2008 M&G Election Pool

Well its that time again. Two weeks from today all Canadians (or at least 65%… I hope?) will partake, in what has become a Canadian bi-annual tradition, yet another Federal Election.With the impending election Manatee and Gnomes will keep its tradition going with the latest installment of the M&G Election Pool.

The rules are simple: each member of Manatee and Gnomes will submit their prediction for the party seat counts by the end of today (Sept 30th) and, come election day, the member with the most correct distributions will be declared the winner. Good luck Guys!


2008 Election Predictions

   Manatee   Gnomes   O’Smiley 
Conservative 148 141 147
Liberal 76 81 77
NDP 47 46 37
Bloc 35 37 44
Green 0 0 0
Independent 2 3 3

Parting Shots

“By the time it was known he was running, it was too late to do anything about it.”

Just when I thought that we had heard the last from Ken Epp before his impending retirement, he delivers a final quote for the ages.  Epp, of course, is maintaining neutrality in the bitter dispute over the nomination of Edmonton-Sherwood Park Conservative candidate Tim Uppal (head on over to Gauntlet.ca for details, but in short, some disgruntled Conservatives have rallied around independent candidate James Ford).  Neutrality, however, doesn’t mean Epp is above sandbagging his successor on the way out.

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There is nothing dirtier than a giant ball of oil

This report from the Pembina Institute, in great detail, explains the potential pitfalls and roadblocks of the consultative process on which Alberta Environment relies when deciding policies related to Alberta’s oil sands. According to the report, Alberta Environment “does not set royalty rates, issue oil sands leases, or have the final say about whether a given oil sands project is in the public interest.” I guess this lack of power should come as no surprise. While not surprising, the subservient relationship of Alberta Environment to other ministries has resulted in Alberta Environment negotiating with First-Nations and conservationists, developing policies to protect an area of land at the very moment when another Ministry is issuing a lease develop the same land. This seems dishonest, even for the Alberta Government.

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Freddie, Fannie, and that other guy

First Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, now AIG. Although details are just becoming available, it seems todays buyout of the beleaguered insurance company by the US government is, if nothing else, acknowledgment from the highest levels of the global capitalist elite that markets are incapable of self-policing. Potentially, this bale out will lead to much more than the nationalization of AIG, and regulations to prevent what might have been a “financial crisis worldwide.” Potentially, this bale out will trigger a public examination of all the failings of a market so widely and blindly believed to be the most efficient means of running an economy. Potentially, law makers will examine the increasing reliance on the market to educate and re-train workers, build infrastructure, feed the hungry, and protect the environment. Potentially, the public will discover that unfettered markets have led to an increased gap between rich and poor, in Canada, North America, and around the world. Potentially, Canadian voters will question whether the leader who reminded Canadians Friday that he leads “a party of free enterprise, free markets and free trade” is fit to continue to lead Canada in a time of economic crisis. Potentially, the Left will seize this opportunity and come up with a coherent alternative to what clearly hasn’t been working.


I drink your Milkshake!

While perusing the Globe and Mail this morning I happened to come across the latest election poll snapshot and notice something amusing. According to Angus Reid, yesterdays polls are currently showing:

  • 37% for the Conservatives
  • 26% Liberals, 21% NDP,
  • 10% Green, and
  • 8% for the Bloc,

or in other words:

  • 37% Right,
  • 57% Left, and
  • 8% Bloc.

Is it just me or does this look like a strange, mirror image, deja-vu of 90’s politics. If I am remembering correctly, it was only a short time ago that the Progressive Conservatives/Reform Parties were suffering from a very same vote sharing situation that faces the Liberals, NDP and Green this time around. And to compound the problem, as I browse through the various party websites and pamphlets, I find, perhaps more so than any previous election that I remember, the campaign platforms of each of Left-winged parties are extremely similar; each placing the environment center stage.

As I’m a little more concerned about the economy than the environment this shot around, and will be voting to the Right, I’m not too worried about the vote sharing of the Left, however, I think my colleagues should be at least a little concerned. It is this sharing of the milkshake, if you will, that will play right into the majority aspirations of the Conservatives.


Too green for primetime

So, the networks have decided, after certain unnamed political parties threatened to boycott a televised leadership debate that included Elizabeth May, that “it is better to broadcast the debates with the four major party leaders, rather than not at all.” I have a feeling May will have no problem finding a pulpit to preach from, if not a podium with the other talking heads. After watching only a few hours of campaign coverage two things are obvious: Elizabeth May is good television, and the networks know it. If no amount of bellyaching or lawsuit threats is sufficient to secure her time in the leadership debate spotlight, she will no doubt benefit from one-on-one interviews with the Peter Robertson’s and Don Duffy’s of Canadian Broadcasting.

Is the decision of the networks fair? I really haven’t thought about it, yet. Let me tell you what I have thought about. The Green Party has little to add to a national election forum than the infectious passion of May herself. The Green Party remains largely a one issue party and the environment is currently well represented by the NDP- long acknowledged by environmentalists as the greenest of the contenders, and the Liberal Party- after years of pretending the green shift is the real deal.

Harper has apparently suggested he suspects May will withdraw and back the Liberals. What is more likely is that she pulls a CAW and encourages supporters to vote for whoever is best suited to defeating the local Conservative candidate. Before she falls on her sword, how many Green supporters will she convince that their vote can not be trusted in the hands of a traditional party? Green Voters, please remember that passion is not a substitute for policy! This country needs more than a 21st century environmental policy. There are ideological homes for you here, or here!


Election wish list

What should Canada’s role be in Afghanistan? If I were able to choose the ballot question, this would be it. I beleive events such as this, and this have not resulted in the quality of debate worthy of theses tragedies. Most media reports of Canadian casualties are accompanied with a quote from a friend or family member of the fallen soldier expressing the commitment of the deceased to the mission, but I wonder to what extent this commitment is sound and true. Few Canadian soldiers would have heard anything other than that their work in Afghanistan is good, and right, and necessary from their commanding officers. Few Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan, even those who don’t support the mission, would have told their family, as they board their flight to a war zone, anything other than their work is good, and right, and necessary.

I know I’ve freaked out about this issue before, but where is the progress? And if there is no progress, where is the debate?! Hopefully prior ‘consensus’ between Canada’s ‘major’ parties (the party that sent the troops there, and the party that hasn’t brought them home) won’t prevent the mission from being a high profile issue this election campaign .


Elections past and future

So, Gnomes doesn’t think the Liberals have a chance at winning an upcoming election. Of course, he is right. Liberals should take comfort in the seeming economic downturn befalling our nation, at least the heartless, power-hungry among them should take comfort, for economic downturn breeds a bitter electorate. Liberals with a heart should…vote NDP.

Let’s take a look at those important elections in Canadian history where Canadians opted to throw the bums out. You will see that few things rile a Canadian voter like a sluggish economy. But first, my prediction: The Conservatives will win any upcoming election, but I’d bet the farm they can’t make it three in a row. Here’s hoping they don’t pull off a majority. The sooner my dissatisfaction with a Conservative government can become dissatisfaction with a Liberal government, the better.

2006 – The RCMP accuse then Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale, of insider trading on 27 December 2005.
Cause: Liberal Corruption/Perceived Liberal Corruption. I’m not even going to try to pass this off as being about the economy!
Effect: Change of Government

1993- In Mulroney’s second, smaller, mandate the Conservative government set their sights on the Federal Debt. Bank of Canada Governor John Crow embarks on an ambitious interest rate increase. Economy stagnates, unemployment increases.
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1984- “You had an option, Sir.” I wonder what might have been if Cornelius the First had been allowed to enter the leaders debate.
Cause: Liberal Corruption
Effect: Change of Government

1979- High unemployment, high inflation, high time for a change in government.
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1962 and 1963- High unemployment and sluggish economy transform Diefenbaker’s then record majority to a minority in ’62, then cast the Tories to the opposition benches the following year. Things got so bad that Pearson actually suggested in the House of Commons that the Tories hand the reigns of government over to the Liberals without an election.
Effect: Change of Government

1957 and 1958
Cause: Young Conservative supporter falling off stage at Liberal Rally.
Effect: Change of Government. No kidding, look it up.

1935- Great Depression!
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1930- Watch out! Here comes the Great Depression!
Cause: Economy
Effect: Change of Government

1921- Conscription Crisis Fallout
Cause: Election tampering and the distrust it creates
Effect: Change of Government

1911- The free-trading, prairie supported Liberals versus the protectionist Conservatives (No kidding, look it up) with a pinch of Quebec Nationalism to make things interesting .
Cause: I’m going with Economy
Effect: Change of Government

~ Manatee

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Ah, a double-front election season.  More than enough to draw Gnomes out of hiding.  But where to begin?  Despite all the excitement down south, let’s stay north of the border for now.  So, shall we go with “Our election law was never meant to apply to us?”  Or, in honour of a soon to be ex-MP, “Ken Epp’s Greatest Hits”?

While I’m sure I will get to both of those in time, I think it’s necessary to begin with some catchup.  Reading over my last few posts makes 2006 seem like a long, long time ago.  Was I ever actually foolish enough to be hopeful about Dion’s leadership of the Liberals?  Impossible.

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