We remain torn over hypothetical options


When Nanos polled a thousand Canadians in January 2009 about what should happen if that year’s federal budget was defeated, 49% favoured an election, 42% said the opposition should be invited to form a coalition.

About two weeks later, when Ekos asked a thousand Canadians to choose between a Conservative government and a Liberal-NDP coalition, 50% favoured a coalition government, 43% favoured a Conservative government.

Last June, when Harris-Decima surveyed a thousand Canadians, 55% of respondents indicated some support for at least some kind of cooperation between the Liberals and New Democrats.

And now, in a new Ipsos Reid poll of a thousand Canadians, 55% state a preference for a Conservative minority government, 45% favour a Liberal-NDP coalition.


We remain torn over hypothetical options

  1. Very interesting. First of all, so much for the "62%" who allegedly favoured a coalition simply by not voting for Harper – that much was clearly nonsense from the beginning but now we have clear data which proves it to be nonsense.

    Perhaps more importantly, a coalition government is less popular now than it was only one month after the Dion video fiasco.

    Another important point: the numbers only reach 55% in favour of "some kind of cooperation", which is far broader than a coalition.

  2. I'm still at a loss as to how to interpret these results. You can't vote for a coalition. You can vote for the Liberals, or you can vote for the NDP, but there's no ballot that says 'Candidate So-and-So, Coalition'. You can't explicitly vote for a coalition. You can't vote for a 'Conservative Minority Government' either, for that matter. You vote Conservative, you would prefer that they would form the government, minority or majority. I guess this information might be useful to the Liberals and the NDP in terms of how they want to handle the inevitable coalition questions they're going to get during the campaign, or useful to the Conservatives in terms of how effective they think their 'Us vs. The Coalition' strategy will be. But to me, a guy who has to pick someone to vote for, this information is pretty much useless to me.

  3. And now, in a new Ipsos Reid poll of a thousand Canadians, 55% state a preference for a Conservative minority government, 45% favour a Liberal-NDP coalition.

    What else did that poll say?

    In an exclusive poll conducted for Postmedia News and Global News, 64% of surveyed Canadians said the federal political process is working “just fine” and that there's “no need” for an election.
    Only 36% said an election is necessary.


  4. These results are just about what the Canadian people want. They're not meant to help you decide your vote.

    If you're a pro-coalition voter, you should vote for the most likely candidate to win between the NDP and the Liberal candidate of your riding.

    If you're an anti-coalition voter, you should vote for the Conservative candidate.

    If you're pro-Liberal or pro-NDP but not pro-coalition, you're in a tough spot. Which is why it will be critical that the NDP/Liberal leaders voice their intentions clearly during the next campaign, because unless a video of Harper eating puppies for breakfast turns up on youtube, the odds of the Liberals even winning a minority are slim to none.

  5. It's all in how you ask the question:

    How about we ask:

    “Would you support a Conservative minority government that depended upon either the support of the Bloc Quebecois or the NDP to pass legislation?'

    Wonder what the response would be now? We've done such an excellent job of partisanship…

  6. When most people don't understand that in Canada you vote for yor MP and not for who is to become Prime Minister you start to realize how worthless these polls are.

  7. A coalition is only likely if Harper springs a nasty surprise on the Canadian electorate in the first few weeks after an election (which is a strong possibility). So it would have to be measured in the circumstance of what the coaltion came together to prevent.

  8. Not really, since if you are pro-Liberal or pro-NDP, you likely do not give much credence to SH's spin opinion on the topic.

  9. Always fascinating to compare the different pollsters – with all their consistent biases showing!
    I used to believe Nik Nanos was the most impartial (and he was right on the nail head for two elections) but I note that over the last few months – Nik has been doing a lot of polling for the government – and I have wonder whether his business interests might have had any impact on his polling questions.
    As of this moment – I trust Frank Graves and his EKOS numbers more than any of the others.
    All this is of course academic – because Iggy is dancing around with his hands over his ears singing Naa Naa Naa – when it comes to any talk of a coalition!

  10. I don't think Canadians are torn, I think we don't give a toss.

    Us political anoraks take these things very seriously indeed but, apparently, only 15% of Canadians are actually paying attention to politics and have a clue about what they are being questioned on. Presumably, these polls include 85% of population who have no idea what they are talking about and then we obsess over these polls like they mean something.

    And while I am on topic of insularity, what's with msm's fixation on election speculation at the moment. It is great example of why people need to get out of Ottawa occasionally – in general people don't care while journos seemingly can think of nothing else at moment.

  11. I find it hard to get worked up over polls, where the interpretation/conclusion/spin/bs/revelation is provided whereas the actual questions asked seem not to be available.

    (The above represents my opinion to within 5%, 8 times of 11 but especially on Tuesdays.)

  12. I never trust polls from Ipsos-Reid.

  13. Exactly. In fact, to say:

    "If you're a pro-coalition voter, you should vote for…

    If you're an anti-coalition voter, you should vote for the Conservative candidate."

    is actually a pretty crisp expression of Harper's false dichotomy.

  14. Well, I realize that I vote for my MP, but I further realize that the MP's who are voted in across the country is the direct cause of who becomes Prime Minister. It's not like you have one vote for MP's and then another for Prime Minister. This is a tired line of people who are standing on way too high a pedestal. There is nothing contradictory about discussing our elections in terms of who will become prime minister.

  15. It's pretty simple as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to be voting for either the Liberal or NDP candidate in my riding (High Park – I'm genuinely undecided at this point. I like both Kennedy and Nash). I hope my candidate's party wins. However, if it so happens that the Conservatives win, so be it. BUT if Harper tries some more shenanigans like last time, then I fully support any movement towards a coalition that can keep the confidence of the House.

    The only thing I agree with Harper on – in a minority situation, the last governing party gets first crack at keeping confidence.

  16. So 45% don't favour any kind of cooperation with the other parties?

    Only 55% favour "some kind of cooperation"?

    Canadians have the notion of "cooperation" pounded into them from kindergarten on. It is part of our fabric. We are taught to cooperate in virtually every situation.

    Yet a full 45% don't even want. them to cooperate, let along form a formal government together?

    There's a reason Iggy's been running like made from his previous declarations in favour of (and the subsequent waffling over) a coalition.

    And this is it.

  17. C-

    C'mon chiff! I know you can do better!

  18. It's a little bit patronizing to say that most people in Canada aren't voting with the correct mindset. People get to vote on whatever basis they choose.

    I have seen this talking point trotted out by those in favour of a Lib-NDP(-Bloc) coalition from time to time. It generally falls apart when you ask them why, if we only get to vote for our MPs, was Jack Layton running around last election saying he was running for prime minister, or why Elizabeth May was so bloody keen to get herself into the leaders' debates. Presumably these two, who drove harder for a coalition than almost anyone else, would have been content to just let their candidates stand or fall on their own merits and all the winners would assemble after the fact and pick a PM and government, since that's how it's supposed to work.

  19. Wow! Now even kindergarten teachers are on the enemy list!

  20. Maybe one of the pollsters can tell me which of those pro or anti-coalition supporters are actually going to vote. Will the 40% of Canadians (and climbing) who stay home on Election Day be pro-coalition or anti-coalition?

  21. Wow, describing Westminster-style Parliamentary democracy is a "Lib-NDP(Bloc) talking point".

    Yep, our political discourse is doing juuuust fine.

  22. Hey, look guys! The latest numerical breakdown of 1000 people we managed to reach between 9am and 5pm EST!

    Don't you see how this really challenges/changes the political landscape!?

    Now, how do I switch off my sarcasm tags…

  23. Nice attempt at mis-characterizing the numbers chet – 'a full 45%' versus 'only 55%'.

  24. That question is ridiculous – the Liberals are the ones who have most often allowed the Conservatives to pass legislation.

    We should ask:

    “Would you support a Conservative minority government that depended upon either the support or the absenteeism of either the Liberals the Bloc Quebecois or the NDP to pass legislation?'

  25. Please then, show me where I've gone wrong.

  26. Thank you. Thank you Thank you.

    Im so sick and tired of all the idiot liberals who marvel at their own cleverness by pointing out you vote for an MP while ignoring the obvious corollary that voting for an MP is also a vote for a specific PM.

  27. How do explain Bloc, NDP and Green voters then?

  28. Of course no matter what the opposition leaders say during a campaign they will do what is in their best interest after the campaign. Dion/Layton said no to a coalition and guess what we got a coalition that also included (unofficially) the Bloc. So to think anything they say during a campaign can be taken to the bank is naive.
    Ignatieff is so desperate to become PM he will sell his own brother and make any kind of deal with the Dippers and the Bloc which will accomplish that goal. Canadians need to be aware of the potential coalition and make an informed decision when they cast their ballot. History is a great teacher. They did it in 08 and they could potentially do it in 011.

  29. If you try to rationalize with them you will never convince them because they think most Canadians are stupid and don't understand the political process in Canada. The fact is as you rightly point out when you vote for a particular candidate you are indirectly voting for the next PM. Its not complicated for those who want to stray from their tired talking points.

  30. They vote for those MPs because of their ideological bent. They understand that there is no chance that the leader of those parties can become PM.

  31. Where you've gone wrong is you're boiling the choices down to "Conservative" or "Coalition" where that is not what is on offer. There is absolutely nothing saying that the next election will see the Liberals or NDP form a coalition after the election is completed. That's a fabrication (ergo, a lie) of Mr. Harper.

    It may well be we wind up like we already have. Conservative minority, supported in confidence matters by some of the opposition parties. Or even more radical, a conservative minority which then does not have the support of the house of commons, and we wind up with an even smaller Liberal or NDP minority which is supported in confidence matters by some of the opposition parties.

  32. Bloc: Quebec nationalists or separatists
    NDP: union and/or drugs
    Green voters: drugs

  33. Ah, so the coalition is a force for good and is certainly not related to any opportunistic event to gain power. Mikey, Mikey you need to raise the level of your commentary.
    Harper will not have to do anything. If he wins a minority government he will see the opposition parties band together to dislodge him because that's the only way they can get power. Many Canadians support Harper and do not hate him like the opposition parties and their supporters on this blog. All of the polls show this and to say differently or try to rejig the interpretation of the polls is disingenuous. In fact Ignatieff is even polling lower than Duceppe and he wants to break up the country.

  34. Your lie is not backed up by the facts, because Ignatieff backed out of the coalition agreement following the prorogation. He clearly is not "so desperate to become PM" that he would do anything.

    Now, to say that Mr. Ignatieff can not be trusted to follow through with an agreement that's struck… there you might be on more solid ground.

  35. They're not voting for a PM are they – that's the point.

  36. So by your very admission, people do not vote because of who it will make the PM.

  37. I did address these guys:
    If you're pro-Liberal or pro-NDP but not pro-coalition…

    I did not address those who are Liberal and/or NDP who are ambivalent about a coalition. Maybe I should have, because this could be the most important group.

    But in any event, the point is that the chances of an NDP government are zero, the chances of a Liberal government are very close to zero. The chances of a coalition government are substantial. So that's why I didnt address them.

    But, as I also mentioned above, something could happen which would raise the Liberal fortunes significantly. Until that happens though, the realistic election outcomes are either conservative government (M or m), or coalition government.

  38. I might suggest that part of the reason our media does not report on anything more substantive our government has done and so returns to election speculation is because, for the last several years, our government hasn't done anything terribly substantive.

  39. MC…I think the answer would depend on what the alternative is.
    For example:
    “Would you support a Conservative minority government that depended upon either the support of the Bloc Quebecois or the NDP to pass legislation'
    vs 'Liberal – NDP – Bloc coalition'
    or vs 'Liberal – NDP coalition'

  40. Why are the MSM fixated on election speculation? First of all they are hoping beyond hope despite all the polls saying differently that Harper will be thrown out of office and their beloved Liberals can be returned to "their rightful place ruling the country". There is absolutely nothing else to cover. The country's economy is running as best as can be expected and there is no thievry by the government. A $60 billion stimulus program was rolled out effectively according to the AG. So what's the issue.?,,Corporate tax cuts approved in 07. Where was the opposition in 08 when the rate was continuing to be brought down. Fighters jets scheduled to come on line in 014 replacing the aged F 18 fleet?
    You can only talk about Harper and how mean he is so many times. Its kinda boring now.

  41. I don't trust polls done by Ekos. There we balance each other out.

  42. No they're not. But, if you want your vote to actually count for something, even if its small, you should vote for the party which has a chance to win and which most closely aligns with your ideology. Everything else is a protest vote. If people want to throw away their votes by voting Green, they can do it, but its pretty much pointless.

  43. I agree, these wishy-washy poll questions are not particularly reliable, which is why there is such a spread between the polls.

  44. Yet Nanos through his polling methods seems to capture the mood of the electorate with his polling results bang on with the election results.

  45. Most realistic is conservative minority government.

    Beyond that, I find it entirely realistic to envision a liberal minority government that has even less MPs than the conservative party, and is supported by NDP/Bloc/Green on various matters.. without any more coalition than the current CPC government has.

  46. Its not complicated for those who want to stray from their tired talking points.

    Oh, the humanity.

  47. No it does not. These people are committed leftists who believe in ideological purity and for whatever the reason believe it important to have the left wing view point heard even if in opposition.

  48. I thought Chet was wondering why 45% wouldn't want cooperation. After all, that is a fairly high number of people who don't want their party to work with others.

    Seems high to me too!

  49. Oh, for God's sake – now you're telling people how they should vote?

  50. Not just questions, but methodology. I conduct lots of phone surveys at work, and people that respond to phone surveys are a increasingly small and specialized group. In general, they are older than the population, less likely to be ethnic minorities, and less likely to have post secondary education.

    How many people on this board don't have a home phone? I don't, so my opinion will never be represented in one of these telephone polls.

  51. It is an opinion not a lie. The fact remains Ignatieff like everything else since becoming leader flip flopped. He saw how unpopular the coalition was with people living in the ROC. He has had about four different positions on the coalition since becoming leader. The bottom line is he signed the coalition document supporting Dion and even advocating for Dion to become PM. A man who the party had just thrown under the bus. Do you remember the infamous press conference with him, LeBlanc and Rae?
    However, I am glad you acknowledge at the very least that anything is possible after the election.

  52. Sure, that's definitely realistic. It would require a significant shift in public opinion but that's very possible.

  53. Sorry. Not understanding you there. No what does not?

    I'm assuming you're saying that your statement isn't an admission that people do not vote because of who it will make PM.

    The truth of the matter is people vote for all kinds of reasons. Some vote hoping for a certain PM. I would suggest such people are foolish, and are doing themselves more harm than good by voting for a party rather than a candidate which might actually represent them. Many vote because of, as you say, ideological bent. This is almost as foolish, in my opinion. And some vote for the particular person they feel will best represent their views in the House — which at the end of the day is truly the only way that the citizenry can wrest power from the political class. Unfortunately, I feel those people are few and far between.

  54. I agree.

  55. Ah yes.. the ever popular "My opinion can be completely divergent from all facts and history, but that doesn't make it a lie.. it's still just an opinion"

    Fortunately, I don't hold the opinion that you bugger small children and leave them on the side of the road. Not that saying so, if I did hold that, would be a lie… just an opinion.

  56. "How many people on this board don't have a home phone? I don't."

    Me neither.

  57. No, Im not. Im debating the ludicrous and extreme right-wing proposition that voting in Canadian elections determines who the PM is. Apparently this is a very contentious point amongst certain segments of the population. The idea that people can vote for parties who have no chance of winning does not change the facts that our votes determine who the PM will be.

  58. Not really. This current house could do it, in fact. A vote of non-confidence, followed by the Liberals petitioning the GG to allow them a chance to gain the confidence of the House before calling an election. Were that to be granted, it's done. No change in public opinion necessary.

  59. "How do explain Bloc, NDP and Green voters then?" – Jan

    I don't really get the thrust of your question. Each of those parties has a designated leader for a reason. In theory, any party can win an election, nothing is pre-determined. In theory, the Greens could win the next election. If that happens, the leader of the Green party becomes Prime Minister. Voters ought to understand this when they cast their vote, and I would suspect that most do. Of course it is highly unlikely that the Greens will win the election, yet they designate a leader for, among other reasons, the purpose of having a prime ministerial candidate.

    Do you actually really disagree with this?

  60. No change in public opinion, no election, no mandate, no democratic legitimacy either.

    What you're envisioning is that a party, whose leader was not selected democratically, and with 76 seats would take power without having been elected? Thank you. Nothing could help conservative numbers more than liberals like you who speak of such things.

    Canadians are used to having a say in who the PM is. Take that away at your own risk and peril.

    I understand that democracy is messy, and its hard for Liberals such as yourself to be on the losing side for once, so you dream up idiotic schemes to gain power by whichever means necessary. That's disgusting, and most Canadians will see right through your sick and disturbed mind.

  61. Except that they don't. They determine who the MPs will be — and while that's a likely predictor of the PM.. it is certainly not deterministic. As pointed out above, the PM could wind up being Harper, or it could wind up being Ignatieff, hell, I can envision a far out scenario where Layton becomes PM, because the CPC, after losing confidence, would rather he be PM than Ignatieff.

  62. So who am I voting for PM when I vote Rhino?

  63. I agree that people vote for all kinds of reasons.

    I merely am trying to point out not what people's motives ought to be, but the way the system works. We vote in MP's, MP's who have affiliated themselves with a particular party, each particular party having designated (whether by democratic election or divine appointment – c'mon, I just couldn't resist!) one specific MP as leader, and ultimately, the party with the most MP's being elected in having the privilege of forming government with their leader assuming the role of Prime Minister.

    Whether your motives are noble, foolish, or "truly the only way that the citizenry can wrest power from the political class", this is the way it works.

  64. I see the commentor chorus is in tune with party HQ, at least.

  65. Hey, I didn't say it would be the best thing to happen. I'm just pointing out that it certainly could happen. You were the one arguing for "It's conservative or coalition" I'm showing, quite simply, that you're wrong.

  66. "It is great example of why people need to get out of Ottawa occasionally " but an occasional election is the only time the Parliamentary Press Gallery get to get out of Ottawa occasionally!

  67. Personally…I've never been a big fan of gravity! Too mysterious.

  68. Well until last December, most Canadians definitely felt like it was deterministic, and frankly it ought to be. The composition of the house, should allow us to know who at least gets a first crack at obtaining confidence of the house. Anything else is a recipe for anarchy and electoral uncertainty, political instability, social unrest and lots of other nastiness we're not used to seeing in Canada.

    Usually, the CBC (or SRC, I watch elections in French) has their famous line:
    Si la tendance se maintient, Radio-Canada prevoit un gouvernment [Conservateur/<Liberal] [majoritaire/minoritaire]. Should they switch it to "Regardless of the trend, if backroom negotiations between Ignatieff and Layton keep going, and if Ignatieff finishes that bottle of scotch, CBC predicts a coalition government…

    That is a central plank of a functioning democracy – that the results of the election determine who the government will be.

  69. Exactly.

    Look Thwim, we all get that the leader of the party that sends the most MP's may lose confidence of the house. Emphasis on "may lose". In other words, they are Prime Minister, though they may lose that privilege. It remains the case that as a result of their party winning the most seats, they have won the Prime Minister-ship.

  70. I don't trust pols of any stripes

  71. You're stretching it too far. If you're suggesting that Liberals could form a minority government, with no formal coalition, and with fewer seats than the Conservatives, you're the one who's wrong. Im not saying its entirely impossible, but it's extremely unlikely to the point of being ridiculous. And if it were to happen, it would be the last government the Liberal Party would ever form.

  72. alfanerd: "If you're a pro-coalition voter, you should vote for the most likely candidate to win between the NDP and the Liberal candidate of your riding."

    Anyone who is "pro-coalition" would, more accurately, be ABC (Anybody But Cons), i.e., anti-Harper.

    So your advice to "vote for the most likely candidate to win between the NDP and the Liberal candidate of your riding" is, in essence, a call for strategic voting on a riding-by-riding basis.

    I like that advice and endorse it wholeheartedly. Thanks!

  73. hollinm: "These people [Bloc voters] are committed leftists who believe in ideological purity and for whatever the reason believe it important to have the left wing view point heard even if in opposition."

    While I wouldn't presume to speak on behalf of Bloc supporters, I doubt if all, or even most, of them would consider themselves "committed leftists". I'm pretty sure they they see themselves primarily as "nationalists". Some of them are pretty conservative in their political values and, in fact, it's to those voters (in the so-called regions) the CPC tries to appeal.

    With respect, not everyone with whose viewpoint you disagree is a "leftist" (not even, believe it or not, most Liberals).

  74. Yes, but what we're talking about is the idea that voting for an MP is a vote for who the PM is. Any Green, NDP, or Bloc voter will tell you that's crap.

    I will *always* tell you that's crap, because I personally NEVER vote based on who the party leader is. And while I think Harper's a pretty terrible leader, if the CPC candidate in my region was the best on offer, that's who I'd vote for. (Fortunately, I have Deepak Obhrai as my CPC representative, so there's no such need to worry about it.)

    My problem with this statement is you people keep shoving it out there as if it's God's Gospel, and by doing so, you're negating the opportunity for people to examine what really matters: Their local candidate.

  75. Well.. I can't argue that.. because it's entirely subjective supposition on your part.

    I happen to disagree. I think most Canadians (or at least most of those who didn't vote for the CPC) would be willing to accept it on a very temporary basis.

    Now.. if it performed poorly? Then yes, we'd see a rout like we saw with the PC's after Brian Mulrooney.

    It if performed well? I could see it shifting us to a small liberal minority of the "regular" variety.

  76. AH! I think I get the problem we're having here. My response was driven more from Alfanerd's post about "voting for an MP is also a vote for a specific PM"

    Your comment was one more about the system, and not one I neccessarily disagree with technically, however it galls me when we reduce politics to the level of "Which of these three/four/five people should run Canada" when the obvious answer is NONE OF THEM! We should be the ones running Canada, and the only way to do that is to stop elevating the party leaders above the candidates, so that people start paying more attention to their own candidate.

  77. The only thing about strategic voting is that it's never really been "implemented" in a systematic, Canada-wide way. And query whether that would be possible (though a lot of things become possible with new social & communications media, etc.). It has been done in isolated instances. But what often strikes me about our electoral system is how tenaciously people cling to the right to choose the candidate they want, rather than voting against some other candidate. Vote-splitting is exactly that: a demonstration of the fact that people will cling to the right to vote in favour of the candidate of their choice, even when the result means that someone they loathe will win.

  78. "Would you support a Conservative minority government that depended on the spinelessness of Michael Ignatieff in order to pass legislation and remain in office?"

  79. Up to a point, I agree that journos can only write about what Parliament does.

    But I am curious to know if you read political content in foreign papers, Thwim. I read a lot of UK and US politics and their output is a million times better than what we get here and it's not due to fact that pols are doing more elsewhere.

    Reading foreign press, compared to ours, I am always aware of how much our journos are not covering.

  80. I've been wondering about this, because I've heard other people (including on these boards) claim that the better polling firms have some sort of strategy or methodology to account for, e.g., the fact that home phones/land lines are going the way of the dodo bird. But they never seem to elaborate on this. Is that just a bunch of bs then?

  81. I do agree with chiff on one point: asking people if they favour cooperation is like asking them if they like peace.

    The bottom line for me is that, like others have said, so many of these polling results are driven by the wording of the question, the way it's asked, the context (e.g., what question(s) if any preceded it). A good friend of mine worked for the old Decima firm in Allen Gregg's days there, and over beers, he'd cynically explain this stuff, the way you could manipulate results — he reminded me of the Nigel Hawthorne character from Yes, Minister.

  82. I agree that strategic voting has never been successfully "implemented", although I seem to recall an online initiative in the past (since the arrival of the web, obviously) that tried to foment such a campaign. I can't recall with certainty whether it was during a provincial or federal election, but it was probably an anti-Harris movement here in Ontario.

    I do think, however, that individuals make strategic voting a factor in the privacy of the voting booth. I know I have voted that way. It's really a question of whether enough individuals do so to constitute a meaningful aggregate.

  83. “Would you support a Conservative minority government that depended upon either the support or the absenteeism of either the Liberals the Bloc Quebecois or the NDP to pass legislation?'

    Support is support, whether by omission or comission. I don't see a difference, do you?

  84. I also have my doubts about it being implemented in a systematic Canada-wide way. People couldn't even get their act together and do so in the Toronto civic election, much less in 308 discrete elections.

    The number of people who voted for Pantalone mirrored the gap between Ford and Smitherman. Everybody knew that a vote for Pantalone was a protest vote…and yet vote for him they did, which allowed Ford to win.

    Call me crazy, but somehow I seriously doubt that many of Pantalone's voters would consider Ford the lesser of two evils.

    It boggles my mind how steadfastly Canadians refuse to hedge their bets come election time.

  85. Alfa said:
    "No change in public opinion, no election, no mandate, no democratic legitimacy either."

    We elect MP's. How they shuffle the chairs is up to them. A minority with Duceppe as PM is just as legitimate and democratic as the current arrangement.

  86. To be honest, no. The only politics I consciously follow are those of Canada and to a lesser extent, Iceland (because it's on the short list of places I might relocate to in a few years, along with the Eastern Townships in Quebec.) Of course, I can't help but pick up on a few things of the US and the UK, but I certainly don't put any effort into following it.

    However, even from the little I've seen from those countries, I don't think the statement is accurate that the pols there aren't doing any more. The politics in Canada have, at least from what I can tell, far more of a leadership focus than a local focus (which saddens me) partially because of, I'm sure, Harper's command and control structure which doesn't allow MPs to speak beyond the party line.

    After all, even without trying, I hear of various bone-headed and meritous things about US congressmen and state-level politicians. I find it difficult to believe that our own local media is ignoring those opportunities for news making here in favor of the election speculation.

  87. I'm curious to see how they would explain Prime Minister Turner, and Prime Minister Campbell…

  88. Yes. There.s simply no way to weight or oversample to make up for the fact that your target audience is both shrinking and becoming more hmomogeneous. Web polling, if don properly, is more accurate. But the pollsters will offer phone polls as long as people pay…and for the old political parties, those with home-phones make up a nice chunk of their membership.

  89. There are some approaches that are possible, but I doubt any of these polls would apply them. This powerpoint presentation provides an overview of how it could work. It cost more than four times as much money for each completed survey as a normal phone survey. It's still an issue that the market research industry is struggling with.
    http://www.mria-arim.ca/ottawa/Presentations/MRIA… Cell Phone-Only Canadians: Looking at the Possibilities

  90. Yes!

  91. Sorry….you are lost in the political wildnerness. People can vote for whoever they want. However, if they really want to have a say in who is going to govern the country there are only two choices. Protest votes don't accomplish much.

  92. Oh yes you just offered an opinion with no proof. However, my opinion is a lie. You would be countering my points with facts rather than making a blanket statement. You are better than that. Which part is wrong Ignatieff had different positions on the coalition? Ignatieff signed the agreement supporting the coalition? Ignatieff held a press conference with LeBlanc and Rae?

  93. Yes people do vote for all kinds of reasons. However, to expect their MP to represent their interests in parliament is not accurate and is naive in the extreme. Constituencies are not monolithic and have a variety of views. So to say a constituent can expect their MP to vote their way is not realistic. In the end all MPs follow the party line.. As an example many rural NDP MPs came out against the long gun registry. However, in the end they abandoned their constituents and supported the party line.

  94. Thanks for the info. Certainly I agree that those creatures who retain home phones and actually are at home to answer them are far more likely to be voters — simply because you're just described your average senior citizen. I always remember when I first got involved in active politics and attended my first meetings, the most striking thing was the overrepresentation of seniors. I guess it makes sense — they've got free time to volunteer. And, of course, they also have a lot of vested interests in certain government programs like OAS, CPP, RRSPs, income trust policy, etc.

  95. A minority with Duceppe as PM is just as legitimate and democratic as the current arrangement.

    You need to be very educated to write idiocies as profoundly wrong as that.

    Congratulations on your education, it's unfortunate for your profound idiocy though.

  96. Well said. This is exactly why parties do matter, and the leaders of those parties do matter. Thwim may genuinely lament that the backbenchers are not as important as the leaders, but this is just the way it is because it's a party system. Personally, I don't see how we would ever reach Thwim's ideal without abolishing parties. But also personally, I'm not sure I'm so fed up with the fact that there are parties and leaders of those parties to want to abolish it. But maybe one day…

  97. Mike T. & hollinm: thank you for giving us the Coles Notes condensed version of Maclean's comment board repartee.

  98. Thanks for the link, ZMz. I like the fact that way more of the survey respondents picked the Tim Horton's gift certificate over the Chapters/Indigo gift certificate. Conclusion: most Canadians would rather eat donuts than read.

  99. Thanks for the support. There is plenty wrong with the party system but until it changes we have to live with what we have. There is no politician today who is going to change the system particularly if it will disadvantage them and their ability to control their MPs.

  100. The next federal campaign may turn out to be the first in which social media become a significant factor in electoral dynamics in Canada. There is a whole constituency of mostly young and generally disengaged adults out there who are totally cool with such media (my wife and I have demonstrably spawned two of them). The party that figures out how to recruit a significant percentage of that demographic may well seize the day. There are credible analysts who argue that's what propelled Obama into the White House.

    So strategic voting (and fundraising) is probably coming to a riding near you (and me), thanks to the wonders of broadband.

    Now, take me to the home. I need my glass of warm milk.

  101. What you are saying is entirely wrong… if no party forms a majority in parliament, then the party that has the the support of the majority of parliament is the legitimate government.
    democracy 101

  102. Name calling. And no explanation of why I'm wrong? That's all you've got?

  103. The part where "Ignatieff is so desperate to become PM he will sell his own brother and make any kind of deal with the Dippers and the Bloc which will accomplish that goal."

    He backed out of the deal that would have accomplished that goal. Something you knew as you were writing that.. hence, a lie.

  104. Which position was that? The second, third or fourth position? Yes he backed off because he saw the reaction of Canadians and the Conservative poll numbers skyrocketing and of course the GG had said no coalition.

  105. Presumably some of the 45% not in favour of some kind of cooperation would either prefer their own choice formed a majority or had no preference or certainty.

    All these results seem to show that if there ever was an actual horror of coalition it has evaporated – I wonder why the Conservatives continue to harp on this string.

  106. Coming in late for this "coalition" discussion but need to make a point NOT jumped on by the media at the time. To refresh your memories the coalition was formed in Dec(?) '09 and was to last for 18 months. At the signing declaration and comments by the participants, Gille Duceppe, for the BLOC, ended his comments by stating (in french) "In June of 2011 the province of Quebec will be declared a Nation" This would be immediately after the 18 months of support promised for the coalition. This tells me that the opposition was selling out Canada by signing a deal to break up this country. Knowing this would you REALLY choose a coalition option?
    Why the media silence? You judge.

  107. Right wing polls, right wing press. Do you realize that on Feb 9 of this year 2011, the right wing CRTC made it OK for our news to deliberately misinform the Canadian public? Just so the right wing can win an election? That's power hungry! On that day, Feb. 9, 2011 our Canadian culture died. They did it by decietfully having us all talking about a 25 year old Dire Straits song. Our news channels are now going to report like FOX News but it will be a gradual change and it is starting with this election campaign. I am scared for Canada's future. My Dad fought on D-Day, and was wounded five times for our freedom and I don't want to lose that. Maybe you're Ok with that, I'm not!

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