Tagged: PC Party of NS
Since 1970, four Nova Scotia governments have delayed elections into the fifth year of their mandates. Three of the four got clobbered.
- In 1978, Gerald Regan’s Liberals went almost seven months into their fifth year, then dropped from 31 seats to 17.
- In 1993, Donald Cameron’s Progressive Conservatives went almost eight months into their fifth year, and fell from 28 seats to 9.
- Almost five years later, Russell MacLellan led the Liberals from a commanding 40 seats to a humiliating 19-seat tie with the New Democrats, allowing him to govern only briefly with the slenderest of minorities.
- In 2003, John Hamm went just 10 days into his fifth year, and came up two seats short of a second majority.
Darrell Dexter’s is the fifth government since 1970 to linger into a fifth year. If my guess is right, and he schedules an election for October 1st or 8th, he’ll have been in power four years and four months.
Dexter would not have held off so long but for a terrible string of polls starting in spring of 2012, when Stephen McNeil’s Liberals surged into a first-place tie. The latest Corporate Research Associates poll, in June, showed the Liberals with 45 percent of decided voters, to the NDP’s 26 percent, and the PCs’ 24 percent. The N-dips claim their own confidential polls are better, but they’d have to be much better to offer any encouragement at all.
Polls taken between elections may tell you which way the wind is blowing, but they don’t tell you how hard. That last CRA survey found 55 percent of respondents undecided about how they would vote. People just haven’t turned their minds to the question yet.
That’s why I don’t think Dexter will call an election before Labour Day. To win a second term, the NDP needs to win the campaign. A plurality of voters needs to decide that Dexter looks, sounds, and acts more like a premier than McNeil, whose crowd-pleasing but benighted policy proposals, especially on energy, may not hold up under election scrutiny.
For that to happen, voters need to be paying attention. They won’t do that in the sweet summer days of August.
Even then, it may be too late. There’s a lot of anger out there—some of it warranted, some of thoughtlessly peevish. If voters get a notion to throw the bums out, no election timing legerdemain will stop them.
In response to this, someone called Peter Watts or perhaps Paul Buher, writes from a cryptic email account:
You, sir, are a pig, and no different than Darrell Dexter.
You hide under the guise of a political blog during the day, only to be writing for the NDP at night. A $15,000 pay cheque isn’t too bad I suppose. Good for you.
I have news for you. Anything you write on that virulent blog from this day forward is tainted with the stink of NDP orange, corruption, and self-serving interest. As I said, you sir, are a pig.
I wonder how Mr. Whateverhisrealnameis would feel to learn that Rodney MacDonald’s Tories hired me to write that government’s energy strategy.
Andrew Terris chimes in:
15K for 26 pages of text with lots of white space?
On the other hand, an erstwhile Daily News colleague writes:
That was a breathtakingly shoddy piece in the Herald this morning. Seems like Dan et al have made up their minds about the Dexter government.
I’ll leave it to others to decide whether the Herald’s shoddiness was breathtaking in this case, but I do think Judy Myrden’s story falls into a category of invidious reporting sensible people can see through without knowing much about the topic. She calls it a $42,000 press conference, but cites only $11,000 in costs (including transportation, catering, audio-visual, and event-management) related to the event.
The other $31,000 was part of the process of producing the plan, an effort that included several government departments, and discussions with interested companies, organizations, and individuals. Myrden falsely conflated production costs with news conference costs to make the latter appear four times larger than they were.
The sad thing about this is that if Myrden, or any other Herald reporter, would bother to read the energy plan, they would find it choc-a-block full of issues vital to Nova Scotia’s future—questions that could use robust discussion, debate, criticism, and even, dare I say it, investigation. Alas, that would take time, effort, imagination, and intelligence. Unlike finger-wagging.
Perhaps all provincial announcements should take place in Halifax, the centre of the known universe. Perhaps government should aways communicate with one hand tied behind its back, issuing reports written in bureaucratese and printed in gray ink on newsprint, Enver Hoxha-style.
[Update:] Stan Jones writes:
Sorry, Parker, but when you are sucking $15,000 from the same tit as the MLAs I really don’t think your opinion is going to sway me.
Perhaps Mr. Jones, who bills himself as a consultant specializing in social, health and educational research, is too pure to take government money. I’m not. About a quarter of my consulting work is with government. I relish these assignments because they give me a chance to work on the most important and difficult public issues facing our society, and to interact with thoughtful, energetic, well-motivated people.
The cynical assumption at play here is that doing government work automatically makes one corrupt. If that’s true, then it stands to reason that the most important and difficult decisions of our time will be worked on only by corrupt people, while all the good people (like Jones, Terris, and Watt) stand on the sidelines. Enjoy your purity, folks. Some of us want to tackle these issues.
Less pure readers can check out the Energy Plan here. They tell me it’s a pretty good read.
Today’s Antigonish by-election is a foregone conclusion. N-dip Moe Smith came within 275 votes of knocking off popular Tando MacIsaac in June’s general election. Tando having abandoned the seat so abruptly, and the NDP firmly ensconced in Province House, Smith will take the riding in a walk.
Inverness is a different matter. The riding is festooned with election signs in roughly equal numbers. Although then-Premier Rodney MacDonald out-polled his nearest rival by 3,431 votes in June, would-be Tory successor Allan MacMaster is widely expected to place third today. The premier’s abandonment of the riding, like Tando’s of neighboring Antigonish, will hurt MacMaster, as will the traditional Liberal stronghold’s penchant for snuggling up to the government side of the House.
Liberal Ian McNeil, a former CBC Radio host (and—disclosure—a friend of Contrarian’s), was widely regarded as the man to beat at the outset of the campaign. While hosting CBC-Cape Breton’s Information Morning program, McNeil endured a grueling three-hour daily commute to maintain his East Lake Ainslie home in the riding. A man with strong rural sensibilities, McNeil created the CBC’s Party Line feature, and he has hosted musical events and community forums in every fire hall and church basement in the county.
CBC-Cape Breton’s signal does not reach the southern end of the constituency, however. So McNeil is not as well known in riding’s largest population center, the town of Port Hawkesbury, where NDP candidate Bert Lewis is recently retired as principal of the Nova Scotia Community College campus. You have to wonder whether the 11th-hour NSCC strike settlement, details of which are conveniently unavailable, will help Lewis.
A much weaker NDP candidate placed second in June, a first for the party, albeit with only 20.5 percent of the vote. But it’s a government-prone riding, and this time, voters know which party is in government.
If McNeil loses, I suspect it will be because of a misstep. More than the other two candidates, he has blanketed the riding with robo-calls, and these aren’t sitting well with voters I’ve heard from.
Some days ago, contrarian reader Wallace J. McLean challenged contrarian to determine how many of the paving projects Nova Scotia submitted for federal stimulus funding were in provincial Tory ridings. “Too much work,” we said, and went back to surfing Digg and Stumbledupon.
Of the 37 projects put forward by the late Macdonald government in NS, five were located in Liberal districts, and five in NDP districts, based on the 2006 election results…. Twenty-six were located in districts which the Tories held, or had won in 2006.
Three NDP and one Liberal riding associations are racing to comply with financial disclosure requirements that could result in their deregistration. As reported earlier, the entire Green Party also faces imminent deregistration.
Joanne Lamey, provincial organizer for the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party confirmed that three NDP riding associations have been warned of possible deregistration for failure to disclose financial information.
She said financial statements for the Digby Annapolis, Yarmouth, and Inverness riding associations were in various stages of completion, and she expected to submit them “very quickly—perhaps this afternoon.”
Glennie Langille, who was co-chair of communications for the Liberal campaign, said one riding association had been asked to supply tardy financial statements, but she denied the deadline was imminent. She refused to identify the riding association because no official action had been taken against it. Read more »
Reader Lucas Byers comments on contrarian‘s annoyance at Premier Rodney MacDonald’s use of first names to address voters, regardless of age:
You’d like me as your call center rep. I worked in three different ones over six years, and only ever called my caller Sir, Ma’am, Mr Lastname, Ms Lastname, unless directed not to by the caller.
Sad that years of Conservative rule has only provided me with six years of call center [experience]; even sadder we’re about to elect the Orange Menace to a majority. Maybe I’ll be able to get a union job at McDonalds. I guess Nova Scotian voters are Masochists.
The latest poll from Don Mills of Corporate Research Associates shows the NDP at 44 percent. More importantly, it shows them in first place in the rural mainland.
Some will say the NDP vote is highly concentrated in metro, where they will “waste” votes by winning with unnecessarily huge majorities. Elections are won by seat totals, not vote totals.
Still, 44 percent is well into majority territory. In the last 14 Nova Scotia elections, no party has ever won more than 40 percent of the vote and failed to win a majority. John Hamm won a majority in 1999 with 39% of the vote.
The only partial exception is the 1960 election, when the Liberals won 46% of the vote and exactly half the seats in the legislature. However, one riding was controverted, and another ailing member failed to take his seat, so the Liberals ruled unimpeded until the 1974 election. In any case, the NDP was a small regional rump in Cape Breton at that time, and its vote was highly efficient in winning two seats.
In contrarian‘s view, polls taken between elections mean little, because the public isn’t thinking about casting ballots. Once the writ is dropped, voters turn their mind to the question, and that’s when polls become meaningful. Some dramatic bombshell could still change things, but the strong trend in the NDP’s direction since the election was called shows that voters have finally decided to give Dexter’s New Democrats a chance to govern, for better or for worse (for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, etc., etc.)
Don Mills of Corporate Research Associates has released his latest poll, one of the few that will be taken during this campaign. It shows the NDP inching up toward, but not yet reaching, majority territory. The Liberals are also gaining, while the PCs are slipping behind.