Tagged: Steven Harper

How to cast a strategic vote in Nova Scotia

I don’t usually repeat posts, but this election is important, so for any who missed it, here is Contrarian’s Guide to Strategic Voting in Nova Scotia.

In the latest Angus Reid poll, 49 percent of Liberal voters and 36 percent of NDP voters expressed a willingness to consider voting for a candidate other than their true preferences, in order to “avoid a specific outcome.”

If you are one of those Liberal, New Democratic, or erstwhile Progressive Conservative voters, and you want to avoid the specific outcome of a certain authoritarian demagogue getting unfettered control of the House of Commons, you may be wondering how to vote Monday. This guide is for you.

Contrarian’s Guide to Strategic Voting in Nova Scotia

With three-way races and a still dynamic vote swing underway, this is a hard election to predict. Seven of Nova Scotia’s 11 federal ridings appear to be in play — an unusually large number.

Two of these — Halifax West and Dartmouth—Cole Harbour — appear to be tight contests between Liberal incumbents* and NDP challengers. They will not affect the size or strength of the Harper caucus, so vote your personal preference in those races.

Five are tight contests where the Harper candidate could win, or could fall to a New Democrat or a Liberal.
Central Nova
Peter MacKay faces a tough challenge from high school physics teacher and former Pictou town councillor David Parker, brother of MLA Charlie Parker and a shrewd electoral tactician in his own right.

MacKay has committed many unprincipled acts in his political career, but the alacrity with which he took on the task of vilifying whistleblower Richard Colvin was surely a nadir. Colvin is a genuine Canadian hero, a civil servant who put aside his own career interests to expose Canada’s complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees. As a civil servant, he could only remain mute in the face of MacKay’s character assassination (although opposition members of the Commons did eventually call him back for a lone round of dignified rebuttal testimony). For this alone, seeing MacKay go down would be altogether sweet. Vote NDP.

South Shore—St. Margaret’s

This is a tight race between incumbent Harper guy Gerald Keddy and former New Democrat MP Gordon Earle, with another former MP, Liberal Derek Wells, well behind. Liberals and Greens should vote NDP.

Sydney—Victoria

For months, Cecil Clarke has mounted an energetic campaign against nice guy farmer MP Mark Eyking. The NDP usually run second in this riding, but Kathy MacLeod, their candidate this time, is weak. The orange tide may boost her vote, however, and it’s hard to say which potential winner she will hurt the most. This race is much tighter than national pundits realize. In particular, the strategic voting site Project Democracy has mistakenly declared it a safe Liberal seat. Vote Liberal.

West Nova

This riding constantly swings back and forth between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Incumbent Harper guy and former Buchanan cabinet minister Greg Kerr faces a stiff challenge from former Liberal MP Robert Thibault. Vote Liberal.

Kings—Hants

Steven Harper visited this riding Saturday to shore up support for defeated provincial cabinet minister David Morse, his candidate to replace Liberal Scott Brison, a floor crosser who fled the CPC. New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives (real conservatives) should Vote Liberal

Four ridings are not in play. Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, sadly, will stay in Harper’s camp. Cape Breton—Canso is safe for Liberal Rodger Cuzner, and both Sackville—Eastern Shore and Halifax are safe for NDP incumbents Peter Stoffer and Megan Leslie. The latter was thought to be in trouble early in the campaign, but the Liberal collapse ended that threat.

* A few parliamentary purists, including our old friend Ian McNeil, object to the term “incumbent” in Canadian elections, because once the writ is dropped, former office-holders are no longer MPs. It is (or for years, was) CBC style not to use the word. I regard this as silly unnecessarily fussy. Everyone understands the term to mean, “seat-holder at dissolution.”

A Saturday spike in Google searchs for Jack Layton

Since the debate, we’ve kept an eye on searches for the five party leaders, using the Google Trends tool that famously notices ‘flu outbreaks before the Centres for Disease control. (Previous examples here and here.) Extreme caution is required, but look what happened to Jack Layton yesterday.

Google Trends Saturday

On its face, this means a lot of interest in Jack. I assume that’s mainly a result of the found-in story, but a friend argues otherwise:

[I]ndications from previous elections (check 2008) seem to suggest [it reflects] popularity as well, though I don’t know why. It’s quite a spike, though.

It is quite a spike, and quite a leap to assume it reflects an increase in popularity, given that it occurred in the 24 hours after the campaign took a  salacious incoming missile. Still, it’s intriguing—and noteworthy that Layton searches have consistently outpaced those for Harper, which consistently outpace those for Ignatieff, May, and Duceppe. Searches for Iggy and Harper remained flat yesterday.

The flaw in Alboim’s defense of the press gallery

CBC Sunday Edition guest host Robert Harris chided Elly Alboim this morning for the national press corps’s failure to pick up on the NDP surge until the polls made it obvious.

Alboim

Alboim

Alboim responded, reasonably, that reporters couldn’t be expected to pick up on a phenomenon before it existed. (He did credit Chantel Henert for noticing it a week before her colleagues.)

Alboim went on to speculate that the NDP’s dramatic rise in the polls reflected, not a sudden blooming of love for Layton, but widespread anti-Harper sentiment that coalesced around Layton following his good performance in the debates.

If Alboim is right, and I think he is, support for Layton may be new, but dislike of Harper and his autocratic manner is not. To re-phrase Harris’s question then, how did the cream of Canada’s national press corps miss the anti-Harper mood?

On issue after issue, press gallery reporters have, wiuth few exceptions, been quick to accept the Harper squad’s assertions that, “The public doesn’t care about parliamentary technicalities.” “No one wants this unnecessary election,” “Canadians don’t expect us to coddle Afghan terrorists,” “The public has no love for the long form census,” “Talk of contempt is just partisan bickering,” etc. Faced with these airy dismissals, the gallery has too often shut down coverage of important news stories that reflected badly on the Harper government.

Reporters have also accepted unprecedented and humiliating restrictions on their ability to put questions to the Prime Minister, his cabinet, and now the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada in an election campaign.

The gallery collectively underestimated Canada’s appetite for thoughtful coverage of the nuts and bolts of Harper’s burgeoning autocracy. That is the failure unmasked by the last two weeks of the 2011 election.

Contrarian’s guide to strategic voting in NS

In the latest Angus Reid poll, 49 percent of Liberal voters and 36 percent of NDP voters expressed a willingness to consider voting for a candidate other than their true preferences, in order to “avoid a specific outcome.”

If you are one of those Liberal, New Democratic, or erstwhile Progressive Conservative voters who would like to avoid the specific outcome of a certain dangerous demagogue getting an unfettered majority in the House of Commons, you may be wondering how to vote Monday. This post is for you.

Contrarian’s Guide to Strategic Voting in Nova Scotia

With three-way races and a still dynamic vote swing underway, this is a hard election to predict. Seven of Nova Scotia’s 11 federal ridings appear to be in play — an unusually large number.

Two of these — Halifax West and Dartmouth—Cole Harbour — appear to be tight contests between Liberal incumbents* and NDP challengers. They will not affect the size or strength of the Harper caucus, so vote your personal preference in those races.

Five are tight contests where the Harper candidate could win, or could fall to a New Democrat or a Liberal.
Central Nova
Peter MacKay faces a tough challenge from high school physics teacher and former Pictou town councillor David Parker, brother of MLA Charlie Parker and a shrewd electoral tactician in his own right.

MacKay has committed many unprincipled acts in his political career, but the alacrity with which he took on the task of vilifying whistleblower Richard Colvin was surely a nadir. Colvin is a genuine Canadian hero, a civil servant who put aside his own career interests to expose Canada’s complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees. As a civil servant, he could only remain mute in the face of MacKay’s character assassination (although opposition members of the Commons did eventually call him back for a lone round of dignified rebuttal testimony). For this alone, seeing MacKay go down would be altogether sweet. Vote NDP.

South Shore—St. Margaret’s

This is a tight race between incumbent Harper guy Gerald Keddy** and former New Democrat MP Gordon Earle. Liberals and Greens should  vote NDP.

Sydney—Victoria

For months, Cecil Clarke has mounted an energetic campaign against nice guy farmer MP Mark Eyking. The NDP usually run second in this riding, but Kathy MacLeod, their candidate this time, is weak. The orange tide may boost her vote, however, and it’s hard to say which potential winner she will hurt the most. This race is much tighter than national pundits realize. In particular, the strategic voting site Project Democracy has mistakenly declared it a safe Liberal seat. Vote Liberal.

West Nova

This riding constantly swings back and forth between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Incumbent Harper guy and former Buchanan cabinet minister Greg Kerr faces a stiff challenge from former Liberal MP Robert Thibault. Vote Liberal.

Kings—Hants

Steven Harper visited this riding Saturday to shore up support for defeated provincial cabinet minister David Morse, his candidate to replace Liberal Scott Brison, a floor crosser who fled the CPC. New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives (real conservatives) should Vote Liberal

Four ridings are not in play. Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, sadly, will stay in Harper’s camp. Cape Breton—Canso is safe for Liberal Rodger Cuzner, and both Sackville—Eastern Shore and Halifax are safe for NDP incumbents Peter Stoffer and Megan Leslie. The latter was thought to be in trouble early in the campaign, but the Liberal collapse ended that threat.

* A few parliamentary purists, including the ineffable Elly Alboim, object to the term “incumbent” in Canadian elections, because once the writ is dropped, former office-holders are no longer MPs. It is (or for years, was) CBC style not to use the word. I regard this as silly. Everyone understands the term to mean, “seat-holder at dissolution.”

** An earlier iteration of this post misidentified the CPC candidate in SSSM as Derek Wells, who is in fact the Liberal candidate, a former president of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia, and, like Conservative Keddy and NDip Earle, a former MP in this very riding. My apologies to both. With the Liberal collapse, Wells is an also-ran. Liberals who place a high value on preventing a Harper majority should vote for Earle.

Dredge it and Cecil will be LG?

Perhaps this post deserves elaboration.

By any measure, dredging Sydney Harbour is a dubious use of public funds. It may yield modest increases in commercial shipping, but dreams of a container terminal here are but a fantasy. Despite the massive boom in world shipping that characterized the 2000s, the two container piers in Halifax continue to limp along at half capacity. Plans for a third pier at Melford are years ahead of those for Sydney, where a putative terminal proponent seems to have vanished.

Yet the Cape Breton public has been massively oversold on the concept as the only possible salvation of Cape Breton’s economic future, to the point it has become a political sacred cow, and anyone who opposes it a Judas.

This is the worst possible message for Cape Bretoners: to promise a single, steel-plant-scale silver bullet to solve our problems — with the silver furnished by federal and provincial taxpayers, of course. Most area politicians and business leaders recognize this campaign as a cynical fraud, but the political momentum behind the concept is such that none dare speak against it.

New Dems want to protect their slender Cape Breton base in an election that promises to be much more difficult than the one that catapulted them to power. Liberals don’t want to give the other parties an edge in that election. Cecil Clarke wants to give his campaign for Parliament a boost.

Clarke cannot beat MP Mark Eyking in a federal contest. No one running on a Harper ticket could, and Clarke barely held his own provincial seat last year. Clarke will lose, but will he also win by losing? Insiders quietly ask what federal plum Harper and Peter MacKay have dangled to induce him to run.

On the steps of Province House last evening, a New Democrat MLA offered a chilling prediction: Clarke will be Nova Scotia’s next Lieutenant Governour, when the incumbent’s term expires next year. At a cost of $38 million in matching federal-provincial tax dollars.

Where is Dennis Ryan when you need him?