Blogs

War Rooms and Democracy

By Jared Wesley on Sep 13, 2008

If Kim Campbell is right, and election campaigns are hardly the place to talk policy, they’re certainly no venue for political philosophy.  So, please forgive me as I wax (not so) poetic about the impact of modern campaigning on the quality of democracy in Canada.

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October 14: The Date

By Jared Wesley on Sep 13, 2008

Aside from a few minor media stories at the outset of the campaign, few observers are making much of Stephen Harper's decision to send Canadians to the polls on October 14.  The date, itself, holds several strategic advantages, however.

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Palin vs. May -- a different angle

By Jared Wesley on Sep 13, 2008

Beyond references to their attacks on "the old boys club" (overt and rhetorical in Palin's case, and more symbolic in May's case) comparisons between the Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Canadian Green Party leader have been few and far between.  Perhaps this is because few people would place the two in the same political league.

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Palin Vs. May ... and Palin will win.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 13, 2008

We have yet another reason to be disappointed in the federal election debate: the date. Because we allow a media consortium dominated by private media interests to determine the date of the debate, the debate is scheduled for a day that has the least impact on said media interests' bottom lines.

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What's the Matter with Canada?

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 13, 2008

What is the matter with Canada, eh? According to Slate magazine (http://www.slate.com/id/2199929/), and albeit left-leaning American publication, our inability to deal with minority governments, the collapse of the juggernaut of a political machine known as the Liberal Party of Canada, and several of Harper's Conservative policies are all problematic.

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Voter tracking and identification: The Conservative advantage

By Harold Jansen on Sep 13, 2008

Michael Valpy has a great article in the Globe and Mail that details the Conservatives' sopgisticated voter database. It's something that Harper and the Conservatives have been building for years, as detailed in Tom Flanagan's interesting book, Harper's Team. It allows the Conservatives to identify and get out the vote, but also allows them to fundraise between elections. It's part of the secret why the Conservatives are swimming in cash while the Liberals have to borrow to finance their campaign. It's a big advantage and something that to my knowledge the other parties are well beyond them in developing.

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Fearless prediction for Alberta: 28 Conservatives will win

By Harold Jansen on Sep 12, 2008

I've been enjoying reading the profiles of contests from other parts of Canada that my colleagues have posted here on the Mapleleafweb election blog. It must be interesting to live in places where elections are actually close contests. So, I'll chime in from Alberta and fearlessly predict that the Conservatives will win all 28 seats here. Crazy, I know, but that's just how I see it. Perhaps what I will lack in writing about interesting local contests will be offset by having the best accuracy in predicting election results in my province.

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Why we should be skeptical of how the media reports polls.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 12, 2008

Many things irritate me about mainstream media, and their inaccurate reporting of public opinion polls is rather close to the top of the list. While this article by the CBC's online team is not bad (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/12/elxn-poll.html), there is crucial information that should be included but isn't.

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The View from the Centre: Manitoba '08

By Jared Wesley on Sep 12, 2008

While most observers are ignoring ridings between the Rockies and the Canadian Shield, a few in Manitoba may be worth watching over the next few weeks.

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Intramural Politics: Star Athletes as Candidates

By Jared Wesley on Sep 12, 2008

Stephen Harper has been courting hockey dads ever since he became leader. (His sponsorship of a CASCAR, book on hockey history, and photo-ops at Canadian Tires and Tim Horton's are evidence enough.) Who knew the plan would include - or perhaps, lure - several high-profile sports personalities to run under the Conservative Party banner?

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The Obama Effect?

By Jared Wesley on Sep 12, 2008

Some have suggested that Barack Obama has the potential to affect this fall's federal election. A recent Harris-Decima poll pegged the Democrat's popularity in Canada in the 70 percent range. (Even on the Prairies, the country's bastion of conservatism, Obama has the hypothetical support of two in three Canadians.) Whether it be his message of "change" or "hope", or simply his charismatic style, Obama's brand of politics is said to be contagious, leaving Canadian voters yearning for an equivalent north of the border.

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Expectations, Expectations

By Jared Wesley on Sep 12, 2008

Establishing expectations are key to a party’s success in any election.  George Bush’s “surprising” performance as an “underdog” in the 2000 U.S. Presidential campaign is only the most prominent example.  (In that case, Karl Rove’s ability to downgrade people’s expectations of the soon-to-be-president’s oratory skills gave Bush the pivotal post-debate bounce that carried him to the White House.)

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Anti-Conservative Vote Swapping

By Royce Koop on Sep 11, 2008

A new vote-swapping project has been fired up on Facebook, in the hope that non-Conservative voters can coordinate their votes across ridings.

Aside from the enormous complexity of these sorts of projects, the paradox is that the people who are informed and committed enough to engage in vote-swapping are probably partisans who may balk at the prospect of voting insincerely and, once alone in the voting booth, destroy the honour system that this project depends on.

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The Retirement of Monte Solberg

By Royce Koop on Sep 11, 2008
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Rick Bell has written a glowing political obituary for Monte Solberg, one of the three senior cabinet ministers that won't be running for re-election.

First elected in 1993 as a Reform Party MP, Solberg was probably the most entertaining MP in the House throughout the 1990s. He was certainly one of the most effective oppostion critics I've ever seen (the other being Diane Ablonczy, although the two of them employ radically different styles). While complaining about tax increases, Solberg once asked Paul Martin in Question Period:

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