CuriosityCat: Election 2015: Fare thee well, Canada!

Fare thee well

Goodbye, Mr. Sourpuss.

Hello, Mr. Sunshine.
Yesterday 68% of Canadian voters sent a message to politicians: Canada has had enough of sleazy Harperism.
Now we have MPs elected from the Liberal Party, NDP and Green parties with the mandate to scrap the undemocratic First Past the Post System of electing our MPs, and replace it forthwith – within 18 months – with a new system where every vote counts, in time for the next election; to remedy our democratic deficits; to restore civility to our Parliament; to take the muzzles off our elected MPs and allow them to represent the voters who sent them to Ottawa; and to modernize our infrastructures.
Congratulations, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair!
And Justin, please help us make Canada greater.
Now it’s time for CuriosityCat to lay down the pen.
Fare thee well, Canada!
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CuriosityCat: Be a part of History & win your Bragging Rights by Voting on Monday

When you vote on Monday, you will earn Bragging Rights for your part in one of the most historical events in Canadian history. In years to come, you will be able to hold your head high and tell your friends, relatives, colleagues and strangers that YOU voted in the election that:

©     Exciting: It was the most exciting election for years, flipping this way and that way for week after week, during the longest campaign in living history;
©    Pink Slip: Gave Stephen Harper permission to step down as prime minister, and, should he wish to, as an MP;
©     Gazillions of Volunteers: It was run by three very competent and well organized national parties, which had attracted hundreds of thousands of new members and volunteers, and funded largely by small donations from supporters, rather than large ones from corporations;
©     Said No to American-Style Politics: Most Canadians used it to turn their backs on the use in our country of the deceptive, divisive, slogan-driven, personal attack style of electioneering found in the US, in favour of a more decent, more issue-driven and more inclusive Canadian style.
©    Killed FPTP: It ended the ancient First Past the Post (FPTP) system of electing our MPs,  and elected a strong majority of MPs from the NDP and Liberal Party who are committed to a new, more democratic way to select our MPs, where every vote counts.
©     Kickstarted a massive increase in those voting: The new system to replace our old FPTP system of electing our MPs will make the 10 million Canadians (40% of the 26 million voters) who don’t vote, keener to vote in elections, because their voices will be heard in Parliament for the first time in our history. Their votes will not be wasted, but will be counted.
Please talk to your friends about their chance to join you in getting Bragging Rights by voting on Monday. Share a copy of this post on your own social media, and ask them to share it with their friends.
And then vote on Monday so as to make the above things happen.
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CuriosityCat: Vive la revolution: Why Liberal and NDP supporters will decide how to vote despite their leaders

The Great Canadian 2015 Revolution

The Harper government has, during its four years of majority government, managed to persuade millions of Canadians that they have to vote in a different way in this election. Harper managed to grab power by cementing his conservative base, and using wedge politics to open the gap between the split opposition groups.

The Law of Unintended Consequences then stepped in. Men propose, the gods dispose …
Voters watched in dismay as the Harper regime proceeded in a very systematic way to implement their hidden agenda of removing any vestige of liberal thought or action from Canadian public life. Many such steps were taken stealthily, out of sight of the public; but many were upfront and clearly visible to all.
Harper decided to concentrate on his core supporters and rule that way, disregarding the 60% plus who had different political views and values. His core-only-and-damn-the-torpedoes strategy worked brilliantly, but then something unexpected happened.
When the leading elite of the two main opposition parties refused to be serious about doing something to mend the divisions between them, and to cooperate electorally before the coming election, millions of Canadians decided to do what their party leaders would not do.
It started with a few voices in the wilderness crying out for something new to be tried in the 2015 election, to prevent Harper governing for another four years and damaging our fragile democracy even more.
Soon these voices were joined by others, and now they have become the dominant chorus in Canadian life. Those who wanted a different outcome in the 2015 election hit upon a framing of the public debate which is proving to be the dominant one in the election: Change. Supporters of both the NDP and Liberal Party could agree that a change of government – anybody but Harper – was better than Harper remaining as prime minister.
That settled the Ballot Box question, which is: It was Time for a Change.
The past nine months or so have been devoted to discussions amongst LPC and NDP supporters – in social media, in the mainstream media, and amongst their friends and family members – about HOW to effect such Change.
At first mainstream media and political commentators participated in the dominant public discussion taking place, but they did so through the prisms of past experience. This meant that most of them spoke of conventional responses (coalition agreement between the two parties, allowing MPs from both to share cabinet posts in a combined government). Mulcair was in favour of such a formal coalition and publicly indicated willingness to consider it, even before the campaign began.
Justin Trudeau and his core advisors also considered the question of a pre-election electoral cooperation and discussion of a formal coalition. Despite the overwhelming desire of the vast majority of LPC supporters for such an agreement, Trudeau decided to throw the dice and nix it.
But the pressure for a Change was irresistible, and this led Trudeau, followed by Mulcair, to announce publicly that if Harper won a minority government, they would not prop him up. Never, ever. That sealed Harper’s fate, Mulcair and Trudeau thought.
But millions of ordinary voters were not sure.
There was – and still is – a possibility that Harper could win a majority government. His strength lies in his greater support amongst older voters, 75% of whom actually go to the polling booths to vote. The LPC and NDP have more support among younger voters, but these supporters do not take the time to actually vote in anything like the same proportions.
So the public discourse of How to effect The Change continued, much to Harper’s dismay and the surprise of both Mulcair and Trudeau.
And in the past two months a collective decision was made by millions of voters: they would take the election into their own hands, and Make it Happen. The 2015 election morphed into a public uprising – a very Canadian, muted and respectful revolution. The People decided to march to their own drums.
In doing this, the mass march brushed aside the leaders of the three major parties. On October 19 the People will decide How to effect The Change. A huge proportion (40%!) of supporters of the LPC and the NDP have decided to ignore their party leaders and vote so as to ensure that The Change takes place on October 19.
The People have decided to remedy the split between the NDP and LPC that the leaders of those two parties were unable or unwilling to remedy. The victory in the October 19 election will therefore belong to The People, more than to the leaders and leadership elites of the NDP and LPC.
Vox Populi will be heard, loud and clear, across the country, around 7pm October 19.
The recent Forum poll illustrates just how successful this vox populi has been, as these quotes show:
One fifth of past Conservatives now voting Liberal
One fifth of those who voted Conservative in 2011 will vote Liberal this time (18%), while one quarter of 2011 New Democrats will also vote Liberal (25%).
One-in-six past Liberals will vote NDP (15%). This represents a shift from previous polls, where past Liberals voting NDP exceeded those voting the other way.
Very few past Liberals or New Democrats will vote for the Conservatives this time.
Core Conservatives most committed, switching Liberals and New Democrats less so
Close to 8-in-10 Conservative voters say they are strong supporters of their party (78%), but this is only characteristic of about 6-in-10 Liberals (58%) or New Democrats (60%).
This is because many of these voters come from each other’s parties.
3-in-10 says vote could change before election
Three-in-ten voters have not yet made their choice final (29%) and these are much more likely to be Liberals (33%) and New Democrats (34%) than Conservatives (14%). This confirms the remaining core of Conservative voters is a very committed group, while Liberal and New Democratic voters are open to voting strategically.
4-in-10 Liberals, New Democrats are voting strategically
In total, just more than a quarter of voters say they are voting for “the party that can defeat the government” (28%), rather than voting for “the party they believe in” (64%), but this increases to 4-in-10 among Liberals (39%) and New Democrats (41%).
Liberals, Conservatives equally likely to be seen as victors
Both the Liberals and the Conservatives are expected to win the election (35% each) while the NDP is no longer a contender (15%). While this tends to be a trailing measure, it may be an indication of potential growth in the Liberal vote.
So, the primary Ballot Box Question (Time for a Change) will be answered by a huge majority voting Yes; and the secondary Ballot Box Question (How to Effect The Change), will be decided in some 30 to 40 ridings, by supporters of the two opposition parties, deciding to put country ahead of party just this once.
And the vast bulk of the Canadian electorate agree with the public commitments of Mulcair and Trudeau that this will be the last election in Canada to be held on the first past the post (FPTP) system. And they will expect, within 18 months (that is, by April 2017), that the new government will have passed legislation to Make it Happen.
A very Canadian revolution, driven by collective disgust at Harper’s tactics, and ending with a result that is in the interests of the greater number of Canadians.
Vive la révolution!
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CuriosityCat: Election 2015: The Dramatic Tale of the Debates

Just a note for future elections: Debates count. A lot! Far more than most people realize.
And the most recent poll by Signal / Toronto Star shows that even debates designed to avoid having millions of Canadians watch them, as our recent series were, count.
Here’s a snapshot of voting preferences for the period August 30 until yesterday, with the time of each debate shown by a vertical line. In each and every area of the country, the debates moved the needle, but not to the same extent.
Let’s start with the national polls – note the takeoff of Justin and the start of the downward trend of Mulcair:

Now let’s see what happened in Ontario – note the significance of Justin’s performance in the foreign policy and second French debates – these are the points when Harper lost Ontario

And in Quebec – the significant trend here is the Dog that did not bark in the night (that is, for those not familiar with Sherlock Holmes, the absence of any uptick in the steady downward trend of the Mulcair/NDP support since before August 30 – it’s as if the debates just did not take place):

And the Liberal bastion of the Atlantic provinces:

And in the prairies – Justin takes off after the foreign policy debate, when he showed he was ready to govern over foreign events:

And in Battleground BC – the foreign policy debate kickstarted a steep rise in Justin’s fortunes:

And the needle even moved in Tory Fortress Alberta – Justin moved ahead of Mulcair with the first debate, and kept increasing the gap:

So the lesson for party leaders in future elections is this: Treat the debates as life and death events.
Because they are.
Just ask Thomas Mulcair. And Stephen Harper.
They know. Now.
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CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau the only leader with momentum

Here’s the chart from Angus Reid on the leadership momentum of the Big 3:

This bodes well for the Liberals in this critical last week of the lengthy campaign.

It you think of the trend then the pre-eminence of Justin Trudeau is even more striking. The desperate attempts of the Harper attack machine to paint him as just not ready have boomeranged badly, and he has clawed his way up from the lowly position he had some 6 months ago, to being Top Dog.

The only worrisome thing for Liberals in this last week of the titanic struggle we have been waging, in the air and on the ground, is that the Conservatives are still ahead in the single most important segment of voters under our archaic FPTP system: those who turn out to vote – those over 60.
Having a big margin in all other segments is intellectually satisfying but does not bring home the bacon.
When I voted yesterday in the advance polls, I was struck by the fact that in the long line of voters patiently waiting to cast their votes, I noticed very few who seemed younger than 55.
That’s not good news for the Liberal Party.
The only consolation is that at most Harper will gain a minority government, but it will be short-lived, with his failure to gain confidence of a 170 MPs in the first Throne Speech.

Then it will be Trudeau’s turn to see if he can gain the confidence of the House in his Liberal minority government.

The odds are that Mulcair will lead his NDP to support a minority Liberal government on a case by case confidence and other matters vote basis, until at least the archaic FPTP system of electing our MPs is replaced by a more democratic form, where every vote counts towards representation in the House.

After all, it must be abundantly clear to even an anti-Mulcair dyed-in-the-wool NDP supporter that some form of proportional representation is the best system for that party; that system alone will give the NDP voice their fair share of MPs in our Parliament.
And for the Greens, voting strategically to unseat a sitting Tory MP is in their best interest, because it will lead to the abolition of the FPTP system, and to them gaining their fair share of MPs.
After all, Elizabeth May really needs a handful of MPs to support her valiant but solitary battle with the mainstream parties.
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CuriosityCat: Liberal Party ready to give Harper pink slip on October 19

The latest Poll Tracker seat projection 9CBC/308) show the LPC winning the most seats:

You will note from my September 3 X-marks-the-spot projection that I overestimated the NDP seats when I projected more seats for the LPC on October 19:

I would prefer that the NDP win more seats at the expense of the Harper ‘new’ Tories, but if the prediction today happens, then on October 20  Harper will resign as prime minister, as he promised Canadians he would do during his interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge.
And on October 20 Justin Trudeau will be sworn in as our new prime minister by the Governor General, and we can look forward to a rapid start in the process of deciding on what democratic electoral system should replace our archaic and disliked first past the post system.
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CuriosityCat: Welcome move by Mulcair closer to Liberal position on cooperation and electoral reform

Mulcair has shown a welcome willingness to work with a minority Liberal Party government post-October 19 so as to do two things: work together without the need for a formal coalition agreement between the LPC and NDP, and to establish a commission to examine the best alternatives to be presented to Canadians to replace the first past the post system, not just the modified proportional representation system.
Here’s the reported willingness to support confidence votes (without a formal coalition government) if the Liberal Party gets the most votes as between the LPC and NDP, and Trudeau becomes prime minister of a minority government:
With the strong possibility of a minority Parliament resulting from the Oct. 19 vote, the NDP says in its platform document that it would work with other federalist parties through informal or appropriate stable arrangements to end Stephen Harpers lost decade.”
And here is the report of his willingness to appoint a commission to examine the best alternatives to be passed into law within a short space of time, so as to replace the archaic FPTP system (making this 2015 election the last one we will have under the FPTP system):

Included in their platform, called “Building the Canada of our Dreams,” is a plan to reform the political system and “make every vote count.” The NDP is promising that, if elected, it will introduce a system of voting based on mixed-member proportional representation. That would create a Parliament composed of MPs elected in larger ridings than currently exist, plus those nominated by parties based on the proportion of the vote they received during an election.

Although proportional representation has long been NDP policy, this is the first time the party has said it would create a task force made up of members of all parties that would decide the best model for this type of democracy – and that it would be done within the first mandate.
Kudos to Mulcair for letting the Canadian voters know ahead of time that he will work in a very practical way, once the Harper government is replaced (through a Harper resignation if the Tories get fewer seats than either the LPC or NDP, or through a vote of no confidence in a Harper minority’s first Throne Speech).
These two flexible proposals ensure that a minority LPC or NDP government will be able to function after October 20, and that we are definitely going to get meaningful electoral reform and other democratic improvements to our Parliament.
As Mulcair said, we have a lot of work to do to repair the lost opportunities of the Harper “lost decade”.
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CuriosityCat: If this holds, Stephen Harper gets his pink slip on October 19

… and joins the ranks of unemployed prime ministers.
Today (October 8) the CBC Poll Tracker shows the Liberal Party with the most seats for the very first time:

Pause for a moment, all you progressives out there, and give three cheers! With only 11 days to go, the Red Tide is running strongly. Harper publicly promised to Canadians during his interview with Peter Mansbridge of the CBC that should another party win more seats that the Conservative Party does, he would immediately resign.
And in a recent interview with Rosemary Barton, he did not say outright that he would stay on Leader of the Opposition if the CPC came in second. Should that happen, and Harper not want that post, he would have to resign as leader of the CPC so that another leader may play that role. Best bet right now would be Kenney, given the paucity of senior Tories still running.
Now all we need to do is vote at the advance polls starting this Friday, and take along at least one younger voter to help remedy the lack of voting by those younger than 35. Voting now helps reduce the voter suppression methods that cropped up last time and could happen again this time: robocalls and incorrect voter registration cards sending voters to the wrong polling booths.
And starting in early November, we can take the first steps towards appointing the commission that will, within 18 months, replace the archaic first past the post electoral system with a new, more democratic system of choosing our MPs.
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