Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quick Hits on Day E-5

I'm behind in those profiles, but I'm not going down without a fight, Nation. We will fight them on the beaches, and in the streets...

Here's some Enlightenment to chew on in the meantime.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
(aka "Fun with the Hill & Knowlton Projector")

Of the 3 polls released on October 8th, 2 of them (Nanos and CP/Harris Decima) show the Conservatives with a weaker majority than before the writ was dropped. The other (Ekos) shows the Tories picking up 12 more seats, and the Liberals dropping 31. The over-night numbers indicated a stop in the Tory free-fall, but with the release of the monetary cost of the Afghan mission today, expect those numbers to take a further hit.

Also of note is that the CP/Harris Decima poll released on the 8th, when run through the Hill & Knowlton projector, shows a GREEN being elected in Vancouver Quadra, the home of UBC (where Liz May should have run to begin with). Daniel Grice, the Green candidate in Quadra, blew away expectations in the March by-election by capturing 14 percent of the popular vote, and winning several polls. CP/Harris' numbers suggest Grice is positioned very well here, while DemocraticSPACE disagrees (h/t to daveberta for a fully addictive site). The H&K isn't perfect, of course, but Greens in the Vancouver area (I'd suspect there are quite a few) should be flocking to Quadra to try and get their guy over the top. The same poll suggests Linda Duncan is still very much in the race for Edmonton Strathcona.

Tories Release Platform

Stephen Harper finally deigned to bestow upon us great, unwashed masses his party's platform - only a week after his campaign e-mailed me, asking me to vote for them in an advance poll, without having seen the platform. I'm reminded of Sledge Hammer's "Trust me, I know what I'm doing" mentality.

I've read the platform, and there's not a lot of sexy promises in there. Bonus drinking game: Take a drink every time you read the phrase "A re-elected Conservative government led by Stephen Harper". Looking at pages 28 and 32, I suspect you'll want to book your ambulance in advance.

The Tories seem to have realized that it's a lot harder to come out with a bold platform proposing sweeping changes when you're the government of the day. Any great ideas you put in the platform to help average Canadians will be met with a chorus of "Great. That'll really help. Now, since you've been the government for the past 2 years, explain to me why you didn't think it was important to help us on this issue say, a year ago...". That said, the late release of the platform reeks of a political stunt, designed to hijack the last week of the campaign. It will be interesting to see if it works.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

The Premier of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, has chimed in on the federal election, saying that Canada can benefit from the stability of a majority government. Whether or not it's true (I suggest it is), it seems like poor timing for the leader of the Alberta PC's to be giving advice to the country when just last week-end his own party membership, the safest and most entrenched political party in the Western Hemisphere, voted against Fixed Election Dates at their AGM in Jasper. I'm willing to listen to the argument of why fixed election dates are bad for the people of Alberta, but if this decision was made for the sake of the party, I've got to ask "Why? Do the PC's think they have something to be worried about?"

I mean, Ed already announced the next election would be "around March of 2012" - what does it hurt to enshrine that in law? At least then Elections Alberta can have their website up and running properly, hire staff without political connections, and maybe - god forbid - enumerate properly, so campaigns aren't wasting precious time calling deceased people to ask for their vote.
At the same time, though, Ed sent a message to the federal Tories that the bitumen they're talking about in their platform doesn't belong to them or to Canada as a whole, but rather it belongs to the people of Alberta. Cue the Gilles Duceppe "greedy Albertans" ad here. Good on Stelmach, though, for being able to stand up for his province (through Deputy Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Relations Ron Stevens) without sending black roses, registering as a third-party political entity, and screaming at the top of his lungs about the evil, soul-sucking monster that is the federal Conservative Party (not mentioning any names, Danny).

Yukoners Hit The (North) Polls!

The advance polls were open for 3 days (most of the parties had released, you know, platforms by then), and the voters of the Yukon turned out in DROVES. democraticSPACE indicates it's a 2 horse race between the NDP and the incumbent Liberal according to their polling. Nobody's quite sure why Yukoners came out in such high numbers for the advance polls, but suffice it to say that the lack of a platform probably didn't help the Tory candidate.

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