“Mr. Ford: Is this you in the still shot of the video you claim doesn’t exist – Yes or No?”
Is this you, Mayor Ford?
Has any reporter asked Mayor Ford this (or his fill-in for questions, brother Doug)?
It would seem to me if he’s denying that he smokes crack, or that the purported video showing him smoke crack doesn’t even exist, surely that Yes-No question should elicit a definitive reply from him or his brother.
Canada sure has been in the news a lot of late. Unfortunately, it’s about the wrong reasons. The Senate expenses scandal and the subsequent resignation of Nigel Wright made the NY Times billboard in Times Square. We subsequently then have a Peruvian reporter out of the blue asking Harper on his trip to Peru during his brief news conference why the Canadian people should trust him that he knew nothing about the affair (but we’ve learned how our Canadian media can get Harper to answer difficult questions he refuse to take at home: just get their friends in the international media to ask them).
We also have the Rob Ford debacle; where we have US late night comedians openly mocking him and the city. We have international coverage of that as well (see the impressive list of folks that noticed world-wide).
We’re not exactly a shining beacon to the world at the moment.
ON the other hand, if both of these instances helps to remove conservative/Conservative presences in both of these positions in a couple of years, I’m prepared to wince and bear it.
On this Victoria Day holiday Monday, I was reading some interesting Twitter tweets from Frank Graves, the President of Ekos Research, one of the polling companies here in Canada. He was discussing in part the poor voter turnout we’ve generally had in federal and provincial elections the past few years, in part the bad polling that totally misread the BC election. The sequence of his Tweets that caught my eye reads as follows:
There is one easy solution to fixing poor polling predictions, horrid vote suppression tactics and anemic youth voting—-mandatory voting…If everybody votes parties must market policies to all; suppression is muted,pollsters focus on modelling populations (not guessing turnout)..Australia has used since 1924 with good results (90% turnout and 80% support in polls) …It’s time! Even a sunset trial to get rid of the scourge of suppression and youth disengagement…Mandatory voting refocus polling on modeling entire populations rather than guess at turnout/ ignore non voters/more democratic+scientific….permanent campaign now spends huge resources , not on policy , but on figuring out who to target , who to get out to vote, who to keep home..
And in response to those who thought it would be heavy-handed to force people to vote:
I used to agree but sometimes inventory of evils outweighs modest sacrifice of personal liberty…you can spoil your ballot… when more people are staying home than voting we slip from democracy to oligarchy.
I don’t have a particular objection to this proposal for mandatory voting. As long as the “spoil your ballot” to register disgust with the political process remains an option, I think perhaps it should be considered, because bluntly, I honestly don’t think switching to proportional representation or Ranked ballot or trying out “internet voting” is going to help any participation rates go up.
My only additional requirement would be that they put Election Day either on a weekend, or make it a national holiday to give everyone the opportunity to vote, rather then employers or employees fretting about the time off from work to go vote being used as an excuse not to.
An interesting article from the CBC talking with the BC Liberals internal pollster, who predicted a Liberal Majority with 48 seats, and was off by only 2 (and by 2 more – they eneded up with 50, pending any recounts).
Why was his polling better then every other public domain pollster? He says it’s because he used traditional phone polling, not these internet panels:
Pantazopoulos says where his findings differ from the other pollsters is that he relies entirely on traditional telephone polling rather than online research. He says that approach allows him to access a wider swath of the electorate. “Every resident of the province with a phone line has an equal chance of being selected,” said the pollster. “There’s probably more people who answer their phone than belong to any particular internet panel or participate in online surveys.”
And this blunt thing about younger voters and their propensity to use cellphones:
When asked whether traditional telephone polling excludes younger voters who do not own landline phones, Pantazopoulos responded that low youth voter turnout addresses that concern.
“The sad reality is that young people don’t vote.”
This is why I distrust internet panels for polling. On that note, there are 2 polls out now for Ontario that BigCityLib mentions at his site. Abacus uses the internet panel which shows a dead heat between the PC’s and Liberals, while Innovative Research used the traditional phone method, and shows a 7 point Liberal lead for the Kathleen Wynne led government.
At this point, seeing the performance of the internet panels out in BC, who would you be more inclined to believe?
Can you find anyone other then the BC Liberals who felt they were going to win a majority last night (did they even think that?). I would suspect that number is a handful. Nevertheless, when all was said and done, the BC Liberals are back in power (despite Christy Clark losing her own seat) and INCREASED their seat total. I’m not particularly thrilled with that result - I hold to my view that they are the LINO (Liberals In Name Only) Party out there for the most part – but, I congratulate them. Another observation is that I am dismayed at the voter turnout – only 48%. I wonder if all the negative campaigning the BC Libs did against Dix had a drag on it. (EDIT: as of this article, it’s “up” to 52%- still very shoddy, and far less then what the Labrador By-election managed).
What does amuse me however, is how once again, the polling companies were so wrong. You may remember they predicted a Wild Rose Party victory in Alberta (a substantial one) and yet the Progressive Conservatives were returned with a very comfortable majority. This time, they showed the Liberals closing the gap, but none of them had this majority or percentage of vote in their polling radar. The last major poll the day before yesterday by Ipsos-Reid had a 9 point NDP Lead: 45-36. Other pollsters such as Angus-Reid showed similar gaps – with only Forum Research being anywhere remotely close – they showed a 2 point NDP lead. I note that of the major polling companies out there, it appears only Forum was using phone polling – they use what is called IVR (Interactive Voice Response) – basically automated phone polling that gives voters a choice (“Press 1 for so and so”). The others were using the new recent fad amongst polling companies, which is the Internet Panel – a method I’ve long been skeptical of about how reliable it is to use a setup that has no margin of error built into it. After tonight’s result – there should be some hard questions as to the methodology over selecting people who have volunteered to join a panel to give their opinions on how they would vote. That said, Forum Research shouldn’t be bragging about being the “least wrong”, so polling methodology overall has to be looked at and corrected, else polling in Canada is at risk of being deemed unreliable for showing voting intentions.
This election result should also be a warning to Justin Trudeau and his desire to run a “positive campaign”. While admirable, it may not be a winning strategy. Ask Adrian Dix about that. At the very least, Justin and his team will need to stress from the beginning that ‘going positive’ refers to the fact they will not attack Prime Minister Harper personally; it should not mean they ignore or not point out every policy of his and his Conservative Party that they feel merits an argument to Canadian voters that they are wrong for the country. Mr Dix appears to have ignored that – at least until belatedly in the campaign – which then left him open to the charge from the BC Liberals and some in the BC media that he was flip-flopping on his original promise. That was ridiculous, as pointing out policies that are not popular or which you feel should be unpopular is not going negative, but the charge may have worked.
Justin may feel he is immune to that, having a bit more charisma then Mr Dix does, but I think he would ignore this result at his electoral peril.
Its been awhile since I’ve posted, so I figured why not 2 on the same day (plus it gives me something else to do besides continue lamenting last night’s tragic Maple Leafs loss).
I just wanted to say I’m very pleased to read that the ranked ballot initiative proposed for Toronto Mayoralty elections – better known by the group name that supports it – RaBIT – survived a 3-3 committee vote to indefinitely table/defer it (which would have in essence killed it) and now goes on to the full Toronto City Council for a vote on whether to recommend to the province that Toronto wishes to change the Mayor’s election to Ranked Ballots. If the RaBIT page is to be believed, they already have a majority on City Council who will support that move, with others perhaps indicating in private they will support it when it comes up for vote. (The committee could also have voted to recommend to City Council that they supported RaBIT, but that also got “defeated” – likely in a 3-3 split, so it was presented to City Council without a recommendation in support or against it)
In case you wonder what ranked ballot is:
Under a ranked ballot system, voters rank their favourite candidates — 1 for their favourite, 2 for their second favourite, and so on — rather than selecting their one top choice. A candidate must earn a majority, not just more votes than the next-best candidate. If nobody has more than 50 per cent when all of the first-place votes are tallied, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and the second choices of the people who voted for that person are immediately allocated to the others. The “instant runoff” process of elimination continues until somebody reaches the 50-plus-one threshold.
All the major political parties use a form of ranked or “Instant Runoff” vote, so it shouldnt be a big step to introduce it here. Personally, I wish RaBiT would have been a bit more bold and asked for this to apply to City Councillor elections as well, but perhaps they figured they should be cautious about it.
Oh, and if you wish to see what a legislative “poison pill” attached to a bill looks like, or at least an attempted one, take a look at some of the “amendments” that the Ranked Ballot Initiative opponents on the committee tried to insert into the bill. The purpose of trying to attach these is to make the main bill unpalatable to supporters and cause them to vote against it. Fortunately, the 3 Councillors who supported RaBIT being given a chance to be debated voted on by the entire City Council were having none of it (i.e. I love Mammolitti’s motion to amend it to recommend that a province of Toronto be created).
Prime Minister Harper called Peter Penashue the greatest MP representative Labrador has ever had. Cabinet Ministers went into that riding (though notably not Harper) declaring that a re-elected Penashue would continue to give Labrador influence – while darkly hinting a Liberal win would not.
Labrador voters rejected those claims, as well as Penashue:
Penashue quit his cabinet post and his job as MP in March after it was revealed the Conservative party had reimbursed the federal government more than $40,000, the value of ineligible contributions accepted by his campaign in the 2011 election…After his resignation, fellow Conservative MPs declared he was a “great representative” that had delivered for his constituents. But voters in Labrador proved not so enthusiastic Monday.
The official vote tally from Elections Canada showed Liberal Yvonne Jones won with over 48% of the vote. There was 59.5% turnout – which for a byelection seems pretty high to me. It appears voters wanted their voices to be heard, and Harper’s Conservatives have heard it. Will they listen? Unlikely.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has a decision to make soon on whether or not to support the Ontario Liberal government’s budget; failure to support it (or at least an actual vote against versus an abstain) plunges the province back into an election campaign.
She’s been given competing advice on what to do: on the one hand, you’ve got Toronto Mayor Rob Ford urging his ideological foes to oppose the Budget and go back to an election campaign, because according to Ford, that’s what taxpayers want.
An opinion poll just released today, however, would show that unsurprisingly, Rob Ford is probably wrong about his claim:
About half of Ontarians want the NDP to support the minority Liberals’ budget, which would avert a snap June election, a new poll suggests. In the first public opinion survey since Finance Minister Charles Sousa introduced a spending plan on Thursday crafted to appease the New Democrats, 48 per cent said the NDP should back the Liberals with 36 per cent opposed while 16 per cent had no opinion.
If I were the NDP, I’d rather be listening to the strong plurality of voters then to Rob Ford, who should be worrying more about municipal politics at Toronto City Hall – he’s got enough issues there to keep him busy.
This is a post that some (but not all) of my BC Liberal acquaintances may not like, but as the BC Election draws near and the polls tighten, I’ll say without apology that to me, it would not be a bad thing if the provincial BC Liberal Party gets dumped out of office and the NDP led by Adrian Dix takes over the reins of power.
I’ve made it rather publicly known that I consider the BC Liberals LINO’s (Liberals In Name Only) who should be returning the name “Liberal” back to us as the party stands in its current form. Any party that counts Stockwell Day as one of its supporters (and doesnt shy away from it – trying to point out that other Conservative ex-Ministers support them) and also counts several ex-Harper advisers in its ranks (and also doesnt shy away from it) does an injustice to being called a “Liberal Party”.
(I always cringe when some BC Liberals try to defend this as a “free enterprise coalition” – that alone should tell you the political ideology of those folks. I’ve yet to see evidence that the BC NDP is going to impose provincially-run socialist communes or nationalize every industry known to BC).
To be sure, the BC NDP aren’t perfect.. Adrian Dix’s flip-flop on whether he’d allow the Kinder-Morgan pipeline to be built was a political ploy designed to beat off the Green Party off of his environmental flank (but which should also tell you that in his original position he held, Dix isnt exactly the re-incarnation of Karl Marx).
That said, the BC Liberals could use a time in the wilderness, and find its progressive (and actual Liberal/liberal) self.
I find the revelations that several Conservative MP’s are uneasy and not willing to participate in the “10 percent’er” mass mail attack ad campaign that the Conservative Party plan against Justin Trudeau to be rather fascinating (privately as well, apparently). I’m curious of course why there is unease now at this, when there certainly wasn’t or wouldn’t be if this was Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff, and this mailing was planned for Conservative-held ridings – mostly friendly territory you would think, for the usual smear stuff like this.
Are individual MP’s getting more flack from their riding’s voters then we publicly know – and is it due to the fact the public are getting tired of this type of negative politics, or do they oppose this being spent on the taxpayer’s dime?
My own anecdotal feeling is this: while other reasons such as above may apply, I have a feeling there is a fairly deep public reservoir of good-will towards Justin from the public that has been around basically since he gave his stirring eulogy at his father’s funeral way back in 2000, and they know (or they think they know) Justin well enough that this mud-slinging stuff is at the moment not being appreciated.
I’m certain of one thing, whatever the reasons are for this, it isn’t because individual Conservative MP’s suddenly developed a moral conscience overnight that told them to agree with Justin Trudeau on running positive campaigns and to privately/publicly disagree with their top brass.
(As a P.S., in my own riding of Oxford, a Conservative deep-blue riding if there ever was one, I’ll be very interested to see if MP Dave Mackenzie mails any of these out. I also am not particularly surprised from the article above that Harper has not yet privately phoned Justin to offer him congratulations as has been done in the past. I think the Prime Minister despises the legacy of Pierre Trudeau, and projects that onto his son – now his potentially greatest threat to unseat him).