By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 27, 2012 - 0 Comments
The premiers seem unimpressed with Jim Flaherty’s change to the health care funding formula.
Canada’s premiers and territorial leaders say they stand to lose almost $36 billion in health transfers over a 10-year period if Ottawa proceeds with its disputed plan to alter how it calculates the payments to the provinces and territories … Selinger said the new scheme reduces Ottawa’s contribution to the health-care costs of provinces and territories to less than 20 per cent…
Flaherty announced last December that health transfer payments would increase at six per cent annually until 2017. After that, the transfers would be tied to the rate of economic growth and inflation — currently estimated to be about four per cent — but the government wouldn’t let the amounts fall below three per cent.
This goes back to the question of what the Conservatives promised during last year’s election and that includes what the Finance Minister spelled out in an interview with the CBC’s Kathleen Petty. Despite all that talk about six percent—with a slight hedge from an unnamed Conservative spokesman to the Canadian Medical Association Journal—Mr. Flaherty tabled his revised funding formula in December.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM - 0 Comments
The CBC investigates.
After the last federal election some observers felt the NDP had reached its peak based on the popularity of then-leader Jack Layton and the surprising success of the “orange wave” in Quebec. Since then, the party has seen the death of Layton and a leadership campaign won by Thomas Mulcair, and recent polls have shown the NDP leading the federal Conservatives in national support.
What is happening with the NDP — is it turning into a possible national government alternative?
Meanwhile, Don Braid is struck by a profound realization.
Prime minister in-waiting Thomas Mulcair comes to town fresh from a visit to B.C., where he told his many admirers the Northern Gateway pipeline should simply be cancelled, period. OK, that “in-waiting” part is calculated hyperbole, but here’s the point: this guy is not a joke or a bad dream, or a momentary political diversion.
He’s the federal official Opposition leader whose party is ahead by two percentage points in the national polls. The latest numbers show that if an election were held now, the Harper Conservative would barely squeak out a minority. Albertans cannot just wish Mulcair away; in fact, 18.5 per cent of us want to vote him in. At some point (starting today would be good) he has to be taken seriously.
In fact, 16.8% of Albertans actually voted for the NDP just a little over a year ago.
Have we wrapped our collective minds around the NDP’s 2011 election result yet? Or do we just think it was a fluke? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
We elect a Parliament, not a government; we vote for our local MP, not the Prime Minister. Political parties do not “win” elections, successful local candidates do, and the party with the most of them gets the first chance to form the government. In an election, as in Parliament, the individual matters more than the aggregate, the vote tally as much as the winner, and the result no less than the outcome. The same logic—that every vote matters—explains why we choose our leaders in elections in the first place; if efficiency were all-important, we would use opinion polls, instead.
This is a principled argument. Elections Canada offers a practical one. And perhaps, as Mr. Mayrand argues, the perfect should not become the enemy of the good; a simple bureaucratic snafu may not be enough to upend an election, unless the outcome hangs in the balance. But if the Supreme Court accepts his argument, it will be conceding not just that Canada’s electoral system is imperfect, but also that our commitment to our own democracy is more limited than we might have hoped. Canadians should expect only as much democracy as we can afford.
See previously: A day in court
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM - 0 Comments
The National’s report tonight on today’s hearing at the Supreme Court.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The disputed vote in Etobicoke Centre goes to the Supreme Court this morning for a final appeal. The official summary is here. The factums from Ted Opitz, Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Elections Canada are here.
Susan Delacourt says it’s a test of our democratic machinery. Leslie MacKinnon says the stakes are higher for all sides. Postmedia says the chief electoral officers for British Columbia and Alberta are concerned.
Our live coverage will start here around 9am.
8:54am. Greetings from the Supreme Court. The lawyers are seated and the candidates have taken their places in the gallery—Mr. Opitz on the right side, Mr. Wrzesnewskyj on the left. Now waiting for the justices to arrive.
9:00am. All rise. Let’s do this. (Or words to that effect.) Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
In a long post with various charts and graphs, Alice Funke reviews the vote and campaign spending figures from last year’s election.
All three national parties spent very nearly to the national limit, but Conservative candidates spent 50% or more of their limits in 228 ridings, compared to 167 for the Liberals and 70 for the New Democrats. In terms of votes, Conservative candidates received 30% or more of the vote in 213 ridings, compared to 141 for the New Democrats (an improvement of 87 over the party’s total in 2008) and 77 for the Liberals (a decline of 38).
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 9, 2012 at 11:15 AM - 0 Comments
A whopping 95 per cent of Canadians feel politicians in Ottawa have nothing in common (44 per cent) or only a little in common (51 per cent) with average Canadians, while only five per cent believe members of Parliament and senators have a lot in common with them.
In the same vein, 84 per cent of those polled either strongly agree (38 per cent) or somewhat agree (46 per cent) the political elite in Ottawa isn’t tuned in to what’s really important to average Canadians.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Two days after Dean Del Mastro told the Peterborough Examiner that he would not meet with Elections Canada to provide a cautioned statement, Dean Del Mastro’s lawyer tells the Globe and Mail that Mr. Del Mastro is willing to provide Elections Canada with a cautioned statement.
Mr. Del Mastro has been trying to arrange a meeting with Elections Canada since mid-June, his lawyer said. He’ll be giving what’s called a “cautioned statement” to the watchdog – one where anything the subject says can be used as evidence in an investigation.
His lawyer told The Globe and Mail it was only Thursday that Elections Canada finally called and said it wants to speak to Mr. Del Mastro. “I received a telephone call [Thursday] from Elections Canada investigator Thomas Ritchie indicating that he is now prepared to meet with Mr. Del Mastro for the purpose of taking a cautioned audio recorded statement,” Mr. Ayotte said. “Mr. Del Mastro has accepted the invitation … and we are in the process of scheduling a date and time for this meeting,” he said.
According to the Citizen, Mr. Del Mastro “rejected an invitation to respond to overspending allegations on a ‘cautioned’ basis.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM - 0 Comments
Among its concerns, identified from databases of official statistics and public surveys, were that Britain’s constitutional arrangements are “increasingly unstable” owing to changes such as devolution; public faith in democratic institutions “decaying”; a widening gap in the participation rates of different social classes of voters; and an “unprecedented” growth in corporate power, which the study’s authors warn “threatens to undermine some of the most basic principles of democratic decision-making”. In an interview with the Guardian, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, the report’s lead author, warned that Britons could soon have to ask themselves “whether it’s really representative democracy any more?”
“The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of,” said Wilks-Heeg. ”All of that is pretty catastrophically in decline. How low would turnout have to be before we question whether it’s really representative democracy at all?” The UK’s democratic institutions were strong enough to keep operating with low public input, but the longer people avoided voting and remained disillusioned, the worse the problem would get, said Wilks-Heeg.
Some of the data involved is explained here and comparisons to the Canadian situation do not particularly flatter our democracy. The average turnout for British parliamentary elections in the 2000s is 60%. In Canada, the average is 61.3%. Twenty-two percent of MPs in Britain are women. Here it’s 25%. In 2011, Canada and the United Kingdom both ranked 26th in press freedom according to the Freedom House Index (in the latest rankings we’ve moved up to 25th and the UK has fallen back to 31st). Only on the corruption perceptions index does Canada fair markedly better: sixth compared to 20th for the UK in 2010.
As noted earlier today, the Canadian Election Study’s survey results on politics and government in Canada are here. The CES also asked respondents about their political involvement and activities. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, July 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
In its post-campaign survey and its mail-back survey, the Canadian Election Study tested several ideas about government and politicians.
The government does not care much about what people like me think.
Strongly agree 26.9%
Somewhat agree 38.0%
Somewhat disagree 24.9%
Strongly disagree 8.1%
Don’t know 2.0%
Politicians are ready to lie to get elected.
Strongly agree 44.1%
Somewhat agree 38.9%
Somewhat disagree 10.3%
Strongly disagree 3.7%
Don’t know 2.6%
Those elected to Parliament soon lose touch with the people.
Strongly Agree 14.8%
Strongly disagree 1.8%
Not Sure 4.4%
So while a majority of respondents were at least fairly satisfied with our democracy, large majorities at least somewhat agree that the government doesn’t care, that politicians are ready to lie and that MPs soon lose touch with their constituents. Furthermore, 56% say the “people in government … waste a lot of the money we pay in taxes.”
At the same time, there are other findings that chip away at this presented cynicism. Just less than 61% disagreed with the idea that “People like me don’t have any say about what the government does” and 65% disagree with the suggestion that “most politicians are corrupt.”
And for all the general displeasure, we still apparently take voting quite seriously: 70.4% said voting is a duty, 70.6% said they’d feel very or somewhat guilty if they failed to vote, 60.8% said they felt entirely or mostly positive about the vote they cast and 98.1% agree that “it is important that people vote in elections.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM - 0 Comments
From the Canadian Election Study data, responses to the statement, “The Conservatives have been disrespectful towards Parliament.”
Strongly agree 30.2%
Somewhat agree 25.9%
Somewhat disagree 20.6%
Strongly disagree 12.0%
Don’t know 10.2%
The 2011 election, of course, was precipitated after the House voted to find the Harper government in contempt of Parliament. On the one hand, a majority of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed that the Conservatives had been disrespectful of Parliament. On the other hand, 42.8% is a large enough share of the vote to form a majority government. (The Conservatives won 39.6% of the vote in 2011.)
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 9:46 AM - 0 Comments
In the process of making an unrelated announcement yesterday, Dean Del Mastro emerged to plead innocence and lament for the questions being raised about his campaign. And also to proclaim the Prime Minister’s greatness.
He spoke about the effect of the allegations on the Del Mastro name, that of his late father, which appears on the sign above his family`s car dealership. “This does bother me. I grew up a poor farm kid,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot growing up. My two heroes in my life were my mother and father.”
But he said he was bolstered by the prime minister`s ongoing support. “I think Prime Minister Harper is the greatest leader in the industrialized world,” he said. “I`ve always appreciated the trust he placed in me.”
As to matter of the cheques to employees of his cousin’s company, Mr. Del Mastro apparently deferred questions to his cousin (said cousin subsequently declined to speak with the Citizen). As to the question of whether Mr. Del Mastro has been contacted by Elections Canada, the Citizen reports that the agency offered to take a “cautioned statement” that could be used against him in court, but Mr. Del Mastro declined. He apparently called the Peterborough Examiner to explain.
After an early version of this story appeared at www.peterboroughexaminer.com, Del Mastro called The Examiner, repeating that he would not agree to meet with Elections Canada if a cautioned statement is a requirement. “It’s not a dialogue,” he said. “It’s questions without a back-and-forth dialogue. I have to have a process.”
Del Mastro said repeatedly he wants “a process” for dealing with the allegations, and that hasn’t come yet. “If (Elections Canada) wants to come to Peterborough to interview me, I’d be happy to do so,” he said. “I can’t clear my name through a cautioned statement.”
While Del Mastro told The Examiner weeks ago that he would release documents proving his innocence, he has not done so, and said again Wednesday that he wouldn’t. “I’m not going to prove it to the media, and I don’t think I should have to,” he said. “If I thought The Peterborough Examiner could defend me, clear me of this, I would do it,” he said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, July 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
For the next little while, I’m going to dig through the Canadian Election Study‘s data from last year’s election and pull out some of the more interesting survey results. You can dig through all the CES data yourself via the Canadian Opinion Research Archive. Today, the NDP.
During the campaign and in a post-election survey, the CES asked for respondents to identify their second-choice party and in both cases the NDP bested all other parties—28.4% during the campaign and 28.7% after. During the campaign, respondents were asked if there was a party they would never vote and only 10.4% identified the NDP (compared to 18.8% for the Liberals and 33.1% for the Conservatives).
Beyond the possibilities that could be drawn from those numbers, the results are a bit mixed.
First, the economy. Only 12.6% identified the NDP as the best party to manage the economy (compared with 19.8% for the Liberals and 35.9% for the Conservatives). When respondents were presented with the statement “an NDP government would really hurt the Canadian economy,” 35.6% either strongly or somewhat agreed, while 54% either strongly or somewhat disagreed.
Second, party identification. Only 15.1% of respondents said they usually thought of the NDP as the party they identified with.
There are also some interesting—read: curious—numbers about what respondents wanted and expected to happen in the 2011 election. Only 8.9% of respondents thought the NDP had the best chance of winning in their riding and only 2.5% said they would like to see an NDP majority or minority government. The latter number is taken from the campaign survey, which also found 13.6% of respondents said they would vote for the NDP. My first guess would be that the seeming improbability of an NDP victory reduced the number of people who thought to identify it as their desired result.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
For the next little while, I’m going to dig through the Canadian Election Study‘s data from last year’s election and pull out some of the more interesting survey results. You can dig through all the CES data yourself via the Canadian Opinion Research Archive. Today, how we feel about our democracy.
During each of the last six elections, the CES has asked Canadians to describe how satisfied they are with how democracy works in Canada.
Very satisfied 11.2%
Fairly satisfied 44.8%
Not very satisfied 28.5%
Not satisfied at all 11.7%
Don’t know 3.4%
Very satisfied 14.0%
Fairly satisfied 48.6%
Not very satisfied 22.8%
Not satisfied at all 10.3%
Don’t know 2.7%
Very satisfied 9.5%
Fairly satisfied 44.7%
Not very satisfied 29.2%
Not satisfied at all 13.3%
Don’t know 3.1%
Very satisfied 12.0%
Fairly satisfied 47.0%
Not very satisfied 26.3%
Not satisfied at all 10.3%
Don’t know 4.2%
Very satisfied 16.0%
Fairly satisfied 51.8%
Not very satisfied 20.4%
Not satisfied at all 7.3%
Don’t know 4.2%
Very satisfied 13.3%
Fairly satisfied 50.3%
Not very satisfied 23.1%
Not satisfied at all 10.9%
Don’t know 2.2%
The percentage of respondents who were very or fairly satisfied actually seems to reflect well on the minority government years, going from 56% to 63% to 54% from 1997 to 2004 before rebounding to 59% in 2006, 68% in 2008 and 64% in 2011.
But the CES has also been testing how respondents feel about the idea of minority government. In 2004, 44.9% said it would be a good thing, versus 22.4% who thought it would be a bad thing (“don’t know” was the third option). In 2006, the good/bad split was 39.4% to 24.1%. In 2008, the split grew to 45.6% against 19.5%. But by 2011 it was down to 36.2% against 29.6%, the lowest level of approval and the highest level of disapproval.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
For the next little while, I’m going to dig through the Canadian Election Study‘s data from last year’s election and pull out some of the more interesting survey results. You can dig through all the CES data yourself via the Canadian Opinion Research Archive. First up, the party leaders.
As part of its campaign period survey, the CES asked respondents to consider four possible descriptions of Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton.
How well does the term “competent” describe Stephen Harper?
Very well 21.1%
Fairly well 51.5%
Not well at all 23.6%
Don’t know 3.7%
How well does the term “strong leader” describe Stephen Harper?
Very well 22.5%
Fairly well 46.9%
Not well at all 26.1%
Don’t know 4.3%
How well does the term “honest” describe Stephen Harper?
Very well 11.2%
Fairly well 42.9%
Not well at all 40.5%
Don’t know 5.3%
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 1:45 PM - 0 Comments
Susan Delacourt reviews Political Marketing in Canada, which includes an interview with Conservative strategist Patrick Muttart.
“Close campaigns are decided by the least informed, least engaged voters,” Muttart told Lees-Marshment. “These voters do not go looking for political news and information. This necessitates brutally simple communication with clear choices that hits the voter whether they like it or not. Journalists and editorialists often complain about the simplicity of political communication, but marketers must respond to the reality that undecided voters are often not as informed or interested as the political and media class are.”
Political purists may clutch at their pearls when they hear that candour from Muttart, but realists have always known that modern campaigns are not fought in the intellectual salons. The contributors to this book, who would all be entirely at home in those salons, have actually done us a service in putting an academic frame around realpolitik. Collectively, they have charted that trajectory of politics out of academia into the marketplace, and then bounced it back into the ivory tower for rigorous, researched analysis.
The Obama campaign’s machine for creating and testing its advertising—as explained in this piece by Sasha Issenberg—seems to represent the latest frontier in political marketing.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM - 0 Comments
Two weeks ago, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher reported that three donors to Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 campaign had been reimbursed for their donations by a company owned by Mr. Del Mastro’s cousin. Today, McGregor and Maher report that two donors have produced cheques from Deltro Electric Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont in the amount of $1,050.
One of the cheques obtained by the Citizen is payable to a former Deltro employee who, earlier this month, signed a statutory declaration describing how Deltro staff were asked to enlist family and friends in the alleged reimbursement scheme. David Del Mastro “advised me at that time that he wanted to make a large monetary donation to the re-election campaign of his cousin, Dean Del Mastro Member of Parliament,” the statement said. “My employer assured me that if I would do so, my employer would cause his company, Deltro Electric Ltd. to reimburse me for the full sum of $1,000, plus a further bonus of $50, and that I would receive an income tax receipt for the donation.”
The alleged scheme was intended to circumvent the limit on political donations, the former employee said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 8:44 AM - 0 Comments
With what at first seemed a rather random query, Bob Rae asked the Prime Minister yesterday about the timing of the 2015 election on account of the fact that the current fixed election date is likely to conflict with elections in several provinces. As it turns out, Mr. Rae was apparently on to something.
Stephen Harper: Mr. Speaker, I did not know the timing of the next election was still a subject in which the leader of the Liberal Party was keenly interested. We have noted, as he has just noted, that the date in law for the next election currently conflicts with several provincial elections that will occur at the same time. We are talking to our friends in the provinces about how to resolve this. I can assure parliamentarians we will bring forward a proposal on this well before the next election.
By Gabriela Perdomo - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM - 0 Comments
Mexico’s presidential front-runner faces a student uprising in the election’s final days
Just weeks ago, Enrique Peña Nieto seemed to have Mexico’s July 1 election easily in hand. But a series of demonstrations led by students at a posh Mexico City university has shaken the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate’s campaign, putting a significant dent in his lead.
What had been a dull race was turned on its head on May 11, when Peña Nieto was speaking at the private Universidad Iberoamericana, “La Ibero,” as it is known, in Mexico City. Before then, Peña Nieto looked set to crush both Josefina Vázquez Mota, the governing National Action Party (PAN) candidate, and Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the left-wing PRD, the Party of the Democratic Revolution. But tensions at La Ibero ran high as the audience, some holding signs, criticized his cozy relationship with the media. They erupted when Peña Nieto defended his handling of a 2006 uprising, when he was governor of Mexico State; the case involved incidents of police brutality against civilians. Students booed him out of the auditorium, and PRI officials clumsily rushed to the airwaves to depict the audience as “paid agitators.” Incensed, three students gathered video of 131 attendees flashing their student IDs to prove they were enrolled at La Ibero and posted the result on YouTube.
Soon, calls for others to join the movement—to become the symbolic “No. 132”—spread to Twitter. And so a name was given to the uprising—#yosoy132, Spanish for “I am 132.” The viral reaction was both “surprising and intimidating,” admits Rodrigo Serrano, a communications student at La Ibero who launched the original video from his couch. “The country was angry. And we somehow detonated that anger.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM - 0 Comments
Alice Funke looks at how 2008 voters moved in 2011.
The NDP was able to win over a greater percentage of vote switchers in 2011 than any other party did, claiming 33% of 2008 Green support, 24% of 2008 Liberal voters, and 5.3% of the 2008 Conservatives. In addition, they held some 80% of their own vote from the previous election.
The Conservatives held an impressive 87% of their 2008 vote outside Québec in 2011, and added around 10% from each of the Green, Liberal and NDP 2008 electorates.
Those who abstained in 2008 voted 23-18-14 for the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals respectively in 2011. Newly eligible voters (young people, recent immigrants) voted 36-20-12 for the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Mr. Speaker,” Liberal MP Scott Andrews declared, “there is no more denying the facts.”
Apparently fun time was over. Our reckoning, or at least someone’s reckoning, was at hand.
“The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is under active and serious investigations by Elections Canada for election fraud,” Mr. Andrews reported. “How can the Conservative member for Peterborough conduct himself as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and hold his position on the ethics committee while he is being investigated for breaking the rules at Elections Canada?”
This was not quite Mr. Andrews’ question.
“My question is to the member for Peterborough,” he continued, seeming concerned that the member for Peterborough be the one to respond. “Why does he not do the honourable thing, step aside as the Prime Minister’s private parliamentary secretary and step aside from the ethics committee while he is under active investigation?”
Duly, Dean Del Mastro did stand to speak both for himself and of himself. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 1, 2012 at 3:57 PM - 0 Comments
Brad Lavigne, a key advisor to Jack Layton, maps out the NDP’s climb from also-ran to official opposition.
This next tier of NDP voter shared three key things in common with our base: they had a deep mistrust of Harper; they did not like Michael Ignatieff, even though they
were primarily Liberals; and they liked Jack. More than anything, these folks were looking for someone in Ottawa they could trust. With Jack scoring well personally, the common denominators of leadership and trust fit in well with our leader-focused branding of the party.
They also saw Parliament, mired in partisan sniping, as a distant and dysfunctional entity that wasn’t getting things done for them, even as health care was suffering, there was a jobs and pension crisis, and life was becoming less and less affordable. The next election was an opportunity to seize on this sentiment. At the heart of what was wrong with Ottawa were the very players who were responsible for the deterioration. In other words, the status quo was responsible for the dysfunction. This positioning allowed us to answer the question of who we were running against in the campaign. If we could successfully make the case that the Conservatives, the Liberals and the Bloc were the reason Ottawa was broken, we could paint them as the problem and us as the solution.
Here is John Geddes’ look at the NDP’s 2011 campaign. Here is my dispatch from the first week of that election. And here is what I wrote during the first week of the 2008 campaign, when Jack Layton announced his intention to be prime minister.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM - 0 Comments
Daniel Kitts notes an interesting detail of the Obama campaign’s general election plan.
But the Obama indictment of Romney in the economic sphere will extend beyond Bain and the Bay State: It will go to character. It will drive home the idea that Romney is a skillful but self-serving plutocrat whose résumé is replete with self-enrichment but who has never cared an iota about bettering the lives of ordinary people. One tagline that the campaign is considering using—“He’s never been in it for you”—encompasses Bain, Massachusetts, and every Gordon Gekko–meets–Thurston Howell III gaffe he made during the primary season in one crisp linguistic swoop.
That, Kitts suggests, sounds an awful lot like something the Conservatives liked to say about Michael Ignatieff. There is probably an interesting comparison to be made between the two politicians and not only because they sort of looked like each other in their younger years. Both are privileged sons of accomplished fathers. Both have pasts that complicate their presents (Mr. Ignatieff as a free-speaking academic, Mr. Romney as an elected centrist). Both struggle with the “retail” aspects of modern politics. And now both will be depicted by their opponents as aloof, arrogant strivers who aren’t in touch with the realities of the common man.
Mr. Ignatieff should probably be dispatched to the States post haste to follow the Romney campaign for a couple weeks and write about what he sees.