement.)
4-5 April
Cities bristle at Liberal plan to scuttle $1-billion infrastructure fund This sounds like a really dumb move to us
Canada’s cities say a Liberal proposal to scrap a $1-billion infrastructure fund will rob them of one of their few remaining sources of federal cash.
(Globe & Mail) Weighing in on the election campaign, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says the Liberal plan would give cities money with one hand while taking with the other.
“It’s a bit of a shell game,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in an interview with The Globe and Mail. “I was surprised to see it in their platform. Their platform certainly says some good things about affordable housing, but it says basically nothing about infrastructure or transit or any of the other issues that are important to cities, which I found a bit surprising.”
26 March
Federal election called for May 2
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper kicked off the country’s 41st election campaign Saturday morning, framing the vote set for May 2 as a choice about who is best suited to lead Canada while the global economy’s recovery is still fragile.
25 March
Canada’s Harper government defeated by parliament non-confidence vote
(Xinhua) — The Canadian House of Commons passed Friday a non-confidence motion tabled by opposition parties, defeating the ruling Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for contempt of Parliament.
The motion, which was put forward by Liberal Party and backed by the other two parties, Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party, was passed by a vote of 156 to 145 in the afternoon, making the Harper government the first one defeated for being in contempt of Parliament in Canada’s history.
John Ibbitson: Five reasons Ottawa is turning you off
In almost every federal election since 1963, when 79.2 per cent of Canadians cast a ballot, the popular vote has declined. In 2008, it reached a nadir of 58.8 per cent. Canadians seem more distanced from their federal government than at any time in living memory. While separatism may be on the wane in Quebec, apathy could well be the biggest threat to national unity. What’s causing it? And what do we do about it? Five reasons stand out for what’s wrong with Parliament, and why you should care about fixing it.
Government’s defeat sets up election call
It’s official — the government has fallen from power, clearing the way for a spring election.
The opposition Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois came together Friday afternoon in a historic vote to say they no longer have confidence in the Conservative government.
24 March
The At Issue Panel (scroll about 60% through the video) they – notably Alan Gregg – commented that polls only scratch the surface of public opinion, and that the media pay attention to the wrong results. Interesting point that some 30% of the under-35 population do not have a land line, therefore they are unreachable.

4 Comments on "Canada: 2011 Federal election"

  1. Alan Hustak April 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm ·

    [From] my old friend Tommy Banks.
    An open letter from an Alberta Senator about the Canadian election situation.
    The Choice, Your Choice by Tommy Banks

    There is only one thing about the outcome of the May 2nd election on which Mr. Ignatieff and Mr. Harper agree. It is that one of them will be the Prime Minister of Canada. Mr. Layton, Mr. Duceppe and Ms. May are not in the running to form a government. They can’t. It will be either Mr. Ignatieff or Mr. Harper.
    That is the choice, and it is a very clear – in fact, stark choice. We will choose between openness or secrecy. Between listening or refusing to listen. Between someone who respects Parliament or someone who disdains it. Between things we can and will do now or things that, (provided of course that everything goes well), we might do in five or six years. Between someone who answers all questions from Canadians, or someone who won’t accept any.
    Between Mr. Harper who said “It’s past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act”, or Mr. Ignatieff who said “ . . . we don’t want user fees. We want universal, accessible, free-at-the-point-of-service health care, paid out of general revenue. That’s just bottom line. Otherwise we get two-tiered”.
    Between buying jets or helping vets. Between real early childhood learning and care or Saturday-night babysitting. Between respect for our great institutions or contempt for them. Between helping families or helping big corporations. Between the Canada that we think we have, or the way in which Mr. Harper has already changed it. Read entire letter

  2. Stephen Kinsman April 25, 2011 at 7:19 am ·

    I voted in the Advance Poll on Friday and discovered that the reason for an excruciating and frustrating wait to exercise my civic duty was because there was only one ballot box, instead of the usual two, for the whole series of polls serviced by that meager operation. This in spite of the fact acknowledged by Elections Canada that advance polls are increasingly popular.
    Of course. they hope to say this Election cost less than past ones…Bureaucracy at work…Perhaps they anticipate another in a couple of years.

  3. Antal (Tony) Deutsch April 25, 2011 at 7:21 am ·

    I have exercised my rights of citizenship and cast an early ballot on Saturday, so last-minute appeals for my vote are now in vain .Voting at the early poll at Westmount Park Church gave me the rare thrill of being among the very youngest people (excluding the poll-workers) in the room.

  4. Antal (Tony) Deutsch May 3, 2011 at 9:36 am ·

    If you look at , probably the most thorough statistical poll evaluation in Canada, on Sunday they gave Westmount to the NDP. I said sampling error, and shrugged my shoulders. By last night, I gained new respect for them. Jack Layton’s professional skills as a politician are not to be underestimated. This time, he will have an awful caucus to keep together for four years.
    Political Science students will be writing quantitative Ph.D.s for years on how many votes the much publicized “Layton surge” drove to the Tories.

Comments are now closed for this article.