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“Liberals appear to be continuing a pattern of taking the vote of immigrants and their offspring for granted.”


 

And here’s why they maybe shouldn’t.


 

“Liberals appear to be continuing a pattern of taking the vote of immigrants and their offspring for granted.”

  1. Stephen Harper is in the process of building the Conservative Party of Canada into a formidable political party which is capable of matching the formidable Liberal Party of Canada. This is one more indication of it.

    More and more the Liberals are finding that their Conservative opposition knows how to play the political game almost as well as they do, and in some areas, fundraising for example, they know how to play it better.

    I know some Liberal cheerleaders in the press find this development worrisome, but for objective observers of Canadian democracy, having two competitive political parties is a welcome development. For a while, this country was at risk of becoming a defacto one-party state.

  2. Liberals have to stop taking a lot of things for granted. Including the idea that most Canadians are naturally likely to vote for a centrist Liberal party.

    They also have to start looking at their ‘lifelong voters’ and, instead of ignoring them, try to find ways to get them to donate or volunteer.

  3. I think media exposure of what all parties (as well as the government) are or are not doing to woo targeted groups is good.

    Harper’s strategy has been to work behind the scenes on ethnic groups, sending them personalized religious cards, gathering a large data base on people’s religions/ethnic origins, meeting with them privately, shunning media attention. It is better for Canada if these things are out in the open and if there is pressure for political parties to be open and transparent. Media attention to this issue is good.

  4. Why should anyone take Linda Gerber seriously when no evidence to back up her claim of a demographic shift is presented?

  5. If the Tories are “gaining ground,” why are they still locked out of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto? Isn’t that where one finds the largest concentration of ethnic votes?

  6. Raymond Chan isn’t doing much these days, if anyone wants to call him and ask about the Conservatives’ inability to make advances among Chinese voters.

    Joe Volpe and Ken Dryden will be a bit busy, though. Volpe’s lead was cut to five points; Dryden’s opponent got 38% against him. I’m sure plugging your ears and going Nah Nah Nah will continue to work a charm, though.

  7. It makes sense that more immigrants are voting Con because that’s what they are. Very few immigrants from Orient/Asia are progressives who support high tax rates and libertarian social policies.

    And now that Libs can’t use public money to bride the different immigrant groups like they use to, the newbies are looking at party policies and deciding who is best.

  8. I’ve seen a theory advanced before that many immigrants remain loyal to the party that was in power when they arrived.

    If that theory is true, then the longer the Conservatives remain in power, the better their fortunes will be among ethnic voters.

  9. Hi Boudica,

    In Toronto years ago, most of the so-called ethnic votes used to be found south of Steeles Avenue–essentially within the boundaries of what is now the City of Toronto. Today, many non-Waspyish Canadians are moving to the suburbs. Generally, these Canadians tend to be socio-economically better than their brothers and sisters living within the city limits. In the suburbs, families mostly live in single detached homes. They share similar socio-economic values as their white-bread neighbours (who may live in different suburban enclaves).

    The Conservatives have been selective about which ethnic groups to get support. Jews, Hong Kong Chinese, Amadiyan (sp?) Muslims, and Hindi-speaking Hindus are high on the list. Tamils and other Muslims are low-priority. There may be other groups that may or may not be priorities. I just didn’t list them all.

    I do think that there is a subtext in how the Liberals and Conservatives approach so-called ethnic families: The Liberals imply that they will help people preserve their cultural identities; the Conservatives imply that they will help people shape their cultural identities.

    “Any WASPs want to play lawn bowling?”

  10. Hi Boudica,

    In Toronto years ago, most of the so-called ethnic votes used to be found south of Steeles Avenue–essentially within the boundaries of what is now the City of Toronto. Today, many non-Waspyish Canadians are moving to the suburbs. Generally, these Canadians tend to be socio-economically better than their brothers and sisters living within the city limits. In the suburbs, families mostly live in single detached homes. They share similar socio-economic values as their white-bread neighbours (who may live in different suburban enclaves).

    The Conservatives have been selective about which ethnic groups to get support. Jews, Hong Kong Chinese, Amadiyan (sp?) Muslims, and Hindi-speaking Hindus are high on the list. Tamils and other Muslims are low-priority. There may be other groups that may or may not be priorities. I just didn’t list them all.

    I do think that there is a subtext in how the Liberals and Conservatives approach so-called ethnic families: The Liberals imply that they will help people preserve their cultural identities; the Conservatives imply that they will help people shape their cultural identities.

    “Any WASPs want to play lawn bowling?”

  11. “Tamils and other Muslims are low-priority.”

    That should have meant non-Amadiyan Muslims. Most Tamils are Hindus.

  12. Liberal John McCallum won his riding. There are a lot of Chinese-Canadian voters. However he did go down from about 62 to 55% of the vote. The Conservatives went up from about 26 to 30%. I don’t know if this has to do with Chinese-Canadians being wooed by the Conservataive ethno-marketing or if Stephane Dion had a bad Shift on election day. McCallum was a strong candidate.

  13. Gerard Kennedy was asked by Dion to head up organization, ask him why Liberal organization on the ground particularly among ethnic communities was a catastrophe.

  14. Skinny and Paul, is the so-called Tory gain within these communities due to their outreach efforts or just the result of the overall lackluster Liberal campaign?

    I’m asking because the Tories have also made gains with the Women vote in the last election.

    The question I’m asking is whether they got the vote by default or did they get those votes because women and immigrants like Tory policies and want more of it?

  15. Hi Paul,

    I think the Globe and Mail had a column on how the Conservatives were trying to get support from particular ethnic groups. I just can’t find it.

  16. Hi Boudica,

    You have some good points. I will only guess that people who were outreached by the Conservatives voted the way they did because of a mix of outreach and a lackluster Dion campaign.

    When I look at the Elections Canada map of the Toronto area, the Conservatives didn’t gain seats where the non-European or non-white voter were numerous. They did perform better in areas that had a mix of old-stock and so-called new Canadians. I love the words, “so-called.” If someone can think of better words to describe non-ethnic and ethnic Canadians, let me know.

    We’ll get some better indications on how different groups of Canadians vote in the next election when the Liberals have a different leader.

    Due to changing demographics, the Conservatives have to find ways to reach out to different groups of Canadians. No granola-crunching downtown childless Zoe’s right now.

  17. “You have some good points. I will only guess that people who were outreached by the Conservatives voted the way they did because of a mix of outreach and a lackluster Dion campaign.”

    Skinny, if that’s the case, wouldn’t you agree that those so-called “gains” are quite fragile?

    Remember Quebec? If Quebecers were indeed embrassing the Tories and if it was true that Harper had won them over, how is it that upon scrutiny of some of his more benign policies, that support all but evaporated?

    Harper has not won over women, immigrants or Quebecers. Harper was in a free fall in the polls up until the Holiday weekend and rebounded.

    That last minute bounce might be due to effective attack ads, CTV’s spectacular breach of ethics with the Dion footage or God only knows what.

    What I do know is that Harper didn’t win another term in office because of his policies or his vision for our country. The man didn’t even bother to show us his platform until the very last week.

    All this to say, the man didn’t make any gains. He turned out his base , benefitted from vote splitting on the left and a very large war chest to get him over the hump.

  18. I think Paul Secam et al have it right:

    There was no breakthrough among ethnic communities. No numbers back this up. Liberals have a lock on those communities and its unthinkable that citizens would consider anything but Liberals.

    Liberals will spend their dollars more wisely by ignoring that situation entirely. They own it.

  19. “What I do know is that Harper didn’t win another term in office because of his policies or his vision for our country. The man didn’t even bother to show us his platform until the very last week.”

    Again, this is the kind of wise advise Liberals should be heeding. Harper fluked. That’s all there is too it. Canadians hate him and his ideas. Especially in Quebec.

    Personally, were I a Liberal, I would go on a long vacation and come back to the next election well-rested. A good tan is all that keeps the Liberals from their rightful place heading up a majority government.

  20. They have made inroads, that’s certain. Here in New Westminster-Coquitlam, the CON candidate was a former Liberal (but a traditional marriage, anti-abortion one) of Korean descent. Her team relied on a lot of work and signage in the Canadian-Korean community, which was for the most part liberal leaning in the past. When the Liberal vote collapsed, it collapsed under the weight of weak campaign/negative advertising blitz/block voting, with strategic voting/incumbency helping the NdP hold onto the seat.

  21. Chuckercanuck, I don’t know a lot about the ethnic vote in general, but I do know a bit about the Polish, specifically Kashub, outreach the Conservatives have done. I’d be surprised if it didn’t win them several votes, and I imagine other ethnic communities have received the same kind of attention.

    Which isn’t to say that those votes can’t go back to Liberal if, as in Quebec, deeply held values come under attack.

  22. Ti-Guy, ;-)

    Although, this topic, sadly, does not seem like a laughing matter. In the US, their massive political data banks can predict how you will vote based on the cereal you purchased last month (with Airmiles entering you into the databank, or some such thing) and the car you bought last year. I suggest Canadians grow their own veggies in their backyard, don’t buy anything more complex than a bicycle, and, for goodness sakes, never congregrate with any identifiable ethnic, religious, or other type of group, if you want to escape the Cons databanks.

  23. I don’t know much about the Polish vote, I do know that my favorite Michener book is “Poland”.

  24. Ti-Guy,

    you got me. Must control the sarcasm.

    But, I would suggest that folks who want to figure out how to win should look at the winners and ask themselves, “what have they done that I could do?”

    Doesn’t mean they should follow those strategies or that those strategies will lead to your opponents success in the future. But for folks who think we right-wing fanatics are fluke-kooks are probably setting themselves up for many cycles of disappointment.

    And yes, Tories will double their seat count in the next election here in my belle province.

  25. “Which isn’t to say that those votes can’t go back to Liberal if, as in Quebec, deeply held values come under attack.”

    And that’s the problem, isn’t it? Whatever “gains” Harper may have made, he got them under the auspices of his smoke and mirrors newly minted “moderate” image. The problem is that Harper is anything but moderate and the minute people get a glimpse of his more rightwing core, they pull back.

    That’s what happened in Quebec.

    The big lie being perpetrated everywhere was that Harper lost Quebec because of his cuts to culture. Not so. Those cuts were made well before the elections and they had been very much publicized in that province. He was still able to maintain a substantial lead over the Bloc.

    What made the difference was his overt attack on the artists and his rightwing proposal on youth offenders. This ran contrary to the “moderate” image he had created for himself.

    Once Quebecers understood that Harper is not a moderate, they couldn’t run fast enough the other way.

  26. “And yes, Tories will double their seat count in the next election here in my belle province.”

    How? By gagging Harper too?

  27. If the LPC keeps performing like it has been Harper will not need Quebec especially lately. Come to think of it with only 12 seats to go he could if he wanted to try doing it with by-elections hmmm . has that ever been done? Has any PM ever used by-elections to get a majority?

  28. “Am I interested in a Party that panders to my identity, that flatters whatever sense of self I think I have or am I interested in something else?”

    To be fair, Ti-Guy, the Tories are doing what they need to in order to win. It really doesn’t matter if you are interested. If the targets fall for it, that’s their problem.

  29. Twelve by-election wins would be asking for an awful lot, Wayne. MPs don’t tend to die or quit in numbers quite that massive. Most of them quite like their jobs, as evidenced by the fact that almost 90% of them ran for re-election in 2008. The other reality is that the government doesn’t control which seats come up in a by-election. You would have to be pretty lucky in order for a vacated riding to be just the kind that your party didn’t win last time, but in which they were competitive.

    Could the Conservatives pick up, say, two or three seats in by-elections over the course of this mandate? That might be a more reasonable number. Combine that with the de facto support of Andre Arthur and Bill Casey on most votes, and now the government would be able to count on about 147-148 votes. At that point, I would argue that they would have a de facto majority, given that all three opposition parties would have to issue a three line whip and face a certain election call if they wanted to defeat a government confidence matter. (They really have a de facto majority now, at least until such time as the Liberals reasonably feel as if they could afford and are prepared for another election.)

    Floor crossings are also a possibility. Depending on how the Liberal leadership goes, it is entirely possible that some Liberal MPs might be looking at the government side of the House and wondering if the view might be better. Again, it could be none, or maybe two, but I don’t think any kind of a mass defection is in the cards.

    Bottom line – it is easy to imagine a scenario whereby the Conservatives increase their seat count to perhaps the high 140s, but an outright majority in this Parliament seems like wishful thinking.

  30. “How? By gagging Harper too?”

    No. The mistakes of the last election are numerous to be sure, but what has to be done is to:

    a) not be silent when Duceppe demonizes and demagogues.

    b) Be more respectful of voter choices who voted Bloc.

  31. “Am I interested in a Party that panders to my identity, that flatters whatever sense of self I think I have or am I interested in something else?”

    The Green shift’s “tax cuts” were pandering to certain groups. National daycare is pandering to certain groups.

    Using the word “pander” as if it has a negative connotation is mistaken.

  32. Seriously chucker, you really believe that this is all it will take next time?

  33. I don’t see it as focusing on immigrant vote and non-immigrant vote. That is what the Liberals had been doing for decades. The Conservatives split the vote by economic class. If you work and pay your taxes, the Conservatives want your vote. If you are in jail, don’t work, or don’t contribute to society, then they don’t want your vote.

  34. Boudica,

    Not much more than that. See, when we ran those ads talking about how much money was wasted on the Bloc caucus, that was terrifically stupid. Voters voted Bloc. To tell those voters they wasted their money was patronizing. We have to be more respectful of their legitimate choice to vote for the Bloc.

    Its a delicate thing: we want to wipe out the Bloc without alienating people who have voted Bloc.

    That’s all, but its no mean feat.

  35. Hey Dennis : I know … it was the facetious part of me and I neglected to add the possibilities of a few floor crossers as well. Then again who knows about people s health and their desire to continue but what I was curious about though if it has ever happend where a by-election during a PM’s term did indeed make the majority?

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