Monday, July 28, 2014

Democratic Dipper Values In Action

Oh, this is brilliant:
Long-time Progressive Conservative MLA Bev Harrison invoked the memory of former British prime minister Winston Churchill as he confirmed on Friday that he will run for the NDP in the next provincial election.

Harrison appeared with NDP Leader Dominic Cardy at a news conference on Friday to confirm that he will run for the NDP in the Sept. 22 election.

... The NDP’s riding of Hampton is in tumult with resignations, allegations of heavy-handed politics and party switching.

Pat Hanratty, the riding association’s president and a former president of the provincial party, resigned this week and posted on Facebook that he was quitting the "Un democratic party", adding, "I'll be back when the reign of terror is over."

And the riding’s previously announced candidate for nomination, Chris Rendell, has had his approval revoked suddenly.

Rendell said the party is pushing him aside in favour of Harrison.
"What's really going on is a cut-throat vicious group of people in Fredericton who are willing to do whatever it takes to clear the way,” he said.

I've heard a lot of stories out of the New Brunswick NDP recently, some good and some, like above, obviously bad. This is clearly a sign of the times, as NDPers around the country are attempting to turn into Harper-lite groups in their attempts to win elections.

Now I'm not saying getting this sitting MLA to run for you is a bad idea, nor that my own party doesn't have its kinks and questionable practices here and there. As far as I'm aware though, we've yet to shunt aside a nominated candidate in favour of an incumbent aisle-crosser this year, and even if we have somehow, we don't ride high horses into town on a regular basis to begin with. The NDP, from coast to coast, do.

Its also confirming the trend of the NDP moving to a hazily defined "right," which is either characterized by crass populism, legitimate policy shifts, or bold-faced retreating from its traditional roots

I'm not a personal fan of this attempt to schmooze up the electorate from the NDP. Yes, its a good idea to moderate your policy positions in order to cast your appeal to the widest possible pool of voters.... but its not helpful to alienate voters at the same time. 

The recent Ontario election is a good example of what happens when, in an attempt to gain voters, you then start to lose them. Yes, Horwath gained new voters in Southwestern Ontario's smaller cities - areas where the population isn't growing, the voters are fickle, and your in competition with the Conservatives and thus need to modulate your appeal to Conservative voters. Meanwhile, she loses supporters in Toronto where the Liberals can pick up voters, take old strongholds, and help pad their own margins against Conservative competition in this fast-growing area.

Now, to point out that may be the right strategy to pursue for the NB NDP, considering their small stature and nowhere-to-go-but-up position in the province's political spectrum. So, who knows, maybe sacrificing their values that they tended to hold so high was worth it - or... well, maybe not. 

Either way, damn shame. Hopefully Mr. Rendell will find another party to join soon enough.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Liberal Bloggers Are Taking Over the Party, Part 1 - Danielle Takacs

I’ve been relaxing this summer, so my activity on the blog has been a bit low, but I was asked to help out with an endorsement of a great candidate, a former blogger who is taking the big leap into federal politics – and I’m more than happy to do so.

I don't think I've ever met Danielle Takacs in person, but when I first became an active Liberal back in the 2008 campaign, and shortly thereafter discovered Liblogs and ProgBlogs, her blog Galloping Around the Golden Horseshoe was a wonderful read every time she put out a post. Not only is she intelligent and informative (demonstrated in this post on electoral reform, one of my first exposures to this idea), but I can honestly say some of her posts inspired me to further my involvement in this whole “Liberal” thing. Case in point was her excellent coverage of the 2009 Bienniel Convention in Vancouver that sparked my interest in attending this vast event featuring thousands of Liberals from across the country coming together – which I’ve done twice so far.

Danielle hasn’t been blogging for quite awhile now, but she has been very active in her career, community, and local Liberal association in her home riding of Brant, where she is currently running for the nomination to be the candidate for the 2015 election. I really want Danielle to win this, as I feel she would be a great candidate versus Brant’s current Conservative MP, Phil McColeman, who is just one of the many trained seals in the government caucus (along with my MP and many many others, especially from Ontario). She not only has the experience to be a great MP, but she has the right ideas that are will bring the issues and concerns of the residents of Brant to the forefront in a way that hasn’t been seen since 2008.

I especially believe her commitment to be an active voice for the Six Nations within Brant riding will be a positive change from the current situation, and one that should be emulated among all MPs representing ridings with First Nations communities, no matter your party’s colours. Danielle's commitment to make Six Nations concerns one of her priorities shows that she understands that fact.

But don’t take my word for it – her website lays out all of her well thought out ideas, priorities, and commitments for you to check out.

So if you’re at all interested in ensuring Brant has the best candidate for the next federal election (whenever its called), I urge you to support Danielle Takacs for the Liberal nomination. She is not only ready to represent Brant, but she is the right person to represent this crucial riding.

(And if you’re already supporting Danielle, whether you’re from Brantford, Paris, Six Nations, or any of the communities in the riding, or if you’re just a fan from outside Brant, every little bit counts, so don’t hesitate to ask Danielle’s team how you can contribute!)
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Brunswick election, coming this fall.

I decided to prepare some maps for the impending New Brunswick election.

The summer is usually quiet-time politically; so to fill the void, I've decided to take a look at various provinces.

First up is New Brunswick which has an election this fall.

My prediction map is ready to go, and like Newfoundland, I don't see any way to stop the Liberal steamroller.

I fully expect the Liberals to easily take 27 of the 49 seats, and win a majority. There is also the possibility they could take 39 seats, if not more. The Tories are in trouble; in recent elections their vote spread has been moving away from that during the Hatfield-Lord era, and back towards a more traditional spread. This means they will do very well in Anglo-NB but poorly in Franco-NB. To help illustrate this, I also made a language map.

I want to draw attention to the different Acadian communities in North Central and in South East NB. Most Acadians in the South East are bi-lingual. This does not apply to all of them, but in general, this is a good rule of thumb. The opposite however is true for Acadians in the North; especially those in the darker blue areas.

Despite this, it is the South Eastern group of Acadians who have been the most loyal to the Liberal party over the decades. Federally, for example, they have only once elected a non-Liberal MP, and that is in the history of Canada since 1867. Riding 15 in particular, that of the recent interim Liberal leader, appears to have never voted anything else. I've attempted to find evidence that this area has -ever- voted anything except Liberal and failed to do so. The Current Liberal Leader is also from the South East; he will win in riding #14.

It is the NDP though that have collected the most interesting assortment of candidates. I've boosted their chances where they've been able to grab a former MLA from another party, and this is in more than one instance. A former PC MLA is running for them in #27, one that was famous enough to get in the news frequently enough while I lived in the province. Two former Liberals are also running, one in #33, and another in #40, both ridings have strong NDP showings without them, and they could easily take the ridings for the party. The NDP also has a strong candidate in #32, one of their better showings. It seems like the party may be willing to put the resources it needs in focused ridings in order to win seats.


I will, of course, keep you all updated on how this all plays out.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ontario results on the new map, and an EU update.

I've used some of the new poll maps to try to put Ontario's most recent provincial election on the new approved Federal election map.

There is no guarantee that this map will serve as Ontario's new provincial election map, but for the past number of elections, Ontario has used the Federal map with some modifications where it feels needed (such as in Northern Ontario)

Thus the map looks like such:


There were some ridings where I had to make judgement calls as eyeballing it was unclear. In particular, 04 and 24 from the Ontario map, and 06 and 56 from the Toronto area map.

There however were three ridings where I would need to count all the polls individually to ensure an accurate map. These are the new Barrie South riding, the Halton riding, and the new outer-Hamilton riding. I've done my best with my limited time but if anyone wishes to count it up mathematically and let me know of your results, feel free.


In addition, an update on Europe, where the FN's group has fallen to bits due to internal discord. I've also corrected all errors on the graphic:


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Friday, June 20, 2014

EU election "results"

The members elected have not changed, but the groups they will sit in have changed.

This is the current "results" of the election.


Some important changes:

This presumes a Bulgarian party will sith with FN; this is yet to be confirmed.
M5S has decided to sit with UKIP.
One FN member has defected to UKIP's group.
A grand total of 10 parties that were not part of ACER before, are now, including AfD from Germany.

Also to note, of the 12 Independents...
2 are Stalinists from the Greek communist party.
3 are from Golden Dawn, 3 from Jobbik, and 1 from the NPD. All 3 of these parties were judged "too racist" to sit with FN.
1 is from a left German party; it is likely to find a group.
1 is from an Independent from Romania, a moderate, who is likely to find a group.
The last, who may end up the only sane person left in the NI group, is from the DUP in Northern Ireland.
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Friday, June 13, 2014

Ontario Votes 2014 Results - Don't Call It a Comeback (Long Post)

While I'm pretty sure anyone who reads this blog regularly is quite aware of the last night's results, I think it might take a while to sink in just how awesome it was. Absolutely, 100% awesome. I've never been more excited about an election in my lifetime, and even my current bout with what seems to be strep throat can't get my spirits down.

We won!!!

 Not only did the Ontario Liberals win however, they won a majority government, less than two years after voters handed them a minority. I would call it unprecedented, except that it happened quite more than once to the Ontario PCs during their long stretch of government from 1943 to 1985. However, for the Liberals to do it is another thing entirely - the Liberals have not won four elections in a row since Oliver Mowat in 1886, and no Liberal Premier has succeeded another then gone on to win another term since George William Ross replaced Arthur S. Hardy in 1902, and I think this is the first time a Liberal has replaced a previous leader and managed to do better than their predecessor's last election since, again, Oliver Mowat in 1875.

What I'm trying to say is that aside from being the first woman to be lead her party to victory in an Ontario provincial election, as well as the first LGBT leader to win an election in what seems to be the entire Commonwealth, Kathleen Wynne's historic election has proven to be much more than a footnote in the Ontario Liberal Party's history. This election is groundbreaking for the party, and could be a sign of a strong electoral shift in favour of the provincial Liberals, similar to the PC's stranglehold on the province for forty years - though I may be getting ahead of myself a tad.

This election is also very interesting for the Liberals as it is frankly unlike any other previous election win for the party. Kathleen Wynne's 2014 victory is not like Dalton McGuinty's wins, or David Peterson's or any other previous leader. As we get into the results it will become clearer why, though I'll spoil it for you now - Kathleen's victory came from gains almost exclusively in the urban/suburban GTA, with very few gains outside of there, and just one rural riding gain. Kathleen also managed to do it despite ending up third among the entire Southwestern Ontario region, which used to be one of the strongest electoral areas for the Liberals, keeping us alive during our long spell in opposition versus the PCs. That dependence on this rural ridings also shifted our party to the right during that era, and one can say for sure that Peterson and even McGuinty did not play to the same urbane, urban (bobo?) base Kathleen Wynne does.

In other words, the Liberals have moved ideologically to the left, and so has its electoral base. It is amusing to note that one could say the current Liberals are where the Ontario PCs once were, becoming an urban party with a progressive tilt - and the current PCs are moving to the right, replacing the Liberals as the party of choice for the rural, more conservative base. One could make plenty of comparisons to the switch between Republicans and Democrats ideological and geographic bases in the US over the years, though I'm not sure its as stark as that.

Anyway, let's drill down into some numbers, starting way up north:

Northern Ontario didn't see much change in terms of seats, with the Liberals losing Sudbury by just a small margin, and no other changes. However, in terms of the popular vote, the Liberals, NDP, and Greens managed to increase their shares of the vote, while the PCs dropped just over 7% - a loss of about 20,000 voters, mostly as they fell back in ridings they performed well in back in 2011, such as Kenora or Timmins-James Bay. The PCs also dropped in their two held ridings, though obviously not by enough to lose to a their highly fractured opposition in Nipissing and Parry Sound-Muskoka.

Eastern Ontario did not see too much change either, with two close seats falling to the Liberals (Northumberland-Quinte West with Lou Rinaldi, and Barrie with Ann Hoggarth, the former being the only rural gain for the Liberals) but all other incumbents retaining their seats. All five Ottawa Liberals managed to keep their seats with healthy margins, as did Grant Crack in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell; Sophie Kiwala also kept a healthy margin for the Liberals versus the NDP in Kingston and the Islands, where incumbent John Gerretsen had retired.

If anything spoke to the PC collapse last night early on, it was the poor numbers they were getting in what are supposed to be their strongholds in the east. Ridings such as York-Simcoe or Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, with multi-term incumbents and strong bases, featured closer-than-normal races with the Liberals. Had this night turned out the way Hudak and the PCs expected, we would have seen much stronger numbers here, and several losses for the Liberals.

The results in Durham Region were among the most exciting last night, with the PCs losing two seats and one incumbent. The Liberals easily held Ajax-Pickering and picked up the incumbent-less Durham, while the NDP knocked out PC incumbent Jerry Ouellette in Oshawa on the back of heavy union campaigning. Only Christine Elliott, the widow of former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and an easy contender for the next PC leader (she came in second to Hudak in 2009), survived.

York Region, the fast growing area north of Toronto, saw the PCs lose their two ridings and best hopes for continued toeholds in the immediate GTA area (aside from Christine Elliott). Newmarket-Aurora, the riding of former star PC MPP Frank Klees, decided to switch to the Liberals for this election with Chris Ballard earning a convincing victory there; while Sandra Yeung Racco managed to take away Thornhill from incumbent Gina Martow in a rematch of their by-election fight.

The City of Toronto is, ironically, the only area where the PCs actually managed to pick up a small extra share of the popular vote, though definitely not by much. The Liberals managed to have a very good night in the city, picking off three incumbent NDP MPPs in Davenport, Trinity-Spadina, and Beaches-East York, while also taking back Etobicoke-Lakeshore from Ford Nation -er, Doug Holyday. There isn't much to be said here that hasn't already been said - the NDP f'ed up, losing some of their strongest incumbents and turning what could have been a great night into an OK night where they managed to break even. Ford aside, Toronto isn't known for its populist streak, so either the NDP didn't think this strategy of theirs through, or they just didn't care and accepted the losses as inevitable.

Peel Region was one of the more interesting areas to watch, as the PC collapse was fairly dramatic here, an area traditionally known for its Liberal-PC fights. The Liberals retained all of its seven incumbents, while the NDP's Jagmeet Singh kept their toehold in Bramalea-Gore-Malton, increasing his share of the vote against former MPP Kuldip Kular. Also, interestingly, the NDP increased their numbers in the other two Brampton ridings, coming in a very close second in Brampton-Springdale and essentially tied with the PCs for second in Brampton West. It seems the NDP's work in Brampton has been paying dividends, and could spell trouble for the Liberals in the future, federally and provincially. That result was not replicated in the five Mississauga ridings, where the NDP fell back from their 2011 numbers.

No one was more happy than me to see the result in Halton Region last night, as the Liberals not only held Oakville with Kevin Flynn (Labour Minister and the riding of the gas plants fame), but picked up Burlington with Eleanor McMahon (my riding and candidate) and Halton with Indira Naidoo-Harris, unseating two PC incumbents. This result has frankly been a long time coming (71 years for the Liberals in Burlington), as both ridings are demographically trending towards the Liberals or, to put it succinctly, into Mississauga-like ridings.

 The Hamilton-Niagara region didn't actually see any change in incumbents from the end of the legislature, though the above results are the change from the 2011 election. The NDP held on to their by-election win in Niagara Falls, while the Liberals retained their two incumbents in ADFW and, of course, the indomitable Jim Bradley in St. Catherines. The one PC win was Tim Hudak's riding in Niagara West-Glanbrook, while local Liberals must be disappointed with their inability to capture back any of the Hamilton core seats.

Midwestern Ontario - the line of ridings running from BGOS in the north to Haldimand-Norfolk in the south - was a curious thing last night. While the Liberals were trending downward in Southwestern Ontario as a whole, they actually kept up their vote share in this region, even managing to score an extra seat in Cambridge, with a win over the first-term incumbent there, while keeping their incumbency in Kitchener Centre and Dave Levac (the Speaker of the Legislature and a great guy) in Brant. They also posted better-than-I-expected numbers in Perth-Wellington and Kitchener-Conestoga, while they came in second to the NDP's Catherine Fife in Kitchener-Waterloo.

 The Southwest is where the Liberal hurt comes into focus, as the party lost all of its former strongholds in the region over two elections. In 2011, they lost their rural ridings; in 2014, its their urban ridings, the ones hardest hit by the manufacturing decline and most receptive to the NDP's brand of populist schtick. This area featured the only incumbent Liberal loss, as Teresa Piruzza, despite putting up a very strong fight, lost Windsor West, giving the NDP a full sweep of the Essex region. The Liberal's sole representative is Deb Matthews, who hung on - barely - in London North Centre.

Conclusion

A win is a win, of course, and I could not be more excited about this one - but lets not pretend that everything is rosy either.


Turnout edged up a bit, but remains fairly dismal at 51%, showing an electorate that was highly disinterested in what the leaders or parties had to say. None of the party leaders seemed to seriously offer Ontarians a choice palatable, with Hudak and Horwath being incompetent and the Liberals bogged down by scandals. It will take a lot to restore confidence in party government to get turnout back up, and whichever party does manage to do that by 2018, will have a serious edge over everyone else.

Let's also not pretend that this election was necessarily an endorsement of the Liberals, or even of Kathleen Wynne. They certainly earned their win, but the Liberals were lucky in their choice of opponents.

Had the PCs and Hudak held to a strategy similar to that of Stephen McNeil's Liberals in Nova Scotia in their past election, with a low-key, low-promise strategy that didn't ruffle any feathers, this could have been a very different night. Instead Hudak gambled his leadership on a strategy that anyone could see would fail, being an antagonistic mess that didn't strike confidence in the voters, and set up the Tories as an easy boogeyman. I will say right here that I actually don't disagree with the Ontario Tories on a lot of key points - but I sure as hell disagreed with Tim Hudak, and the direction he wanted to take this province. There are a lot more moderate and sensible people within that caucus that can now lead the party, and our democracy, to a better future.

The NDP for their part had a good night, but if I was a Dipper I would have to question Andrea Horwath's judgement in calling this election. Maybe their strategists figured that now was better than never, to capitalize as much as possible on the Liberal scandals before too much time passed and Wynne continued to grow in popularity - though that assumption was clearly wrong, and they paid for it. Now the NDP will have little to no say on the policies of the government, and will have to languish in third-place opposition for four more years. Maybe it was worth it for a few more seats, but that is up to their membership to decide.

Anyways, check out the CBC interactive map if you're interested in the riding-by-riding details. As for my projection and the polls, they didn't end up too bad, except for a slight PC under-performance. My projection got 92% of the riding calls correct, or 99 of 107 ridings (including TCTCs), while the best pollsters ended up being EKOS and Abacus, with a slight preference for the latter, who had 35-32-26-6, technically a little closer than EKOS' 37-31-19-8. Forum overestimated Liberal and PC support at the expense of the NDP, while Ipsos overestimated NDP support at the expense of the Liberals (but got the PC number spot-on), so they'll definitely have to do some tweaking. Not so sure about those Likely Voter weightings anymore either.

That's all from me now. If you were part of a Liberal campaign over the last few weeks, congrats! Whether your candidate won or not, you made our entire party proud with your support. Just wait until next time!

Thanks to CuJoYYC for catching some of my many typos in this post!
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Preliminary Election Results

Lib - 59 - 38.0%
PC - 27 - 31.2%
NDP - 21 - 24.3%
Grn - 00 - 4.9%

Three ridings are still too close to call.

Parkdale, where the NDP is ahead of the Liberals.
Beaches, where the Liberals are ahead of the NDP. This flipped while writing the post.
And Thornhill, where the Liberals are ahead of the Tories.

This is one of the few majorities in Ontario won on less than 40% of the vote. Compare this to 1990

NDP - 74 - 37.6%
Lib - 36 - 32.4%
PC - 20 - 23.5%
FCP - 0 - 2.7%

Compare to the last two elections

2007
Lib - 71 - 42.3%
PC - 26 - 31.6%
NDP - 10 - 16.8%
Grn - 00 - 8.0%

2011
Lib - 53 - 37.7%
PC - 37 - 35.5%
NDP - 17 - 22.7%
Grn - 00 - 2.9%

And finally, the map:


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