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Blog Interview with Michael Levitt – LPC candidate for York-Centre

Today, I’m publishing an interview I’ve done with Michael Levitt, who is the LPC candidate for York-Centre. This was the riding held by such Liberal stalwarts as Art Eggleton and Ken Dryden. Mr. Dryden was one of those who got swept away in the Liberal collapse in the 905 region of Ontario back in the ’11 election. It is currently held by Mark Adler for the Conservatives, and Mr. Levitt is going to be trying hard to return it to the LPC. Here are a series of questions I asked Mr. Levitt (who I had the pleasure of meeting in February at the Montreal Convention) and his responses. I thank him for taking the time to do this with me.

1) I’ve seen on your website you’ve been involved in a lot of volunteer causes and campaigns. What made you decide you wanted to run to be the official candidate for the Liberals in your riding of York-Centre?

Continue reading Blog Interview with Michael Levitt – LPC candidate for York-Centre

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Kate Holloway and Dan Fox for Toronto City Council; more endorsers for Danielle Takacs

A couple of items for you today. I don’t live in Toronto, so you might be wondering why I would endorse folks who are running for Toronto City Council. Quite simply, I’ve known Dan and Kate personally for a long time from their provincial and federal connections, and I count them as friends, so why wouldn’t I?

Dan Fox is who I’ll talk about first; I’ve previously mentioned him, but I’ll mention him again: he is running in Ward 24 against a city councillor who I understand voted for Rob Ford supported agenda items a fair bit. That makes me doubly want to see Dan get elected here. You’ll note from Warren’s nod of support he has a fundraiser coming up next Sunday July 20. I hope it will be well attended.
Kate Holloway is my next person I want to endorse: She has announced at Facebook she will be running in Ward 20. I’ve known Kate for eight years politically. She was an Ontario Liberal Party candidate in 2007 in Trinity-Spadina, and she’s been involved with the Federal Green Party prior to that, so she has a lot of progressive credentials going for her. She currently serves as Executive Director of Element Village, a Toronto-focused energy non-profit dedicated to developing, funding and promoting sustainable community projects. Her web site will be up shortly, as will her Facebook page, but until then, you can follow her on Twitter at @katemholloway – she has a linkedin profile there in her Twitter bios you can also read up on.

Next on the agenda, my friend Danielle Takacs, who as I’ve mentioned prior and as you can see at the sidebar, I’m supporting for the Federal Liberal nomination in Brant, has been rolling out more endorsers the past few days. She got a (video) endorsement from Keith Torrie, the former Young Liberals of Canada National Director. She also picked up a couple of endorsements from the former President and Vice-President of the local Brant Young Liberals – Derek Vollebregt and Alyna Poremba. TOday, she rolled out her newest endorser – Greg Crone. Mr. Crone is the Haldimand-Norfolk Liberal EDA President, and also the VP Communications on the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) Executive Council, and he gives his video endorsement here.

There are more to come ; it should be coming apparent (hopefully to Brant Liberals in particular) that Danielle has a lot of experience working with a lot of different people both federally and locally. She would be well experienced if she were elected MP to deal with folks at the federal and local level. First off though, she has to win the nomination, and I hope Brant Liberals will take these endorsements as a measure of how capable Danielle will be, and how she will make a great candidate.

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Interview with Tyler Banham – running to be LPCO President

I’ve had the chance to have an interview with Tyler, the current Executive VP of the LPCO, who recently announced he will be running for the LPCO President position. That will be voted on by delegates Sept 12-14 in Markham (the same convention will also elect LPCO VP of Communications – which Jeff Jedras is running for and who I endorsed last week)

I was curious about this position, what it entails, and why someone would want to run for it, so I asked Tyler for an interview, which he agreed to. I submitted 5 questions to him, and his replies are below (Note: I am neutral in this race so far; I just saw an opportunity for an interview and asked, and Tyler was gracious enough to do this with me, and I thank him for doing so)

You may have already stated this when you announced your candidacy, but what made you decide you wanted to (or needed to) run for the LPCO President position?

Continue reading Interview with Tyler Banham – running to be LPCO President

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Endorsed candidates – news for a #Brant one, and a new LPCO one!

I was very pleased to receive an email from Jeff Jedras – a Liberal blogger compatriot and friend of mine who has long blogged at A BC’er in Toronto, and who has announced he will be seeking the position of vice-president, communications of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario):

I have watched with concern and frustration at the growing disengagement of Canadians with federal politics — a trend encouraged and exploited by the Harper government. I believe we can and must reverse this trend, and it begins with giving Liberal activists across Ontario — you and me — the tools we need to bring our fellow citizens back into the political process.

I have said the following elsewhere, but I’ll repeat it here for the Liberal readers of this blog – I’ve known Jeff for a long time from the social media and blogging world, and if anyone knows communications, it’s Jeff. He would be a perfect and much needed fit for this position. He has my official endorsement, and I’ve added a home-made badge to the sidebar (which I hope he won’t mind). Clicking on the badge will go directly to his campaign website, but it is located here, if you want to do it the old fashioned way.

Speaking of badges and endorsements, you’ll notice a badge for Danielle Takacs over there as well, regarding my support for her to be the nominee for Brant for the LPC, and I wanted to note 2 important things that have happened via her newspage at her website in the past week and a bit: She has her first 2 endorsements up (and there will be more) that I wanted to focus on – first, there is this great endorsement from Ted McMeekin, the MPP for Brant’s neighbour Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale and the current Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
The 2nd endorsement she has posted is from local Brant business owner Rick Esselment, who became a LPC member to be able to support Danielle. While this may not seem as important to some, I can assure you this endorsement is just as important as any Ontario Cabinet Minister or well known Federal Liberal – maybe more important, because it’s from a local Brant Liberal, and all politics is local, as they say. It is folks like these who will help Danielle become the LPC nominee for Brant.

I’ve also said this elsewhere already, but I’ll also repeat it again: I encourage all folks/friends/acquaintances of Danielle in Brant to visit Danielle’s website; talk to her and consider signing up as LPC members with the intention of voting for her at a future LPC nomination meeting to be the LPC candidate in Brant for the 2015 general election.

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Federal Byelection thoughts/roundup

It was nice to see the media punditry declare that Justin Trudeau had passed another “test” of his leadership by winning 2 seats (gaining the former NDP held Olivia Chow seat of Trinity Spadina) and having a nice increase in the Alberta seats (where sadly my colleague Kyle Harrietha just came up a bit short, but he ran a great campaign). I don’t know how many more of these tests JT has to pass however before they decide he’s for real or a threat to Harper.

Speaking of Harper, he should be ashamed of himself for deliberately putting these byelections a day before Canada Day when most folks were probably taking the Monday off and going away on vacation. He managed the dubious record of not 1 but 2 byelections with less then 20% turnout rate (ironically, both in Alberta) for the first time in byelection voting history. I’ve little doubt he was hoping lower turnout would occur in the Toronto ridings and that the Liberals would lose 1 or both – and not mattering to which party. To be sure, the electors aren’t off the hook either – but Harper didn’t help matters.

Oh, and one other thing; this election made clear one other thing: Forum Research really needs to stop putting out byelection polls – because no one is going to take them or their firm seriously. I’ve yet to see them claim the Liberals didnt get their vote out in the Fort Mcmurray-Athabasca riding, as they claimed when their Brandon-Souris poll was horribly off – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of lame excuse… an apology would be more appropriate.

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Happy Byelection Day!

Yes, its Byelection Day in Canada, thanks to our PM Stephen Harper, who apparently wants to try to set new records for low turnout in byelections.

Nevertheless, there are fouer races to watch, with the 2 of most interest being in Trinity-Spadina and Fort-Mcmurray-Athabasca. Adam Vaughan, former TO city councillor is hoping to wrest away the former seat of Olivia Chow from the NDP. You might wonder why I’m interested in Ft Mcmurray, since its supposedly safe for the Tories; well, a) I know Kyle Harrietha – he was an early Liberal blogger and still promninenbt on social media, and I hope nothign but the best for him, and b) a Forum poll came out late last night that claimed the Liberals had an 8 point lead. Yes, its Forum, and yes, their prior byelection polls were way off the mark (Brandon-Souris), but I’m hoping in this case, they’re right.

In that instance, perhaps the low turnout that Harper seemed to be counting on will come back to bite him.

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Some Liberal bits and bites – provincial and federal

- Re-elected Premier Kathleen Wynne will be swearing in her new provincial Cabinet today. One of the chief shuffles I’m pleased to see is Dr. Eric Hoskins moving into the Health Ministry portfolio. I’ve been a long time supporter of his from his running as a federal LPC candidate in Haldimand Norfolk and before that heading up War Child Canada (now headed by his wife, Dr.Samantha Nutt). I’m also pleased to see Mitzie Hunter, who brought forth the private-members bill last session to allow ranked ballots to be used in Toronto’s civic elections, has been given a promotion to associate finance minister responsible for the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. I wish her well (and I hope the OLP won’t forget their promise to introduce a bill that will allow ALL municipalities to use ranked-ballot if they so desire)

- It’s time once again to think about federal politics and Liberal Party of Canada candidates. I was just mentioning in my last post about where we could potentially get more women candidates and MP’s for the Liberal Party, and one of those was my good friend Danielle Takacs running for the LPC nomination in Brant. Well, I am happy to bring to your attention 2 items involving Danielle. First, she is one of those featured in the June 2014 National Women’s Liberal Commission Newsletter. It talks about her background and her campaign.
Secondly, she has announced at her site she has officially resumed her campaign, after pausing it out of respect for the provincial election process. Check out her thoughts on that and what her “next steps” for her campaign are.

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More women MPP’s in Ontario; will there be more women MP’s after next federal election?

One of the things I was interested in highlighting today was comparing and contrasting post-Ontario election the number of women that are now active MPP’s in the new Ontario legislature, as there have been many discussions in recent years about the lack of female representatives running or being elected to the political halls of power, and what can be done to increase that.

Specifically, the Ontario Liberal Party has elected nine new Liberal women MPP’s, and has the most elected women MPP’s in caucus. Overall in the legislature, the combined three parties have elected 38 women MPP’s representing 35.5% of the Ontario legislature – the most women ever to sit in the Ontario legislature. A record 145 women candidates also ran in this election. These are all very good things, and a step in the right direction.

I say a step in the right direction because as the article says, 19 ridings had no women candidate to choose from, and I have read that of those 145 women candidates running, only 40 of the 145 women running were in ridings that were considered winnable by their party. That would indicate that a lot of these women were running in ridings were they were essentially electoral sacrificial lambs. While the increase in women candidates is good, there needs to be more of them in ridings where they have a legitimate chance to win.

Segue over to the federal scene – specifically for me, the Liberal Party of Canada. I believe we need to be choosing as candidates more women in winnable ridings to give ourselves a chance to increase their MP representation in our party and the House of Commons. I can give you a good example of where that can be; in the riding of Brant, where Danielle Takacs is running for the nomination. That riding has been Liberal before and can be Liberal again, and the LPC would have a good progressive candidate and a fresh new voice if she was nominated (disclosure: Danielle is a good friend, and I endorsed her candidacy back in February).

Let’s take a quick look at some of the other Ontario ridings:

Continue reading More women MPP’s in Ontario; will there be more women MP’s after next federal election?

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Was Tim Hudak Ontario’s version of Michael Ignatieff circa 2011?

I was thinking about that comparison as I digest a surprising Liberal majority in Ontario this AM (but the folks at Forum and Ekos with their last polls called it – so kudos to them. I think Nanos also had 1 poll out that pretty well mirrored the results).

Thinking back to 2011, Harper was (and still isn’t) not a universally loved leader, but Ignatieff was less popular then him (due both to attack ads and his personality in general, I’d argue). In Ontario, the OLP as a whole were not obviously loved by all due to some of their track record, but Hudak was disliked worse, it seems.

In 2011, it could be argued that Ignatieff did not make a good enough case to have voters get over their dislike of him to vote for him and the Liberals over Harper (contempt of Parliament was “the” reason the election was called). In 2014, Hudak tried to make the case by “cutting 100 000, but creating a million jobs”, but voters obviously didn’t buy that case either.

I would argue that in both 2011, and 2014, voters went with the status quo because they disliked the alternatives that were being presented to them.

At any rate, I congratulate Kathleen Wynne. She has a mandate, and I hope she plans on being a progressive Premier now that she has that mandate, as she ran to the left this whole campaign. (Personally, I hope to quickly see Ranked Ballot voting reform that she promised for not only Toronto but every municipality if they so choose to use it to be quickly re-introduced, and this time as a government bill, not a Private Member’s bill)

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Ontario final polls (almost): Pick a poll you like

…and then see which one after tomorrow night comes closest (Eric Grenier of threehundreeight.com did this nice photo of all polls he’s had up to this tweet)

I said almost in the title because Ekos may have an updated poll release before midnight tonight.. but we’ll see. The Eligible voter models are more or less close… its when you get into “Likely Voters” that divergence happens. It will be very interesting to see which models work and which dont – and also the accuracy of online polls vs IVR push button polling. Unfortunately, no recent telephone polling done, so we can’t compare that methodology, but it would have been nice to have.

As stated ad nauseam elsewhere, the uncertain polling means this is likely a battle of the parties GOTV operations, and where their pop vote and voters are concentrated.

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