Just when they got rid of Garth Turner…

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…the Tories have a new “maverick”, it appears. BC MP John Cummins decided to end whatever faint hopes he ever had of making it to Cabinet by ripping Jim Prentice a new one earlier this week:

OTTAWA–A Vancouver-area Conservative MP has caused a stir by accusing federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and his provincial counterpart of bribing natives into accepting a controversial provincial treaty.

Tory MP John Cummins (Delta-Richmond East) says Prentice and B.C. Aboriginal Relations Minister Mike de Jong are knowingly manipulating the Tsawwassen treaty ratification vote by throwing money at the band.

“They are unfit for office,” Cummins told the Toronto Star last week.

If it wasn’t the summer and I had a bit more energy to devote to this thing, I’d probably try and find some of John Cummins quotes to show that he’s “unfit for office”, but I think the story is enjoyable enough by itself.

In Other News…

-While they didn’t find a female candidate for Outremont, at least they found one with a feminine name. Jocelyn Coulon is the candidate who will be trying to fill Jean Lapierre’s shoes and it looks like he’s a very strong candidate. Expect a good race between the Liberals and NDP for this one.

-And…we’re…all…tied…up. 31-31 in the latest Allan Gregg poll. More interesting is the low support for the Afghanistan mission which, one imagines, will be causing Harper some concern, especially in Quebec.

-Oh, and Adam Radwanski’s tour around the blogosphere continues – this time he’s landed at the Globe & Mail.

Monday Morning Round Up

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1. Oh, sure, he’s all “Mr. I Can Take a Punch” until Harry Rosen uses him in a cartoon. Watch out Aislin!

[Reader Challenge: A big kudos to whoever can find a picture of the ad online. An even bigger kudos to whoever can find some sort of proof that Stephen’s stylist has picked out Harry Rosen clothing for him in the past.]

2. With PEI, Manitoba, and (for now) Quebec, all behind us, the eyes of election aficionados turn next to Ontario. SES has it in a dead heat:

Liberal 29.8%
Tories 29.8%
NDP 16%
Greens 9.3%

That, in itself, isn’t too bad, but it’s not a good sign for McGuinty that he ties Tory on the “best Premier” question and that wrong track beats right direction 46% to 35.3%.

I still think McGuinty will win, but both Ontario and Saskatchewan should be interesting to watch this fall.

3. Down in the States, the Dems held a New Hampshire debate on Sunday, with Edwards going after the top 2. Speculation continues about Al Gore. And for Republicans finally have a candidate able to run a credible law and order campaign.

4. This week’s Hill Times has an article about Tory staffers being less than pleased about being banned from facebook. Perhaps most interesting is that Stephen Taylor is their source for defending the government position in the story (at the same time his blog hypes the new blogging Tories facebook application).

Mean Value

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With Decima and the Strategic Counsel releasing new polls yesterday, I figured I’d average them in with the most recent Ipsos and SES numbers:

CPC 35.25%
Lib 30.25%
NDP 15.75%
BQ 9%
Greens 9%

Hard for anyone, outside of maybe the Greens, to be overly excited about those numbers.


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The latest Decima poll confirms the SES Easter poll that had the Tory lead down to 3. I haven’t been able to find any detailed breakdowns as of yet, but the Bloc are at a shockingly small 29% in Quebec. Both Ipsos and the SC should have new numbers out in the next week or two, and that will help confirm if in fact the Tory lead has shrunk down to a mere 3 points.

Also of note in the Decima poll is that the Greens are at 11%. I think most people will concede that 11% is mostly parked votes. So, you know, if Elizabeth May were to implicitly endorse another party leader that might kind of help some of those fence sitting Greens with their decision. I’m just saying…

In other news, SES has an interesting “what if” poll out about a world without the temporary ad hoc rainbow coalition known as the BQ. The bottom line – Jean Lapierre probably did the Liberals a big favour by setting up the BQ, because their vote would be dripping everywhere but to the Liberal Party.

They work hard for their money

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Apparently the provincial PCs have been cashing their bonus cheques to the tune of one million dollars over the past year. I don’t have a problem with MLAs getting paid more for doing extra work but when it’s nearly doubling their salary and the “work” being done requires air quotes to describe it? I dunno…

In other News

-I know SES has become the new oracle for many bloggers but if we’re going to toss aside Angus Reid for being ridiculously low, we need to concede that these numbers do seem a bit more favourable for the grits than the other polls out there right now. That’s not to say they aren’t encouraging or even that the true numbers lie outside of the margin of error, but I’d want to see a few more polls confirming this before concluding that we’re back to a statistical tie.

Adam Daifallah has an interesting take on the Quebec election results.

-I’m telling you, when I see stories like this, I’m more convinced than ever that Paul Hellyer and the Canadian Action Party are poised for a breakthrough next election.

Two thirds of Canadians favour electing judges which is absolutely shocking considering what a dumb idea that is. I’m pretty sure that if they reflecting on it for a bit, most would change their opinion quickly.

-More doom and gloom environmental reports

-Finally, my first round picks: Sabers, Devils, Rangers, Sens, Flames, Ducks, Sharks, Canucks

Spin Away

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The latest Ipsos Poll:

CPC 36
Lib 34
NDP 12
BQ 9
Green 8

So, the Tories go from 14 points up a few weeks back down to a 2 point lead. There’s only one logical conclusion to reach; Yes sir, Stephen Harper is steamrolling to a majority government.


In other news, Elizabeth May is ready to take on Peter MacKay. She’ll lose, but it’ll be one of the most interesting riding battles to watch, without a doubt.

UPDATE: Just because I don’t feel like starting another post on yet another poll, SES has some interesting numbers from Quebec. Bottom line: Andre Boisclair isn’t a very popular man, even though his party is positioned well to get the most seats.

Neck and Neck and Neck

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Liberals 33%
PQ 30%
ADQ 30%

First of all, I guess I was wrong, wrong, wrong about Tuesday’s debate. To me, it looked like Charest had won and Dumont was nothing more than a hyperactive squirrel (think Jack Layton in the 2004 debates) but it seems Quebecers saw it differently or, at the very least, the overpass stunt paid some dividends.

So this leaves the election outcome a complete crapshot. Any of the three parties could conceivably form what will almost certainly be Quebec’s first minority government in over a century.

And that is what makes today’s proclamation by Andre Boisclair so interesting:

The Parti Québécois would want to hold a referendum on sovereignty even if it forms only a minority government, leader André Boisclair said Friday.

Obviously, Boisclair would never get a referendum law passed in a minority government so he’s just blowing smoke up the electorate’s ass. But if he maintains that his raison d’être of forming government is to hold another referendum, it becomes hard to see how Mario Dumont could justify proping up a Boisclair government. If you don’t believe in the first priority of the government, how can you say you have confidence in them? Especially after the two bickered to no end on Tuesday and have very little common ground anywhere in their platforms.

What I’m getting at is, let’s suppose, the numbers above hold and we get a seat breakdown similar to what Hill & Knowlton predicts (two bad assumptions to make, but, whatever):

PQ 49
PLQ 43
ADQ 33

In such a situation, it seems to me that Jean Charest could make a very strong case to stay as Premier, governing with ADQ support. He’d have won the popular vote and could promise a more stable government than Boisclair.

I’m not sure if we’d see a formal coalition, but I do think that if the ADQ does win the most seats, an ADQ/PLQ formal coalition wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. Mostly because Dumont doesn’t have the talent to make a full Cabinet himself but also because he could probably find common ground with Charest on a wide range of issues.

So will it be Peterson/Rae deux? Peutêtre….

SES weighs in

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Since SES seems to have become the oracle for all bloggers, it’d be hard to not post their latest numbers:

How Comfortable Would You Be With A Conservative Majority Government?

Comfortable 33.6%
Somewhat comfortable 18.6%
Somewhat uncomfortable 15.0%
Uncomfortable 29.1%
Unsure 3.6%

Westin and others are playing this as a big coup for the Tories and it certainly does show they have some room for growth. Still, here are the numbers from the same question during the Tory peak of last year’s election:

The poll, which was conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail by the Strategic Counsel on Jan. 14 and 15, found that 55 per cent of voters believe electing a Conservative majority government would be a healthy outcome for the country

Again, we seem to be right back to where we were a year ago.

(Hat Tip: Political Staples)

Poll Smokers

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Jason Cherniak has ignited a heated debate in the blogosphere after calling BS on a recent Angus Reid poll. He contends that it should be ignore since it was conducted online, rather than over the phone. As someone who enjoys few things more than reading a good article on sampling methodology, I thought I’d chime in.

To me, I regard online polling the same way I regard airplanes. While it seems intuitively wrong to me than a hunk of metal weighing several tons can fly thousands of feet in the air, I can accept the science and track record behind it (even if it leaves me a little uneasy when I fly). Online polling still feels wrong to me because of the massive under coverage problems but most recent studies have shown that it works as good, or in some cases better, than telephone surveys. I know last election Ipsos Reid did some internet polling and it usually matched their phone survey numbers bang on.

Regardless, Decima has a poll out using the good, old, traditional, never wrong telephone technique with similar results. I suspect that even the infalible people at SES will have similar results in their next update. The bottom line is, the Tories have the big Mo, and we’re right back to where we were on election night 2006 except that the NDP is pretty much lamb chops (not to be confused with Lamb Chop, who will be Pat Martin’s campaign manager).

Despite the Tory surge, I really do think the talk of “free fall” and the mass hysteria is overblown. All that we’ve really seen is the end of Dion’s honeymoon which was to be expected. By my count, the last four men to take over a party in Stornoway (Chretien, Duceppe, Day, Harper) all had far worse starts than Dion, mainly because leader of the opposition is such a thankless job. That’s not to say that Liberals should put their heads in the sand and refuse to believe the reality that Harper is up in the polls and the smart bettors choice to win the next election. It’s simply to say that it’s far too early to push the panic button or talk about a Conservative majority.

Mid-Week Musings

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1. Paul Hellyer has proven himself to, yet again, be a man of ideas. His solution for global warming? Use alien technology. Had he simply brought up this idea a year ago, I think the Draft Paul Hellyer campaign would have been a lot more successful.

2. Speaking of Kyoto solutions which will never ever happen in a million years, Toby Heaps (who crown Mulroney the greenest PM) has proposed his Kyoto plan which includes, among other things, a 10 cent gas tax. The article also mentions how the Liberals are now considering a carbon tax.

3. Cerberus is back! And he’s got a good run down on the political landscape in Ontario as we build up to their fall election.

4. It ain’t quite Vote Out Anders, but I thought I’d send some props to the David Sweet Watch.

5. I’m sure you all saw it already on Wells site, but Hill and Knowlton has a very flawed, but very fun, seat predictor for the Quebec election up on their site.

6. There’s a new Decima Poll out which will certainly tempt Harper to go for a spring election. Tories up 36-27, including a sizeable lead in Ontario.

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