Tag Archives: canadian election

MayDay 2011: New Seat Projection

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OK … so I’m no pollster, but I’m using two resources:

I’ve revised the spreadsheet to reflect my guess-timate of what the seat count might look like depending on the region, the approximate change in voter opinion and the odd black-box estimate for specific ridings, particularly those that are too close to call.

Here’s the total:

  • CPC = 130 seats (from approx 143 seats)
  • NDP = 100 seats (from 37 seats)
  • Liberal = 45 seats (from 77 seats)
  • Too close = 22 seats
  • Bloc = 6 (from 49 seats)

Yes, the Bloc get hammered, mainly because they are getting crushed in the polls.  For good reason:  the Bloc isn’t a national party and Quebecers have finally woken up to the reality that it would be nice to be at the table for a change.

Thank you Quebec – how ironic that you may save Canada yet.

Also, we’re now seeing that Jack Layton made a very prudent choice when he appointed the first NDP MP elected in Quebec – Thomas Mulcair – to Deputy Leader.  It gave the rest of Quebec cause to pause and reflect on the influence they might have if they voted more NDP MPs to Ottawa.

As I generated these estimates, the numbers above got me thinking about the ‘strongholds’ of the Conservatives.

In 2008, 36% of their seats (about 51) came from Ontario.  This is a substantial volume when you consider that Ontario has about 110 seats to offer up.

The greatest reason why the Conservative got so many seats?  Vote splitting.  And the CPC is betting on vote splitting to get them into a majority.

Again, I’m hopeful that this won’t happen because I believe in two major demographic groups driving positive results, particularly in Ontario:

  • the Youth Vote
  • the Baby Boomer Vote

With the Youth Vote (eg. anyone under 30), there has always been a disproportionate volume of voters that don’t make it to the polls, but also a disproportionate volume of voters that have progressive tendencies.  Yes, you might argue that this might split the vote, but they also have a critical resource that they live by:  data resources.  They’ll use tools like Project Democracy and consider voting based on projections to help ensure that the Cons are dead ducks.

The Boomers are a totally different gang of voters that many haven’t really spent enough time analyzing.  This is the year that MANY Boomers will hit the age of 65 and would like to start retiring.  However,

  • Many can’t retire yet.
  • Many don’t own businesses any more – mainly because they’ve sold off their businesses or never owned one in the first place – so they shouldn’t care about corporate tax rates.
  • Many don’t have kids in school, so they probably don’t care about education.
  • Many may feel the need to re-awaken their political destiny that they embraced in the 1960s when they came of age, but neglected in the 1980s and onward as they turned inward to their own interests.
  • Many have lived their lives accumulating debt, so they’re not too worried about passing even more debt on to their heirs.
  • Many are seeing their twilight years with the Harper-lead negotiation of the Health Act and they are scared shitless.

As a result, my prediction is that many of the Boomers will vote for the party that they want to see negotiate the Health Act.  My prediction – weak as it may sound – will be a mix of Liberal and NDP representatives.  I’d like to think that the Liberals will steal from the Cons and the NDP will steal from the Liberals, but that sounds a little too optimistic for me.

That said, there’s still a change that the Cons will be reduced to 40 or so seats in Ontario, with the Liberals and NDP taking the balance.

BC is another key province that has given the Cons their strength.  22 seats went to the CPC in 2008 and I continue to shake my head in disbelief that the folks that I know in BC would allow this to happen.  To really agitate the BC vote, we have to hammer on the fact that it was the Cons that made the HST (Harper Sales Tax) happen there.

The same goes for Ontario.  The HST was brought to us by the federal Cons more so than the provincial Liberals.

With all of these factors at play, my bet is that the final tally will be an NDP-lead NDP-Liberal coalition owning about 155-165 seats.

MayDay 2011: Has Mainstream Media Been Bought?

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Over the last 5 years, with particular emphasis on the last 3, the Conservatives have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, print publishers and other media considerations in order to promote their Economic Action Plan.  Estimates range in the $120-$150 million per year.

If you’re a watcher of the CBC, you’ll know that they’ve been relatively absent with this network.

In effect, one might argue that the Cons have indirectly paid reporters and news anchors by giving their employers multi-million dollar promotional campaigns to push through their network of viewers.  Of course, I can’t make the accusation directly, but just a couple of years ago, the CTV, Quebecor and Canwest were all going to the federal government to beg for up to $120 million to keep them afloat after the auto crisis.  They got this amount and some in the years to follow.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.  Jane Taber’s reaction sums up my feelings nicely.

It’s possible to imagine that they might retain a moderate sense of objectivity in this campaign (or any other), but it’s more than likely that they simply won’t bite the hand that feeds them.  I’ve yet to see a serious critique of the criminality of the Conservative Party of Canada and the level of corruption that goes right to the top of this party and leadership.  If I’m wrong, show me and I’ll gladly eat my words.

Even the CBC has lacked the appropriate ‘teeth’ required to expose the depths of amoral attitudes that walk the halls of the PMO and other cabinet offices.  Peter Mansbridge had the opportunity last week to nail Harper to the ice, but didn’t take the shot.  We all wanted to know why he was found in contempt of Parliament, but we didn’t get to see him squirm.

But here’s a reminder of what we DO know:  Stephen Harper cannot be trusted because he was found in contempt of Parliament, not because he was filibustered as a result of a lame budget or Liberal ambition.  In fact, the Liberals were languishing in the polls and the last thing they would have wanted was an election that would possibly see them emerge with even fewer seats than in 2008.

There’s SO MUCH riding on this election.  I really don’t believe that it’s an understatement to say that our future is riding on it.  But don’t expect that story from the mainstream media.

MayDay 2011: 22% Control Our Fate

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In 2008, only 22% of eligible votes – roughly 5.1 million – voted for the Conservatives.

Total eligible voters in Canada in 2008:  22.9 million.  Of that number, here’s how the vote worked out:

  • Conservative votes:  5.1 million (22%) – by the way, NOT a majority of voters
  • Liberals:  3.6 million (16%)
  • NDP:  2.5 million (11%)
  • Bloc:  1.3 million (6%)
  • Green:  933,600 (4%)
  • Other:  157,000 (1%)
  • Absent:  9.3 million (41%)

How many of you know at least a dozen or so of the 5.1 million that voted for the Conservatives?  It doesn’t matter.  If you know any at all, it’s important that we clearly establish just how crooked the Stephen Harper government was and will continue to be if your friends and family members vote for the Conservatives again.

If they want a small-c conservative option, there are many.  Please refer to this post for details.

MayDay 2011: Digital Platforms, Part II

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Yesterday, I commented on Michael Giest’s updates related to the digital platforms of each party.

This week, the Greens and NDP have released more details, of which I’ll share here.

As a side note, while the Cons and Liberals have the resources to leverage the digital space DURING this election, they may have their hands tied by the need to control message.  Even the NDP may be limited in how much ‘grassroots’ activity they want to encourage.

With that in mind, if any party can make headway in this election by leveraging the tools of the Internet, it would be the Greens.  They have the most to lose right now (ie. obscurity) and the most to gain (ie. a seat).

Also, as a reminder, the Liberal platform is specific enough with respect to actual policy, but doesn’t go as far as the NDP with respect to commitment to curb the appetites of our voracious media conglomerates.  The Conservatives are plainly put draconian when it comes to their outlook on the digital economy.  My perception is that they view concepts like ‘social’ and ‘sharing’ as communist ideas fostered by the UN trying to destroy the IMF.  Crushing any new initiatives that liberated people’s ability to speak out seem to be their biggest priority.

That said, here’s an update on platforms and promises.

Green Party

The Green Party has a claim to being the first party to demonstrate its support for OpenMedia and the Stop the Meter campaign.  Details can be found here.

SAANICH, BC – The Green Party is the first political party to support a bold new OpenMedia.ca public engagement initiative. OpenMedia is inviting Canadians to bring political attention to the online communications crisis in Canada that has been largely ignored during the election campaign. The organization is asking political candidates to pledge their support for the Internet.

“The Greens are proud to be the first party to announce support for OpenMedia’s  proposition,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “The internet is critical for modern day citizen engagement and an integral part of our economic competitiveness. The Greens pledge to adhere to OpenMedia’s Stop the Meter campaign on Internet access. We are committed to enhancing broadband access, competition, transparency and choice.”

A decade of neglecting the Internet regulatory issue is stifling Canada’s economy, global competitiveness, free expression and Canadians’ personal budgets.

“A vote for the Greens is also a vote in support of open and democratic Internet access in Canada” said Emma Jane Hogbin, the Green Party Science and Technology critic. “Vote Green – vote for the internet.”

Visit http://openmedia.ca/ to learn more about the initiative.

Other than this initiative, the Green Party doesn’t really seem to have much of a platform.

The NDP

Despite the claims above by the Green Party, they may have been first to embrace the OpenMedia message, but they have not been leaders with progressive ideas related to the Internet.  That prize would go to the NDP.

The NDP has been a leader when it comes to things like:

  • Net neutrality:  they were the first party on record to support net neutrality
  • Fair use policies and prescriptions for solving copyright issues
  • Open government, technology and source concepts

Their platform outlines digital commitments in the following way:

  • We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
  • We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
  • We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
  • We will enshrine “net neutrality” in law, end price gouging and “net throttling,” with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
  • We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
  • We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers’ and creators’ rights.

As you can see above, the NDP are unique from all of the other parties because they are committed to prohibiting Usage-Based Billing (UBB) in any form, trumping the Green commitment to just support Open Media and other anti-UBB groups.

They are also going one step further by declaring that they will enshrine Net Neutrality in law, something the other parties have yet to commit to.

These are game-changing promises.  In fact, the NDP should pressure the other parties to admit to their positions on these two issues alone or advertise that they are all about an open Internet whereas the other parties may not be.

Despite earlier promises to vote strategically, I think the NDP may have just locked up my vote because of these basic but forward-looking policies and promises.

MayDay 2011: Digital Platforms

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Both the Conservatives and Liberals have released their platforms concerning the digital economy.

Conservatives offer little to nothing.  Of course, we know that the Cons are aware of ways you can use platforms like Facebook to spy on young girls.  Imagine the scrutiny under a majority!

The platform outlines five principles, all of which are extremely vague:

  • building world-class digital infrastructure;
  • encouraging businesses to adopt digital technologies;
  • supporting digital skills development;
  • fostering the growth of Canadian companies supplying digital technologies to global markets; and
  • creating made-in-Canada content across all platforms, to bring Canada to the world.

However, Micheal Geist points out that there is potential for serious misgivings about the omnibus crime bill that the Conservatives would push through within the first 100 days of operation.  Legislators do this so they can stuff all kinds of crap into one overwhelming document, using the excuse that the opposition has stalled them on the implementation of these changes.  We know for a fact that it’s actually the Conservatives who have consistently prevented their own legislation from being passed, either because they’ve prorogued government or because they’ve been in contempt of Parliament.

One thing’s for sure:  a Conservative digital environment will be a quiet one.  The level of surveillance will likely create significant demand for alternative means of communication amid protest groups, activists and other people seeking civil disobedience against a repressive and totalitarian regime.

The Liberal platform is substantially more robust and shows an appreciation for the digital climate that will focus on eight key principles:

  1. Access to broadband for all Canadians. The Liberals say they will invest $500 million to ensure all Canadians have access to at least 1.5 Mbps broadband within three years and set a more ambitious speed target for 2020. It plans to use revenues from the wireless spectrum to auction to fund this initiative.
  2. Closing the digital divide. The Liberals focus on digital literacy and skills with this principle.
  3. Fair balance between creators and consumers. The Liberal copyright position is consistent with its comments during the Bill C-32 hearings and reaffirms the view that Canadian consumers should have the freedom to use their content for personal purposes. This reference targets the digital lock provision and the view that it should be changed.
  4. Canadian content in a digital world. The Liberals promise increased funding for Canadian culture in the digital environment as well as support for the CBC.
  5. Competition and Innovation. The Liberals are proposing a new tax credit designed to encourage investment in digital startups.
  6. Support for an Open Internet. This principle reaffirms the party’s position net neutrality and support for review of the usage based billing issue.
  7. Open Government. The Liberals focused on open government in 2010.  That position returns here with a promise to make all government data freely available online and a commitment to post the results of Access to Information requests on the Internet.
  8. Protection from digital threats. The Liberals promise action on digital threats, which presumably could include privacy reform.

The NDP and Green Platforms

The NDP are expected to release their digital platforms later today.

I took a look at the ‘Green Book’, the PDF version of the Green Party platform (why are people so horrified of plain old text?) and they were shy on specifics.

What I’d Love to See

There are a lot of things I’d like to in a digital platform:

  • Elimination of all subsidies to private corporations for the creation of Canadian content.  Leave this as the sole responsibility of the CBC.
  • Public ownership of the ‘last mile’, with access to be leased to private ISPs and other companies at a set and public rate.
  • Massive investment in digital infrastructure, with an emphasis on pushing Canada into a leadership role when it comes to digital infrastructure.
  • The use of open software in all government offices.  Bye bye Microsoft.

What would you love to see?


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