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A very brief thought


 

I think the sturdiness of NDP support is an under-reported trend this week.


 
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A very brief thought

  1. Hey, growth isn’t everything. Stability must count for something in this our world turned upside down.

  2. In Ontario, or just in BC and NS?

  3. Paul,

    speaking of “under reported”,

    I’ve made some pretty damning suggestions about the under reporting of our huge economic success relative to other G8 countries, how crucial such information is, and how wrong (to say the least) of the media to withhold such info, in the context of its reporting of Harper being too “cheery” about our economy,

    on yours,

    and Aaron’s (John G also added some nice context on Aaron’s post below) posts.

    Any thoughts?

  4. Paul, given that all localities are political, do you think the NDP is one big party or four small parties in unconscious coalition? I mean, they get their seats from Halifax, industrial Ontario & north Winnipeg, suburban Vancouver, and latte Toronto. On the face of it it seems a sac mixte. Is it splinterable?

  5. Mr. Wells, I don’t know that it’s a trend that matters all that much. The NDP got 17.5% in 2006. Ekos which has a very high sample, and Nanos both have the NDP at 20%, so they’re up 2.5%.

    According to EKOS, regionally the NDP is actually down 2.5% in B.C. from ’06, which probably is support that has bled to the Greens. They are the same in Ontario as they were last election at 19%. The Greens are up 8% in Ontario from 2006, again according to EKOS.

    In Quebec the NDP have doubled their support from 7.5 to 15%.

    Although the NDP is up, it does look the Greens are taking from the Libs in B.C and Ontario more than the higher NDP support nationally which appears to come from their large increase in Quebec.

    So aside from Quebec the NDP numbers ressemble their 2006 results if EKOS is correct. The Green numbers, if they are as high as Ekos has them, will be a much bigger trend and story. Ekos has the Greens at 11% which is much higher than Nanos’ numbers at 7%.

  6. I believe that the NDP is on the verge of a breakthrough in Northern Ontario where it could pick up a number of seats. This will add another region to the mix.

  7. You mean the IMF report that led the CTV national news, kody? If I search for IMF Canada growth I find 893 stories. I’m glad I’m not the guy who said that story was being withheld; I’d worry about looking like a monumental twit if I had.

    Fun extra fact: the G8 is sometimes regarded as a bit of a losers’ club in international fiscal management. The IMF figures back that up: Sweden is slated to handily outstrip the entire G8 in 2009.

    Sweden currently has a $150-per-ton carbon tax, 15 times as large as the Liberals propose to levy in the first year.

    Mr. Howard’s forced retirement won’t keep Australia from beating the G8 too.

  8. OK, I’ll bite on your original observation Paul. I think the national number has been pretty consistent, although it’s reflected waxing and waning levels of support in different regions of the country simultaneously. If they can close on an uptick in all of them at once, they’ll have some reason to be be happy.

    There’s a trust and likeability gap with Harper and Dion, some opinion researchers are reporting, so people are maybe a bit indecisive as to who would make the better PM if it’s only a binary choice. 20% is not a bad position to make a final push from, as a third way alternative.

    It’s true the NDP has had its share of candidate problems in lower priority seats (and one real loss in a better seat), but there are also some Liberal incumbents who are a bit long in the tooth or just weak backbenchers, who will be vulnerable to strong NDP campaigns; especially in Ontario. In the first category, and to my surprise, I just read that Diane Marleau may be in trouble up in Sudbury, for example, after a bit of a trouncing in an All Candidates meeting.

    Meantime, the only incumbent seats I’ve seen Layton visit are Vancouver Island North and the seats being vacated by retiring MPs. They’re running a disciplined, creative, clean and pretty canny campaign, and have obviously thought a LOT about how to maximize their advantages, and minimize the damage that could be caused by last-minute pitches for strategic voting. And of course the Liberals’ record of not voting against to bring down the government on 43 confidence votes does give a much easier response to the question “who can best stop Harper”.

    The Liberals launched a pretty massive blitzkreig after a disastrous first week, and I won’t say it hasn’t been effective in perhaps keeping the NDP down from what it could have achieved. Had the NDP passed the Liberals once or more before the debate it would have made for an even more entertaining campaign.

    But again I can’t say I’ve noticed Dion straying into any potential growth seats for them at all, and he’s had to go to Moncton amongst other spots on the east coast, to defend seats that should have been no-brainers for them. If or when I see him visiting seats they don’t have but can realistically take, then I’ll start to believe that they believe they have some momentum.

    The Conservatives are launching their fightback ad campaign tonight, so we’ll see in the next few days if they can knock the Liberals back down again. Still, one wonders if any of the parties can break through their glass ceilings of support by Tuesday.

  9. Paul,

    Yes, the G&M had the IMF story. In the Report on Business section. I can’t find it on globeandmail.com without using Google. It’s certainly nowhere near the dedicated election page they have which foretells the end of the Canadian economy as we know it.

    Did the CTV newscast lead with that story? I don’t bother watching anymore, I get my news solely from the web. If that’s true I would say that the CTV website bears little resemblence to what makes the newscast. It’s nowhere to be found on the “Top Stories” page.

    I don’t know if you remember this or not, or can find it in your archives…a few years ago you made a post on your blog about the Globe and Mail, the substance of which was, to paraphrase, that they might as well just run a headline that says “For the Love of God, Just Vote Liberal”.

    Do you recall making this post? If so, do you recall the context? And has anything changed there?

  10. At least Layton hasn’t said “food on your family” when talking about his kitchen table meme.

  11. Paul,

    What John G said.

    If you’re trying to tell us that a buried article in the back pages of the business section, ads any sort of legitimate context to the stuff that’s being headlined, and blared from the rooftops, well that’s not just being straight.

    I’d also love to see a single mention of this crucial context in any of the hit pieces on Harper’s undue “cheeriness” (you know, where it matters).

    Very disappointing Paul.

    Very, very disappointing.

  12. Another quick question,

    If Canada is not to benchmark its economic performance with G8 countries,who should it be compared to?

    Who exactly is Canada not outperforming that we should be coveting?

    Paul, it seems your trying awfully hard to explain away the unexplainable.

    Though your attempts do explain much.

  13. Far be it from me to try to read PW’s mind – a truly Sisyphean task – and one which I will leave to kody. But maybe he was referring to the capacity of the NDP numbers to leap holus bolus from a low of 20% to a high of……. 20%.

  14. Found this on google…from July 2005.

    TorontoSun.com – Commentary – EDITORIAL: Stephen, listen to us … as Paul Wells of Mac-lean’s recently observed, their headlines might as well read: “Oh, for the love of God, just vote Liberal”.

  15. mrs. kody: The neighbour’s dog is pooping in our yard again.

    kody: Dammit, woman, can’t you see we’ve go bills to pay? Why are you obsessed with the dog, still?

    mrs. kody: You mean we can’t afford the bills?

    kody: What are you implying? We’ve never been richer! You’re just trying to scare me!

    mrs. kody: Now, dear, you know you promised you’d only have one scotch after –

    kody: Don’t you think I see what’s going on here? Always the poop! Always the dog! If you weren’t sleeping with the neighbour, you’d know that our bill situation is just fine.

  16. um, Jadk, no offense but- what the hell?

  17. Oh, sorry, just dramatising a bit. No relation to the real mrs. kody implied, no offense intended.

    It just strikes me that the idea that the media isn’t allowed to say anything but good things about the economy is so absurd that it can only be driven by either a) drink b) paranoia c) both. This was, after all, a post of Mr. Wells’ that had zero to do about the economy (good or bad).

  18. “Isn’t allowed to say anything but good things about the economy”

    Except that’s not at all what I am saying. And I think you know it.

    You should have stuck to the weird gobbledygook.

  19. Sorry, kody, I expressed myself badly. So you were not implying that Mr. Wells should be focusing on our ok economic performance (ok thusfar, disons) instead of pointing out the steadiness of NDP support?

    You didn’t mean that when you said the following?

    “speaking of “under reported”, I’ve made some pretty damning suggestions about the under reporting of our huge economic success relative to other G8 countries, how crucial such information is, and how wrong (to say the least) of the media to withhold such info, in the context of its reporting of Harper being too “cheery” about our economy…”

    whence the whole thing about CTV, the IMF, and the Report on Business. On a thread about NDP support.

    Any thoughts?

  20. To heck with that mean ol’ Mr. Harper who doesn’t feel my pain.
    I’m voting for Oprah. She caaarrres. Very deeply.
    Can I get some closure, people?

  21. You know, if you drown a bit less than the rest of your friends, you still drown.

  22. “Fun extra fact: the G8 is sometimes regarded as a bit of a losers’ club in international fiscal management. The IMF figures back that up: Sweden is slated to handily outstrip the entire G8 in 2009.”

    Sweden initiated its carbon tax in 1991 – I actually agree that a green shift is necessary in the long run, but I don’t think it is a good idea to tack major structural shifts in the economy (people in carbon-intensive industries WILL lose jobs) in the middle of a possible recession.

    So how did that carbon tax work out for Sweden (it was initiated in 1991)?

    Unemployment in Sweden
    1990: 1.8%
    1991: 3.4%
    1992: 6.6%
    1993: 10.8%

    GDP per capita growth in Sweden
    1990: 3.4%
    1991: 0.9%
    1992: -1%
    1993: -1%

    Oh but it was a recession… well lets compare with the US

    US unemployment
    1990: 5.7%
    1991: 7.2%
    1992: 7.9%
    1993: 7.2%

    GDP per capita in the US
    1990: 4.3%
    1991: 1.8%
    1992: 3.8%
    1993: 3.2%

    Still think a recession is a good time for a carbon tax?

  23. hosertohoosier,

    not a fair comparison ……. ’90 to ’93 Sweden was a socialist country while the U.S. didn’t become socialist until Sept. 08.

  24. The NDP support in the polls in 2006 was also very steady, while the CPC and LPC support moved around:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:CombinedPollsVotes-39Cdnelxn.png

    In 2006, NDP polled between 17-20, with an average around 18-19 in the last week and ended up at 17.5%. So, it looks like their polls are up about 1% over the polls at the end of the last election. From all this, I conclude it is most likely they will get 18-19% during the election, which should win them a few extra seats (more if the Liberals come in unexpectedly low).

    Does anyone see something else likely in the NDP numbers? Mr. Wells?

  25. hosertohoosier,

    priceless.

  26. And simply more hugely significant stats that are central to the debate we’re having,

    that you’ll never see in today’s press.

    Oh they’ll print the “recomendations” of a bunch of hard left economists as authority,

    but these basic, very telling facts?

    Not so much.

    As for the fact that all four tracking agencies (including NASA’s Goddard institute) have shown a drop in temperature over the last decade and the single greatest drop in world temps over the last year since 1932?

    You’d think in an era of “Global Warming” headline after headline,

    that teentsy, weentsy little fact may have made its way into mainstream reportage (let alone headline grabbing).

    Nope.

    Not for public consumption,

    so say the “deciders” of what the public needs to know.

  27. Did Sweden phase in carbon pricing by 10 megatonnes per year over four years, and use the revenue to cut taxes for small businesses and personal income?

    Aaaaaaaanyway, one Canadian out of five is a centre-left social democrat. The more New Democrats in the House of Commons, the more leftward nudges to government policy and legislation, i.e. people before money.

    Happy Democracy, everyone!

  28. That the NDP and Green numbers are high so close to election day is indeed noteworthy. What I want to is if, for the first time, these two parties will actually hold it together on election day.

    Historically, their support always collapse by the time people make it to the polls.

    A Liberal victory hinges on history repeating itself on that particular front.

  29. Actually, a Liberal victory in 2006 hinged on history repeating itself on that particular front, and the hinge broke. You could look it up.

  30. what I want to *see*…

  31. Not sure what your point is, Wells. Are you saying that even if the NDP and Green supporters join the Liberals, the Tories will still win?

  32. The NDP vote held in 2006.

  33. Paul, sorry to burst your bubble on Sweden, not!

    “On August 1, 2008, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Sweden.1

    Background

    A center-right government took office in 2006 and is boosting labor participation and reducing reliance on the welfare state. The government has cut some income taxes and reduced benefit and active labor market programs. It is continuing strong fiscal policies to reduce debt.

    Swedish banks have been resilient to global financial turmoil, but risks are rising. Share prices have dropped, and CDS spreads have widened, especially for those banks exposed to the slowing Baltic economies. Vulnerabilities have been mitigated by strong conditions in the Swedish economy, so far, even though Swedish house prices also warrant monitoring.”

  34. I certainly don’t recall the NDP polling this high nationwide in 2006. I was under the impression that they ended with less seats then was originally predicted.

    In any case, the NDP doesn’t really need to win a seat to block a Liberal from winning a riding. If what you say is correct and they are able to maintain their support at today’s levels, they will keep the Liberals back and allow Tories to keep their seats and/or win some more.

  35. Yup, I would agree. And it will play havoc with the splits.

    I will add one more item to that, willingness of the base to vote. tories high, NDP high, Libs….mmmm not so high. I think combined you boost tory and Dipper numbers and shave a little of grit numbers.

    But hey its all speculation, altough your thought now changes EVRYTHING!

  36. It would sure be interesting to see a story (or study) on the meaning and maleability of party affiliation these days (for individuals). For all the attention focussed on the Greens, it’s the NDP who arguably represent the real “Nader” effect in recent elections. What motivates individuals to park their votes there?

    That said, it’s the BQ that still represents the wrench in the works of our federal political dynamics. I really wish they’d wither away.

  37. Surely when it comes to assessing the economic impact of a carbon tax, we need to compare Canada to other major energy producing (oil and gas) nations. Isn’t comparing Canada to Sweden a bit like comparing apples and oranges?

  38. Stephen, it’s not speculation. That was the NDP strategy all along. The CPC and the NDP need each other to gain more seats.

    What bothers me in all of this is that, if the polls are to be believed, former Tory supporters can now be found in the NDP ranks at the moment. If the pundits are correct and Harper is losing momentum because he doesn’t inspire confidence on the subject of the economy, are we to believe that those sceptic have now turned to the NDP for leadership… on the economy?

    That makes no sense to me. That’s also why I’m not convinced that those NDP numbers will remain come election day.

  39. “That makes no sense to me. That’s also why I’m not convinced that those NDP numbers will remain come election day.”

    Be careful not to project your own logic onto the voting public. Personally, I find little in the NDP platform to inspire (every election, they seem to cobble together increasingly disconnected populist bits of inspiration). But I’m also amazed at how often my friends and neighbours boil their votes down to single issues. It may be that Layton has simply assembled a platform that hits the right hot button issues for an otherwise diverse demographic.

  40. Great subtle headline.

    Any NDP should be, indeed, a very brief thought.

  41. I might be projecting indeed. I’m just trying to understand how one goes from supporting Stephen Harper to supporting Jack Layton.

    What would that single hot button issue be right now, if not the economy? And if it is indeed the economy, please explain the switch from one extreme to the other?

    I can’t and I don’t buy the switch in alliegance. I don’t buy that the NDP can maintain 20 some per cent come election day.

  42. That should read: “Any NDP VOTE should be a very brief thought.”

    I’d be funny if I could just type…

  43. “I might be projecting indeed. I’m just trying to understand how one goes from supporting Stephen Harper to supporting Jack Layton.”

    when strong = authortarian

  44. ???

  45. “???”

    The swing between left and right results from avoiding the centre. What the CPC and NDP have in common is their prediliction for state imposed tinkerputt.

  46. assuming that draws a crowd I’ll get things started.

    But the Liberals…

  47. Stephane Dion is, relatively speaking, presenting a vision for Canada that is dependent on some rather abstract notions (for all the talk of a green economy, it’s not clear to many just what that means in terms of the kinds of jobs and wealth generation that will entail). Also, his focus is more international in nature (something I tend to agree with, but of doubtful resonance in the face of economic uncertainty).

    Both Layton and Harper are proficient at maintaining a populist appeal through very specific promises and platforms that address often parochial concerns directly. “The Kitchen Table” and “Ordinary Canadians” focus of their respective platforms share much in common, in that sense. (Do I think it’s cynical? Hell yes. Does it work well with voters who are worried about getting poorer? Yup.)

    Finally, the charisma factor is one that cannot be ignored. Or let’s call it the clarity factor. Both Layton and Harper come across as direct and decisive. Dion, not so much.

  48. Sean, that “abstract notion” you speak of is called a vision.

  49. Someone just sent me Lawrence Martin’s column from today’s Globe.

    A Liberal-NDP coalition?

  50. “Sean, that “abstract notion” you speak of is called a vision.”

    I agree. But we’re talking about the voting public here, not the likes of you and I. And selling folks on “vision” is a tough row to hoe.

  51. I think – and years of polling support the impression – that if you were able to do a completely blind consumer-type test with a large sample size and present the political/economic philosophies and programs of all the political parties with the question being:- Which of these best meets the needs of you and your family ? – the NDP approach would receive 80% support.

    When you took the blinds off and revealed the program as NDP, the test group would say “oh, I don’t like that” and support would immediately revert to 20%.

    I’ve never been able to come up with a coherent explanation for that. Well, in my darkest, almost kody-like moments, I can understand it. But I don’t want to go there……

  52. “I agree. But we’re talking about the voting public here, not the likes of you and I. And selling folks on “vision” is a tough row to hoe.”

    Really? Then why are Dion’s numbers climbing?

    Sean, I might be projecting but I think you are underestimating the intelligence of the electorate.

  53. Quite apart from its effect on other parties — which is a significant consideration if you support either of the larger parties – the NDP’s performance is, in itself, a tidy little exploit of political strategy. Layton is probably not going to be the next prime minister, so by his stated goal he’s falling short. (Well short!) But he seems on track to grow the party’s vote and seat count from his 2006 result. It’s a weird week so that’s hardly guaranteed to continue. But if it does, he’ll have fought three elections and improved his party’s result in every one. Douglas, Broadbent and the McOthers can’t say the same. We plan to spend some time after the election exploring how Layton has been able to do fairly well during his tenure as NDP leader.

  54. Look forward to reading your’s, or others, ideas about Layton and his ability to grow support. I loathe NDP policies but I think Layton is a great pol. He would be our next PM if he were leader of either Lib/Con, he’s clearly got the royal jelly.

    I also hope you explore more of the pact between Harper and Layton to slowly asphyxiate the Libs. It seems to be working and I hope they keep at it. Both parties seem good at raising funds from their supporters and NDP will get even more money from public purse when they increase their overall vote tally.

  55. Well, PW, given my partisan leanings I think it would have been nice to show some level of respect to Layton before the election call rather than after the election. But, as I say, that is partisan wishful thinking on my part and, clearly, not the required role of the media in any of its’ limited forms.

  56. I’ve lost faith in Layton. His crack about the greedy falling victim to their own greed only confirmed my suspicions he really doesn’t get it.

    The market crash doesn’t mean squat if you’ve got the warchest.

  57. Harper comes across as a control freak, conniving and a vicious attack dog. What he lacks this time is the moral indignation foundation that adscam gave him last time. In a sense, the public gave Harper permission to rip Paul Martin over adscam. But this election, the negative attacks on Dion make Harper look like a jerk. The negative attacks combined with the conniving (chessplayer) persona makes Harper look like a dark will-do-anything-to-get elected guy. The sweater vest schtick makes it look like he is putting lipstick on a pig. Like he is not being honest about who he is to Canadians.

    The CONS should have run more hockey dad pictures showing Harper shaking hands with his kids ha ha ha ha

  58. If you can find a large Canadian news organization that’s given Layton and the federal NDP more coverage over the last four years than Maclean’s has, I’d be curious to hear about it.

  59. Finally something that jwl and I can agree on. The behind-the-scene alliance between the NDP and the Tories was greatly under-reported in my opinion. Much was said about a similar deal with the Greens and the Liberals (though theirs was very much in full view) but complete radio silence on the Layton/Harper marriage of convenience.

  60. “…In a sense, the public gave Harper permission to rip Paul Martin over adscam…”

    Just because I think it deserves a plug, I’m reading Chantal Hebert’s book these days. Its not like Martin didn’t have it coming.

  61. boudica,

    I think Dion’s numbers are climbing because he’s learned how to translate his concepts into more direct and tangible terms. “Richer, fairer, greener” was a much more direct explanation of the Green shift than he started with. It really wasn’t until the debates that he started selling the Green Shift via some direct considerations of the manufacturing sector. Even his appeal that we need “shovels in ground, now” is a language that people understand. I also think his numbers rose because Harper managed to come off as an insensitive prick regarding people’s economic fears.

    But as for underestimating the intelligence of the electorate, I don’t mean to come off that way. I just think that for many voters, pragmatic and tangible policies are what they want to hear. And that for those of us who haunt blogs like this, it’s easy to think that everybody else enjoys or bothers to analyze and consider platforms with philosophical zeal.

    For the record, I happen to think the Green Shift is a sensible way for this country to go. But at the same time, there are some grey areas that beg further explanation. (For example, what will we do to manage the inevitable drop in carbon tax revenues as the country generates less carbon, assuming the entire plan does what it’s supposed to?).

  62. You are so correct Paul : I think the NDP’s performance may turn out to be one the most underated stories after all is said and done this election and this time the Lib’s are afraid as up until now they could always count on a large chunk of dippers voting for them on v-day as they kept buying into the old Liberal Fear and Shmear tactics that they play so well. But Canadians aren’t buying it this time mostly thanks goes to Dion for this effect. Those pesky confidence motions ruined Dion’s credibility and theres no going back on the record on this one and no spin the only thing the Lib’s can do is to try and change the subject.

  63. I’m not about to get into one of those disputes with you, PW. I was trying, in my own feeble way, to say that I was not engaging in media bashing.
    And I did not use the word “coverage” at all.

  64. “…I happen to think the Green Shift is a sensible way for this country to go. But at the same time, there are some grey areas that beg further explanation. (For example, what will we do to manage the inevitable drop in carbon tax revenues as the country generates less carbon, assuming the entire plan does what it’s supposed to?)…”

    I think its the best way to get things started. I’ve never been under the impression Dion’s been trying to sell it as a pancea. For one thing it concentrates on what governments do well, tax, and leaves the bureaucracy more or less out of it.

    I’ve wondered about lost revenues myself and it seems to me in the long run a large part of it would be returned as cost savings translate into profits. To be fair, that’s probably not unique to the Liberal plan.

  65. “It really wasn’t until the debates that he started selling the Green Shift via some direct considerations of the manufacturing sector.”

    This is exactly what I’m talking about…

    That is simply not true. Had you had a chance to hear Dion directly as opposed to hearing him through the 10 second soundbites on the 6 o’clock news or an unsympathetic columnist, you would know that he’s been saying this all along.

    I don’t blame you, though. The minute Dion came out with his Green Shift, all we kept hearing from the press is how terribly complicated it was and how Dion would be unable to explain it to us simpletons.

    Margaret Wente was dismissing the entire policy because it couldn’t be explained in 15 seconds. Dan Leger actually had the nerve to ask why Dion didn’t refer to his policy as fairer-richer-greener before the debate. On and on with this nonsense.

    Is it any wonder that people were surprised to hear Dion provide a simple explanation for his Green Shift in the debate?

  66. Thank you horsetohoosier : I never knew this I had heard that a few of the countries that imposed a carbon tax are trying to get rid of it and certain political parties may have a short life and that there were a lot of problems but the concrete numbers certainly put things in a different light.

  67. “I just think that for many voters, pragmatic and tangible policies are what they want to hear. And that for those of us who haunt blogs like this, it’s easy to think that everybody else enjoys or bothers to analyze and consider platforms with philosophical zeal.”

    You don’t even need that much to understand why Canada needs a carbon tax. But when every opportunity for debate on this issue is being stiffled by idiotic attack ads like Oily the Splot or journalist demanding a 10 second soundbyte to convey one of most groundbreaking policy to be proposed in years, what is the man to do?

  68. “It sure would have helped if somebody had written a story about the secret NDP-Conservative plot to destroy the Liberals soon after the last election. ”

    Geez, Paul. I forgot how sensitive you get about these things. I’ll rephrase:

    Finally something that jwl and I can agree on. The behind-the-scene alliance between the NDP and the Tories was greatly under-reported in my opinion, EXCEPT BY MACLEANS, of course. Much was said about a similar deal with the Greens and the Liberals (though theirs was very much in full view) but complete radio silence on the Layton/Harper marriage of convenience, EXCEPT BY MACLEANS, of course.

  69. “Thank you horsetohoosier”

    oh please. those numbers don’t come close to telling even a fraction of the story. Sweden’s approach to macroeconomic policy is totally different from the US, tending to inflationary rather than deflationary stimuli, as is its support for the unemployed.

    you want the real truth start by comparing nominal instead of real growth.

  70. “I never knew this I had heard that a few of the countries that imposed a carbon tax are trying to get rid of it and certain political parties may have a short life and that there were a lot of problems but the concrete numbers certainly put things in a different light.”

    Wayne, not sure which country you are referring to but were their carbon tax revenue neutral?

  71. That’s the rub of the issue B they all have problems with being revenue neutral as far as I can determine the issue up for debate appears to be one of determining what was a natural increase of cost to all the variables in the supply chain and what was because of carbon and then they never quite give back the moneys owed to the taxpayer so what you have are guestimates that always seem to come out the detriment of the taxpayer = they are turning into federal money grabs – funny how that works out isn’t it – god help us if we ever do this screwy idea. It would be far more effective to tax the pollution directyly and not the fuel and simpler too – just put meters on all exhaust pipes – sounds weird at first but think about it. The cleaner the burn the less the tax this would mean that propane would be the perfect transtion fuel and there is a lot of natural gas out there or I should say here in BC!

  72. Ok Wells, what’s your take on a possible Lib-NDP coalition? Your g/f is an NDP apparatchik, if I recall correctly. I saw you on Mike Duffy and you claimed then that Harper would be happy as a clam winning one more seat than the Liberals. Do you really think that’s all it would take for Harper to continue as PM? Don’t you think there would have to be considerable distance between them, in seats most importantly, but also in votes, for Harper to be safe from a Lib-NDP gang-up? I know the NDP loathes the Liberals for being infinitely unprincipled and malleable politicians, but do you not think that they might take their chance in government (demanding ministers in any coalition) even if it might also help out their main centre-left competition?

    So, what are the chances of a Lib minority ruling with an explicit support agreement (a la Peterson-Rae 1985-87), and what are the chances of a formal coalition with NDP ministers?

    To add another layer, what are the chances of those two results in the following two seat scenarios:

    A – CPC 115, LPC 110, NDP 40, BQ 41, Ind 2

    B – CPC 130, LPC 95, NDP 40, BQ 41, Ind 2

    $0.01 for your thoughts …

  73. “…all the variables in the supply chain and what was because of carbon…”

    what variables in the supply chain? the tax is anchored to carbon content.

  74. KRB, I put your question to Stéphane Dion. His answer’s in the current issue of Maclean’s and may, for all I know, be somewhere on this website. Basically he doesn’t sound like a guy trying to make friends with Jack Layton.

  75. Wayne’s lost it. Putting pollut-o-meters on every exhaust pipe and smoke stack would be simpler and less bureaucratic than increasing already existing taxes (I’m looking at you, federal excise taxes)?

  76. I’d have a lot less problem with a carbon tax if the Liberals had not exempted gasoline from the mix and if they had not diverted so much of the projected revenue from the tax to their favorite social programs such as daycare instead of using it for investments in green technology.

    The problem with ths Liberal’s carbon tax is not so much that it is a carbon tax, it is their distorted version of a carbon tax.

  77. “you want the real truth start by comparing nominal instead of real growth.”
    Why would anybody look at nominal growth? Nominal growth is not a measure of economic prosperity. Moreover, Swedish inflation actually dropped when they implemented the carbon tax, because the economy tanked (there was a global recession, but their carbon tax sure didn’t help). Harper’s “it will drive up the price of everything” isn’t why the carbon tax is a bad idea, the problem is that it disproportionately targets particular sectors of the economy.

    Certain economic sectors need to maintain a critical level of size in order to have spillovers from one firm to another, and remain competitive in global markets. So as an example lets say the auto industry (40% of Ontario’s economy) loses ten plants, it may no longer be viable to have an engine plant or R&D lab here. Without auto industry R&D the government won’t be able to subsidize innovations and more firms will leave. Some firms may just have layoffs, reducing their economies of scale, and raising the price of their output. Having this go on at the same time as a US recession is just plain bad economics and is the kind of callous policy that screws the working class that one would expect from parties (the Liberals and Greens) that are comprised of upper middle class urbanites.

    Incidentally, somebody was wondering why the NDP was attacking the Tories. The Tories have accelerated the degree to which class is a defining cleavage of Canadian politics. The Tories and NDP both compete for working class votes, so it makes sense for Layton to attack Harper (plus that helps him paint himself as a champion of the left/the real opposition leader).

    Even if that were not true – where does the NDP get seats? Southwestern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan (formerly) and British Columbia. The Tories are a significant player in all of those save Northern Ontario.

  78. I’m bumping a long, thoughtful comment by “a reader” down to here. It spent the night in the moderation queue. Here ’tis:

    OK, I’ll bite on your original observation Paul. I think the national number has been pretty consistent, although it’s reflected waxing and waning levels of support in different regions of the country simultaneously. If they can close on an uptick in all of them at once, they’ll have some reason to be be happy.

    There’s a trust and likeability gap with Harper and Dion, some opinion researchers are reporting, so people are maybe a bit indecisive as to who would make the better PM if it’s only a binary choice. 20% is not a bad position to make a final push from, as a third way alternative.

    It’s true the NDP has had its share of candidate problems in lower priority seats (and one real loss in a better seat), but there are also some Liberal incumbents who are a bit long in the tooth or just weak backbenchers, who will be vulnerable to strong NDP campaigns; especially in Ontario. In the first category, and to my surprise, I just read that Diane Marleau may be in trouble up in Sudbury, for example, after a bit of a trouncing in an All Candidates meeting.

    Meantime, the only incumbent seats I’ve seen Layton visit are Vancouver Island North and the seats being vacated by retiring MPs. They’re running a disciplined, creative, clean and pretty canny campaign, and have obviously thought a LOT about how to maximize their advantages, and minimize the damage that could be caused by last-minute pitches for strategic voting. And of course the Liberals’ record of not voting against to bring down the government on 43 confidence votes does give a much easier response to the question “who can best stop Harper”.

    The Liberals launched a pretty massive blitzkreig after a disastrous first week, and I won’t say it hasn’t been effective in perhaps keeping the NDP down from what it could have achieved. Had the NDP passed the Liberals once or more before the debate it would have made for an even more entertaining campaign.

    But again I can’t say I’ve noticed Dion straying into any potential growth seats for them at all, and he’s had to go to Moncton amongst other spots on the east coast, to defend seats that should have been no-brainers for them. If or when I see him visiting seats they don’t have but can realistically take, then I’ll start to believe that they believe they have some momentum.

    The Conservatives are launching their fightback ad campaign tonight, so we’ll see in the next few days if they can knock the Liberals back down again. Still, one wonders if any of the parties can break through their glass ceilings of support by Tuesday.

  79. But Wells, that’s his answer now, in an election period, where he’s trying to peel off red Tories and other “free agent” currently-Conservative voters. To talk openly about a coalition with the economically naive NDP would put paid to the chances of securing those switch voters … Dion’s response to Mansbridge last night to the same question was pretty much the same … a non-answer. What would happen AFTERWARDS is anyone’s guess still. There’s been no definite ruling-out by him (as Trudeau was made to do, in a previous election) of trying to form a government if he doesn’t win a plurality of the seats. Peter should’ve called him on it last night, and so should you and your other colleagues in this last week of the campaign.

  80. KRB, I’m off the campaign trail so you’ll have to hope my colleagues pick the ball up. Incidentally I see nothing illegitimate about coalitions after an election. Any combination of MPs who can command a durable majority (or a succession of majorities of circumstance, Harper’s choice in the last parliament) gets to govern. That’s how a parliament works. Harper and Dion had a de facto coalition for the last year and a half; Dion and another partner wouldbe within their rights to attempt a more formal coalition. From here it looks like Dion’s attitude constitutes a substantial obstacle to such an outcome. He doesn’t seem to like New Democrats much.

  81. Great comment by A. Reader. I don’t support the NDP, but I love well-reasoned and thought-provoking posts from all sides.

    There’s a moderation queue?

  82. To clarify, I see nothing illegitimate in coalitions either. That is our system, the bloc that can command the majority of the House gets to govern.

    But I think it’s pertinent to know of the possibilities (or not) for formal or informal coalitions before casting a ballot. That’s all.

  83. “…there was a global recession, but their carbon tax sure didn’t help…”

    my my

    there WERE other factors

    go figure

  84. “Great comment by A. Reader. I don’t support the NDP, but I love well-reasoned and thought-provoking posts from all sides.”

    KRB: Stop all this talk now, or they’ll realize we’re in a secret pact! ;-)

  85. “my my

    there WERE other factors”

    That is why a good proxy to control for the international recession is to include information on say, how the US was doing relative to Sweden, faced with the same global downturn (which I did in my original post). Sweden’s performance was markedly worse than that of the US. Eventually they recovered – as with free trade pacts or new technologies, you can always retrain workers, etc.

    To segue into the “does it matter that Canada is doing better than the G-8”, both are appropriate case study methods. Essentially this is a method of similarities – find situations where the same thing went on in two places, but the outcome was different. Canada and the US both face a downturn (Canada is not in recession by the technical definition, growth this year is projected to be .9%, while next year is over 1% – low growth, but not a recession), but we are faring better. Given that the downturn is driven by a credit crunch you have to think that our prudent banking system has something to do with that. Moreover, if we are outperforming others, it isn’t clear to me that a change of course is warranted – in particular a change of course that could well turn Canada from a country in slowdown to one in recession.

  86. Moreover, if we are outperforming others, it isn’t clear to me that a change of course is warranted – in particular a change of course that could well turn Canada from a country in slowdown to one in recession.

    While I appreciate your take on events, I do have to ask: “outperforming” in what sense? What sectors of the economy are contributing to this performance?

    When you make the assessment that “a change in course” (I presume by that you mean the Green Shift), I think it behooves us to think about the kind of economy we wish Canada to have, don’t you?

    I think I can safely say that everyone agrees that a reduction in corporate and income taxes on sectors of the economy that enhance our productivity is a good idea. Which is why the CPC is now getting on the bandwagon. But of course it still hasn’t costed out it “Turning the corner” environmental policy, and how that will affect us if implemented to its fullest extent.

    The question then is whether one believes that the punitive effects of this “carbon tax”, which effectively puts a damper on activities that waste our resources, will be a net negative to our economic growth. I don’t see how during the initial periods of implementation, this is going to lead to dogs and cats living together. A sustained drop in oil prices below $90 will lead to a recession in Canada. A drop in worldwide commodity prices will do that too. How is that indicative of a stable economy?

    Long-term stable growth. Isn’t that inherently better?

    Austin

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