That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

Québec discovering its options

Sure, I actively try to shut my eyes to polls these days. What progressive dude wouldn’t, in a world where the HarperCons continue to defy gravity despite their overflowing ballast of rancid bullcrap?

That’s right, bullcrap.

But there is a spark of amazing news. The NDP currently appearing top of the federalist pops in Québec.

It’s one poll. And we’ve had the NDP topping the Tories in Québec in past polls, only to plummet to the 13% range they are used to there. So, it’s far too early for them to celebrate.

But to be in the position where it’s even conceivable that the New Democrats can place second to the BQ is remarkable. It’s the kind of example that Layton should (and does, to be fair) trumpet whenever he can. It was once unthinkable they’d ever win a single seat in Alberta, or in Québec, but then they did it. Then it was unthinkable they could ever top the Liberals and Cons in Québec to become a premier federalist option, but they’re now at that stage. What unthinkables are left? That they could ever become the Official Opposition, or even take government?

Why not, they should say. New Democrats eat unthinkables for breakfast.

The trick for Dippers in Québec for years now is that they’ve been torn two ways. People who identify principally as social democrats have tended to side with the Bloc, as that makes strategic sense in most ridings. People who identify principally as federalists have tended to side with one of the big two federalist parties, as it makes strategic sense for them. Québec’s federalist social democrats have, ironically, rarely turned to the NDP – Canada’s federalist social democratic party.

But when people like Thomas Mulcair talk like this, it helps their cause enormously:

Mr. Mulcair added that unlike the Bloc, the NDP not only expresses its opposition to the oil industry in the West, but can do something about it with MPs all over the country.

“The Bloc can only talk about the tar sands in Quebec,” Mr. Mulcair said, comparing that party to a hockey team made up entirely of defencemen. “That’s the difference with the NDP, which is a social-democratic, pan-Canadian party, with a strong track record that is attracting more and more people in Quebec.”

Mulcair’s already helped to “normalise” the idea of the NPD* in the province, but he helps more when he draws the political landscape in this way. If you want a social democratic federal system with real muscle, you’re going to need to look beyond the Bloc.

Combine that smart message with Layton’s perennial magnetism, and what seems to me to be a general appetite for anti-incumbency (growth of Québec Solidaire as an example), and there is big space for the NDP to move. Downsides, of course, are that seat translations are always going to be very tricky. It’s reasonable to suspect that much of the new (and old, for that matter) NDP support is trapped in safe, stalwart BQ ridings – we just don’t know.

To have steady popular support, at least, is encouraging. I’ve hoped this might come about for a long while – to sustain it, Jack best have Lac-St-Jean and Gaspésie on his travel itinerary.

I just might keep my beady, squinted eye on the polls after all.

* Québec friends, a dumb question for you. Is there any French nickname for New Democrats (ones that aren’t rude, of course) that play off the acronym? Enpédistes, maybe, in the vein of Péquistes? And, if there isn’t, can we start?

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Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,

A wee reminder about 2006

Polling trends across the 2005/06 federal election. Looked pretty rosy for Paul Martin at first.....

See the big image of 2005/06 election campaign polls here.

Sooo, today’s polls suggest it would be sheer madness for the Liberals to encourage an election now. Madness! Can we survive on faith alone that the high-level scrutiny of an electoral campaign will somehow reverse Ignatieff’s dreadful fortunes?

We can use more than faith – let’s use an example!

Federal election 2006. When the campaign kicked off, you basically had the inverse of the LPC/CPC numbers today. Martin in low- to mid-thirties, Harper in the high twenties.

What’s more, the Tories success in turning that campaign around wasn’t just through plodding away with those “one policy item a day” releases. Those helped. But the switch in voter intention also happened directly after Christmas Day, running up through New Years. Is there something to that? Many voters were off work, finished with their shopping, and were finally cloistered with family and friends for a few days with little to do but talk, think, watch the news, and talk and think some more.

A population that thinks and talks is always going to threaten the incumbents.

Should a 2011 election campaign span across the Easter break, you never know – Canadians just might find themselves with a bit more free time, and in the middle of few more conversations about the country. I can’t see how that would be good for Harper.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , , , , ,

New poll: should Ignatieff strike back?

It blows the mind. In a month where Stephen Harper has supplanted the name Canada with his own name in official reference to our government; defended (and largely hid away) a minister guilty of fraud; been hit with two separate charges of contempt of parliament; have had economic forecasts for F-35 fighters ridiculed by Kevin Page; Ignatieff is polling lower than ever, and Harper as high as he’s ever been.

One reason for this, and one reason only: Harper’s attack ads, which seem remarkably effective on Canadians. Who’d have thought? Are we more Zdeno Chara than Wayne Gretzky after all?

Michael, if you need a couch to crash on in London as a kind of reprieve from this mass Canadian madness, give me a buzz. In the meantime, I suppose the jury is out on what the next Liberal approach needs to be. Attack back? Keep calm and carry on?

Vote in the little poll here.

Correction: have replaced reference to CF-18 with the more contemporary F-35 jets. What was I thinking??

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , ,

Polygonic’s going polly

I’ve just created a new Polls page on the blog, in which you are cordially invited to participate. The method will not be scientific, the results will be largely meaningless. But in the spirit of our own current electoral system – who cares?

Just click Polls in the Pages menu to your right, or follow through here.

First question concerns Stephen Harper’s retirement. We can’t know whether he’ll eventually leave in a Danny Williams fashion, or (as may be more likely) with a less-flattering Gordon Campbell motif. But however he goes, he must go one day. When??

Filed under: Canada, Politics, Uncategorized,

Spector trumpets more wind

Professional cut-and-paster Norman Spector yesterday opined that the Conservatives currently “have wind in their sails.” As usual, Spector is big on contentious headlines, and consistently thin on content. The only evidence he mounts to support the case for a (foul-smelling) breeze Toryward is a rambling attack on Frank Graves and EKOS – the firm that actually comes out this week with a Conservative jump to 33%.

Graves gets accused of Liberal bias, whereas I just see a pollster with erratic methodology. EKOS often predicts mythical Green seats, for example, just because a tenth of Canadians support them. Doesn’t he know that our electoral system is too messed up to allow for that? So, how a tirade against EKOS erraticism equates to Harper wind, I don’t quite know.

It appears Harper’s got a lead back, six points clear of Ignatieff’s Liberals who sit at 27%. I suppose that is a kind of wind. But on balance, the Conservatives continue to suffer a significant deficit of support as compared with their last time at the ballot box, and I can’t see how you have a parade for that.

Is losing seats in any hypothetical new federal election now seen as a good thing? A reduced minority should be trumpeted as a success? Yes indeed – black is white, Thursday is Friday, Spector is objective.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,


June 2020

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