Last night, there were 2 byelections in Ontario, which were seen as a test of what the political winds are like in Ontario these days. The Ontario Liberals and Premier Kathleen Wynne was hoping to wrest away Thornhill from the PC’s, while Niagara Falls, in Tim Hudak’s backyard, it was seen as a test to see which opposition party would wrest it away from the OLP.
It was not a very good night for the OLP: in Thornhill, the PC candidate won comfortably – with vote totals only slightly down from the last general election, while in Niagara Falls, Liberal support cratered, but fled mostly to the NDP, which gained a victory in a riding they haven’t had a rich history of winning.
What does that mean for the legislature? One would think these results would take some heat off of Tim Hudak, and allow him to continue his pressure on trying to bring the minority government down. What of Andrea Horwath, the leader of the NDP?
On the one hand, it may give her more leverage with Wynne in policy and budget talks to wrest more concessions out of the OLP. On the other hand, as one NDP political colleague pointed out, since 2011, the NDP has gained 4 seats in Ontario at the Liberals’ expense, while the PC’s are stuck in neutral, so she may start to believe that Liberal support will flee mostly to her (for those people wanting a change) in a general election. Wynne and the OLP may need to swallow some pride and negotiate more with the NDP on certain bills, policies, etc, if they want to avoid a Spring election (which, for someone like me that has a liberal/progressive view on politics, isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
One other thing I’ll mention; Forum Research, who has taken a lot of heat from folks (including me) on the accuracy of their polling, had an okay night last night. In the Falls, they overestimated NDP support by 9% and underestimated PC support by about 6%, while their Thornhill polling was more or less within the MOE of the result. Is it because they’ve improved their polling, or is it a case of a stopped clock being right twice a day? We’ll have to wait and see for the next set of elections, but I’m not prepared (yet) to say I trust their polling now.
A friend of mine on the Ontario Women’s Liberal Commission mentioned this, and took me up on my offer to help publicize the fact that the OWLC is looking for some executive positions to be filled:
The OWLC has several vacancies on our executive and we are hoping that you or someone you may know may be interested in joining our team until the fall 2014 AGM.
Positions available include:
Vice-President Constitutional and Legal Affairs
Vice-President South Western Ontario
Descriptions for each volunteer role can be found in Article 4 of the OWLC Constitution, a copy of which can be found at http://owlc.liberal.ca/constitution-2/
All interested candidates are invited to submit resumes and cover letters outlining which position they would be interested in to email@example.com by February 21st.
If you’re wondering about the purpose of the OWLC (and its parent organization, the NLWC) you may find that here. An organization whose goals I wholeheartedly support, so if you’re interested, meet the qualifications, and you think you’d like to do the volunteer work mentioned for each position, send them an email – they’d love to hear from you.
When you’re a party and a government that has had numerous election violations and suspicion of other election shenanigans, and you decide to “reform” the process of election writs and the process of what the non-partisan body of Elections Canada can and can’t do, without bothering to consult them, when you write into a bill a measure (removing vouching for a person – which I’ve never heard from anyone has been prone to abuse) in what appears to be obvious voter suppression, and then, to top it all off, you immediately force time allocation in Parliament to cut short debate on the bill – to a single day – on first reading before sending it to committee, (making a mockery of a democratic reform bill with a very undemocratic stifling of debate), it will be rather obvious to all – even casual voters – that you’re up to no good and trying to game the rules to give your party maximum advantage and to make rule violations that you’ve engaged in much harder to prosecute.
They may not care, however,and are hoping that those other casual voters won’t care enough to get enraged.
Here’s hoping they’re wrong (the initial negative reaction by a lot of newspaper op-eds and editorials to these poison pills buried around some good measures has been encouraging).
Just another law in 2015 (one of many) that will need “reforming” or killing once the CPC is removed from power (and which I predict they will, despite the intentions of this bill).
UPDATE @ 8:08 pm: Of course, the courts may take care of the law too, if they agree that it’s unconstitutional, in whole or in part.
As you’ve seen on here if you follow me, the Liberal Party’s Biennial Convention is coming up this month. As you also know, I’ll be there as an accredited blogger to cover the policy resolutions passed, and the elections, and so forth. Since that has been known, I’ve had some Liberals email me from Liberal-land who say not everything is all roses with the record haul of money we brought in last quarter.
One specific quote, which I asked if I could do verbatim (provided I keep the person anonymous) was this, where the person said and asserted the following:
Continue reading Liberal Fundraising Up – But Is It At A Cost?
If anyone predicted this was going to happen today, I’m going to them to ask what numbers I should pick for the lottery:
Justin Trudeau has expelled from his caucus every single Liberal member of the upper house and has declared there is no longer any such thing as a Liberal Senator. The Liberal leader said the former members of the Liberal Senate caucus will sit as Independents, and they will have no formal ties to the Liberal parliamentary machinery apart from through their friendships…The move stunned both Liberal senators and senior Liberal Senate staffers, who had not been formally advised of the decision. It also blindsided veteran insiders and political observers who had no inkling about the change.
JT has proposed that if he were to form government, an independent panel would be formed to pick Senators independent of political affiliation. This also of course could be done without re-opening the Constitution, which would be required for reforms or for abolition (though the LPC doesn’t endorse that).
Its a bold move – bolder then anything Harper has ever done in eight years pontificating on the topic. I suspect it will go over well with the populace.
For myself, personally, I remain a more radical reformer; I prefer the Senate to be reformed to be an elected body, but in the interim, an independent body to pick independent Senators I can live with..at least until the Supreme Court referral comes out to let us know what we can and can`t do, and what approval levels are needed.
The statement yesterday by Sochi’s mayor that there were no gay people in Sochi was idiotic.
The statement today by Thornhill Progressive Conservative candidate, Gila Martow, is nearly as idiotic:
Thornhill provincial Progressive Conservative byelection candidate Gila Martow called the move to raise the minimum wage this week “a vote-buying, feel-good kind of message,” in an interview. “If you think about it, what does it mean? I don’t think that, especially in the Thornhill riding, there’s too many families… that are working — the parents — at real minimum-wage jobs,”… I would like you to show me a few families living in Thornhill that are paying their mortgage and both parents are working real minimum-wage jobs, not a penny more than minimum wage.
If she’d bothered to do any research, she’d find that approximately 14% of the riding lives at or below the poverty line. (Hat-tip: Jordan Owens, for finding that)
Hudak hasn’t had a good couple of weeks with candidates. He fires his one candiate in Essex for apparently disagreeing on the right-to-work policy, 2 Hamilton candidates mysteriously resigned yesterday, and now this candidate has decided to try to make people with minimum wage jobs disappear and belittle the minimum wage rate increase.
Will Hudak stand behind this candidate’s statement?
It seems a fair number of bloggers, or former bloggers, are deciding to try going from their grass/netroots activism and translate that into trying to get elected to office to translate that activism into change at the political level.
This week, it is the turn of David Graham to announce he is running for the Liberal nomination in his home riding of Laurentides-Labelle. If you’re not familiar with David, he has been a long time blogger (incidentally, he is and has been a big supporter of expanded and improved rail service, if you go through his archive of blogposts. Very good reading).
He has been a Progressive Blogger and Liblogs affiliate. and the past few years has been the coder/webmaster at the Liblogs aggregated site.
He has a page at Facebook that he invites all to like and show support for his candidacy. That is located here. (His website has been renamed to http://davidgraham.ca/, but that redirects to his old site, so no difference really in which URL you use).
I wish him a sincere and hearty good luck at winning that nomination for the LPC.
Yesterday won’t count as one of Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak’s better days. First came this snippet from the Windsor Star that the party had “fired” their candidate in Essex from last election over a dispute on “right to work” legislation:
Dave Brister was fired today as the Ontario PC candidate in Essex for publicly criticizing the party’s support of right-to-work legislation…“I was asked to recant my opposition to RTW legislation in exchange for retaining my position & I refused to do so,” Brister tweeted. Brister was a popular and conservative Windsor city councillor before stepping down to run in Essex in the last Ontario general election in 2011. Brister lost to the NDP’s Taras Natyshak.
Later in the day, this announcement came from Frank Klees, long time MPP, that he’s had enough:
Veteran MPP Frank Klees is calling it quits…“This is a very difficult decision for me, but I am convinced that after almost two decades of public service, the time is right for me to move on to the next chapter of my life,” he said in a statement..While Hudak and Klees have never been close, the looming departure robs the Tories of one of their most respected caucus members and a shoo-in for a cabinet post in any future administration.
Not exactly great timing for the PC’s with byelections currently in progress, and not exactly a confidence booster for the rest of the PC MPP’s. One of your most senior MPP’s calls it quits, and basically is saying he doesn’t think Hudak’s fortunes are going to turn around.
Well, as expected, Forum is polling the 2 byelections just called in Ontario, and will be providing us fodder.. er.. numbers.. to look at. Here are their first “results”:
In Thornhill, where a successor to former Tory MPP Peter Shurman will be chosen, Tory candidate Gila Martow was at 44 per cent to 36 per cent for Liberal Sandra Yeung Racco.The NDP and Greens will select candidates this weekend so Forum polled using their 2011 election standard-bearers. Green Stephanie Duncan was at 10 per cent and New Democrat Cindy Hackelberg was at 7 per cent… In Niagara Falls, where the byelection is being held to find a replacement for retired Liberal MPP Kim Craitor, Tory Bart Maves, a former MPP, was at 36 per cent to 28 per cent for Liberal Joyce Morocco. New Democrat Wayne Gates, expected to be formally nominated this weekend, was also at 28 per cent while Green hopeful Clarke Bitter was at 5 per cent. “The campaign hasn’t really started yet. The Tories have eight-point leads — it’s not tiny and it’s not a slam dunk,” Forum president Lorne Bozinoff cautioned Thursday.
Given Forum’s recent erratic to way-off results on byelection polling, this should automatically mean the race is probably neck and neck in both ridings. It will be interesting to watch Lorne’s comments through this polling period. The proclamation the Liberals were a slam dunk in the Manitoba byelection a few months back (25+ % lead on the final poll) to then claiming the Liberals blew their get out to vote when it was lost by less then 2% was quite the lame defence of a bad poll. I would hope Mr. Boizinoff would be a little more cautious with his statements.
I would also hope some other polling firm would get in there to see what they find, so we aren’t solely depending on Forum’s numbers as the polling gospel, but as with prior byelections, it appears cost and time (to set up their own methodology of polling) may prevent that.
This wasn’t unexpected, but here is the official news:
Premier Kathleen Wynne has called byelections for Feb. 13 in Thornhill and Niagara Falls…The riding of Niagara Falls became vacant after Liberal MPP Kim Craitor resigned. Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman stepped down after a very public dispute with PC Leader Tim Hudak.
This will not only be a test for Premier Wynne, to see what incumbent voters think of her and how she’s handled things, approximately a year after she was chosen as Premier by the OLP, but a major look to see whether Tim Hudak, who hasn’t exactly caught fire with voters, can hold a seat where there is obvious turmoil.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath has a bit easier ride of the three leaders; she can go in as underdog, and claim to have no expectations. It will be interesting to see, even if the NDP doesn’t win either riding, what their vote totals are here as compared to last election. The NDP has seemed to have had favourable reviews and momentum, so we’ll see if they have any in 2 ridings they didn’t hold (and which I’d argue, realistically, they shouldn’t be expected to win).