By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
Paul Adams wonders what it would take for the New Democrats and Liberals to consider a merger. Greg Fingas notes a wrinkle in Joyce Murray’s cooperation proposal: Ms. Murray wants to combine the 2008 and 2011 election results for the purposes of figuring out where to cooperate, in part so that an “anomaly” like the NDP’s result in Quebec in 2011 can be accounted for.
Now, one of the main criticisms of strategic voting schemes has been their inevitable reliance on re-fighting the last war – with results ranging from ineffective to downright counterproductive. But Murray apparently isn’t satisfied with even that well-established level of failure. Instead, she’s going a step further into the past, seeking to incorporate yet another layer of past (and outdated) data from the 2008 election in order to try to make her proposal palatable among supporters who apparently want to live in denial that the most recent federal election actually happened.
Moreover, she’s explicitly declaring that a plan nominally aimed at expanding the number of progressive seats in Parliament will operate on the assumption that the largest actual grouping of such seats is an irrelevant “anomaly”. (Not that the NDP’s success in winning Quebec ridings from the Cons and Bloc would be subject to her cooperation plan in the first place – as in another familiar failing of strategic voting schemes, Murray doesn’t seem to recognize that a viable coalition needs to hold and build on the seats it actually holds rather than simply assuming the rest of the election will proceed exactly like the previous one.)
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Paul Adams proposes seats for aboriginals in the House of Commons.
Having their own MPs would give Canada’s first peoples an opportunity to vote for representatives who hold their concerns as a priority and who could speak for them with a degree of independence and authority that no one now has. None of us thinks it is remarkable that Albertans or Québécois have their voices directly heard in Parliament: we have even had parties such as Reform and the Bloc which ran for election as voices for regional concerns. Is there something fundamentally wrong with aboriginal Canadians having a similar voice?
Aboriginal seats would hardly be a panacea. They would not displace protest or moral suasion. They would not end the need for negotiations over land and they would not remove the need for organizations such as the AFN. But they would ensure that aboriginal concerns were raised in the process of legislation, and not just in anguished howls afterward.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM - 0 Comments
Paul Adams commends Joyce Murray for advocating joint nominations among Liberals, New Democrats and Greens.
There’s no doubt Murray is a long shot to win the leadership. And I understand that it is likely that the winner will denounce the idea of inter-party co-operation during the leadership campaign, just as Thomas Mulcair did with the NDP. But once the Liberal leadership is over, all the opposition parties will be staring a stark reality in the face. None of them is likely to win a majority in the next election unless they co-operate or merge. If one is lucky enough to win a minority, it will depend on other like-minded parties to pass its legislation and stay in power. Sooner or later, in other words, the current opposition parties likely will be driven to co-operate.
There will be a window after the Liberal leadership, whoever is elected, when it will be possible to explore possibilities like the one that Cullen and now Murray have proposed. It is worth remembering that the leaders of both the PCs and the Canadian Alliance rejected the idea of party merger when they were leadership candidates. But they changed their minds and persuaded their parties otherwise once they were elected. They did so because it made political sense. Of course, there is another possibility for the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens, perhaps the most probable of all: that they will once again compete with one another in the 2015 election, and in doing so allow the Conservatives to triumph as they have in 2006, 2008 and 2011 against a divided opposition. At that point, the impulse for co-operation likely will be irresistible, but too late to prevent yet another Conservative government advancing policies they all oppose.
There remai numerous questions to be answered about joint nominations. But there is one way joint nominations might make sense: if they were explicitly part of an outright merger. Thing is, Joyce Murray, like Nathan Cullen when he sought the NDP leadership, rejects a merger. And Ms. Murray says the joint nominations would only be for the next election.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM - 0 Comments
Over the last two weeks, the odd debate about Stephen Harper’s religion has wandered off in various directions.
Mr. Martin worries that faith is supplanting “reason.” I think “reason” is too far down the list of important policy-drivers in Ottawa to care very much. Politicians believe all sorts of stupid things for all sorts of stupid reasons. In the end, I fail to see the point of all this speculation … well, unless it’s to bash conservatives and evangelicals for sport. Democracy provides us with a wonderful opportunity, every four years or so at the most, to judge politicians for what they do. What does it matter why they do it?
As someone who supports rational, scientific, evidence-based policy making – at least as an ideal – I see a government which often chooses a different path for what often seem inscrutable reasons, or at least unspoken ones. If the Harper government has a better explanation than it has adduced for ignoring the climate science, it should offer it up. In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with posing sensible questions about what those reasons may be.
Harper does indeed make his decisions based on what might be called a religion. But it’s not Christianity, or Judaism, or paganism. Rather, it’s the one true faith for politicians world-wide; I call it The Holy Church of Winning Political Power.
All of this from the idle speculation of one writer (Andrew Nikiforuk) that the Harper government’s environmental policy is inspired by an evangelical rejection of climate science. Is it reasonable to probe the Prime Minister’s religious beliefs? Sure. Is is possible that his religious beliefs in some way inform his political actions? Sure. But is there any evidence that Mr. Harper’s environmental policy has been so influenced? No.
For that matter, is there a pattern of formulating policy according to religious doctrine that could lead one to believe his environmental policy was so influenced? I don’t think so. Has he previously acknowledged the science of climate change? Yes. Is there another, entirely plausible explanation—that the government’s environmental policies are in line with the wishes of an electorally significant plurality of voters—for the government’s actions? I’d suggest so.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 30, 2012 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Press finds that the Senate is not quite an exemplar of openness and transparency.
The reporter for weekly newspaper L’Etoile was told that he would have to physically come to Ottawa to look through the Senate attendance register, fat red binders with forms filed monthly by each senator … Another public registry, detailing the financial and business interests of senators, has only been available four hours per weekday at the Office of the Senate Ethics Officer in Ottawa. The Senate voted in May to make the registry public, but the office said the transition won’t be complete until 2013.
Unlike the House of Commons, Senate proceedings are still not televised, and there is no way to easily search Senate votes or daily debates using an online database.
Paul Adams suggests moving the Senate to Winnipeg.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 1:46 PM - 1 Comment
Paul Adams considers the seat projection predicament.
For the record, I am generally a believer in the usefulness of seat projections, and continue to be so in this election, which promises to be historic in some ways. However, I also think that there are reasons to be more cautious about them in elections where there is potential structural change, and where there is volatility late in the campaign.
By Paul Wells - Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM - 45 Comments
From our friend Paul Adams, who seems to be everywhere this autumn and who is blogging on these Ekos robo-polls for — well, for his employer, Ekos, I’ve brazenly swiped this damned interesting chart. In return for my larceny, I ask you to follow the link to Paul’s explanation. My own explanation comes below, after the chart…
Reported Vote – 2006
Vote Intention – 2008
Did not vote
This chart collates some of what pollsters call “cross-tabs” from the latest Ekos Cylon Terminator robo-poll. Stated party support from the 2006 election is cross-indexed with stated party preference in this election right here now. So if you look down from “CPC,” you see that 84% of people who seem to recall voting for the Harper Conservatives in 2006 are now planning to vote for the Harper Conservatives again. Similarly, the NDP seems likely to keep 74% of its 2006 voters, the Bloc 71% of their voters, the Greens 68%, and… the Dion Liberals are on track to keep 62% of those who voted for the Paul Martin Liberals.
Where are those leaking Liberals leaking to? One in five of them plan to vote for the Harper Conservatives. In contrast, only 6% of 2006 Harper Conservative voters are angry enough to plan to switch to the Liberals.
Anyway, Paul Adams has more.
By Paul Wells - Friday, September 12, 2008 at 4:22 PM - 12 Comments
Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communications has a blog devoted exclusively to how the media cover the election. So you vote; politicians try to influence it; journalists cover the politicians; and the Carleton crew blogs about the journalists. Now that‘s meta!!!
But it’s an A-team: Jeff Sallot, late of the Globe; Chris Waddell of long service at the Globe and the CBC; and Paul Adams, who worked for many years at the CBC and the Globe and whose humour we all miss on campaign tours. (Early in the 1997 campaign I watched Jean Chrétien poke his head out of a train car in Montreal for a photo op. “Incredibly, this is the high point of my career,” I said, bored speechless. “I’m not surprised,” Paul replied.)