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Ontario Debate Aftermath #voteon

My initial (biased) impressions of the debate are:

- As someone who is supporting the OLP, I’d have much preferred if Wynne had started stronger, but the first two topics were always going to be the tough ones, and I’m not sure whether I’d have done much better. I did think she recovered after that and “held the line” as it were. I don’t think she was struck with any fatal blow per se. I know on social media some people were commenting on Premier Wynne’s hand movements, but I’ve always found Ms. Wynne to be a demonstrative person; she was like that at the OLP leadership convention as well. If you’re not going to vote for her based on hand movements, you probably weren’t going to vote for her anyhow.

- Hudak came out on top, but he still came out looking swarmy and still not very likeable. I also think the statement that “he knew in his heart” his million jobs plan would work -when it’s been almost universally panned by economists and pundits alike – and then the offer to resign if it didn’t (after 8 years) may have blunted a more solid victory for him.

- Horwath had some zingers, but still didn’t seem to offer much in platform or specifics. I think she could have done a lot better.

Will this move polls? It will depend if anyone watched this debate, and when they tuned in (or tuned out), but we shall see. (Initial polling would suggest it didn’t hurt the Liberals at all; but again only one poll from a pollster I’ve had doubts about in the past)

By the way, I disliked this format – both style and length- immensely. It also managed to avoid the education topic (they took Q’s from viewers), which I would think should be a fairly prominent issue. So, I don’t know what other format I’d prefer, but definitely not this one. (There also should be more debates then then, but that’s another topic)

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Wynne & OLP have (polling) momentum going into debate

… or so it would appear from the latest polling. Ekos had a 5 pt OLP lead yesterday, while Abacus had a 2 or 7 pt OLP lead (depending on their likely voter or all voter screen), and today Nanos finally enters the polling arena. The Nanos polling company has been promoting their Power Index stuff for awhile, so it takes some time to scroll down and find the actual poll results. but the OLP leads by 6.5% (and at 37.7%) when you do eventually find it.

What does that mean for tonight’s debate? It’s the last chance for the NDP’s Andrea Horwath to make an impression on voters – a good impression, that is. I don’t think she came out of the Northern Ontario debate that well, with just her and the Premier. She needs to put in a better effort tonight, and she has the benefit of Tim Hudak being there to also make some points, if she so chooses.

I’ll be most interested in the Hudak/Wynne dynamic. The OLP has just recently started running political ads attacking Hudak’s math on his oft-repeated million jobs plan – a strategy I’ve wanted them to do for awhile, and I’m anticipating Premier Wynne to be very aggressive with Tim Hudak tonight and to go after those #’s, and to approach it as if he were the front-runner in the polls.

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Advance polling in Ontario opens today – please #voteon

By now, most people in Ontario will have gotten their voting cards, or will shortly.

If you live in Ontario, regardless of who you support, I encourage you to go out and vote. There are plenty of people literally dying in the world fighting to have the right to live in a democracy and be able to pick their leaders this way. We should not take our rights for granted.

Fight cynicism, learn the issues and vote for who you think best represents your views, and help keep our democracy healthy.

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Your #voteon narrative for today: not good for opposition parties.

Your one narrative that is going around the media and which Premier Wynne has decided to target extensively today: Tim Hudak’s bungled million jobs plan numbers:

..Based on a backgrounder distributed by the Progressive Conservatives to journalists, but not posted on their website, it is clear that the planners confused person-years of employment with permanent jobs. This confusion led them to vastly overestimate the effect of their proposed job-creating measures. The result was that the half million jobs the Progressive Conservatives were promising to create with their plan (base-case economic growth was expected to provide the other half-million jobs) was really only about 75,000 (ST: my highlight) —fewer than the 100,000 public-sector jobs they were pledging to eliminate.

I’ve mused that it would be good timing for the Ontario Liberals to point out the bungled jobs plan in new TV/Radio ads, but perhaps they feel it might be too hard to explain, or that they’ll leave the media to skewer the jobs plan of Hudak.. but Premier Wynne talking about this at her rallies/press conferences is a good effective start to continue to hilight it.

The other highlight? The Ontario NDP being accused of trying to out-Conservative the Conservatives (and I’m purposely removing the “Progressive” part of their name for the rest of the campaign, but that’s another story):

Here is a province that, like the whole country, has a poverty challenge, something that used to be a staple of New Democratic discourse. Yet the provincial NDP all but ignores this challenge. It won’t touch income inequality, or have much to offer about trying to lift up the disadvantaged. Instead, it frets about gas prices and home heating oil and hydro rates for everyone, presumably because, like the other parties, it is now fixated on the ill-defined “middle class.” What is the NDP for if not to use government to achieve social purposes, rather than chatter on about “waste” and “duplication” and big public-sector salaries and fat-cat consultants? These are tired staples of anti-government rhetoric destined to turn voters against the idea that government is a responsible custodian of taxpayers’ dollars. No wonder dissident NDPers have gone public with their dismay at the party’s platform.

I’m not saying the Ontario Liberals have run a great campaign (a good campaign I think), but their task of being returned to government is being made a lot easier by the campaign tactics and mistakes of their 2 opponents. I’m not surprised at Hudak bungling things; he has a track record of doing that. I’m more surprised at Horwath’s tactics. She and her party were out-manoeuvred on the Budget, and chose to force an election over a very progressive Budget. Now she’s trying to pitch for the Conservative vote? I’m not sure that’s going to work – the polls so far would indicate the same thing.

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Effects of a US Style Canadian election (in length?)

I was browsing around this morning and caught this from the Hill Times about how our next election campaign may be (unofficially) 4 months long if Harper waits until October 2015:

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper sticks to the fixed election date in Oct. 19, 2015, the next federal election campaign will be the longest and the most expensive in Canadian political history as the unofficial campaign will start right after the House adjourns in June 2015 and will continue until the Oct. 19 election day…the 2015 election campaign could be the longest ever because the writ for the 36-day campaign would be issued Sept. 13. According to the Parliamentary calendar, the House is scheduled to adjourn on June 23, 2015 and return on Sept. 21.

The article is primarily concerned about how expensive the campaign will be – with pre-writ spending on advertising and so on. I’m more interested/concerned in how it might affect voter turnout. If the official/unofficial election campaign were 4 months long, Canadians would get a taste of what the US voters get in Presidential elections. Everyone knows when you vote for President; and unofficial election campaigning there starts out at least a year in advance. Heck, let’s throw the Congress elections in there as well.

Considering that Canadian voter participation in our elections has generally been on the decline in the last 20 years or so, what would the effect of an extended election campaign have? I’d wager a loonie that it would cause people to get sick of the campaign and election earlier then normal; and drive down participation (which a certain party in power may not consider a bad thing).

Now, there is no guarantee Harper will stick to his fixed election date law; but I fear that if he does, and we do get an unofficial 4 month election campaign, voter participation may drop into the 50-59% range.

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An interview with Brant MPP Dave Levac (Part 2 – Issues/Campaign)

Here is Part 2 of my conversation with Brant MPP and Speaker of the House Dave Levac I had with on Victoria Day Monday, dealing with the election campaign and issues. Part 1 of that conversation which dealt with him being Speaker and what that entails and his reflections on the past session can be found here. (As an aside, I was impressed he said at the end that he had made it a point to read my blog and found it had good material. Bonus marks for him. And no, that didnt make it into the transcript.. but yes, I have it on audio recording if anyone wants proof :) )

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Scott:We’re getting into the mid-stage point of the election campaign; how do you feel its been going so far, both in general for the OLP and for your campaign here in Brant?

Dave Levac: Well, 1st of all, I congratulate Kathleen Wynne’s team; they came out of the gate quite prepared and organized; quite prepared to defend the Budget that was presented; quite prepared in the new way the Liberal government is going to move itself – which direction they want to go, taking responsibility for mistakes made, and acknowledging them, and correcting them and making things better. So, I think overall, it was a good kickoff, and a good strong strategy to lay  into the setup for the election. As we know, It takes a little time for those that are on the ground that didn’t have that background preparedness. The team was ready – we decided to go a little slower out the gate this time, to allow the Premier to set the stage for us…and then take that and move that up into high gear a little later. So, we went a little slower at the beginning, and now we’re into full election mode.

Scott: Regarding election issues, there are general ones province wide that the Liberals and other opposition parties will spend time on. I’m wondering if any of the province wide themes you’re finding more talked about then others in Brant, and as a followup to that, are there any issues unique to the Brant riding that may play a part in this election.

Continue reading An interview with Brant MPP Dave Levac (Part 2 – Issues/Campaign)

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An interview with Brant MPP @DaveLevac (Part 1 – Speaker stuff)

I was up in Brantford yesterday and had the opportunity to visit the campaign offices of Dave Levac, current Liberal MPP for Brant and Speaker of the House in the past session. I was given the opportunity to have a sit down interview with Mr. Levac to discuss some questions on how the campaign was going and get some of his views on various topics. I wanted to thank Mr. Levac as well as Bob Yuhaz, director of communications for their hospitality and accommodation (and also to my friend Danielle Takacs, who took me out on a Dave Levac literature drop with her to some Brantford neighbourhoods. It reminded me the importance of volunteers in a campaign to do tasks like this)

Mr. Levac was very generous with his time and replies, and so I’ve decided to split the interview into two parts; the first part will be about his thoughts on being Speaker in general and what he dealt with this past term, and the 2nd part (posted likely tomorrow) will deal with the election campaign and issues in general

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Scott: This government had a challenging time during this mandate. Some have called it one of the more raucous sessions of the Legislature they’ve seen. I was wondering what you feel personally  was your biggest challenge during that time as Speaker?

Continue reading An interview with Brant MPP @DaveLevac (Part 1 – Speaker stuff)

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Whither the Ontario NDP’s social conscience?

I’ve been observing this Ontario campaign with some curiosity as to why the Ontario Liberals decided they were going to target Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP first in the (pre)-camapaign over them failing to support their rather progressive budget, rather then go after Tim Hudak’s far-right stances/policies, which seemed to be a more obvious thing to attack. I think its now apparent why: there are a lot of progressive traditional voters of the NDP that are disgruntled by her tack to the centre, illustrated very well by Carol Goar:

Ontario’s churches, charities, social activists and anti-poverty advocates issued a statement in the second week of the provincial election campaign, reminding candidates that more than a million Ontarians can’t afford food, safe housing and other basic necessities..But this time, there was something different. The New Democrats, to whom the disadvantaged have always looked for support, were the least responsive of the three parties….She triggered the election by rejecting the most progressive provincial budget in decades, one that would have raised the minimum wage, increased the Ontario Child Benefit, improved welfare rates, and provided more support to people with disabilities. she left MPPs such Cheri DiNovo, a longtime advocate of the vulnerable and marginalized, without a social justice platform to stand on. (Scott’s note: DiNovo is being opposed in her riding by long time blogging friend of mine and Liberal netroots activist Nancy Leblanc)….There are still three weeks left in the campaign. Horwath could still reach out to low-income Ontarians. But at this point, she appears to be auditioning for the role of waste-buster and austerity advocate.

Horwath as not discouraged this view, arguing she is trying to cast herself in the mold of Roy Romanow and Tony Blair – folks that weren’t exactly NDP purists on positions. They of course got into power arguably because of that. The question is whether the traditional NDP supporters in Ontario are comfortable with that approach (never thought I’d hear an NDP leader say they’d appoint a Minister to find/reduce waste/expenses.. they probably haven’t either)

If you look at polls, including the latest Ekos poll out last night, which has the Liberals leading the PC’s by 7, and Frank Graves of Ekos describing the NDP’s campaign as “hapless” and having “imploded”, it appears the traditional NDP supporters aren’t liking what they see. They appear to be shifting to the Liberals, and something I didn’t think could happen has; Kathleen Wynne and the OLP is outflanking the NDP on the left. Will that trend be reversed, or can Andrea produce some policies to appease her social democrat/progressive wing? At this point, I can’t say yes (though they’ve not really released ANY of their election planks yet for scrutiny,so if they decide to get around to doing that.. perhaps they’ll surprise us)

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The end (or pause) of a blogging giant

You may not have caught this from CalgaryGrit, aka Dan Arnold, so I’ll post a link to it and briefly mention that he is taking a hiatus from regular blogging which he has done for the past 10 years because of job commitments with the Liberal Party that makes it rather awkward for him to blog (blogging and working as a party insider don’t mix, unfortunately).

I wanted to mention here what I have mentioned elsewhere: there are a few things Dan doesn’t mention in his piece that I am going to mention because he deserves credit for both. He was one of the original co-founders of Progressive Bloggers back in June of 2005 (I basically came up with the idea and pitched it to a few of the established “progressive” bloggers of the time. He and Wayne Chu actually took the idea and implemented/created the site), and also later of Liblogs, when he helped Jason Cherniak create that aggregator for Liberal-specific blogs (created later in that same year of 2005, if memory serves).

It is Progressive Bloggers I now have the privilege of running/being the site administrator for, and if not for his assistance, it would not be here.

I thank him for all of his blogging (one of the best bloggers out there), and I hope to see him return to blogging soon, once he helps defeat Stephen Harper at his new job.

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Ontario voters not liking Hudak’s Voodoo Economics

First off, yes, this is a Forum poll, but like BigcityLib, I’ll take it as a starting point as to what people think of Tim Hudak’s 100 000 public sector job cuts/1 million jobs created dual promises. So far, they don’t like it at all, or they don’t believe Timmy can do what he claims:

Nearly two-thirds of Ontarians disapprove of Tim Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public servants to streamline government, a new poll suggests..The Forum Research survey also found‎ 63 per cent do not think the Progressive Conservative leader will be able to create his promised 1 million new jobs

Thas has translated to the polls as well for party preference.. there has been an 8 point swing between the Liberals and the PC’s in just under 2 weeks from the prior Forum Poll:

Kathleen Wynne’s governing Liberals now lead with 38 per cent support to 35 per cent for the Conservatives, 21 per cent for Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, and 5 per cent for Mike Schreiner’s Greens. In the May 2 Forum poll, the Tories were at 38 per cent, the Liberals 33 per cent, the NDP 22 per cent, and the Greens at 6 per cent….Extrapolating the polling results suggests the Liberals would secure 68 seats in the 107-member legislature, the Conservatives 26, and the NDP 13.

Again, it’s Forum, a pollster I’ve often been critical of for their inconsistent polling results vs what actually happens, but I like the movement that it shows obviously. Let’s see if other pollsters confirm the shift that shows voters aren’t liking Tim Hudaks “voodoo economics”

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