By Blog of Lists - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 0 Comments
Canadian politicians inundate us with election ads, pamphlets and lawn signs. For that, we can thank the more than 500,000 voters who open their wallets to donate to political parties. Here, Maclean’s examines the five postal codes that have given the most to federal politicians. (The results include individual donations of $200 or more between 2007-10, excluding the most recent federal election in May 2011.)
1. V2A 5C5 (Penticton, B.C.): $210,857
Canada’s most generous postal code leads to an address on Main Street in Penticton, but in reality comes from a single donation to the New Democrats by the estate of a long-time supporter. Ruth Millicent Hass, who lived in nearby Kaleden, B.C., died at age 89 in April 2010 and bequeathed the single largest donation to any political party in at least 15 years. The riding is represented by Conservative Dan Albas. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 4:25 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The robocalls court challenge took a testy turn Wednesday over the tweets…
OTTAWA – The robocalls court challenge took a testy turn Wednesday over the tweets and treatment of one of its star witnesses.
Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton cried foul after pollster Frank Graves — asked to leave the courtroom so lawyers could confer with the judge — examined the Twitter feeds of journalists who were tweeting from inside.
Hamilton produced screen shots from Graves’s own Twitter feed to prove he’d been snooping on the courtroom chat.
“He did. Hehe,” Graves wrote to someone who asked if he checked Twitter from outside the courtroom. Continue…
By Steve Rennie - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Lawyers for eight Canadians challenging the outcomes of the last federal election…
OTTAWA – Lawyers for eight Canadians challenging the outcomes of the last federal election in six closely contested ridings are in Federal Court today arguing that the results should be overturned because of alleged voter-suppression tactics.
The eight voters, who are supported by the Council of Canadians, allege misleading or harassing phone calls in those ridings — all won by Conservative candidates — kept some people from voting and may have affected the results.
The Conservative party says it was not behind the fraudulent calls.
Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton argued the case is frivolous, saying the eight applicants are really just stand-ins for the left-leaning council. Continue…
By Tamsin McMahon - Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 12:16 AM - 0 Comments
The surprising ways political parties get inside your head
Canadians were rightly alarmed earlier this year when details of a secretive ﬁgure named Pierre Poutine first came to light. Using an auto-dialing service in Quebec, an anonymous partisan operative allegedly sent voters identified as non-Conservatives to the wrong polling stations during the 2011 federal election. But while the so-called “robocall affair” exposed the underbelly of today’s political campaigns, it also opened a door into a world where political parties exploit our ever-growing webs of personal data.
Mobilizing your supporters and discouraging your opponents, the bread and butter of any election campaign, was once a matter of recruiting enough volunteers to canvass neighbourhoods and drive people to the polls. These days, it’s increasingly the work of data analysts and behavioural scientists who collect reams of publicly available personal information and use computer algorithms to exploit it. Their goal: nothing short of pinpointing the fears and hopes that motivate individual voters, and using that information to target them for donations and votes on election day.
How you vote may seem like the last bastion of individual agency, but political campaigns say they can predict what messages will move you with unnerving accuracy by studying everything from your home address, to your magazine subscriptions, to what you like to watch on TV on a Saturday night—or even whether or not you own a TV in the first place. Dubbed “microtargeting,” these new techniques promise to have profound implications for the political process. “The idea of Pierre Poutine, it was funny,” says Carleton University professor and former Reform party pollster André Turcotte. “But the real story is in what parties are doing and not doing with their data and about how that technique is hijacking the political process.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 11:45 AM - 0 Comments
When the NDP won an unprecedented 103 seats in the federal election, an eclectic cast of unknowns was thrust into the spotlight
If all had gone according to plan, the NDP candidate in the riding of Berthier-Maskinonge would have been noted little beyond the historical record. She would have been nothing more than an entry on the ballot that the majority of voters in that riding passed over as they marked an X beside the name of the incumbent, Guy André of the Bloc Québécois, or perhaps the Liberal candidate, Francine Gaudet, a former member of the national assembly of Quebec.
But then the polls changed and Ruth Ellen Brosseau became an example of democratic absurdity. And then our political hierarchy changed and Brosseau became a duly elected member of Parliament.
A single mother living in Gatineau, Que.—several hours by car from Berthier-Maskinonge—Brosseau worked as the assistant manager at a university campus pub in Ottawa. She did not speak French ﬂuently and had possibly never set foot in the riding she was nominally running to represent. Midway through the campaign she went to Las Vegas on vacation. But her name was on the ballot. And a week after her 27th birthday she received 22,403 votes, nearly 6,000 more than André.
By Paul Wells - Monday, March 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM - 361 Comments
Ignatieff has done a lot of things right, but he’s still dead in the polls
Michael Ignatieff has been among the people.
“I’m in Newfoundland two weeks ago,” the Liberal leader said over tea in the sunroom at Stornaway, the official Opposition leader’s residence. On the wall behind him was a landscape by the Winnipeg artist Ivan Eyre, all slate-grey skies and autumn foliage. “And I’m in a training centre run by the operating engineers’ union. Great union. And this training site is training people in heavy machinery. Everything from bulldozers to cranes.
“A third of the kids in the course are women. Half of the women are on social assistance. They’re desperate to get a union ticket to be bulldozer drivers or crane operators. They’re fabulously determined. It’s a tough course. They put me into these damned cranes and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, and they look fabulous. One of the women said to me, ‘You know, this is my ticket out of here. This is the ticket that allows me out of social assistance. This is my ticket that allows me to feed my kids. But I can’t do this if I don’t get child care.’
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 3:19 PM - 40 Comments
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 8:34 AM - 0 Comments
It takes a dazzling set of skills to be an MP. Like having a hand, to pound things with.
With a federal election likely to come as early as this fall, a number of Canadians are toying with the idea of running for office. Do you have what it takes to be a member of Parliament? Let’s find out.
Do you like birthdays? Do you like other people’s birthdays? Do you like being obligated to show up at other people’s birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties, book launches, interventions, seances, hoedowns and circumcisions? As an MP, you’ll get invited to everything and be expected to give a speech paying tribute to the individual/group/penis.
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 5:20 PM - 76 Comments
Yes, an election is in the air, for our PM, aided by a series of levers and pulleys, is smiling
There’s no longer any doubt: a federal election is on its way. We know this because Stephen Harper has started Giving Something of Himself.
Last time around, we could tell an election was coming when Harper donned a sweater vest and appeared in TV commercials in which he spoke in gentle tones and—aided by a series of levers and pulleys operated by a team of stout men and a pack horse—smiled. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:29 PM - 1,004 Comments
Couillard’s 317-page account of her life and ill-fated affair with Maxime Bernier, landed today on newsroom desks across the country (M&S, $29.99). The advance billing—primed by its author in select media interviews—suggests the book could cause a stir on the campaign trail.
Maclean’s national affairs correspondent Charlie Gillis is reading it, and will share observations as he goes.
(For Day 2, please scroll down)
Noon — First impressions: it looks and feels as rushed as it is. After initially setting a release date of Oct. 14, the day of the election, Couillard and her publishers bumped up first to Oct. 6, then to tomorrow. The page stock feels cheap (think foolscap from grade school), but there are 16-pages of b&w photos in the middle. Predictably, Julie looks great in a lot of them.
She sets quite a tone in the dedication:
“… to women who, like me, have had their reputations and lives destroyed by the wagging tongues of men in power.”
Strap on your seatbelt, Max. I have a feeling this is going to get rough.
(Note to readers: patience appreciated; I can only type so fast. As ever, responses, rejoinders and criticism welcome).
12:20 p.m. — Intro. Don’t usually read ‘em, but this one’s off to a good start, with a rail at a “scandal-obsessed media” that “delighted in perpetrating the worst drivel and falsehoods imaginable…” Hey, wait a minute, that’s me you’re talking about.
It’s essentially a rant about how miserable the media made her and her family during l’affaire Couillard-Bernier. I don’t doubt that. But I don’t think she was made out to be the “monster” she claims.
12:30 p.m. — Chapter 1, “Mixed Roots.” Her first memory is the day her dog died. Yikes, I hope this gets cheerier…
Actually, the dog thing is part of a broader self-portrait a sort of Snow White figure. Loves animals, very gentle, full of love, small woodland creatures gather around her feet etc. Did her editor (ghostwriter?) explain the concept of hyperbole to her?
Early childhood in Ville-Émard, blue-collar hood on the southwest Island, French-Scot-Irish background; parents married at 18 because they were pregnant with her sister.
First brush with fame: won “cutest baby contest” held by a local TV station. Moved to the ‘burbs north of Montreal when she was four.
12:45 p.m. — Chapter 2, “Life in Lorraine.” Her mother’s warning not to marry “the first man you meet” comes home. Iydillic childhood is disrupted when her mother Diane finds a lipstick-stained cigarette butt in the car (neither parents smoked).
So her father, Marcel, was cheating. He was a “profoundly dysfunctional” man who made promises he didn’t keep. Her parents began squabbling, and she developed a defence mechanism, falling asleep as soon as they started. The marriage wasn’t violent, only loveless. You can see where this is heading:
” … since I had known nothing else, it was hard for me to put a name to the vague unease that I felt—a sort of nostalgic longing for something that had never existed in world, that is, a close-knit family that would gather together at mealtimes, playfully tease one another, talk about the little things …”
1:05 p.m. — Chapter 3 (of 47; don’t say we aren’t dedicated here at Maclean’s), “Money Problems”
I should note that the editors have added little pull-quotes to stand as subtitles for every chapter. This one is “Little girls need to love their fathers,” which typifies the banality of a lot of her observations. Still, the tone of the early-years stuff is pretty heartfelt, at least to my ear.
By now, the family numbers five: mum, dad, Julie, her sister Johanne and her little brother Patrick. Her father, who had been a lithographer with the Montreal Gazette newspaper, decides he’s going to be a building contractor, a decision that casts the family into financial instability. He’s too disorganized and undisciplined, says Julie.
Another brief period of idyll after they move into a house her father has built in Lorraine. But her dad is driven into bankruptcy penury after a bad transaction with an electrician. Diane is forced to work nights as waitress. At 10, she says, she “gained a vague understanding of the value of money—or at least the hardships that can result from lack of it.”
In short, she has dad issues and money issues, which I feel like I might have predicted. Continue…
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 8:55 PM - 0 Comments
You see a lot of this sort of story, wherein assorted “experts” speculate that…
You see a lot of this sort of story, wherein assorted “experts” speculate that a win for Obama in the US election could give the Liberals a lift, Dion and Obama being soulmates and all. Larry Martin even has a pollster pegging the Obama effect at 3 percentage points.
There’s just one problem with this thesis: there’s no evidence that American presidential elections have any particular effect on Canadian elections.
The Liberals were somehow able to win in 1968 and 1972, notwithstanding Nixon’s victories in both presidential elections. Nor did Reagan’s big win in 1980 prevent Pierre Trudeau’s triumphant return.
True, the Conservative won back to back elections in 1984 and 1988, while their Republican cousins were doing the same. And Liberal wins in 1993 and 1997 followed Bill Clinton’s victories.
But the Liberals won again in 2000, when George W. Bush took the White House back for Republicans. And again, narrowly, in 2004, notwithstanding Bush’s re-election.
There’s just no pattern here — other than the one that has the Liberals winning most of the time. But you knew that one.