A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[LINK] “NDP lead widens slightly over Conservatives”

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CBC’s Éric Grenier reports on the latest on polling for the upcoming federal election. The NDP is doing qutie nicely.

As battle lines are drawn now that the campaign is underway, the New Democrats’ slim lead over the Conservatives has widened slightly. And as leaders begin to jet across the country, regional contests are taking shape as well.

The latest numbers from CBC’s Poll Tracker give the NDP 33.2 per cent support, for a lead of just more than two points over the Conservatives, who trail in second with 30.9 per cent. The Liberals follow in third with 25.9 per cent, while the Bloc Québécois and Greens each have 4.7 per cent support nationally.

The polls are painting a relatively clear picture of where things stand. Though a few individual polls have shown some striking results, including the first survey conducted after the writs were issued that put the NDP as high as 39 per cent, five of the last six polls have pegged the New Democrats to between 30 and 34 per cent support. The Conservatives have scored between 28 and 33 per cent over the last six polls, while the Liberals have registered between 25 and 26 per cent in five of the last seven.

[. . .]

The most recent standout poll giving the NDP a crushing 11-point lead, by Forum Research for the Toronto Star, could be a sign that Tom Mulcair’s party is poised to make some major gains — or it could be an indication of how difficult it can be to gather a representative sample of Canadians on a Sunday that also happens to fall on a holiday weekend in much of the country.

But translating the average support levels into seats, the NDP would likely win between 116 and 143 seats if an election were held today. That puts them in a near tie with the Conservatives, who would take between 112 and 148 seats. The average projection from the Poll Tracker shows how close things really are, with both parties pegged at 127 seats.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Canada, Politics

Tagged with , , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • James Bow reflects on Mulcair’s decision to ignore the debates boycotted by Harper, and examines the decline of the Bloc Québécois.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly reflects on the social forces pressuring people, especially women, to smile.
  • Centauri Dreams reflects n the pessimism over the potential of interstellar expansion in Kim Stanley Robinson’s new Aurora.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a study examining the links between concentrations of elements in stars and their exoplanets, shares art of HD 219134b, wonders about distributions of brown dwarfs in nearby interstellar space, wonders if a lithium-rich giant star known as HD 107028 swallowed its planets, and imagines compact exoplanets made of dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Tales shares a study of the growth of the state of Tiahuanaco, and imagines what a durable Russian-American relationship could have been.
  • A Fistful of Euros looks at dodgy Greek statistics.
  • Joe. My. God. shares the new New Order single, “Restless.”
  • Language Hat celebrated its thirteen anniversary and looked at the ephemeral St. Petersburg English Review of the 19th century.
  • Language Log examines the origins of modern China’s standard language, and looks at the reasons why French texts are longer than English ones.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines settler violence in Israel.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how charity, in an age of global income disparities, is inexpensive, and notes the economic issues of Cambodia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reflects on Cilla Black.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog looks at Ossetian demographics and examines the growth of Kazakhs in Kazakhstan after 1991.
  • Speed River Journal’s Van Waffle likes the Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomatoes.
  • Towleroad reports on a push for marriage equality on the Navajo reservation.
  • Understanding Society examines the concept of microfoundations.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia’s war in Ukraine has been underachieving, argues Ukrainians should not count on change in Russia, reports on a Russian writer who wants the Donbas to be separated from Ukraine as a buffer, looks at ethnic Russian identity and propensity to emigrate in Kazakhstan, and looks at the identity of Belarusians in Siberia.

[LINK] “The EKOS poll: Vote-splitting in Ontario boosting Conservative hopes”

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ipolitics.ca’s Frank Graves reports.

The vote intention numbers show the NDP with a clear but modest lead of 34 points, the Conservatives at 30 points, and the Liberals still in contact but significantly back at 23 points. The Bloc Québécois’s honeymoon period following the return of Gilles Duceppe seems to be drawing to a close; the party is falling back to its pre-Duceppe levels. The Green Party has also been receding in recent weeks.

In Ontario, all three parties seem to be converging into a tie. The NDP are doing quite well in Saskatchewan and although this finding should be interpreted with caution due to the extremely small sample size in the province, the longer-term trends suggest that the party has indeed gained ground here in recent months. The Liberals have clearly lost their lead with the university-educated, but our data on second choices suggests the party is still very much in contention with this group.

[. . .]

If you’re Thomas Mulcair and the NDP, what’s not to like? The New Democrats are the clear leaders in most recent polling. Mulcair has an approval advantage over the other party leaders, his team is being seen more and more as the agent of change and it has a pretty balanced regional and demographic constituency.

The key challenges for the NDP are threefold. First, it must hang on to those promiscuous progressive voters who have been swinging back and forth between the Liberal and NDP camps since 2011. Second, it must withstand the added critical attention that comes with being the frontrunner. Finally, it must convince voters that they should consider the NDP the better bet to replace the Harper government.

This last point is vitally important as it plays into Conservative strategy. The Conservatives’ consistent focus on Justin Trudeau and the Liberals as their primary rivals — their repeated attempts to paint Trudeau as callow, marginally competent and unready for power — isn’t based on lousy polling and probably doesn’t emerge from mere spite. The true motive may have been to hobble Trudeau so badly that the ballot question shifts from a choice between a coalition and Harper to a choice between the untested New Democrats and the Conservatives.

More, including charts, at the site.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 31, 2015 at 10:38 pm

[LINK] “Half of Canadian voters back NDP-Liberal coalition, poll shows”

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The Toronto Star‘s Donovan Vincent reports on the popularity of the idea of a NDP-Liberal coalition. I quite like it myself. If the Liberal Party opts to reject it, let the consequences fall on it.

More than two-thirds of Liberal and NDP supporters favour the idea of the parties forming a coalition in the event of a Conservative minority in the Oct. 19 election, according to a new poll by Forum Research.

Of Liberal supporters surveyed, 68 per cent support a coalition, while 75 per cent of NDPers favour the idea –– about half of all Canadian voters.

“The two opposition parties have spent the last week dancing around the coalition question, but it appears their supporters, especially the New Democrats, have no such qualms. They’re ready to get hitched as soon as a minority Conservative government is elected –– if that happens,” said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff.

Support for a coalition was strongest among young people surveyed — 57 per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 favour the idea.

[. . .]

The New Democrats have said publicly they are open to the idea of a coalition, but Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has poured cold water on the notion.

Another poll by Forum Research this week tracking voter intentions at this point in time has the Conservatives and NDP tied at 33 per cent support, and the Liberals at 25 per cent.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 31, 2015 at 10:24 pm

[BRIEF NOTE] On the Anonymous threat to reveal the secrets of John Baird

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Earlier this year, Conservative MP and cabinet minister John Baird resigned from politics. This news came as a surprise to everyone, though in retrospect it may have marked the beginning of the trend of prominent Conservatives leaving before the election. As reported by the National Post‘s Adrian Humphreys, Anonymous is threatening to reveal the secret reasons for Baird’s departure.

Hackers with Anonymous — who last week leaked a seemingly legitimate secret document on cyber-security at Canada’s spy agency — threatened Wednesday to release decrypted text messages from former Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird allegedly showing the “real reason” why he abruptly left politics.

The warning was made in social media from an account the National Post confirms is one that has been operated by activists responsible for the CSIS leak.

No evidence was presented by the hacktivists to support the claim.

[. . .]

The month after leaving he was hired as an international advisor to Barrick Gold Corp and nominated to the board of directors of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. In May he joined law firm Bennett Jones LLP as a senior adviser. At the time, when opposition critics questioned his quick moves, he said he consulted the Ethics Commissioner before accepting his new roles and “got the green light.”

The Twitter account @OpAnonDown — named in honour of its claimed mission of seeking justice for an Anonymous protester shot and killed by the RCMP during a confrontation in Dawson Creek, B.C. — said text messages and a video are pending for release on this subject.

There was speculation at the time. See Enzo DiMatteo in NOW Toronto, for instance. The only secret about Baird that I myself am familiar with is the fact that he is gay. This has been public record at least since 2010, openly discussed in the LGBT press if only alluded to in the mainstream media.

(There has been some loose speculation that it is not so much his orientation as his choice of partners and what he does with them that might be a problem. See the comments of that DiMatteo article. I’m not aware of any rumours in this regard.)

Will we actually find out something? Is this just fuss? I wonder.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 30, 2015 at 2:26 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Falling apart: a glimpse of life in Cairo”

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Open Democracy’s Maged Mandour writes about the quiet immiseration of urban Egypt.

It has been almost seven years since I decided to leave my home, the once great city of Cairo. Since I moved to Europe I have been noticing changes in the city and its inhabitants, changes both subtle and sinister. This is, of course, to be expected, considering that the country went through the ‘Arab Spring’. On my visit this time around, however, I found the change a lot more profound, and it struck me deeper than ever before.

Everything familiar is now gone; I feel like a stranger in my own city and neighbourhood. Four years after the start of the Egyptian revolt, and two years after the success of the counter-revolution, the city is lost to me.

This is a personal account of my experience on my last visit to my old home, and what it felt like to be in a country with the overbearing presence of a military dictatorship.

I had coffee with a friend and she asked me, “what is the most noticeable change you can see in the country?” I answered without hesitation, “poverty”. By this I do not mean poverty in the sense of a statistic, rather in sense of an increased level of social poverty among those considered economically comfortable.

Among the Egyptian middle class—the class I belong to—I noticed many indifferent and extremely demotivated faces. There is definitely a general deterioration in living standards. Traditional Egyptian middle class lifestyles, which were relatively comfortable, seem to have all but evaporated, especially for the younger generation, who are, due to economic hardship, being subsidised by their parents—often even if they are married with children.

The poor man in Egypt has become a two dimensional, almost fictional character.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:32 pm

[LINK] “Catalans Spur the Remaking of Spain With Battle for Independence”

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Esteban Duarte’s Bloomberg report keeps me up to date about the events in Spain. This could be big, bigger than Scotland.

Catalonia’s bid for independence has opened the floodgates: Now all Spain’s major parties are looking to remake the way the state’s power is carved up.

Catalan President Artur Mas plans to use voting for the region’s parliament on Sept. 27 — weeks before national elections are due — as a de-facto referendum on leaving Spain. Just as the Scottish independence movement has prompted a rethink of how the U.K. is governed, Spain’s national parties are responding with plans to prevent the disintegration of a country whose mainland borders are unchanged since the 17th century.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party is seeking to give the regions much more say in the Senate in Madrid. The main opposition Socialists are proposing a looser federal state, while the insurgent Podemos and Ciudadanos parties are floating their own ideas.

“Mas has contributed to reopening the debate about how Spain should be governed and taxes should be distributed,” said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence. “With Mas or without him, that’s going to be an issue that Spaniards will face over the course of the next legislative term.”

Spain’s 1978 constitution set up regional administrations with varying degrees of autonomy. But over the past three years, Mas has moved from seeking more control over taxes to demanding the right for Catalans to break away completely.

He’s already campaigning for September’s regional election. If separatist groups win a majority in the legislature in Barcelona and the central government refuses to negotiate, he says he’ll make a unilateral declaration of independence.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 29, 2015 at 10:28 pm


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