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Canadian Politics Part VII: By-Elections PGT

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11-26-2013, 10:47 AM
  #26
Johnny LaRue
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Originally Posted by Wetcoaster View Post
The CPC will make sure to highlight those deficiencies between now and the next election.

Of course it is helpful the Justin is a walking gaffe machine.
Agreed. The Tories will likely win a minority at the very least. In the end, the Tories will have to depend on their record. People will ask whether or not they have good jobs and whether or not the budget is balanced. If people don't have good jobs and we're still in deficit, it might not matter how poorly Justin performs.

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11-26-2013, 12:30 PM
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I honestly don't get all the reaction from the talking heads. They were mi-term by-elections in the middle of a government scandal. Any/every government should be expected to perform poorly. And the ascendant Trudeau manages no gains?

I know people are caught up in the popular vote totals, but frankly when you consider the ridings that were up and the present circumstances I don't think these by-elections mean anything.

Traditionally it is recognized that all by-elections are worth is a bit of momentum. However, you typically have to make gains to have the Big Mo'. Improving the popular vote in lost ridings in a by-election seems to fail to satisfy these conditions, no?

Don't get me wrong, the loser of the evening wasn't Trudeau. It was most certainly Mulcair, if we even have to pick one (I'm inclined to view these by-elections as resulting in no change/development to the situation).

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11-26-2013, 12:43 PM
  #28
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Random by-election factoid: In the last 20 years, here are the W-L records for governing parties in by-elections where they were the incumbent.

Harper: 5-1
Martin: 1-0
Chretien: 16-3

The Conservatives under Harper won 5 by-elections in seats where an Opposition Party was the incumbent, and the Liberals won 4 seats from their opponents under Chretien. That's a net-gain of 5 seats for governing parties in by-elections over the last twenty years. The by-elections are bad for governments really emanates from a disastrous streak of Trudeau the elder losing a dozen in a row or something back in the 70s.

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11-26-2013, 01:33 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by thome_26 View Post
I honestly don't get all the reaction from the talking heads. They were mi-term by-elections in the middle of a government scandal. Any/every government should be expected to perform poorly. And the ascendant Trudeau manages no gains?

I know people are caught up in the popular vote totals, but frankly when you consider the ridings that were up and the present circumstances I don't think these by-elections mean anything.
If the Liberals were within 300 votes of CPC in some Eastern toss-up riding, this would not have any significance. But Brandon was a traditional conservative stronghold, one in which Liberals did extremely bad 2 years ago. They almost won it this time, with a huge increase in votes. How is that not significant? Frankly it would not have made any difference in the House if the Liberals won Brandon. A swing of 300 votes is almost random, so the real story is not in the win/loss column, but that the Liberals had a very strong showing in a traditional conservative riding. Was this unique to Brandon? Or is it symptomatic of a lasting Liberal resurgence, even in the west/prairies? It is too early to tell for the 2015 elections, but certainly yesterday's numbers bode well for Liberals and Trudeau. If they did traditionally ****** in Manitoba, and barely held to Bourassa and Toronto Centre, this would definitely be bad news for Liberals, despite the seat count being the same. I agree with you, that the real loser was Mulcair.

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11-26-2013, 01:46 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transplanted Caper View Post
Random by-election factoid: In the last 20 years, here are the W-L records for governing parties in by-elections where they were the incumbent.

Harper: 5-1
Martin: 1-0
Chretien: 16-3

The Conservatives under Harper won 5 by-elections in seats where an Opposition Party was the incumbent, and the Liberals won 4 seats from their opponents under Chretien. That's a net-gain of 5 seats for governing parties in by-elections over the last twenty years. The by-elections are bad for governments really emanates from a disastrous streak of Trudeau the elder losing a dozen in a row or something back in the 70s.
But you're reducing it, simply, to a win or a loss. How many of those seats were safe seats? And even at that, and as you said yourself, those are seats where they won last time, and the standard or the expectation is that they should be a win.

Using the same numbers and putting a different spin on it, how sustainable is a government that loses over 15% of its seats in each election?

Don't get me wrong, I think we both agree that the meaningfulness of by-elections is grossly over-rated. In fact, I would wager that if one polled Canadians this week, a majority wouldn't even be aware there were by-elections, and a super-majority couldn't tell you any of the results, and a miniscule minority would be able to identify where the by-elections were held and which party won which seat.

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11-26-2013, 01:59 PM
  #31
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Mulcair isn't Layton. He has that working against him.

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11-26-2013, 02:02 PM
  #32
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I was pulling the vote last night for the Liberals in Toronto Centre. One thing that I think is lasting is that the Liberal middle-class message is getting through to people. I actually talked to a woman who didn't like the message because she felt it excluded poor people like herself and was considering not voting or voting NDP. In the end, she voted for us after I explained the messaging to her. But, my point is that message is getting through.

The conservatives won in the US and then Canada with a simple economic message: we are working for the taxpayer. Liberals are now turning to a different message: we need to help the middle class. Its an interesting contrast in messages. Moreover, its interesting to contrast that with the NDP, which lacks any coherent message (except maybe that they are for unions...)

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11-26-2013, 02:13 PM
  #33
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If the Liberals were within 300 votes of CPC in some Eastern toss-up riding, this would not have any significance. But Brandon was a traditional conservative stronghold, one in which Liberals did extremely bad 2 years ago. They almost won it this time, with a huge increase in votes. How is that not significant? Frankly it would not have made any difference in the House if the Liberals won Brandon. A swing of 300 votes is almost random, so the real story is not in the win/loss column, but that the Liberals had a very strong showing in a traditional conservative riding. Was this unique to Brandon? Or is it symptomatic of a lasting Liberal resurgence, even in the west/prairies? It is too early to tell for the 2015 elections, but certainly yesterday's numbers bode well for Liberals and Trudeau. If they did traditionally ****** in Manitoba, and barely held to Bourassa and Toronto Centre, this would definitely be bad news for Liberals, despite the seat count being the same. I agree with you, that the real loser was Mulcair.
As for the Brandon-Souris riding, don't just assess the percentage of popular vote. A highly motivated LPC (and left-centre voters) smelled blood and managed to increase their turn out by a couple of thousand voters. The only reason it was close was because ten thousand CPC supporters stayed home. It isn't hard to understand why they stayed home, either (mid-term by-election, balance of the government not on the line, negative news surrounding the government).

In Provencher, the LPC/NDP actually turned out less votes than in the last general election.

You might disagree, but I personally do not expect that 10 thousand CPC voters in Brandon will stay home in 2015 (barring unforeseen changes/developments).


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11-26-2013, 02:20 PM
  #34
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Mulcair isn't Layton. He has that working against him.
I'm surprised you've bought into this "Layton was a miracle worker at getting votes" line that seems to have been created.

Taken as a whole, Layton's electoral record is underwhelming and forgettable. If they hadn't caught lightning in a bottle and benefited from a perfect storm in Quebec (and really, to the extent anybody in the NDP was responsible for their gains, Mulcair had as much to do with the Quebec results as Layton did by my estimation).

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11-26-2013, 02:27 PM
  #35
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Agreed. The Tories will likely win a minority at the very least. In the end, the Tories will have to depend on their record. People will ask whether or not they have good jobs and whether or not the budget is balanced. If people don't have good jobs and we're still in deficit, it might not matter how poorly Justin performs.
The CPC ace in the hole - 6 new seats in each of Alberta and BC.

And 15 in Ontario - in areas where the CPC has been picking strength for the most part.

3 new seats in Quebec where the CPC will let the NDP and LPC fight it out.

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11-26-2013, 02:27 PM
  #36
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I'm surprised you've bought into this "Layton was a miracle worker at getting votes" line that seems to have been created.
I haven't, but Mulcair was still the wrong guy to choose to be NDP leader because - IMO - the gains in fickle Quebec would likely have headed back to other parties in 2015.

They needed someone who could grow their brand in areas like the non-urban west and a guy like Nathan Cullen would be better for that than Mulcair. Cullen was also willing to work with other parties and wasn't a constant antagonist or contrarian.

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11-26-2013, 02:30 PM
  #37
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I'm surprised you've bought into this "Layton was a miracle worker at getting votes" line that seems to have been created.

Taken as a whole, Layton's electoral record is underwhelming and forgettable. If they hadn't caught lightning in a bottle and benefited from a perfect storm in Quebec (and really, to the extent anybody in the NDP was responsible for their gains, Mulcair had as much to do with the Quebec results as Layton did by my estimation).
And if you check out the NDP outside of Quebec in the last election - basically no change.

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11-26-2013, 02:48 PM
  #38
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And if you check out the NDP outside of Quebec in the last election - basically no change.
Indeed, only one new seat in the western half of the country and only 6 new seats west of Quebec. Mulcair needs to get himself a cane before the next election. Quebecois love them some politicians who walk with a cane!

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11-26-2013, 02:48 PM
  #39
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I haven't, but Mulcair was still the wrong guy to choose to be NDP leader because - IMO - the gains in fickle Quebec would likely have headed back to other parties in 2015.

They needed someone who could grow their brand in areas like the non-urban west and a guy like Nathan Cullen would be better for that than Mulcair. Cullen was also willing to work with other parties and wasn't a constant antagonist or contrarian.
I don't buy the notion that the NDP has what it takes to be a real national party

It's an effective third place party but I just don't see it getting enough support to get a majority: they are the idealist party, we need one but we don't one want them to form government either

The NDP surged in Quebec because it was the only option for them: they hate the LPC, they hate the CPC and were more than fed up with the BQ so they went to the NDP

I'd be surprised if this came to pass in 2015: I expect the LPC to surge in Quebec once again with the Trudeau name and the desire to get rid of the CPC

I don't think it will be enough though

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11-26-2013, 02:50 PM
  #40
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They'll never have a majority - or even a minority, they've peaked - but as a third party, they're definitely a lot more useful than the Liberals have been.

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11-26-2013, 02:53 PM
  #41
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As for the Brandon-Souris riding, don't just assess the percentage of popular vote. A highly motivated LPC (and left-centre voters) smelled blood and managed to increase their turn out by a couple of thousand voters. The only reason it was close was because ten thousand CPC supporters stayed home. It isn't hard to understand why they stayed home, either (mid-term by-election, balance of the government not on the line, negative news surrounding the government).
How do you know that? Couldn't be that the average voter in Brandon simply switched their vote from conservative to Liberal? Maybe they are turned off by government corruption, perhaps they like Trudeau, who knows. Even looking at total number of votes, the Liberals didn't have 10K+ votes in Brandon in the last two decades.

You have a very static view of electoral preferences (staunch supporters that would rather stay home than vote with the "enemy"), but in reality, while this is perhaps true for the base, it is not true for the average voter.
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In Provencher, the LPC/NDP actually turned out less votes than in the last general election.
First of all, the turnout was 17K lower so most likely the raw totals would be lower too. The Liberal percentage of the vote was higher by 23 points than in 2011. Secondly, I am not sure why it is relevant to coalesce LPC and NDP? Hey, the CPC/NDP turned out less votes than in the last general election.

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11-26-2013, 02:53 PM
  #42
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They'll never have a majority - or even a minority, they've peaked - but as a third party, they're definitely a lot more useful than the Liberals have been.
It's hard to say really

The LPC gets to play third fiddle for the first time ever (I'm pretty sure it's the first time, my Canadian history isn't very good since I grew up in Europe) and the Harper CPC has a majority

I don't think anyone could be a decent third party with this incarnation of the CPC with a majority

I know I'm a hardcore LPC lover but any party with Stephane Dion is always going to be somewhat useful (not so much as a leader but he's still one of the most intelligent MPs in the house)

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11-26-2013, 03:15 PM
  #43
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I'd be surprised if this came to pass in 2015: I expect the LPC to surge in Quebec once again with the Trudeau name and the desire to get rid of the CPC
What is to be determined is the extent to which any boost the LPC can get from the Trudeau will exist outside of Montreal. The Trudeau name is not exactly a darling of Quebec nationalists.

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11-26-2013, 03:21 PM
  #44
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What is to be determined is the extent to which any boost the LPC can get from the Trudeau will exist outside of Montreal. The Trudeau name is not exactly a darling of Quebec nationalists.
But you have to balance that against the love that Quebec nationalists have for substitute drama teachers.

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11-26-2013, 03:28 PM
  #45
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How do you know that? Couldn't be that the average voter in Brandon simply switched their vote from conservative to Liberal? Maybe they are turned off by government corruption, perhaps they like Trudeau, who knows. Even looking at total number of votes, the Liberals didn't have 10K+ votes in Brandon in the last two decades.
So is your assertion that centre-left voters stayed home this time around and the centre-right partially stayed home and partially shifted to Trudeau? Don't get me wrong, the things I'm saying can't be proven with absolute certainty, but a shred of logic and rational thinking would show that I've reached a sound conclusion.

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You have a very static view of electoral preferences (staunch supporters that would rather stay home than vote with the "enemy"), but in reality, while this is perhaps true for the base, it is not true for the average voter.
No, I am fully aware that dramatic shifts in voting preference among communities can and do happen. It is my belief that there has not been a fundamental shift among the electorate in Manitoba.

You can certainly argue otherwise. I suppose you'll need to argue based on percentage point changes from a general election to a by-election. In which case you're standing on soft ground.


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First of all, the turnout was 17K lower so most likely the raw totals would be lower too. The Liberal percentage of the vote was higher by 23 points than in 2011. Secondly, I am not sure why it is relevant to coalesce LPC and NDP? Hey, the CPC/NDP turned out less votes than in the last general election.
Because for the past several elections, there have been two types of voters on the prairies. Those that vote for the CPC and those that vote for everybody else. It is also just a simple rational assumption considering where each of the parties sit in the political spectrum. The point is that in these types of ridings, the total votes the LPC or the NDP receives individually is not really that relevant when considering the potential for a change. One of those two parties will have to show an ability not to just to get votes from the other, but to eat into the CPC voting base. I don't see anything in these results indicating that is something is imminent.

The conclusions I've mentioned here I don't even consider contentious. One's political leanings aren't really relevant to what I've said, are they?


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11-26-2013, 03:31 PM
  #46
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But you have to balance that against the love that Quebec nationalists have for substitute drama teachers.
They certainly do like to vote for a Quebecois, no doubt.

Similar to Mulcair, if Trudeau were to have some kind of need (real or imagined) for a walking cane, I think it would help him in Quebec... and I'm only sort of joking.

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11-26-2013, 03:57 PM
  #47
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So is your assertion that centre-left voters stayed home this time around and the centre-right partially stayed home and partially shifted to Trudeau? Don't get me wrong, the things I'm saying can't be proven with absolute certainty, but a shred of logic and rational thinking would show that I've reached a sound conclusion.
No, my assertion is that many of the new Liberals voters are former CPC voters. I find it pretty illogical that the additional 10K votes the Liberals got this time around (at a lower turnout!), stayed home in 2011, while those 10K more people that voted CPC in 2011 didn't vote now. Besides, do you really think voters that have centre-right convictions wound never vote Liberal?

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No, I am fully aware that dramatic shifts in voting preference among communities can and do happen. It is my belief that there has not been a fundamental shift among the electorate in Manitoba.

You can certainly argue otherwise. I suppose you'll need to argue based on percentage point changes from a general election to a by-election. In which case you're standing on soft ground.
What would be evidence of fundamental shift in your opinion? By the way, I am not arguing a "fundamental shift", but if a party increases its percentage the way the Liberals did, I think this it is an indication of voters opening up to Liberals. It is an indication of a successful work in progress.


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Because for the past several elections, there have been two types of voters on the prairies. Those that vote for the CPC and those that vote for everybody else. It is also just a simple rational assumption considering where each of the parties sit in the political spectrum. The point is that in these types of ridings, the total votes the LPC or the NDP receives individually is not really that relevant when considering the potential for a change. One of those two parties will have to show an ability not to just to get votes from the other, but to eat into the CPC voting base. I don't see anything in these results indicating that is something is imminent.

The conclusions I've mentioned here I don't even consider contentious. One's political leanings aren't really relevant to what I've said, are they?
I don't know if the Liberals will be able to eat into CPC vote. The CPC did gradually eat into LPC vote in Ontario, so I see no reason why those votes going back, and perhaps some success in the prairies. This seems to be a good opportunity for the Liberals considering the corruption of the current government.

Not addressed particularly to you, but conservative supporters seem to argue that there is no way another party could possibly form the government in Canada, based on the current demographics. I remember back in early 2000s cocky Liberals supporters arguing a similar point about the "natural governing party".

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11-26-2013, 04:28 PM
  #48
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No, my assertion is that many of the new Liberals voters are former CPC voters. I find it pretty illogical that the additional 10K votes the Liberals got this time around (at a lower turnout!), stayed home in 2011, while those 10K more people that voted CPC in 2011 didn't vote now. Besides, do you really think voters that have centre-right convictions wound never vote Liberal?
You're certainly free to presume that. And I'm not trying to argue that no former CPC voters supported the LPC here. But what is obvious to me is that there can be safely assumed to be a core of centre-left voters in that riding. As I pointed out, I find it highly unlikely that those voters would have stayed home when it appeared they finally had a chance to defeat the Conservative candidate. I think it is far more likely, in the extreme, that they coalesced around the LPC candidate. If that is true, that accounts for the vast majority of their gained support, leaving room for some converts from the CPC and new voters who may not have voted at all last election. But if the LPC got a bunch of those new votes from the CPC, simple arithmetic must lead one to conclude that those people who supported either the LPC or the NDP (in congruent numbers) stayed home.

The simple math means one of these two (or a combination of both) must be true. I, personally, find it unlikely in the extreme that the voters who supported the NDP/LPC in the last election didn't turn out.

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What would be evidence of fundamental shift in your opinion? By the way, I am not arguing a "fundamental shift", but if a party increases its percentage the way the Liberals did, I think this it is an indication of voters opening up to Liberals. It is an indication of a successful work in progress.
Well for starters, an actual election. Four ridings that do not have a history of being swing ridings are hardly going to give much meaningful information as to how swing ridings will play out in a general election.

As stated, I view by-elections in the present (majority) circumstances as only being relevant insofar one or another can claim to have the big mo'. As I've further stated, it is my opinion that to claim the big mo', a party ought to have to do more than hold two of their own safest seats.

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I don't know if the Liberals will be able to eat into CPC vote. The CPC did gradually eat into LPC vote in Ontario, so I see no reason why those votes going back, and perhaps some success in the prairies. This seems to be a good opportunity for the Liberals considering the corruption of the current government.
Absolutely it could happen. Nay, it will happen eventually (unless we believe the Conservatives will govern uninterrupted for the next generation).

With the government getting on in years spent in office, so too is there an increase in the odds of people getting tired of that government.

However, I also don't think we've actually reached that point yet. I don't believe people are yet fed up enough with this government (remember, this is a country that re-elected the LPC in 2004). Taking other realities into consideration (superior organization, discipline, finances, etc) and my subjective belief that Trudeau will get his clock cleaned when on the same stage as Harper and Mulcair, I do not expect to see a fundamental shift back to the LPC.

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Not addressed particularly to you, but conservative supporters seem to argue that there is no way another party could possibly form the government in Canada, based on the current demographics. I remember back in early 2000s cocky Liberals supporters arguing a similar point about the "natural governing party".
I know we used to hear that Harper was very forceful with his MPs/Staffers that they should not be complacent or view themselves as being assured any kind of political success or authority. As somebody who grew up in the 90's; not for one second am I certain that the CPC/Harper have done enough to entrench themselves as the default option (much less 'the natural governing party') of the Canadian electorate. Hell, we haven't even seen what this party can do without Harper, so it is tough to tell whether this is something sustainable, or whether it is the product of Harper himself.

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11-27-2013, 08:53 AM
  #49
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FWIW, the Brandon-Souris results might have been as much the result of Dinsdale (L) doing his homework in the riding, and working the fairly large base of people who don't vote (45%), on top of perhaps winning some CPC converts who weren't happy with the local selection. While this might not be a proof of Trudeaumania sweeping the Prairies, it still gives the Opposition parties and the Mooses (L) of the world hope that they have a chance against the C machine out West, if they organize and do the legwork before the election, it isn't just about slogans or ideology or current polls. Even the Conservatives were resurgent in Quebec with Mulroney, a desert for them previously, and gave rise to people like Lucien Bouchard, one of Thome's canes; even Harper had a temporary blast there (before the 'arts' gaffe). The Tory fortress IMO is vulnerable in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (and Redmonton). It's probably more safe for them while the CPC have a favorite son there (Harper). Politics is still local to a large degree and it might be a lot to ask two Easterners (Mulcair and Trudeau) to make huge headway in the West right now (barring a CPC gaffe). Ontario is another question and the road to defeating Harper starts in Ontario IMHO. If the Liberals and NDP don't dent the CPC in Ontario next election, they are seriously going to have to start thinking coalitions.

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11-27-2013, 08:59 AM
  #50
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Originally Posted by Pangu View Post
The conservatives won in the US and then Canada with a simple economic message: we are working for the taxpayer. Liberals are now turning to a different message: we need to help the middle class. Its an interesting contrast in messages. Moreover, its interesting to contrast that with the NDP, which lacks any coherent message (except maybe that they are for unions...)
Are you actually suggesting that the post-Chretien Liberal party has any sort of coherent messaging?

Love them or hate them, everbody knows what the NDP stands for. The current Federal Liberal Party? Their entire legitimacy is tied to Justin Trudeau's cult of personality.


The funny thing is that if it was Justin Trudeau grilling Harper in QP every day, the Liberals would not have done as well as they did in the by-elections.

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