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Ceci might explain cela


 

Since June, the Conservatives have gained five points in the CROP poll of federal party support in Quebec, to 31%. The Liberals have green-shifted down a point to 20%. This is a little below the 20.7% Paul Martin won in 2006, the party’s worst showing in Quebec since Confederation, up to that point.

CROP shows the Conservatives utterly dominant in the Quebec City region; caught in a statistical three-way tie with the Bloc and Liberals in the Montreal region; and competitive with the Bloc in other regions, at about double the Liberal level of support.

Dion spent the summer branding himself as the most aggressively environmentalist of the major national party leaders. Harper spent the summer cancelling arts programs which are said to be dear to the Québécois heart. If he cancelled twice as many would he be at 36% now?

I kid. I’m a kidder. But these numbers, from a pollster who’s in the field 10 times a year for Montreal’s best newspaper, are extraordinary.


 

Ceci might explain cela

  1. Dion’s personal numbers in Quebec (“Best Prime Minister”) are half of Harper’s and significantly behind Jack Layton’s.

    Worse than Paul Martin’s as well.

    They really don’t seem to like him.

  2. It also appears to explain the strangely co-ordinated response Duceppe and Dion to Harper’s attempt to contact them – “Sorry I can’t take your call right now or for the foreseeable future or the next CROP poll.”

    Vincent Marissal, political columnist for La Presse entitles his column today “Gilles, le meilleur ami de Stépane”. Dion needs Duceppe to stop the Conservative wave developping in Quebec. The old federal Liberal/separatist symbiotic relationship rears its ugly head. Once again they’ll need each other to survive politically.

    Dion won’t take phone calls from the Canadian Prime Minister but it sure does look like the leader of the Bloc is on his speed dial.

  3. Turning the “kidder’s” logic on its head, you’d think waiting would further strengthen Harper’s position in Quebec.

    If the Tories are in a 3-way tie in Montreal, heck those two by-elections could be good news for Harper.

    So, maybe ceci does not explain cela at all.

  4. So these numbers are brand new? I am surprised that this has not shown before since it offers at least one explanation for Harper’s desire for an election.

  5. Maxime Bernier is a Q.C.-area MP. Is he ready to run again? If so, for the Conservatives or as an independent, like Papa Bernier?

  6. “So, maybe ceci does not explain cela at all.”

    Oh, it does Anon, it does. It doesn’t take a Paul Wells to figure it out.

    The Liberals are terrified of facing the electorate and so are the Bloc. So they are co-ordinating their efforts as best they can to prevent an election.

    “What’s the hurry?”, shoulder-shrugging Stéphane says.

    Dion has entered new lows in pathos.

    Harper would be merciful to keep this campaign to the shortest possible so as to allow the Liberals to get on with the business of finding a new leader.

  7. A similar high sample, Ontario only press poll, which was able to sample on a riding level,

    would show the same thing with the 905 belt. To be more precise, it would show that whatever Ontario support for Dion that was showing up in the national polls, is concentrated in the Toronto core.

    However, the English press wouldn’t dare to do such a thing to Dion. Must give the poor chap some hope after all.

  8. Jarrid,
    Maybe or maybe not. Dion has surprised everyone by getting to where he is, and possibly may have more surprises in store. Add to that Harper’s own personality and this may be a more interesting election than expected.

  9. Gilles Duceppe and Stéphane Dion in cahoots to thwart the democratic will of Canadians. This is starting to stink to high heavens.

    I don’t know if it merits an enquiry but I think Canadians would like to know if, while refusing to take the Prime Minister’s calls, Stéphane Dion’s been taking calls from the beady-eyed Mr. Duceppe. Kady O’Malley – where are you when we need you.

  10. “Dion has surprised everyone by getting to where he is…”

    They said the same things about Joe Clark.

  11. co-ordinating would be doing something at the same time. More likely, Dion saw Duceppe short-circuit Harper and thought “I HAVE to get in on this!”

  12. As much as I am a political junkie…this isn’t about art and it’s not about pre-election games of meeting-chicken and it’s not about plans for artic domination…it might not even be about the green shift.

    Neither leader has the qualities to attract Canadians into a different voting pattern – we’re stuck where we are until somebody surprises us (doubtful), until there’s a big scandal, or until one or both leaders are replaced.

  13. Dion is a dead-weight on Liberal numbers in Quebec because they know him. Once the rest of Canada is exposed to him in an election, will Liberal numbers there follow suit?

  14. A result not replicated in any other polls I am aware of.

  15. I see the Liberal commentariat is in its usual state of denial – emulating their leader.

    BCL, only a head-in-the-sand Toronto blogger would question the authoritative CROP poll.

  16. The Cons must be sure to win St. Lambert then, and be competitive in Westmount. Why not wait for those results to demoralize the Libs before an election call?

  17. Dion and Duceppe are working to ensure that the by-election results get reported first – at least as far as I can tell.

    Whatever Harper’s numbers are good province-wide my hunch is that the BQ will win one by-election and the Liberals will win the other. That may not be great news for either party but it certainly isn’t bad news. It works for both men to act as though their ability to hold onto safe seats is a portent of doom for the Conservatives – one that Harper wants to avoid.

    Maybe he does but I think there’s more at play. The standard play on losing by-elections when you never held the seat is to note that you never held the seat, that it was the incumbents to lose, and point to their decreased vote share. That’s the easiest thing to do – and Harper’s not doing it. There’s likely a reason.

    Layton’s willingness to meet indicates that he’s not expecting a silver-lining in the by-election results.

  18. Well, I think it will be very interesting to see how Harper behaves as the incumbent. Based on the press conference he held yesterday, I would not have said very well.

    Dion, on the other hand, is so clearly the underdog that he has nothing to lose and no expectations to meet

    Let that play out over 6 weeks or whatever it is and there may well be a change in enough people’s notions to have an effect.

  19. A result not replicated in any of the other polls I am aware of. Nanos, AR etc. all have Libs/Tories tied at about 20, if I recall. A poll does not become authoritative because Paul says it is.

  20. My most recent print column, which you can still find on our main macleans.ca page (or on a newsstand near you!), made extravagant fun of the truly weird obsession among political junkies for by-elections. I have worried in the past two days that that column has been overtaken by events (no tragedy; it happens). But now I’m starting to think it still holds up, if only because a lot of people seem to be putting huge stock in the by-elections as a factor in Harper’s decision (or as something that should have encouraged him to hold off).

    To be clear: I think Harper has been improvising, changing his mind frequently, and highly contradictory since July. I note that it doesn’t seem to have hurt him much, as of today. My hunch, and it’s only a hunch, is that the by-elections don’t count among the top three or four ingredients in his decision either way.

  21. Oh bigcitylib, it’s so much fun to see the partisan bloggers despair and squirm when something goes up that doesn’t flatter the object of their affections. You’ve read Paul preface other posts about polls with the usual ‘a poll is just a poll is just a poll’ disclaimer a hundred times now, so just relax!

  22. bigcitylib

    The CROP poll has replicated these results over and over again with Conservative support higher and Liberal support lower than in the national polls. The sample size they use is much larger in Quebec than the national polls and one assumes more accurate.

    The Liberal support among Francophones in Quebec is an abysmal 15%.

    This is the authoritative Quebec poll.

    Read it and weep.

  23. Does Paul ever talk about polls that are, for example, less flattering to the Tories Quebec chances? I don’t think so.

  24. Bigcitylib,
    Accusing Paul of bias in this affair is the least fruitful line of argument by a wide margin.

  25. “My hunch, and it’s only a hunch, is that the by-elections don’t count among the top three or four ingredients in his decision either way.”

    I agree.

    But if the Liberals and BQ create the perception that he’s scared of by-election results he may start to factor that in. If only because he’s defined himself as the antithesis of Paul Martin – and looking desperate and/or scared (ever) is not in that playbook.

  26. BCL.

    Go right a head and close your eyes on this Crop poll, pretend it did not happen. All the better for the CPC.

  27. I agree completely Paul they are like a side of gravy with the fries – nice if it’s there and ready but there is no need to get up and go to the counter and ask for it as ketchup will do. Oh! by the way yes indeed CROP numbers are extraordinary it seems the more Harper drives the Left wing nuts crazy the higher his numbers go – hmmmm do you think there is a realtionship?

  28. Looking at the poll, these numbers aren’t new. They were even worse in May, with the Liberals down at 15%. That bumped up to 21% in June and apparantly polling isn’t done during July.

    In fact, they look to have been hovering around these numbers for most of the past year, with a high point for the Liberals being in Jan/Feb of 07 where they reached as high as 29%.

    For the conservatives, this is the first time they’ve polled above the Bloc since the April and June polls right after the election.

    Of course if this is the case, it makes things like Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s words, “What we have is a situation where the Prime Minister is able to choose the date of the general election, not based necessarily on what is in the best interests of the country, but what is in the best interests of his or her political party. Bill C-16 would address this problem and would produce a number of other benefits,” all the more hypocritical.

    I’m still not sure I understand the absolutely visceral hatred that the Conservatives seem to have toward anything Liberal. I mean, I’ll admit I don’t like the conservatives, but that’s based almost entirely on their legislation and hypocritical actions. For the Conservative supporters here though, it often seems to be personal, because it’s apparant from reading their posts, they really don’t know much about the legislation they deride.

  29. All the focus on the Liberals and Conservatives.. but *neither* party is the biggest gainer or biggest loser in this poll.

    The poll results relative to the 2006 election:

    NDP: Up 6.5 percentage points
    Conservatives: Up 6.4 percentage points
    Greens: Even
    Liberals: Down 0.7 percentage points
    Bloc: Down 12.1 percentage points

    Now the Bloc losing support to the Conservatives isn’t exactly a positive thing for the Liberals, to say the least, but this poll should be far more troubling to the Bloc.

    As well, nationwide the Conservatives haven’t polled above their 2006 results (36.3 percent) since March. Though if the Quebec trends spill over to other provinces…

    /not a Liberal supporter, but I expect to be accused of being one.

  30. Bill, in fact bigcitylib is correct about this much, anyway: I put a lot more stock in large-sample polls, by Québécois pollsters, in trying to understand what’s happening in Quebec, than I put in piddling Quebec sub-samples of national polls. In June, when I posted about a CROP poll that bigcitylib didn’t like either, he suggested that adding the samples of different pollster’s Quebec numbers might add up to something he’d find more congenial. I had to exercise some restraint to refrain from commenting on that particular brainstorm in detail.

    Accusations of bias are perfectly fair. My own is clear, or would be if I had a functioning archive going back only two years, which apparently continues to be too much to ask. What you would find if you could look is that I mocked, at length and by name, every one of my colleagues who predicted Dion would be a drag on his party in his native province. I could not believe the Liberals would do worse, under a francophone Quebecer who was running *away* from the sponsorship scandal, than it had done under a Windsorite who deployed the full power of the federal state to amplify and embrace the scandal. I would never have expected the Liberals to do worse under Dion than Martin in Quebec.

    At the risk of prolonging my embarrassment, I actually still do expect Dion to improve his standing in Quebec over the course of a campaign.

    But even if I’m right about that, and not simply prolonging my original error, it matters where he starts from.I hope I can be forgiven for trusting one of Montreal’s most prominent pollsters rather than the sum of the subsamples of a bunch of guys calling into Quebec from Toronto and Ottawa.

  31. Paul,

    1) It doesn’t seem to me that, last time out, CROP did any better than anyone else at predicting the final outcome in Que. But I may be wrong.

    2) It is a fact of science that you can make up for a less accurate as opposed to more accurate measuring tool by taking a greater number of measurements. My suggestion was that an average of the three or four or whatever smaller samples (less accurate) from the other pollsters would probably give a figure with at least as great a claim to accuracy as the figure derived from the single larger CROP sample. At least I don’t know why that wouldn’t be the case.

  32. Paul, I think Dion can hardly do worse….he’s basically been reduced to his strongholds, but those are probably going to hold firm. Remember that even though the Tories beat the Libs 25-20% in PQ at the last election, they still won only 10 seats to the Liberal 13. The Tories could easily gain many votes around Quebec city that translate to no additional seats.

    As I’ve said before, I don’t see the calculus that Harper is working with, but I have a history of missing the point. But I don’t see where those additional 30 seats will come from – not Ontario, where he’ll struggle to hold on to what he has, not in the West, where he’s more or less topped out (+/- a couple of seats). Not out East, not after breaching the Atlantic Accord. It has to be Quebec, then, but where? And how?

  33. CROP shows the Conservatives utterly dominant in the Quebec City region

    As they were in the 2006 election. They’d pick up ONE seat in La vieille capitale. I’d be a worried Liberal on the island of Montreal, but in all of the other regional sub-samples the Liberal figure is at or above their 2006 results. Their vote is holding, it’s the BQ that seems to be spalling off to the Tories and NDP.

  34. Of course support for the conservatives going up in Quebec but remaining the same nationally means that support elsewhere has dropped. Unfortunately, with the FPTP system, it’s difficult to tell if that means anything. If it’s a general weakening of support across the base in Alberta, (perhaps for their Liberal spending ways these past three years, or their recent surrender of our Arctic waters by cancelling the navy ship replacements) it probably means an increase in Conservative seats, because Alberta swings so heavily Conservative a small drop in the general support will not cause a seat to be lost. (Which, in my mind, is why Albertans continually get ignored in Federal politics. The way to get attention politically is to make’em think you’re not a sure thing, and I wish my fellow Albertans would learn that.)

    On the other hand, a drop in a bunch of key Ontario ridings could cause a lot of pain.

  35. If the Liberals end up getting 20% in Quebec in the next election, given the regional distribution of those votes, they’ll get what.. 9.. 10 seats?

    If the Liberals get 30%, which would have to be considered a very good showing.. they’d probably win.. 16 or 17 seats. They won 21 in 2004 with 34% of the vote.

    Now 7 seats is nothing to sneeze at, but all else being equal it won’t move us from a Conservative to a Liberal government.

    Unless the Liberals either absolutely plummet in Quebec or absolutely skyrocket, it’s really not going to change their seat total a heck of a lot. They have about 8 seats that are safe, maybe another dozen that could be in play, and the rest of the province is out of bounds.

    The more worrying thing, from the Libs perspective has to be the potential of a bunch of seats changing hands from the Bloc to the Conservatives.

  36. So we’re all agreed. The polls contain numbers and mean something or another. Sort of like the bi-elections.

  37. What does anyone think the election will be fought over? The only major policy issue at the moment seems to be the carbon-tax. Is there anything else in play?

  38. Bill, first week:

    1) Listeria outbreak.
    2) Abortion (Thanks to Epp for not backing down!)
    3) Environmental issues (Dion has a plan, Harper has doodly).
    4) Scandals and broken promises: Zytaruk tape, In and Out, Fixed election law.

    Don’t know that they’ll work, but have Tories announced any new policy other than that they’ll push for…you got it…Senate reform (I feel sleepy already)? And they’ll bash Dion for being effeminate.

  39. My most recent print column, which you can still find on our main macleans.ca page (or on a newsstand near you!)

    I almost bought a copy. But I was shocked into a fugue state by the cover, which was shockingly shocking.

  40. If Stephen Harper’s long-term goal of Conservative hegemony is to be believed, its foremost requirement is a reorientation of Quebec federal politics, which in turn requires the destruction of the Bloc and an end to the beneficial symbiotic relationship of the Liberals and Quebec separatists.

    More than any other goal, destruction of the Bloc seems to have dominated his every move in office. Why would election timing be any different?

    Stephen Harper wants an election now, because he believes this is the best shot he’s going to get between now and Oct 2009 at thinning the ranks of BQ PCs. By-elections don’t just come 3rd or 4th in election calculations – they don’t rank at all – because nothing really comes after 1st. This should also tell us that national polls don’t enter into the calculus.

    Ironically, in Canada, such nation-building exercises must be conducted without acknowledging the goal. A pity, since it would self-evidently override any sensibilities concerning the GG’s travel plans, or the ‘spirit’ of any Not-So-Fixed Election Law.

    In one sense, other than his success in marrying two parties, Stephan Harper’s success in reducing the BQ should be the defining metric of his party leadership to date, and to some extent, his Prime Ministership as well.

    Success is by no means guaranteed – indeed, I would hazard that it is unlikely. If true, that makes the election call either ‘courageous’ or just another ‘risky roll of the dice’, depending on your political stripe.

    But what if Canada catches a break, and the BQ starts circling the drain? Stephen Harper will look like a nation-builder, and one of our better PMs.

    So maybe there is a 2nd priority.

  41. Bill

    Green Shift is going to be big issue and I think Dion made a mistake in unveiling it when he did. Our media has a tendency to focus on Liberals so there will be a lot of talk about Green Shift when it should be a referendum on Harper/Tories competence.

    Other elections themes, I don’t know. The parties must have ideas they are waiting to unveil when time is right but I assume there will be nothing earth shattering or else there would have been leaks/trial balloons by now.

  42. Latest BC polls show the NDP outpolling the Libs for the first time in years. The reason is the Carbon Tax Campbell introduced.

    Extrapolating this to the Libs Green Shaft tells me that no seat in BC will be safe for them in the upcoming election.

    We are furious about this carbon tax and if the Libs are elected we will be double taxed. I don’t think so. More NDP and CONC in BC and fewer LIBs. My prediction. Cheers.

  43. JWL,
    This is my feeling, which is why I think this will come down to a referendum on Harper/Dion as leaders, and I think that may become a more interesting comparison as the election proceeds.

  44. if the BQ really wanted to increase support for separatism, they’d be trying to engineer a conservative majority.

  45. Anyone who has actually changed their mind, you voted CPC last time, but now will vote Liberal because of all the shenanigans, or vice versa, please raise your hand.

    Yeah, that is what I thought.

  46. Kevin In SK

    I know three life long Liberal supporters, aged 40+, who vote Lib both Prov and Fed but hate Dion and will vote either NDP or Con. I assume they are not a trend though.

  47. So let me get this straight because I am often a confused grumpy voter:

    a) Harper is a jerk that most Canadians (Quebeckers included) would agree is a jerk.
    b) Couillard and the bad press for Tories in Quebec because of Bernier and his red-hot love.
    c) In-out, upside down, backward and forward
    d) Slowing economy
    e) Afghanistan
    f) A shuffled cabinet for the second time in eleven months
    g) Cuts to arts and craft funding
    h) A war with the Ottawa press gallery
    i) Income trust debacle
    j) Suckiest environmental policy (cuz there ain’t one) out of all the federal parties.

    And under Dion’s leadership, Liberal numbers are BELOW Paul Martin’s and Martin got hammered because of the sponsorship scandal? This after the presumably GOOD press and GOOD exposure of getting all green shift all summer long? (And he’s benefited from a lot of press, everyone has to agree that Dion has had a good summer press-wise.)

    Wocka-wocka! If I’m Dion, I’m hiding the cutlery because if his numbers can’t go up against a backdrop of the above list of items Tories have been clobbered on in the last 6-months to a year, there is, as they say, no hope.

  48. The Grumpy Voter,

    Everyone knew Harper was a “jerk” back in 2006 (and 2004, for that matter). Dion isn’t going to benefit from bad news from Afghanistan, since it was his party that sent our troops there. And all of the other issues you mention, “slowing economy” notwithstanding, are clearly not big enough on their own to stick. The average Canadian doesn’t care about a “war with the Ottawa press gallery”, “shuffled cabinets” or the in-and-out stupidity.

  49. >>Everyone knew Harper was a “jerk” back in 2006 (and 2004, for that matter). Dion isn’t going to benefit from bad news from Afghanistan, since it was his party that sent our troops there. And all of the other issues you mention, “slowing economy” notwithstanding, are clearly not big enough on their own to stick. The average Canadian doesn’t care about a “war with the Ottawa press gallery”, “shuffled cabinets” or the in-and-out stupidity.<<

    I heartily and respectfully disagree. I suspect Canadians would love to see a federal leader who could contrast the aforementioned less than savory aspects of Stephen Harper. Too bad we haven’t seen one.

  50. Ti Guy,

    I’m sure the cover was satirical.

    Paul,

    This poll means bad news for Dion because the bottom dropped out. But if his numbers were higher, he would have peaked too soon, which would have been bad news. Yet even if the numbers are constant, that mean that Dion has stalemated, and can’t get traction, which is bad news.

    But seriously! My thought of the day: Harper is as bold as brass to struggle so hard for an election now, because there’s a few things going on which soon Canadians will be paying attention to, and particularly during an election. I think that Spring 2007 was The Time, so he may as well go after second or third best.

    And the cover is satirical, right?

    Everyone,

    Continue discussion.

  51. It’s probably fair to say the cover is a bit of a reach.

  52. BCL,

    For the record, La Presse/CROP accurately predicted the results of the 3 by-elections that were held in Quebec one or 2 years back (was it that long ago?). They were bang-on in their predictions.

    Could they be wrong this time around? Sure, absolutely, but you should at the very least consider their record when passing judgment.

  53. Rudy wrote :
    ‘Dion’s personal numbers in Quebec (”Best Prime Minister”) are half of Harper’s and significantly behind Jack Layton’s.

    Worse than Paul Martin’s as well.

    They really don’t seem to like him.’

    I remember a caricature of Dion from 1999. Dion lays on his psychiatrist’s couch, waiting for his doctor’s diagnosis. And when it comes: ‘Mr. Dion, it i my pleasure to inform you that you do NOT suffer from paranoia whatsoever. Actually, people REALLY do hate you.’

    In my case, it’s still true. The only way Dion could get me to vote for him in would be to run against, say, Hitler or Stalin.

  54. Hrm. I’m starting to wonder if this CFIA thing could wind up being an election issue. After hearing that some of the conservatives plans for the industry had been in place for a year or more, and the Maple Leaf Plant was one of them.

    Probably a bad idea to go with the slong “Did the conservatives make you sick to your stomach?” though.

  55. BCL said:

    1) It doesn’t seem to me that, last time out, CROP did any better than anyone else at predicting the final outcome in Que. But I may be wrong.

    From the full poll at pg.23 of the PDF:

    CROP poll, Jan 11-16/06 (the last one they did before E-Day):

    LPC – 20
    BQ – 39
    CPC – 25
    NDP – 11
    Oth – 5

    The actual results from Election Day, Jan 23/06:

    LPC – 21 (CROP was -1 off)
    BQ – 42 (-3)
    CPC – 25 (right on the money)
    NDP – 8 (+3)
    Oth – 5 (on the money)

    I don’t know, BCL, but it looks like CROP did pretty well, especially given that they didn’t poll during the last week.

  56. Sebastien,
    Can’t we debate politics without “hating” people? It really blots out all possibility of any exchange of ideas when that is the place you are starting from.

  57. Dear Bill

    I absolutely agree with your point. The only exception where I don’t think this would be possible is, actually, Stéphane Dion. I can’t help it.

  58. As much as I am a political junkie…this isn’t about art and it’s not about pre-election games of meeting-chicken and it’s not about plans for artic domination…it might not even be about the green shift.

    Neither leader has the qualities to attract Canadians into a different voting pattern – we’re stuck where we are until somebody surprises us (doubtful), until there’s a big scandal, or until one or both leaders are replaced.

    Seems to me, that’s the most accurate take on all of this so far. Are many people who voted Tory last time gonna vote Liberal? No. Are many people who voted Liberal last time NOT going to vote Liberal? No. I think we’re about to have a really nasty campaign, and in the end we’ll return pretty much exactly the same Parliament we did last time. Maybe Harper flips a few seats in Quebec from the BQ over to the Tories, but that’s about it. I don’t really think the Tories will get a smaller minority (since, c’mon, they currently lead the tiniest minority government EVER, it really can’t get much smaller and still be a Tory win) and I don’t think the Tories will get anywhere CLOSE to majority territory (again, they currently have the tiniest minority EVER; there are MILES to go to turn that into a majority, and I just don’t see it).

    We’re about to have an election that won’t change anything. Now, it may still be worthwhile to do. Shake everyone up a bit and produce a new mandate (to do WHAT exactly I’m not sure… the whole Tory plan for governing seems to be “don’t do what Dion says we should do”, but whatever…) but an election’s not fundamentally gonna CHANGE anything.

    Should be entertaining though, so it’s worth doing just for that!

  59. Sorry, meant to credit Scott for the quote above.

    Most accurate take so far on what’s going to happen I’d say.

  60. “Are many people who voted Liberal last time NOT going to vote Liberal?”

    Maybe the question should be, are many people who voted Liberal last time NOT going to vote for Stephane Dion?

    Liberal slippage means the NDP now has a realistic shot in many ridings, or they can park with the Greens. Either way, the left leaning vote can and will split bacuase of the options. I see that CON voters really don’t have any choices though.

  61. Hey Darren : the answer to your question from out here in BC is a resounding YES! both provincially and federally!

  62. Hey Darren : the answer to your question from out here in BC is a resounding YES! both provincially and federally! accordig to canwest polling : Tories (36%) Continue To Lead Grits (30%) Nationally, Only Trail Grits By 2 Points In Ontario, Bloc By 9 Points In Quebec

  63. Did I just read that the Liberals plan on making Abortion an issue in this election?

    Wow. Sounds like this really will be a wild election.

    Didn’t I hear that Bob Rae was in charge of election platform. Also, that Gerard Kennedy was in charge of “election readiness”.

    Does anyone know where Gerard is? and also if he is ready?

  64. LKO wrote:

    “Most accurate take so far on what’s going to happen I’d say.”

    The purpose is not to describe reality, but to change it. I forget who said that.

    And yeah, Riley, given the events of the past couple of days I figure the abortion issue would be a good kick-off for an election. An oldy but goody.

    Maybe Paul can tell us if the Tories still want to repeal the metric system. Is that issue still in play?

  65. LKO: It tax dollars from you and me that support this entertainment. In the conservatives case, tax dollars that may well be illegal for them to get.

    I wonder if that’s the strategy? He’s worried the in-and-out might be declared out-and-out illegal so wants to take a last chance to belly up to the taxpayer trough for the party?

  66. To me the best effect of an election would be that if Harper wins a minority, leadership on both sides would likely change.

    So in addition to the obvious entertainment value >> Grease Blob vs. Not-a-Leader >> I’m all for an election.

  67. “And yeah, Riley, given the events of the past couple of days I figure the abortion issue would be a good kick-off for an election. An oldy but goody.”

    Well I agree that with the Green Shift failing to get the numbers moving the Liberals have to move to a Plan B. I don’t know if abortion should be it but desperate times require desperate measures as the saying goes.

  68. I think Dion is going to face a tag-team attack from Harper and Layton. Harper with the obvious “he’s not a leader”, and Layton with “he’s not an effective opposition leader”.
    Throw in Pat Martin going after Dion’s dual citizenship (which Martin did very strongly in Dec. 2007), and Dion will have his hands full.

    Dion is clearly the weakest player in this four-player game. So it makes sense to go after him.
    And I don’t see how Duceppe can help Dion much, without insulting the intelligence of his base and the Quebec media.

  69. Scott: Dion might survive a second minority conservative government provided the conservatives don’t go up too much.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing who the Rhino candidate is in Calgary West, Rob Anders riding. From what I’ve been hearing, that riding may be one with the lowest turn-out across the nation — giving the Rhino candidate a shot.

  70. Would Dion actually want to stay on as leader in a minority situation? He strikes me as someone who got swept up in the good feelings of having so many folks (like Mr. Wells for instance)encouraging him to run for the party leadership. Now he’s got it and I’m not so sure he’s all that thrilled with the job. Maybe he’d happily return to his previous role within the party, one he thrived at, and let Ignatief or Rae be the face of the party.

    In any case, if Dion is Harper’s dream opposition leader and all he can garner is a minority, why would he want to hasten his demise? The next Liberal leader, whomever she/he is, could just end up destroying the Conservatives. It’s like Harper is poking a mentally challenged bear……it may not seem much of a threat, but it’s still a bear.

  71. LKO: Should be entertaining though, so it’s worth doing just for that!

    TT: It[‘s] tax dollars from you and me that support this entertainment.

    MYL: Grumble, moan, snort, so we’re still finding ways to throw public treasure at entertainers, even after a few miserably modest cuts…

  72. BCL, stop with the whiny posts. I don’t like it when the party I support is not doing the best, but it doesn’t behoove you to deny reality. It makes you look foolish. The CROP poll is the authoritative poll for Quebec, they know Quebec inside and out.

    If it turns out that Dion gets whipped in Quebec, then there’s nothing to do but find out why that happened, and whether the situation is salvageable, and how.

    Or you can just blame Quebecers for not “getting it”, and be satisfied leaving it at that.

  73. KRB,

    I am not even getting close to being as whiny as I can be.

    My point is merely: the sub-samples from most other polls put Libs up or even with Tories in Que. The sub-samples from most other polls called the last Federal just as well, as far I can tell, as COMPASS. Hence I need more evidence to take COMPASS as authoritative than the fact that it uses locals to call around for its polls.

    And the Tories DO want to repeal the metric system. Paul Wells will tell you this if you get him drunk. Just wait and see if Harper gets a majority.

  74. Ok BCL, you find us a set of national polls (all within the same week please), and find out the subsamples and add them together, and tell us the results, ok?

    Abortion won’t be an issue at all. Average Joe Canadian voter doesn’t belong to either extreme in that debate. They’re neither pro-life crazies or pro-choice crazies.

    I’m actually wondering whether or not Harper and the Conservatives will unveil the Common Economic Market as their campaign’s big idea, which most Canadians could be convinced of the logic of within a campaign (e.g. “The European Union has freer movement of labour than Canada does!”). Perhaps not. Just too many special interests (Quebec construction unions for one) that would kick up a fuss.

    Then just run an ad detailing the Liberal party’s current fiscal woes, then flashback to a summary of AdScam (bilking the national treasury to feed friend’s nice fat contracts, and get some of that loll returned to the party for fighting elections), and then ask “Know what they’re hoping for?” The viewer will instantly know what the message is, and that will be that for the Liberals.

  75. Whoa, KRB, the CEM! That just takes my breath away! And I hear Senate Reform is back too! Oh La what a joy it is to Live!

  76. Bigcitylib: “first week:

    1) Listeria outbreak.
    2) Abortion (Thanks to Epp for not backing down!)
    3) Environmental issues (Dion has a plan, Harper has doodly).
    4) Scandals and broken promises: Zytaruk tape, In and Out, Fixed election law.”

    I am not at all convinced that any of these issues will resonate with voters. Listeria outbreak is not in any obvious way something one can pin on the Harper gov. which is in fact working to make the food inspection system more effective. Abortion is a non-starter — unless Harper wishes to take up Dion’s challenge with respect to his position. Harper likely won’t, but if he did it would only be because he felt it would be to his advantage (Most Canadians oppose late-term abortions, you know.) I think Dion has fallen short with respect to Environmental issues — he has a tax plan, but no idea what the impact on the environment would be, and you are wrong to suggest that the Conservatives do not have a plan. They do — though it does not involve a carbon tax or Kyoto credits. Scandals — The only scandals are Liberal noise. I really doubt that most Canadians have been taken in by any of these.
    Big issues in this election will be:
    — the economy (due to rising fuel costs everyone is noticing increased prices. They will want some relief or at least reassurance that things will not get lots worse.)
    — Greenshift (which I think most Canadians are not in favour of)
    — leadership (I anticipate that Harper will perform well during the election. I am not so sure about Dion — he is a bit of a wild card, to say the least.)

  77. BCL, having just spent the day building a basement – 16 & 5/8ths anyone?, I would be happy to see the end of the metric system. Still not sure what it accomplished.

  78. It (the metric system) helped two Air Canada pilots look up the CAA to have a can of gas delivered to Gimli.

    It helped our temperatures just feel colder than in the US.

    It has contributed to our vocabulary: “Honey, don’t forget to pick up a 454-grammer of butter on the way home…”, “What the hell does litres per hundred km mean anyways, and how do you get back to MPG, and would that be their gallons or ours – wait, we don’t have our gallons anymore…”

    The American jokes about “eh” and all-living-in-igloos and coloured funny-money and a (then) football league with only nine teams but with two named the same were getting stale; fresh material was called for.

    All that coming from someone (me) who actually believes that going metric was a good idea. Go figure.

  79. Abortion, sadly, is a starter, because the conservatives have a bill on the floor of the house, Bill C-484, which certain pro-life groups refer to as the “Kicking Abortion’s Ass Bill”. This bill was written by, and promoted by Conservative member Ken Epp. Now, it’s true that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has said that the conservatives will “not reopen the debate on abortion”, the problem is, Mr. Nicholson has also said, “What we have is a situation where the Prime Minister is able to choose the date of the general election, not based necessarily on what is in the best interests of the country, but what is in the best interests of his or her political party. Bill C-16 would address this problem and would produce a number of other benefits.”

    This is the problem with Harper breaking the spirit and stated intent of his own fixed election law, it leads to so many quotes which the Liberals can pull out and say, “Look. Do you really think you can believe them now?”

    Now while I’ll agree that a fair number of Canadians don’t like the Green Shift, that only lasts until it’s explained that it’s an income tax cut that’s paid for by a tax on polluters.

    I figure, if people want to live in a way that pollutes my air, they’d best be ready to pay for it.

  80. “I am not at all convinced that any of these issues will resonate with voters. Listeria outbreak is not in any obvious way something one can pin on the Harper gov. which is in fact working to make the food inspection system more effective.”

    I got the impression that the inspection scheme had already been changed by the government; and not for the better.

    Besides, spinning this is simplicity itself. “Do you want more Walkertons? Do you want more Listerias? Do you want Harper to slash food safety regulations even more than he already has? No? Then your choice is clear, isn’t it?”

    Back that with Walkerton file footage and maybe footage of germs-under-microscopes, throw it on YouTube, do a micro-buy to make it seem legitimate, get a few reporters interested in it, and you’re golden. If you’re worried about blowback, have some “citizen’s group” put the thing out.

    Bingo, instant attack ad, and at least one bad news cycle for ol’ Pudgy Sauron.

  81. “…you are wrong to suggest that the Conservatives do not have a plan. They do — though it does not involve a carbon tax or Kyoto credits.”

    Actually, it does involve Kyoto credits, in that it allows Canadian companies to participate in the Kyoto CDI prgram. So Nyah.

    And the Maple Leaf plant is supposedly part of the pilot project for the Tories “Let the meat inspect itself” approach to keeping rancid baloney off the shelves. Mucho attack ads there, esp. in Ontario where we remember Mike Harris. So Nyah and Nyah again.

  82. I’m still reeling from the fact that Harper is soooo desperate to go to the polls that he would risk doing so in the middle of a food scare…

    Clearly, strategy is out of the window in that war room.

  83. I really can’t wait til the election starts, and Dion trys to pronounce the word “listeria” and the Liberals act like the whole thing is all Harper’s fault.

    Risk an election in the middle of a food scare? Honestly? This was Harper’s fault?

    Seriously though, I am one of these small l liberals who desperately looks for a reason to return to the Liberal fold…. but everytime I read a crazy LPC idea like this, I cringe. Pretending like Harper is responsible for a meat problem, or that he’s out to undo abortion laws is a cheap tactic that Harper would have used back during his amateur days of 2004.

  84. Riley, you do realize that Harper is pushing for a deregulation of food safety at a time when parents are terrified at the idea of making a ham sandwich for their kids to take to school, yes?

  85. “And the Tories DO want to repeal the metric system. Paul Wells will tell you this if you get him drunk. Just wait and see if Harper gets a majority.”

    ahhhh, that would be awesome! Keep the metric system in the labs. But bring back imperial units for everyday living!!!!

    No more nuts and bolts measured in mm!! No more telling me how many kilograms I weigh! No more confusion between the temperature of a pool and the temperature outdoors!

    I drive 60 mph? That’s 1 mile per minute. How much further to go, Dad? Easy, 1 minute for every mile!

    Hooray!!!

  86. The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I likes it.

  87. BCL,

    subsamples of polls of quebec have n’s in the 2 hundreds, if they are lucky.

    are you actually saying that a subsample of 200 is better at trying to predict to a larger population than a sample of 1000?

    I guess you could try to average out those subsamples, but unless all those sub-samples surveyed everyone at the same moment in time, doing so would produce error filled data, not to mention you would have to assume they all used the same methodology, and asked the exact same questions.

  88. tori, that a subsample would not be as accurate is a given. What I can’t understand is how big the gap between the CROP poll and everyone else’s has been. We are talking about a 10% difference here. That is rather stunning.

  89. I think it is time to consider the possibility that as an issue that can move votes, the environment is over. Consider that there are 3 parties, 4 if you are in Quebec, that all claim to be the environmental champion. One of these parties has failed to win even on e seat in multiple election.

    The winning strategy is to be the guy who talks about the important issues, and leaves all the other parties to fight over the 3 people who still believe that humans can change the climate on a whim. You know, a you can have the greenies, we will take the rest sort of strategy.

  90. James Travers has never hit anything on the head. A stopped clock is a better forecaster than that empty suit.

  91. 40 rods to the hogshead is absolutely terrible! It is apocalyptic!

    A hogshead is 238.480942 liters
    A rod is 5.0292 meters

    So you are saying that all your car can do is drive 201.168 (that is 10 chains or one furlong) meters using 238 liters of fuel. That is only slightly better than 1 liter per meter.

    You would be using 118548 liters per 100 Km. You must drive a Saturn V booster rocket.

  92. For those who think the results of the election will be the same as we have now are in for a very rude awakening one morning in late Oct 2008. Few will have a nice surprize (Confidence lacking Conservatives)

    The main focus will be on leadership, taxes and the economy. Wishful Lib voters for life think it is going to be on the environment aka global warming (Tell me, how cold your camping trip’s been this summer, have you got your winter tires ready to go vote in Oct?)
    Of course the tainted meat will be all Harper’s fault just like Walkerton was Mike Harris but that just reinforces hard core Lib voters. It will not swing any. Nor will in and out, Bernier, Cadman and all the other pseudo scandal fabrications. Abortion, yeah that’s an old dirty Liberal one but it’s just that, old and dirty. Period. Not a vote mover.

    The economy will be a big one which attaches the all important who’s better leader. Pin the Green Shift tax plan again’st a big economic stimulus like a reduction on diesel fuel tax for example will be fun to watch (If you are a Conservative).

    The televised debates are going to be painful for Lib supporters and even some Conservatives who might feel sorry for poor Dion. I would not be surprized the Libs try to send Bob Rae or Ignatieff declaring Dion sick or something at the last minute or worst Dion is left alone to face his own demise and is a no show or simply declines the debate.

    The night of the election, Old Peter Mansbridge, Lloyd Robertson and Kevin Newman will all look like they have a lemon in their mouths as they will predict a majority Conservative government at the time most polls have been tabulated east of Manitoba or better still, in the middle of Ontario tabulations!

    Na-Na-nana Na-Na-nana Hey Hey Hey, Good-bye!

  93. In thickslab’s defense.. he gets where he’s going really REALLY fast.

  94. Boudica, I suppose you also derided Chretien for calling an election in the midst of a 100-year flood in Manitoba? Pfft.

    Travers is a Liberal apologist, simple as that.

    Grind a Grit, I agree that Dion probably won’t do so well in the debate (either one). I’m hoping that CBC/CTV will arrange a debate between just Harper and Dion, as the only two realistic choices for Prime Minister. It would allow for a much more insightful debate than our usual 4 or 5-leader shoutfests. Jack would raise an almighty ruckus about it, but then what’s so new about that?

  95. I think Grind a Grit might be lost in a bit of a fantasy. Harper doesn’t expect a majority, and yet you do? You must be disappointed to have such a uncertain, underachieving leader.

  96. “Boudica, I suppose you also derided Chretien for calling an election in the midst of a 100-year flood in Manitoba? Pfft.”

    Aside from the fact that I didn’t vote for Chretien, he didn’t go to the spectacular length of defying his own legislation to get to the polls. As bad as Chretien was, I don’t think that even he would have stooped to such levels. Then again, Chretien wouldn’t have been stupid enough to pass such a law to begin with.

  97. Andrew, you just wish I’m in fantasy land…better stock up on the Depends come election night dude, or be prepared to turn over the stained cushions on the couch before wify sees what you done.
    There’s a good reason why Harper only “expects” a minority, it’s called strategy. Don’t worry, your beloved MSM will pick up on this soon enough and starts scaring the sheeps like yourself.

    Speaking of strategy, how’s “We’re reasonably ready to go,” and “mount a competent effort.”
    From your camp? Inspire confidence?

    Good luck Andrew…Watch out for rude awakenings.

  98. “Speaking of strategy, how’s “We’re reasonably ready to go,” and “mount a competent effort.”
    From your camp? Inspire confidence?’

    Right. Because charging into an election in the middle of a food scare speaks to a well thought out strategy from your camp?

    You cons aren’t fooling anyone. I know panic when I see it.

  99. Only 2 dimentional thinking sheeple of the Rosie O’Donald persuation would delude themselves and stoop so low as to pin the food “scare”(An appropriate name BTW) on one person or political party.

    The only downside of a democratic system is that any fool over 18 can vote…Yet it’s still the best system in the world, even if the left, often unconciously, are trying to destroy it.

  100. Grind a grit, you all need to refine your talking points on that one. You are inviting Canadians to lay blame at your door by entering an election in the middle of a building crisis. Add to that the fact that Harper is proposing to have our food safety system deregulated.

    Yeah a brilliant strategy indeed.

  101. Don’t grind me fine sir… I sometimes vote NDP!

  102. Again, the left thinker says that only Governments are competent to guarantee our health and safety. There are numerous examples of Governments who unwillingly let us down (It’s called “Pooh Happens” BTW) in the past starting with tainted blood and Walkerton (Government employees not doing their jobs properly) as there will be flaws from the private sector like Ford Pinto’s exploding tanks and roll over Explorers and exploding Firestone tires.

    For often the same results and I still tend in believing that with the proper laws applied to the private sector, it is better and less costly on taxpayers than blotted, inneficient, top heavy government bureaucracies.

    Maybe rolling yourself in a big cotton ball and hiding in a closet might be appropriate at this time. Don’t forget to breath.

  103. Grit, are those your revised talking points? Is this what you plan to tell to all of those mothers who are trying to figure out what put in their kids lunch box as they head back to school? That letting those companies police themselves on food safety is going to save them a penny on every dollar?

  104. Hey Grinder, you may be right you may be wrong, I’m not expert on food safety, even though I’m sure you are.

    Politically I’m no expert either.

    “Nanos said the listeriosis outbreak could be particularly damaging for the Tories in Ontario, where voters still remember the tainted water tragedy in Walkerton eight years ago.”
    The Canadian Press
    Aug 28

  105. New Harris Decima has Libs 34%, Tories 33%. No internals yet, but imagine Que. is similar to two weeks ago. Avert your eyes, Paul Wells!

  106. There is something fishy going on with these polling firms.

  107. Here’s my question to all people (Liberals) who use lines like “we’re in the middle of a food scare crisis” and “Harper is ruining this country”.

    If this is truly the case, and we are in dire straits, wouldn’t you WANT an immediate election to try and get rid of the governing party you can’t stand?

    I do not understand Liberals who on the one hand rip Harper apart as evil incarnate, and on the other bring up a dozen or so excuses why its not the right time for an election.

  108. In addendum to that, if Dion and the LPC talking points are right, and Harper indeed is in full panic mode, isn’t now the time to strike him and knock him down?

    Because if Harper is in panic mode, that would indicate that Dion is in the drivers seat. So if Dion is in the drivers seat why isn’t he acting like it?

  109. “Is this what you plan to tell to all of those mothers who are trying to figure out what put in their kids lunch box as they head back to school? That letting those companies police themselves on food safety is going to save them a penny on every dollar?”

    Typical kneejerk reaction…Next time you are bloated with gas make sure to blame Harper for it and vote for Dion, you’ll be safe from food poisoning as your taxes will be so high, until your out of a job that is, that you won’t be able to afford food.
    What’s that you say? You’ll never run out of work as you work for a government?…’Nuff said.

  110. Riley,

    Because we want HARPER to call the election and thereby break his own promise to the Canadian people, and thereby take whatever blame there is to take for so doing. Like, Duh.

  111. “Politically I’m no expert either.

    “Nanos said the listeriosis outbreak could be particularly damaging for the Tories in Ontario, where voters still remember the tainted water tragedy in Walkerton eight years ago.”
    The Canadian Press”

    I can tell you are no political expert…The Canadian Press and the Nik Nanos polling firm are both pro Liberal.

  112. Riley, is this what you have been reduced to? Reversed psychology, all because Dion said he wants to meet on the 9th?

    The real question is, why won’t Harper wait until the 9th to have his meeting? Is he that afraid of allowing those by-elections to take place?

  113. “Typical kneejerk reaction…Next time you are bloated with gas make sure to blame Harper for it and vote for Dion, you’ll be safe from food poisoning as your taxes will be so high, until your out of a job that is, that you won’t be able to afford food.
    What’s that you say? You’ll never run out of work as you work for a government?…’Nuff said.”

    Much better response, Grit. That one is sure to win you tons of support. May I suggest you use it as script in your upcoming attack ads?

  114. Grinderman, yes. So easy it be for Conservative supporters. My sources tell me that Nanos is actually positioning himself to unseat Dion, should the good Prof. lose the next election. Nanos for President… of Toronto!

  115. Bigcitylib,

    How clever of Dion to fence sit and twiddle his thumbs enough until Harper finally pulls the lever himself. What an incredible display of leadership!

    When Harper pulled the plug in 2005 and “Canadians totally didn’t want an election” because Martin had already declared one would happen in January, who took the blame for that? Was there a huge backlash against Harper for plunging Canada into an election over Christmas?

    Way to go Dion! Pin the blame on Harper because that will REALLY alter the course of this election!

  116. “How clever of Dion to fence sit and twiddle his thumbs enough until Harper finally pulls the lever himself.”

    Indeed it is. Harper is so panicked and desperate, he wont’ even let his own election promise and subsequent legislation stand in his way.

  117. Did anyone catch Layton down at the Democrat Convention trying to absorb a little Obamania as well highliting how his Cap and Trade and Obamas are so much alike – as well Stevie boy’s isn’t that far off either hmmmmm. OH! I almost forgot to all you anti-harperite frustrated left wing nuts out there here is a ballott question. Apparently the first thing ol Obie wants to do when he is Prez is send 3 combat brigrades to the ‘ Real ‘ war in Afghanistan and then lean on US to sign up longer than 2011 (this is according to his foreign policy adviser)- now here is the question who do you want negotiating for Canada Dion (Please this guy can hardly negotiate re-financing of his leadership loan) or Harper hmmm.

  118. Boudica,

    Panicked of what? What is Harper in a panic over? The rising tide of Dion? Seriously where do people come up with this line? Does he even remotely look like someone in a panic to you?

    If Harper was in a panic, he’d be making side-deals with parties in order to stay in office like Martin did with Layton. When you are afraid to lose, you panic and cling to power.

    By calling an election, it doesn’t strike me that Harper is panicking about anything.

  119. Chucker…

    I drive 120 km/hr…2 km/min….distance left divided by two is time remaining in minutes. And since a mile is longer than a kilometer…my method is more accurate, since there is some rounding happening on the signs on the side of the road.

    (The wife rolls her eyes when the kids say “how much longer?” and I announce “1 hour and 37 minutes”)

  120. “Panicked of what? What is Harper in a panic over? The rising tide of Dion? Seriously where do people come up with this line? Does he even remotely look like someone in a panic to you? ”

    Uh yes. Why else would he be in such a desperate hurry to avoid the by-elections?

  121. Harper knows that this is as good as it gets. The wingnuts have been contained in the odds and ends drawer fairly well, but that won’t last forever, and the misdeeds of the old boy corruptos are starting to leak out. Better to take your chances before the fake Cadman and Election Canada lawsuits get to the aptly named discovery stage. All that would wash awar with a majority. Even another minority would silence the opposition somewhat.

  122. Hey Riley : disregard the latest talking point by the Lieberals like Harper is in a panic the only fear that might glimmer a little in his baleful eyes is who is going to be the next leader of the Lieberals after their leadership convention that they ‘ Have ‘to have in December (provided there is an election and even if there is one then soon after that probably December as well!!!! weird timing here almost like fate)- Hey Boudica you should sign up with the LPC and volunteer a little time and be a delegate who would you vote for Dion or ? in December

  123. The “Let the meat inspect itself plan.” I like that one. Now if the meat could only be trained to file the compliance report …

  124. Wayne, you’re now resorting to insults? Is that sweat I see pearling on your brow?

  125. Hey B: not too sure where the insult is? I try to avoid such maybe the pun lieberal is that insulting to you? and the only thing that wakes me up in a cold sweat is the thought that if Dion actually made it to be the PM and then …. {Wayne Shudders at the thought thankful it was only a nightmare and will never happen] … I mean really B. can you honestly imagine Dion standing up staring Down the american prez becuase they want us to stay in combat past 2011 -no thank you by then we will have done enough so says my boy Stevie and as to Dion how can you take his word with his track record talk about blinders then again you must be young so someday you will come around.

  126. “disregard the latest talking point by the Lieberals like Harper is in a panic”

    Oh so this wasn’t directed at me? Good to know.

  127. sorry B still only see a statement of fact and no insult intended but if you will feel better I will apologize anyways!

  128. How is wanting to avoid 4 by-elections by forcing 300+ of them a sign of panic? Harper is either not panicking…..or unbelievably stupid!

  129. Harper is in a panic, is my favorite new liberal talking point.LMAO

  130. The whole idea that Harper wants to avoid seeing the results of the by-elections just doesn’t wash to me. Even if the conservatives lose all of them badly, that’s not going to mean a thing to the election called subsequently. I mean, let’s be serious, how many people base their vote on “Wow.. these guys are doing really well. Guess I better vote for them!”

    No, the by-elections simply make a convenient excuse for Dion to delay a while. What strikes me as the real reason for Harper’s sudden urgency is that he doesn’t want to be in mid-campaign when the Elections Canada case starts putting out its rulings and we see campaign managers being carted off to jail for three months. That’ll blow their whole “we’re accountable” shtick to hell even among those who don’t pay attention normally. Of course, Dion wants to see this happen very much.. hence the delay.

    Harper knows he needs to get an election in before that to have a hope of lowering the Liberal seat count enough to make them go through another leadership convention before they’ve really started to get their fundraising in order — ideally to make them incapable of mounting another campaign once the economy really hits the dumpster, and thus giving him a couple of years to hopefully weather the storm. Of course, hoping Flaherty can weather the coming economic storm is like hoping a mosquito can weather the oncoming windshield of a semi-trailer.

  131. My take on Harper’s sudden hurry to the polls is today’s news that some Liberals want to overhaul the Green Shift.

    When news like that gets out, it’s clear that the carbon tax is going over like a lead balloon. Harper clearly believes that Dion cannot win an election with Green Shift as it stands, and wants Dion to run on the carbon tax as is.

  132. Today’s news from where, john g? Please give a source, because I can’t find that anywhere.

    In fact, were you not the upstanding person we know you are, I’d accuse you of simply making something up because I may have hit a bit of a nerve, and you don’t want people thinking about Harper wanting to call elections before Elections Canada calls him out.

  133. Thwim, I’m not making anything up. It’s the lead story on national newswatch. CP story featured in both G&M and CTV.

  134. Ah. That’s the problem. I was looking for “overhaul”, when all the stories say is that some Liberal MPs want to fine tune it some to address the concerns constituents raised.

    Bit of a difference between “overhaul” and “fine tune” in my mind. But here’s the link so people can judge for themselves.

  135. Thwim, of course the Liberals will call it “fine-tuning”. Learn a bit of messaging strategy. They are not going to publically say that it needs overhaul.

    But since they are going public at all with the fact that Green Shift needs changes to be saleable, rather than quietly working it inside the party, that tells me that they are getting killed on it. I bet Harper has that same information, and I think that’s why he’s rushing.

    Forcing Dion to substantially change or back down on Green Shift in the middle of the campaign would be tantamount to Tory backtracking on his faith-based schools policy.

  136. I’m not sure I understand this messaging concept you speak of.

    So, just so I have this straight, when a conservative says that he wants to cut taxes, what he really means is that he’d rather people get sick and die than pay for food inspections?

    Odd game, this, putting your words into other people’s mouths. I don’t think I like it too much.

  137. Hey Thwim : there is one problem with your scenario and that is that if Harper just wanted to get rid of Dion he would pro-rogue or do an end run around as the Liberals have to have their leadership convention in December providing there is no election and come to think of it even if there is one they might be having one around then as well. I fear Dion is between a rock and a hard place right now and I for one do not envy his position.

  138. T. Thwim, you’re nuts if you think that having your MPs wanting to fiddle with your flagship policy a week out from an election call is just so much ho-hum!

    Election campaigns are basically auditions for government. If you can’t run an effective campaign, why would people think you’ll run an effective government? Squabbling like this is killer. I know, b/c I’ve seen that movie too many times before with conservatives.

    Tintin, I think Nik Nanos is great, but ask Nik himself if he thinks it will end up 42-29 in Ontario for the Liberals on election day?! Not a chance! He’s published the numbers he received, but he’s not stupid enough to believe that they’re focused responses at the moment.

    It’s great to be hopeful, but hopeful to the point of being unrealistic doesn’t help anyone.

    Anything can happen, but the likely scenario is a Conservative win (see the InTrade markets), and Dion being jettisoned. Now if the Libs then picked Bob Rae after that, Harper could win again in 2010/12. Ignatieff is likely the only Liberal (of the current batch) that can take down Harper.

  139. Wayne, there would be no leadership convention if there were no election. If Harper could postpone the election to 2009, then Dion would be around until 2010 at least.

    T. Thwim, ah, gutter politics (the listeriosis thing) … gotta love it!

    I’m a Conservative supporter, but those ads are hilarious to me for their lameness. Harper looks like Mayor Tommy Shanks at the end there. Brilliant guy, but unphotogenic as all hell.

  140. KRB,

    I hereby declare these Points of Agreement:

    1. I too think Nanos is great;
    2. I too think he published the numbers he received; and
    3. I too agree that anything can happen.

    But my post did not mention anything about being hopeful. It said that there are polls and that they say many different things.

    I believe that a campaign will decide this one. There is a great potential for risk and/or reward for almost all parties (but I’m thinking the Bloc are probably just headed downwards for this one).

    Although I believe that Harper’s best shot was in Spring 2007, this is still second or third best (it’s definitely not the worst time).

    This one is going to be settled by a campaign, and it has the potential to be a great election.

  141. I love the word “extraordinary”. It can be taken in so many different ways.

  142. “Indeed it is. Harper is so panicked and desperate, he wont’ even let his own election promise and subsequent legislation stand in his way.”

    Ha ha. That’s funny. Seriously, this isn’t the line you’re going with, right? Harper is so panicked and desperate, he’s going to call an election when all the opposition parties would bend over forwards (as Dion has done again and again) in order not to have one?

    The most like scenario out of this election will be a strengthened Conservative minority and possible majority. Anything else is just pie in the sky wishful thinking.

    The campaign should be interesting, but I think the Liberals will stick to their usual smear tactics (soldiers in our streets anyone?) and the Conservatives will go with their promise a day strategy.

    The campaign should swing on the debates one way or another. Dion is absolutely TERRIBLE in person (like Obama), so hopefully he he can at least make himself understandable in English.

    Harper’s calling the election because he knows he will win it, period.

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