A country gets its back up - Macleans.ca

A country gets its back up

WELLS: Even if Jack Layton fades in the stretch, something permanent will remain

A country  gets its  back up

Andrew Vaughan/CP

Maybe now we can stop telling ourselves Canadian elections are predictable.

It is fashionable in Ottawa circles before every election campaign to draw oneself back from the lunch table, let one’s gaze wander toward the ceiling, and announce to the room, “I don’t know why we’re even bothering to have an election, anyway. It’s not like it’ll change anything.” More often than not these weary predictions are wildly wrong.

The 2000 election killed the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and—because Jean Chrétien was able to win a plurality in Quebec less than a year after he passed the Clarity Act—the political career of Lucien Bouchard. In 2004, Paul Martin came within an ace of losing power to an upstart Calgarian whom Liberals had viewed with contempt. In 2006, Stephen Harper took Martin down. In 2008, Harper confirmed his hold on the seats he’d won and drove Stéphane Dion’s Liberals to their lowest share of the popular vote since Confederation.

This year was set to be a rerun of 2008 in less vivid colours. Harper would run as the guy who’s serious about the economy. The Liberals would run apologetically as Conservatives who weren’t quite so conservative. Both sides would flood the airwaves with negative ads while all our putative leaders ignored or muzzled big debates on hard questions. A bored nation would then return a new House full of MPs in roughly the same proportions as last time.

But that’s not how it’s working out.

The rise of Jack Layton’s NDP was the story of the campaign’s fourth week. At this writing I have no way to guess whether the NDP will keep rising, or fade away as it has done more than once before. But at any rate, the Layton phenomenon is hardly the only way Canadian voters have stubbornly refused to stick to their assigned role. Conversations are breaking out all over, honest-to-goodness debates, and all the campaign pros in all the war rooms won’t be able to herd us back into our tidy demographic stables again. Just look at the issues that have raised their heads.

Parliamentary democracy. Stephen Harper wanted to frame the election as a choice between a Conservative majority and a reckless opposition coalition. It took less than a day for that to turn into a lot of questions about what Harper was planning when he conspired with Layton and Gilles Duceppe after the 2004 election. Suddenly the discussion about Parliament’s role in selecting a government was a little messier than Harper would have liked.

The cost of health care. Comically eager to avoid being caught offside on this key file, the parties spent April 8 rushing to commit to an annual six per cent increase in health care financing, even after the current deal with the provinces runs out in 2014. Michael Ignatieff sent out an open letter pledging to extend the funding increases, even though there’s not a line about that in his platform. Stephen Harper, same thing. But then a few pesky observers pointed out that provincial health care costs haven’t been rising as fast as six per cent a year. Do we need to spend this money? Is there a better way? What can’t we afford to do if we do this?

The role of the state. Questions like that lead inevitably to questions about how much government we need in our lives. Harper is sure he knows: we need less. There are no good taxes, he says. Ignatieff has been tentative in his response. And baffled at the result: growing numbers of Canadians who are damned sure there are good taxes and good government have moved right past the Liberals to the NDP.

The place of Quebec. Will the province at the centre of so many of our debates continue to elect MPs who only oppose? What vision of Canada attracts Quebecers as they flirt with returning to large-scale support of pan-Canadian parties? The Parti Québécois may return to power; how should Ottawa respond?

The tone of our politics. This is the subtlest driver of change in this campaign but perhaps the most powerful. For more than half a decade our national politics has been characterized by insult and denigration. The Liberals thought they could simply wait for Canadians to share their disdain for the Harper Conservatives. Harper viewed his large and stable minority of the electorate, a bit more than a third, as the only part of the country he needed to hear or even to address with any respect. He spent a king’s ransom destroying Michael Ignatieff’s reputation. He has spent a month delivering warnings about his opponents and shooing away strangers. Ignatieff’s polish cannot hide his preference for decrying Harper’s ideas instead of promoting his own. As for Gilles Duceppe, resentment and defensiveness have always been all he had to peddle.

Layton is not perfect. His ideas for the country will leave many unpersuaded. But he rises because he at least acts like a guy who would rather fix problems than fix blame. Even if he fades in the stretch, something permanent will remain. A whole country has remembered that it does not like to be told what it may talk about and how it may react. And when a country gets its back up the way this one has, it will not go back to sleepy predictability any time soon.


A country gets its back up

  1. While aI agree with much of what you say here, I'm not sure one can be so sanguine that "something permanent will remain". I sense bitterness and disengagement coming. Mr. Harper will get at least another minority, and will be sufficiently chastened by how unpredictable elections can be that we won't see another for a long time (he will eliminate the voter subsidy just to be sure). He will use his time to clamp down even harder on democratic institutions and perceived enemies (increasingly, these are one and the same), and eliminate other sources he sees as potential obstacles, like the CBC.

    While most fully human creatures display at least a hint of shame when caught lying, Mr. Harper and his partisans do so without the slightest discomfort – almost to the point of pathology. Further scandals won't touch him, and the media, who have done, for the most part, a poor job of getting at anything beyond vapid "leadership scores", will be further cowed, or just plain tired. You can only ask questions and get no response for so long before it becomes pointless.

    If anything, the volatility we've seen in the electorate will only intensify the kind of command and control media bubble kind of politics practiced by this government.

    • If Harper gets another minority, he will be gone within a week, the "Conservatives" will once again fracture into their red tory and loony neo-con evangelical faction, Layton will become PM, and three years after rebuilding, the Liberals will rise again to fix the entire mess.

      • As a card-carrying leftard, I can't agree. I think Harper is more publicly resilient and privately vicious than that, and if Layton ever does become PM then — unless he's an unmitigated disaster, which he's too professional and ultimately pragmatic to be — his win will do a lot to kill the natural-governing-party aura that from which Liberals have long benefited.

      • Total nonsense.

        It's the Liberal Party that will be split by this election (if things go as they seem). You'll have the left wing of the party wanting to merge with the NDP, and the right wing migrating to the Conservative Party in response.

    • I don't think he can touch the voter subsidy without a majority. The other parties cannot permit him to cut off their primary source of funding; as soon as that bill hits the house, the government will fall.

      • I don't think it will be a money bill, and it almost surely won't be a confidence measure. Unless Harper *wants* to hand over the poisoned chalice of PM, the government will not fall on per-voter subsidies.

    • the voter subsidy issue was majority only.

  2. Guest I hope you are right regarding vote subsidies and the CBC.
    I also hope if the LIbs, NDP and Bloc do combine to take over from the party that won the most seats, it sends a signal to the West. You're not getting in! I then hope for the rise of a secessionist Western movement and the drive for a referendum on separation.
    Finally what ever happens I am content, since I have seen the beginning of the end of the Liberal Party. I have waited for this all my life!

    • Well good for you. You proved my point. That's just the kind of dumb, bitter, ugliness I was talking about.

    • You do realize, don't you Karma, that the superheated Canadian dollar and astronomical commodity prices are temporary fixtures that will disappear the moment that central banks start raising (whether they want to or not) interest rates? That Alberta's position at the top of the heap is most likely transitory? Do you even remember the 1980's?

      In any event, your ideas of a secessionist Western movement are the worst sort of over-the-top hyperbole.

      • Actually, high interest rates will drive the dollar even higher. Just like they did in the early 1990s when everyone was screaming at John Crow. The rest of what you said might well be correct. I honestly wonder how anyone could want the PM's chair right now. When we have our own housing meltdown (and we will, just as soon as interest rates start rising, which will be much sooner than anyone anticipates) whoever is sitting on the throne will earn the same kind of hatred that Mulroney did from the early 1990s recession. NOBODY forgives a sitting PM for a severe recession. (2008 wasn't severe – not for Canada anyway.)

        • I agree with everything you wrote, RR. The only quibble would be that our dollar is pretty much a petro-dollar; assuming an interest rate hike would starve the commodity bubble of oxygen, I think in our narrow case it would drop the value of the CAD.

          But in general, yes, an interest rate increase would usually spike the value of the currency.

          • Interest rates will quell the commodity boom… eventually. But we could have another 5 – 10 years to go in the inflationary cycle before that happens. Inflation took off in the US after Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold in 1971. It was not until the early 1980s that central bankers actually got serious about inflation and cranked interest rates up into the 20s. So, commodities could continue their inflationary boom for some time to come.

            The housing market is another story. Even a paltry 2-3% increase in interest rates – which wouldn't lay a glove on inflation or commodity prices – would bring the housing market down. THAT is what I'd be worried about if I were a sitting PM.

    • Not getting in? Have you been paying attention to the last 5 years? A Calgarian Prime Minister has been running the country quite successfully. The "West" got in.

      But really it was never about the "West" wanting in. A hell of a lot of Westerners have supported the Liberals and the NDP over the years and its only Alberta where the Conservatives have managed to translate the resentment that has been their coin in trade into political domination.

      One day though, Fortress Alberta is going to fall. Whether its because the vote system becomes a fairer and more representative system or because Albertans change their minds like Quebec has, it will come. No party is owed any citizen's vote and Conservatives do not own Alberta.

      • You are right – no party owns any area.

        The single biggest reason that the conservatives do well in Alberta is because of the NEP. It was obvious, and we still remember it. Liberals are not liked here.
        The second biggest reason Albertans like conservative is that we like to 'pay our own way', and think that we should all live within our means. The NDP doesn't sit well with most of us. "Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money'.

        • Albertans talk like they are the only taxpayers in Canada. Socialism is paid for by the peoples money! It is collected from the people and distributed back to the people. Unlike the tories collect from the people and give it to big business so they can 'invest' it BS! Power to the people. Vote ABC

          • wow – where to start.

            "The people's money'' only becomes the government's to spend after they take it from people. then the gov't spends it on the same people? Wouldn't it be much more efficient to let the people keep their money, and spend it how they see fit?

          • Indeed, where to start. Why even bother. A devout socialist is about as worthwhile debating as a stone. It is true that big business gets away with a lot, and gets bailouts while the rest of us must do without. But big government is just the other side of the coin to big business. Socialism is nothing more than the government throwing us a sop so that maybe we'll forget that they are inflating our wages away, off-shoring our jobs and taxing us to death.

          • "inflating our wages away, off-shoring our jobs and taxing us to death. " Sounds like what the tories have been doing for a long time. Harper is by far the worse though. The wannabe American has got to go. You see some people are not as well off as others so I dont mind my tax dollars going to help them. I am not cold blooded, I care about my fellow Canadians who are less fortunate than I. On another note, Harpers American Dream… http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/ralph-nadar-open-le

          • you might be well off enough to want to share your money, and you can through charities (do you?), but not everyone is.
            I am not that well off, I give to charities, and don't appreciate my tax money going to wasted causes.

          • I only bothered because it was such an obvious statement. lol

            At least people like "Proud Canadian' try to cover it in some kind of sense.

        • "The second biggest reason Albertans like conservative is that we like to 'pay our own way', and think that we should all live within our means."

          Unless we're talking about downloading the costs of our lifestyles onto others in the form of pollution, climate change, cancer, dying oceans, etc., in which case we're happy to share.

          • Shhh, no one likes to talk about externalities in polite company.

        • How will Alberta 'pay its own way' when the resources run out. Paying your own way is easy when you're flush.

          • Alberta is a petrostate. When the resources run out we will be poor. (We might also be partly desert by then too) This is partly because our stupid rightwing politicians are giving the resources away cheap and are not saving any for Albertans' future:

  3. All this stuff about the NDP fading in the stretch; usually it's because Liberals pull out their ace – voting Liberal is the only way to stop the Conservatives, don't split vote, vote strategically, blah blah, blah.

    I don't think those messages can carry any weight right now. I don't think we'll see nervous NDP voters shift to Liberal in the polling boths.

    • Agreed, but I think instead we'll see a stamped of nervous Liberals (particularly in Ontario) voting strategically for the Conservatives to keep the NDP safely away from power.

  4. Interesting times indeed. People with little previous political interest are getting into this one. Makes me feel good about Canadian democracy again!

  5. I'm really glad we're getting beyond the talking points. I've noticed a real shift in how people are talking about the election. No matter what the result, I just hope the conversation continues.

  6. We are moving toward a stable two-party system, as the harsh realities of a Westminster world (the first rule of Westminster democracies is don't split the vote) put regional angst back into their box. Whether party 2 is headed by Layton or Ignatieff, and whether it emerges as a result of attrition or merger, it is forming.

    This will be a world of fewer choices, in some ways, because there will be fewer parties and because both parties will hug to the centre (note: this does not happen in the US because of primaries). However, because the choice is between two parties that can actually form government, it is a much more meaningful choice.

    • I don't think so. I think between the harshness of the Cons and the bleeding hearts of the NDP, there's room for the Liberals to rebuild a solid platform. It depends on who they pick to replace Ignatieff.

    • "we are moving towards a stable two-party system" I don't know how anyone who has been watching this election, and the months (years?) leading to it can possibly say that … IMHO, we are, more than ever, permanently moving towards multi-party/split vote/nobody gets a majority days … We need to accept it, embrace it, and reform the system and our expectations to deal with this reality.

  7. I am surprised that foreign policy is not recognized as being an important driver for the NDP. Although many thought that because there is a timetable for pulling out of Afghanistan that it was a non-issue, the engagement in Libya has no doubt made many think about how interventionist Canada's foreign policy should be. I doubt if it is lost on the voters that behind the blue and red doors are leaders that thought Canada should go into Iraq.

    • Funny, had the NDP not voted against the Liberal bill to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2009, our involvement would already be over by now. That bit of crass politics made me very sceptical of anything the NDP says.

  8. It may become a 2.5 party system, with the Liberals as the 0.5 – if they can maintain the support of some region of Canadians. I agree that the Bloc was an important destabilizing factor. Even though I dislike the NDP, dispatching the BQ will probably benefit Canada more than the NDP platform will harm Canada (assuming they don't diddle with the constitution).

    • I don't think the Bloc is going away, since there are probably ridings that strongly separatist and will probably continue to vote as such. It might be the case that they have less of presence.

    • That would be a reprise of the UK system through most of the 20th century – Tory/Labour/Liberal. It too proved exceptionally stable.

      But I think it's too early to even talk about anyone supplanting the Liberal Party. Even in its doldrums (and looking at the idea-less and energy-sapped state of its current leadership, it's hard not to argue it's the worst it's ever been) it is a political force to be reckoned with.

  9. Guest & Goldberg
    I expected the retorts and they mean nothing. Wait and see what happens.
    The West won't want in – they will want out. The elitist easterners of the Liberal Party have been pushing them in that direction since Trudeau tried to take over Western Canada's assets. It's not forgotten.
    And quite frankly if no other choice I'd vote NDP before Liberal.

    • I know it's hard to give up long held and studiously nurtured old hatreds, but try and keep up, Karma. Well's article is pointing out what the polls indicate – that the Liberals aren't even in this game.

      But go ahead, just keep on keepin on hating them. If "the end of the Liberal party" is what you've "waited all your life for", it's a pretty small life. That well oiled (no pun intended) hatred explains so much about the lack of vision, and the 'by any means necessary' lack of ethics, prorogations and contempt for Parliament which is at the heart of the Conservatives' inability to rally more than 30 something percent of Canadians.

    • By "The West" I'll assume you mean the geographic west, so I'll include BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba into that group. That said, in 2009 your "West" accounted for 32.82% of Canada's GDP. Ontario accounted for 39.63% of the GDP. What "The West" brings to the Canadian table doesn't even match one "elite eastern" province. If you're just talking Alberta, your GDP contribution drops to 13.86% in 2009. Maybe the East doesn't need the West anymore… after all, Ontario and Quebec generate 60% of the country's GDP and also produce 57% of the countries power…

      See how ridiculous this can get? Stop the regional BS… The East-West debate is tired and antiquated.

      • "The East-West debate is tired and antiquated."

        As ever, this.

      • I agree that the east west thing should stop, but if you wanted to use accurate numbers, you should have thrown in the equalization payments in there as well. . .

        And actually, if a federal government were to favor industry in two provinces, wouldn't you expect their GDP to be higher. . .?

  10. This is starting to sound like a refutation of Wells’ First Rule.

    • Proof will be in the ballots. I think Wells's First Rule applies only to outcomes, correct?

  11. I really don't see that scenario either. The individual ridings have their own dynamics. My riding was the closest in the country last time. The conservative won by little over a dozen votes. Everywhere I go people people really feel they got burned with the vote splitting. One thing they have in common is they don't want Harper again so they are backing the Liberal. There is no talk of the orange wave here even with all the national hype. I think it depends on the riding.

    • Agreed, and in connection with that, the NDP is going to wish that in some cases, it hadn't just put "placemarker" candidates in certain ridings. An example is Vancouver Quadra – they're running David Eby, a very high-profile person in Vancouver, in the provincial by-election which they have no hope of winning. But in the federal election they're running a complete no-name, and with this orange wave, it's possible they could be competitive in Quadra. They should have nominated Eby for the federal election.

  12. God, you're tiresome. I noticed you're also spamming the Globe and Mail comment boards with this post as well.

    How are the donuts in the NDP War Room, anyway?

  13. please stop. it's not that big an audience. we've heard you.

  14. Actually this whole NDP surge has me wondering more about the roll of the Quebec voters this election than anything else.

    If Quebecers hadn't suddenly started turning in favour of the NDP in such massive numbers a few weeks ago, would this tide have occurred?

    Think about it: such a shift is shocking and brings backs to life the possibility of a real majority government.

    And if so many BLOC supporters are rethinking their allegiance, it probably makes others consider their options, like sub-conscious permission to deviate from the norm.

    Anyways, just a thought.

    • Good one on you …. this surge is no surge but the result of years of expending precious few resources on Quebec – asking what they want both in a Canadian and an independent context.

      No surge – it comes from hard work that finally has come to fruition.

  15. Please don't feed the trolls.

    Vote him down and move on folks.

  16. .
    This 'fade', 'rise','surge' rubbish is silently premised on cut-rate, land-line, online, commercial polls.

    Layton is not enjoying a 'surge', he will not suffer a 'fade'.

    It's instructive, however, to see how the Harper/Ignatieff coalition to put Jack on the rack is likewise premised on polls they scorn in an off-season. Remember that in the coming years. Harper and Ignatieff really do mainline on poll-crack.

    • "on cut-rate, land-line, online, commercial polls."

      Angus Reid uses online polling. Nanos uses landlines, and Ekos does cells and landlines. Others do different combos. Just trying to clear that up a bit.

    • Actually, you'd be right, except the pollsters recently started calling cell phones too.

      Maybe that could account for some the NDP's rise in the polls, n'est pas?

  17. This comment was deleted.

    • Um, every party voted to say exactly that. I guess that's what you're called "Facts For All" and not "All the Facts".

  18. .
    Your style is appalling, hyperbolic, and cultish. I only gave you a vote because of the 2+2=4 content.

    Harper and Ignatieff give me no other choice but Layton.

  19. And here the press go with the 'even if the NDP fade in the streach' headlines. I'm telling you folks, the NDP surge was made up by the right wing press to stop the liberals and take the focus off of Harpers terrible record. It is planned to get Harper a majority, that simple. And we Canadians, who actually believe the press is some sort of non partisan, for the people institution, fall for it everytime. The press figured out that Harpers scare tactics were not working, then when the liberals started to gain traction the press went into NDP surge mode. I mean come on, have you ever seen so many tory scandals in your life but for some reason they cant seem to gain traction with the press?
    Vote ABC.

    • let me get this straight. The press is 'working' for the CPC.

      Wow – good kool aid.

      • No. The press is OWNED by the CPC!

        • And you're clearly owned in almost every exchange you've ever had on these threads. I can't even relate to your level of silliness. I can't. So the media, the polling companies and the Conservatives are all in bed together, manufacturing an NDP surge to combat the Liberals? I believe they call that a persecution complex. Though it seems to have gone beyond that with you, and morphed into a genuine delusional disorder. Wow. Just wow.

          • polling companies and the Conservatives are all in bed together, manufacturing an NDP surge to combat the Liberals! exactly. and to take the attention off Harper. I dont expect you to relate. I expect you to carry on as normal. So do the billionaires who control the media. So carry on and oh yeah… call me a name now, retard seems to be your favorite! delusional also seems a common one as well. But answer this for me…do you actually think that the powers that be are sitting on the sidelines and waiting for this election outcome and hoping it will be in their favor? If you do then you sir are delusional…
            Vote ABC

          • You warned me about Emily – I guess PC is just as bad. He didn't disagree with you.

            Wow. This is why I don't think that we should have mandatory voting. Usually people who are competent self select themselves out of the voting process. . . usually.

          • He's clearly unbalanced. I don't recall calling him a retard, but the term is not inaccurate. Delusional I do remember.

    • If they had that much power, they'd just manufacture a Conservative surge. As indeed, Ipsos Reid seemed for a while to be trying to do . . .
      There is something of a pro-Conservative media slant. Certainly the people who own the media are billionaires, and billionaires tend to broadly support the Conservative agenda. But it's a thing of tendencies and broad pressures, not marching orders and intricate conspiracies. Note the case of Sun TV being outraged about the fake photo–Sun TV is a pro-Conservative outfit as lock, stock and barrel as you can reasonably get, but they still got upset about having a fake planted on them (Of course maybe that wouldn't happen in the US).
      So yeah, hate to break it to you but the NDP surge is real, and as a guy said higher up, with the tactical voting argument dead in the water everywhere except a few ridings in Ontario, they ain't gonna fade this time.

      • The tories planted it themselves so they could reference it later and make Fox North seem authentic to the uninformed. The reason they cant manufacture a Conservative surge is because 70% of the country are left leaning and simply would not buy it. They have pumped the 40% in the polls during the whole campaign and social media kept that debunked. The fact that we even get to vote is what bothers them and if they get their majority they will;
        1. kill the CBC and in doing so kill the only press they do not own and cant control. They will then have a monopoly with CTV , Globemedia and Fox North.
        2. kill the vote subsidy and in doing so cripple any opposition
        Vote ABC

        • no need to reply, but I have to say – WOW.

          Do you live by yourself? Are you able to do day to day things? Just asking.

  20. But you'll also get some Liberal voters voting Tory as well I think.

    • Certainly! Monday night is going to be great!

  21. Good post. Disagree with all of it, except that the Bloc disappearing is a good pipe dream. Even then… for the Bloc to disappear, one party or another will have to embrace the hard nationalists. The Tories won't want them (do I underestimate Harper's hard-on for 24 Sussex though?) and the NDP should avoid them like poison.

    I especially disagree that "nothing has really changed"… one thing certainly has changed no matter how the tallies work out – the NDP has set expectations it must now try to fulfil. It has shown itself capable, in theory, of competing in Quebec. If it fails to make significant inroads, how it goes about trying to compete will definitely make a big change on Canada's left wing – with a significant impact on both Liberals and Tories. A swing towards significant decentralization by the NDP could make the Liberals, as the standard-bearers of "national unity", extremely relevant once more.

    • Thanks. May have just heard bubble go pop. Ignatieff in Quebec turning the "showing up for work" tables on Layton. Ignatieff points out some NDP candidates in Quebec are on vacation in France or Las Vegas, and other do not speak French. "You've got to be a serious party if you want to be elected." Layton in Yellowknife doesn't respond except with platitudes (I want to attack poverty, I want to attack climate change blah blah blah.) NDP no hope candidates make NDP look silly and foolish (I will attack poverty, by taking 3 weeks vacation in Las Vegas!).

      Ignatieff is saving Liberal seats in Montreal and helping Duceppe roll back NDP "gains". Meanwhile Harper in Niagara Falls warns of taxes and protectionism from NDP-led "coalition."

      A "surge" in one province based on Layton's personality is not sustainable.

    • Jack Layton is embracing the hard nationalists already, which is why he's surging in Quebec. He's offering to re-open the constitution, and he's also promising to enforce Quebec's language laws at all federal institutions and federally regulated industries within Quebec. If that isn't a Mulroney-esque play for the hard nationalist vote, then I've never seen one.

  22. Shouldn't this be a she (OriginalEmily1) LOL

  23. "The story of the election will be the folly of the Liberal party to force the election in the first place. "

    In two weeks, this will be all anyone will be talking about. That and where Michael Ignatieff has moved to. . .

    • Just looked at EKOS seat projection. CPC 136 Lib 56 NDP 98 BQ 14 Ind 1.

      Looking at the provincial breakdowns, Conservatives get 60 in Ontario – sounds about right. NDP totals look realistic except for Quebec. 49 seats in Quebec, exactly half the total NDP caucus. It shows just how much this orange "surge" is happening only in Quebec. If on E-day NDP gets 7 Bloc seats, for a total of 8 (including Outremont), NDP caucus would be 56 in total. If this happens, this would be a fantastic result for NDP. Combined Liberal + NDP strength would be (56 + 56) = 112, versus 136 for Conservatives – not enough for a Coalition minus Bloc but nevertheless a good result for NDP.

      Media are hyping this Quebec-only NDP bubble biting into Bloc support as a national trend, because obviously the Bloc exists nowhere else in Canada but Quebec. It definitely is not. And if bubble pops, as is likely, then NDP is going to feel very disappointed with "only" a historic achievement – 50+ seats with a breakthrough in Quebec!

      • Sorry. EKOS seat projection says 139 Conservative seats, not 136. Typo.

  24. Lot of people whistling past the graveyard today. The NDP are going to kick serious tail on Monday. The only thing that might have changed people's minds would be some really effective fear-mongering, with wall to wall scary ads. But it's too late for that; there's only a few days to go and for a couple of them half the electorate will be too cheerful about the royal wedding to pay attention to scary-scary.

    • Maybe PLG, but Conservative leads in Ontario, BC and elsewhere in the West appear to be locking in. No sign of an orange surge outside Quebec. Earned media is now going dark for Royal Wedding. Except in Quebec. BQ has huge organizational advantage over NDP in Quebec. Liberals and Conservatives don't have to spread themselves all over – they will focus on keeping what they now have. Potential Bloc to NDP switchers are all over the province, not concentrated geographically. And NDP still has to play defence in Ontario and West, which Bloc doesn't have to do (Layton was in Yellowknife today, far from where he needs to be in Quebec). GOTV edge is definitely the Bloc's. I still can't see NDP taking dozens of Bloc seats won by them with large margins last time. A NDP pick-up of a half dozen Bloc seats would be marvelous. They could as easily be shut-out in Quebec as winning 42 seats. NDP surge in Quebec seems to be mostly air, not substance (the result of careful building of an electoral machine and recruitment of good appealing candidates), so in a head to head battle with the Bloc, the Bloc will prevail in most cases. Layton may be guilty of not managing his team's expectations (talking about himself as PM) – there is going to be a let-down which will demoralize the party. By puffing himself up he forfeits underdog status, so Duceppe and Layton can lay into him effectively. Harper has his vote locked up so he can watch the carnage from the sidelines. Layton should know better…you can't become PM just by beating the Bloc in Quebec.

      • Sorry that is "so Duceppe and Ignatieff can lay into him…"

    • PLG – there is one other thing that could stop them. People reading their (the NDP's) platform, and realizing that they have no way to pay for it. This is scary by itself. Here is the link.

      • Pfft. If anyone can't pay for their platform, it's the Conservatives. They say they can find $4 billion a year in savings from program spending without cutting anything in particular? Shyeah right. That's like a 10% cut. And hardly the first one. We've already started losing services under the Cons. At least half of it will have to come from salaries; that's fifty thousand jobs. And they won't say what the crime schtick and prisons will cost, and they lie like a rug about how much the jets will cost. Taking what the PBO said, what the Norwegians' first four are currently costing them, what the American critics of the plane are saying about the cost overruns, and the 100% track record of planned US military hardware to end up costing 3 or so times what it's originally budgeted at, my bet is in the end those things will cost around $60 billion. That's, like, four years of $15 billion deficits that could have been balanced budgets. Add in the Con tendency to cut revenue every five minutes . . .

        Everyone's always "Oooo, the Scary Soshulists by definition can't balance budgets". Except, the only Scary Soshulist premier who couldn't balance a budget . . . is now a prominent Liberal. Other NDP governments have had an excellent track record of balancing the books. The NDP platform does more for people because it taxes the corps and doesn't subsidize the tar sands and doesn't spend on some of the useless crap the Cons spend on. They actually got a prominent economist to sign off on their platform numbers, which is more than the other parties did.

  25. We must get our political house in order-watching how computer tech-based management is changing how we write and think whether we are ready or not, there is NO TIME to disagree over petty differences. It is alarming to see students seeking Community Colleges to get better job assurances, virtually no students in my daughters’ graduating classes in the last 5yrs majoring in the sciences. Joel Leonard in “Plant Services” maintenance management magazine talks about a crisis in US firms as students entering the workforce seem less prepared, less physically fit, etc. while the “Boomers” are beginning to retire in huge numbers. I don’t hear discussion in this election to pool our resources to US new tech to help deal with this increasing gap in preparation. Let’s help our youth to contribute their ideas- “mob vote rallies” are getting them involved. It’s a start!! Cheers to new ideas and good exploring!!

    • ….. and then a breath…. ahhhh. :)

  26. It would be nice if people could just read Jack's platform, and realize that there is no way to 'cost' it all. Major tax increases are written all over it. It is impossible to spend that much more.

    Here is the link: http://xfer.ndp.ca/2011/2011-Platform/NDP-2011-Pl

    'Socialism is great until you run out of other people's money."

    • As I said to you immediately above, nonsense. It's amazing what you can do when you give less away to those who already have way too much. Pseudo-free-markets are great until the banks run out of other people's money . . . then they make castles in the air until the breeze blows wrong and it all crashes down on those of us paying for all those multimillion dollar bonuses. I can't believe worshipping at the altar of the folks who brought us a massive crash and huge unemployment is still considered remotely respectable, much less plausible economics.

      • If you're saying Harper's platform is more expensive than Layton's, then you're so clued out it's not even worth reading your posts further. Not even Layton argues that he is going to spend less money. He's quite open about spending more. He believes that his "investment in job creation" will bring in the needed revenue. That and increased corporate taxes. He's dreaming. So are you.

  27. Harper made it about him. And people are telling him to f**k off.

    • I agree. They're tired of yelling it at the tv.

  28. What lesson should MI or more likely any future liberal leader draw from this? IMO autheticity sells…not always right away, but eventually. SH was authentic in 06, less so with each succeeding election. MI for some reason has never managed to pull it off. Well, to be fair there are some perfectly good reasons why not, many of them are still airing in our living rooms. That said, he hasn't been able to find his own niche. Did he never really know what he wanted to accomplish? Was it true then that he was always auditioning for a role – never quite being it? Who knows? Maybe we make another mistake to write him off. He hasn't ran a bad campaign all told given his lack of experience; maybe he's just beginning to feel he's earned the right to be here? Now will the Liberal party feel the same way? Someone will want their pound of flesh that's for sure.

    • My feeling is he could get a lot better – he's quite amiable and appealing when just talking. It's when in accusatory mode that he loses all his appeal. Still, he would always be too far right for a lot of people, especially those currently planning to vote Orange.

      • Ignatieff too far right? You're off your meds. The entire Liberal party has drifted left from Jean Chretien, which is why they're losing their votes to the orange.

  29. Not unusual for parasites, like locusts to 'swarm' from time to time. Have a look at the spending habits of the NDP MPs vis-a-vis the Conservative MPs during the past term and you get a real feel for 'things to come'. Fellow parasites will simply be jealous, the real taxpayers (alnd that excludes so-called government wurkerz) wil be outraged. When Trump talks about stupd leadership, he mean is really including the Canadian media.

  30. One thing is certain: Monday Night will be vastly exciting and won't end until the last B.C.er votes. Jack will be the Last Man Standing. Elizabeth May will be the Only Woman Standing, and a shoo-in for Environment Minister in the event of a coalition. The other three leaders are all has beens and losers, headed for the recycle bin.

    • I'd be pretty surprised to see May standing at the end of the night, myself. She'll make it closer than the McKay race, but not close enough to win.

  31. So now that Canadians are rounding the last corner and heading for home, it seems that a goodly number of them aren't quite as upset about their fourth election in seven years as we were all told that we were.