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Election 2015

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The most powerful person in Canada you've never heard of - Jenni Byrne.

E.R. Campbell said:
Glen McGregor, of the Ottawa Citizen, tweeted an interesting (and unnamed) poll showing a tight (within the margin of error), essentially a tied three way race after: a) the Alberta election; and b) the vote on Bill C-51:


Edited to add:

In it's own story the Ottawa Citizen says: "The poll, conducted from May 6 to 10, appears to be from national polling firm EKOS."

Further edited to add:

David Akin posted a better version of the poll and confirms it is from EKOS:


It looks like the CPC and the Liberals have been in a state of graceful degradation (a way we used to describe a failing radio network) since February 2015 while the NDP have been trending up in the same period. But, the trends are not very steep: only 6% ↓ for the CPC and Liberals and (a much better) 11% ↑ for the NDP.

David Akin, of the Sun Media chain, has posted a newer EKOS poll:


The changes are slight ... the Conservatives and the Liberals have swapped about one point each and, in so doing, the Conservatives and NDP have also swapped first and second places, but it is still a tight, three way race.

The Justin Trudeau effect was pronounced after the summer of 2012, when he began to campaign for the Liberal leadership, which he won in April of 2013; support for the Liberals mostly climbed ~ and support for the Conservatives fell, for about 18 months. Then, in the fall of last year, a full year before the scheduled election, things changed: Conservative support mostly rose and Liberal support fell, quite sharply. In the last few weeks both the CPC and LPC have lost ground to s resurgent NDP ... according to EKOS.

What changed in late 2014? Two things, at least:

    1. The global security situation, especially the rise of IS** in the Middle East and Russian actions in Ukraine, made Prime Minister Harper look prescient and gave him an opportunity to take some seemingly decisive actions that many Candians supported; and

    2. The media began to notice its own fawing over M Trudeau ... remember this?


        Michael de Adder, in the Hill Times

Scandinavian-style socialism will never work in Canada because Canada is not full of Scandinavians.  As soon as more than one "tribe" exists to try and make gains for itself at the expense of other "tribes", the wheels come off the socialist cart.  Even the Scandinavian countries are starting to experience this phenomenon.

Canada is full of "tribes".
dapaterson said:
The most powerful person in Canada you've never heard of - Jenni Byrne.


I think we've all heard of her  ::) The myth about her being behind the scenes, unapproachable, and invisible exists because the media want it to exist. Still, a good profile of her.
E.R. Campbell said:
I totally reject your "honest folk" notion: it is juvenile, the last resort of those defending the indefensible.

Nah, just me trolling him apparently.

Kilo_302 said:
The good old days (1950s for example) many conservatives seem to yearn for saw us taxing top earners at 80%, affordable university, well funded social programs, strong unions and also the greatest period of economic growth we've ever seen.

The greatest period of economic growth was from about 1700 to 1915. It was a relatively unregulated place that saw wealth mobility and its highest forms. Currency was backed by gold, and interest rates were about 8-10%.

What we have now is not "capitalism." Having the government print money, borrow money out at ridiculously low, unsustainable interest rates, in order to "stimulate" the economy, etc is the reason we will have a social and economic collapse. All of these are forms of government "regulation" in the economy and we can thank them for the 2008 recession and the looming sovereign debt crisis in the US.

What's funny about Scandinavian socialism is that most people don't realize that most of the social programs and wealth distribution is done at the lowest levels of government, as opposed to what Canadian socialists think and want. It would be much better, in my opinion, to have a small federal government and allow the provinces, and even better, the municipalities, more power to control their own destiny. The federal government should only exist to protect the country's borders and protect individual life/liberty/property within our borders (aka the Criminal Code), and to arbitrate between province-to-province disputes. Want socialized healthcare? Socialized daycare? Socialized education? Vote for it at the provincial level, or even better at the municipal level.
Concur.  Socialism - or left-leaning government in general - works best (sometimes well) within smaller tribes.
A while back in this thread (May 05) I compared the Liberal tax cut to the Conservative TFSA contribution level increase.  I structured the comparison incorrectly, comparing only the tax savings of the former to the plan growth of the latter.  What I should have done is compare an investment contribution (notionally, $5K as a proxy for the TFSA doubling) under the two regimes.

Done that way, I found the "value" of the Liberal policy is greater than I thought.  For low returns on investment (ie. low side of 5-7% range), lower provincial income tax rates, and over a shorter term, the LPC policy is more valuable while you are working (it takes longer for the CPC policy to break even).
Liberal heavyweight Scott Reid takes a look at the current, tight, three way race and sees one problem for the Liberals: leadership, Justin Trudeau, in this opinion piece which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen:


Time for the Liberals to face some hard truths about Justin Trudeau

Scott Reid

Published on: May 29, 2015

It’s hard truth time for the Liberal Party of Canada.
And for the Conservative Party of Canada. And for the federal New Democrats too. But, the hard truth is that it’s particularly hard truth time for the Liberals.

Locked in a three-way tie atop the race to win the next election, each party faces the gut-wrenching challenge of making choices soon that will lead to winning or losing later. That makes it an exhilarating time. Play it smart and you end up running the country. Play it wrong and you end up kicked to the curb. Chances are, success or failure on Election Day will be traced back to the decisions that each party is about to take. It’s the summer before the storm.

Because the risks of a misstep are so high, it can be tantalizingly easy to hold fast and do not much. You can even convince yourself that’s the courageous choice – stay the course, steady upper lip, cross your legs and hold it. All that manly mantalk. But logic dictates that for at least two of the three parties, the course they’re on now cannot be a winner. How to know what adjustments to make? Or when? A dose of honesty is usually a good place to begin.

And so, for the Liberals, the first hard truth to face is that it’s not working — at least not well enough. After a fairly brutal winter, the spring was supposed to be better. Duffy was back, like a bad rash across the government’s inseam. The Conservative budget was a long-delayed wet firecracker. Most of all, a new Liberal tax plan focused on fairness was supposed to land loudly – muting those who complain that Trudeau is light on ideas and weak on the economy. It was reasonable to expect that raising taxes for the rich and cutting them for the rest would generate a big echo. But oddly enough, it hasn’t. At least not so far. Which is a problem because Canada’s middle-class can’t vote for a plan that they’ve not heard about. And they won’t vote for a plan that isn’t made understandable to them. A renewed marketing effort is clearly required.

The second hard truth for the Liberals is that they are suddenly locked in a knife fight with the NDP. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. By now, they had hoped to be the uncontested destination for voters seeking change from the Conservatives. They’re clearly not. Mulcair has impressively defended his Quebec base and received a welcome boost in the rest of Canada thanks to Rachel Notley – or Jim Prentice, depending upon how you look at it. To make matters even more challenging, Trudeau cannot win his battle with the NDP by attacking Mulcair. That only risks driving away voters the Liberals need. Instead, he must prove himself to be the superior alternative – more appealing, more inspiring and more assuring. And more skilled at articulating the shortcomings of Stephen Harper.

Which takes us to the most important hard truth of all for the Liberals: Justin Trudeau. Doubts, cultivated by millions in Conservative advertisements, have taken root about his readiness to govern and his ability to lead. Unhelpfully, he has added to those doubts. It follows, therefore, that Trudeau himself is best positioned to address and overcome those concerns. To answer his critics, silence the cynics and rally the uncertain.

Trudeau is the question. But for the Liberals, he is also the answer. He has to be. There is no other.

It was Trudeau, after all, who single-handedly brought the Liberal Party back to life after the cataclysm of the 2011 election. He personally lifted it from third place in the Commons to first place in the polls. He re-professionalized the party’s operations, nursed it back to financial health and excited Canadians with an electric dose of generational change. Now the job needs finishing.

Two things are required of Trudeau before the formal campaign begins. Two things that only he can personally deliver.

First, he must be the better un-Harper. There is a competition underway to show who most clearly stands for change. The two-thirds of Canadians looking to show this government the door want to see a champion. Someone able to peel the paint off Harper’s Conservatives but also able to articulate a brand of change that has street-level resonance. That takes something more than policy. It takes a plan – one that is easy to articulate, to repeat and to understand.

Second, he must be real. The worst part of the past few months for the Liberals hasn’t been C-51 or an NDP resurgence. It has been the weakened connection between the Liberal leader and voters. Change voters must hear a change mantra – and they must find it believable. What is Trudeau’s sense of mission and purpose? What is he about? Why is he there? No pat answers about building a better future for his family and everyone’s family. Give us something un-sanded. Something that sticks. Something sharp. What gets his blood up? What would he fight for? After ten years of a prime minister who has locked Canadians out, one way to represent change is to offer people a peek inside.

The Liberals have just as good a chance to win the October election as the Conservatives or the NDP. Probably even better. But the hard truth is that Trudeau is going to have to do it. And in order to do it, he’s going to have to soon do a few things differently.

Scott Reid is a principal at Feschuk.Reid and a CTV News political analyst. He was director of communications for former prime minister Paul Martin.

I agree with Mr Reid: Justin Trudeau might be a real winer, a game changer for the Liberal Party of Canada but he is, also, right now, it's ...


M Trudeau is, undeniably, a nice, personable, likeable young man, but he is, thus far, sadly lacking in gravitas, what the Brits call "bottom." Messers Harper and Mulcair have lots and lots of bottom, the both positively reek gravitas; no one much likes them but most people agree they are serious men, men of substance, men who can lead ...

M Trudeau has, rightfully, targeted the middle class ... the middle class votes, and it votes with its pocketbooks. But Prime Minister Harper and M Mulcair have also targeted the middle class, and they may be more credible ... they are, after all, authentic middle class Canadians, themselves. The problem with getting M Trudeau's message out is that Prime Minister Harper and Thomas Mulcair, both, have already cast real doubt on M Trudeau's middle class credentials.

But, I think it is the gravitas, the issue of "bottom," that is the biggest hole in M Trudeau's boat, and that what may sink him.
David Akin Tweets that the latest Liberal ad is false:


David Akin ‏@davidakin  May 29
Latest #LPC fundraisr claims (falsely) that #CPC is using tax dollars for “another attack ad blitz on Trudeau”
24 retweets 4 favorites
While I do not doubt that the PM can and will remain on message for the next several months, as with any long-serving government there is an ever-widening circle of appointees and hangers-on now associated with the government and ruling party, providing opponents with an ever-increasing array of potential missteps to target.

While I don't expect anyone to pull up to a news conference on a jet ski, I'm certain that there are any number of duffers about that the NDP and Liberals are aware of and are getting ready to use in campaign ads to attempt to discredit the Conservatives.
dapaterson said:
While I do not doubt that the PM can and will remain on message for the next several months, as with any long-serving government there is an ever-widening circle of appointees and hangers-on now associated with the government and ruling party, providing opponents with an ever-increasing array of potential missteps to target.

While I don't expect anyone to pull up to a news conference on a jet ski, I'm certain that there are any number of duffers about that the NDP and Liberals are aware of and are getting ready to use in campaign ads to attempt to discredit the Conservatives.

And David Akin picks up on that in this column which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Sun:


Tories, Liberals face political peril in exploding Senate scandal

David Akin

OTTAWA - For most Canadians, if there’s just one bit of Parliament Hill news they’ve heard about in the last year, it would be Mike Duffy and the Senate expense scandal.

Well, next week, Canadians are about to hear a lot more about both of those things, all of which could be bad news for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives and, to a lesser degree, for Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals.

On Monday, Duffy’s trial on 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery continues continues after a three-week break. It is not going to end anytime soon. In fact, when a group of reporters asked one of the prosecutors a few weeks ago if this trial could run until Christmas, the response was “which Christmas?”

So far, there haven’t been any major political bombshells, just a lot of back-and-forth between the defence and the prosecution to set the ground rules and the context for the charges.

From a political standpoint, the big witness will be Nigel Wright, who was fired from his job as Harper’s chief of staff after he tried to make the Duffy problem go away by cutting a cheque worth $90,000 from his own personal account to Duffy which Duffy was apparently to use to re-pay the Senate for expense claims he received which, if they were not illegal, certainly defied political common sense.

When all of this news about Duffy and Wright broke in 2013, the group that seemed most angry about all of it was — grassroots Conservatives! These were the folks who had been sending in $20 a month to a party that they believed stood for cleaning things up in government. And now, here was evidence that the party they’d been sending their money to was no better than those darned Liberals. Many stopped sending those cheques.

But that was 2013. And I believe that while the Conservatives suffered political fallout from the Duffy/Wright revelations in 2013, Duffy’s long trial - by itself — would be unlikely to be a significant factor at the ballot box this fall. A lot of those Conservatives, more worried about the prospects of Trudeau becoming prime minister than the ethics of the Duffy scandal, have resumed their political donations.

But Duffy appears to be just the first of what could be many senators in trouble. In August, the trial of former Liberal senator Mac Harb, on charges of breach of trust and fraud, begins.

Former Conservative senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin are already under investigation by the RCMP for expense abuses.

And in week ahead, Auditor General Michael Ferguson will finger as many as 10 more senators as candidates for an RCMP investigation.

Ferguson has spent a colossal sum — $21 million! — to have an army of auditors comb through every travel, food, and housing claim made by just about any senator who sat in the red chamber from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013. If you’re a fan of the Senate — and most Canadians are not — his findings will not be pretty.

And so, by the end of the week, Canadians will have one senator — Duffy — already in front of a judge, another former senator about to go on trial, active RCMP investigations into two other senators and a pile of new allegations against another 10.

This is the point at which, I suspect, Canadians throw up their hands and conclude that we need a change in Ottawa. Any change.

That, to a large degree, is what Albertans recently concluded. It was a rot of a different kind in Alberta than we see in the Senate of Canada but it was a rot that a poorly run campaign by the incumbent Progressive Conservatives could not overcome. And Albertans chose change. And the agent of change happened to be Rachel Notley and the Alberta New Democrats.

The Senate scandal now involves and will likely involve politicians who sat in Harper’s caucus and some who sat in the caucus of Justin Trudeau and other Liberal leaders. None have ever sat in Thomas Mulcair’s NDP caucus.

If Canadians are disgusted by what they will see in the Senate expense scandal next week, expect Mulcair to be loudly and often making the case that he, like Notley, can be Canada’s agent of change.

I agree with David Akin on the reactions, then, in 2013, and now in 2015, of the Conservatives' grassroots supporters and on the reaction of Canadians, writ large, if, and I think it's a Big IF, they are, indeed "disgusted by what they will see in the Senate expense scandal next week." I'm just not so sure that it will be as large an issues as Mr Akin thinks or hopes. I suspect that everyone from Bryce Mackasey, Brian Mulroney, David Dingwell and, now, Mike Duffy, have desensitized Canadians to political chicanery ... we've given up hope on ethical standards in politics, as, I guess, we should.  :-\
I think (hope?) that Conservative supporters may have been inured to the Senate scandal.

Harper and the Conservatives are on record as "recognizing" the weaknesses of the Senate.  They can argue that this system is not their preferred system, that they proposed alternatives, that the alternatives were shot down by the Senate, the Provinces, the Courts and the Opposition.

That may not go very far with the Harper-Haters on the extremes but it might be enough to keep the core on side, and properly packaged might go someways to energize them and even to sway some middle of the road types.  The alternative is that it might just disgust the moderates that they decide to put a pox on all their houses and stay home.

What could be emphasized is that Mike Duffy and Pam Wallin, as well as many other non-party appointments, were popular individuals in their own right when they were appointed.  That eased their appointment in the first place.

If the Auditor-General's report demonstrates that the problem is endemic, which Duffy's trial and the ever increasing number of Senators falling afoul of the apparently non-existent rule book seems to suggest, then that could be used to bolster a "tried but failed" argument for reform.

The problem then becomes one of which reform might Canadians prefer: one which relies on taking on the Supreme Court as an opponent of change; or one based on chucking out the brutes entirely.

What's missing is recognition that the Senate is a separate body and controls itself.  Harper's real responsibility ends with his power of appointment.  Harper's real mistake ends with his bad judgement regarding some of his selections.  Harper's only scandal is Wright's well-meant but foolish and improper attempt to help Duffy clear the debt of expenses denied.

Harper invested a bit of time and political capital investigating how the Senate might be reformed and got some answers to legal questions.  He was reluctant to make any appointments until the coalition-that-might-have-been forced him to recognize that there would be more appointments - his, or someone else's.  He isn't the roadblock to change.
I'm not so sure that l'affaire Duffy matters anywhere near as much as many in the media want it to ... ditto for the trial of former Senator Mac Harb which, the Ottawa Citizen reports "has been postponed into the new year."

Kilo_302 said:
I can't for the life of me understand how anyone who is opposed to greater government meddling in our lives would ever consider voting for either the Liberals or the Conservatives in this election. Those parties' support for C-51, a bill which every editorial board in every newspaper in Canada, just about every legal specialist and every political scientist has declared as being dangerous, illegal and in the end ineffective, shows them to be fundamentally opposed to democracy.

interesting article on that very subject here:


Although I'm unsure if it would trigger a coalition (liberals are supporting the legislation and the NDP is opposed), it is interesting to note that it might drain some votes away from the CPC.  Could we actually see a Libertarian elected?  at the very least I wouldn't be surprised if their share of the vote goes up significantly across the country despite not winning a seat.
The title of that article when first posted was "Bill C-51 Could See Conservative Support Swing to Libertarian Party of Canada..." Sigh, it's still the CBC I guess, but the name drop with the big three parties is big news for us.

I am quite confident we will surpass expectations and make a splash. We now officially have the most candidates we've had since 1988, with twice as many applications to sort through, and its still months away from the election. Tim Moen just quit his well paying, secure job as Battalion Chief of a fire department in Fort McMurray to go at this full time (without a salary I might add), and since then he's been making some big trips and attracting some big names like Jeff Berwick, Alexander Johnson, and more to come. It's not too to change your vote from "status quo" to true, meaningful change for Canada! [/end shameless plug]
I "like" M Trudeau. He is a pleasant young man ~ just the sort of fellow one might like to have as a colleague at work or a neighbour. I wish him, and his family, well.

My problems with M Trudeau are political, not personal.

I have two major problems:

    1. His résumé, which is very, very light. Now, I'm the first to admit that Prime Minister Harper's résumé was pretty thin, too, when he took over the Alliance and then the newly formed CPC, but he had some record of policy positions; and

    2. Gerald Butts, his "puppet master." Butts is intelligent, politically smart, focused and driven. He is also one of the prime architects of the policies that Dalton McGuinty (and now Kathleen Wynne) followed to drive Ontario to near ruin.

I think M Trudeau was, and remains, sincere in wanting to have a more open, more "fair" Liberal Party and I suspect that it is Gerlad Butts who is behind the latest (of many) moves to pick star candidates rather than to allow riding associations to choose who they want ~ as Justin Trudeau promised.

So, now I have a third "problem" with M Trudeau:

    3. He's weak. He cannot show us the real Justin Trudeau because Gerald Butts has forced him to submerge himself under a campaign image, and he's not man enough to push himself forward.

I guess that a few of you are going to vote for the Liberals because you really approve of their policies (what little they've shown us, so far) and you like and trust M Trudeau; good for you ~ go for it. I believe that many of you are going to vote against Prime Minister Harper for a variety of reasons: some tied to specific policies, some just based on the fact that it's time to "throw the rascals out;" good on you, too, but, please, consider who will get your votes ... you have choices based on both policies and people. If it was me looking for ABC (Anyone But Conservatives) I would look, closely, at who is leading the Liberals Party: is it Justin Trudeau or is it Gerlad Butts?

I think that your three points hold a lot of weight.  Point two has particular relevance in my Riding, and one of the reasons I would be hesitant to be swung over to the Liberals.
Interesting point about Gerald Butts. If more Canadians knew his name and association with the downfall of Ontario, then the LPC would probably evaporate in that province (especially whereLiberal policies have decimated the industreal base), and quite possibly give more people a loong pause when considering which party to vote for.
Thucydides said:
Interesting point about Gerald Butts. If more Canadians knew his name and association with the downfall of Ontario, then the LPC would probably evaporate in that province (especially whereLiberal policies have decimated the industreal base), and quite possibly give more people a loong pause when considering which party to vote for.

I thought that would have happened in the last provincial election but look what happened... :rage:
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