Monday, December 31, 2018

Israeli polls

Just an update now that 5 polls are out after the new party, I can do some poll averaging.

27 - Likud (Conservative, Netanyahu)
13 - Resilience (Progressive, Gantz)
13 - Yesh Atid (Liberal)
12 - Joint List (Arab)
10 - New Right (Nationalist)
9 - Zionist Union (Labour Progressive)
7 - United Torah (Ultra Orthodox)
6 - Kulanu (Centrist)
6 - Meretz (Left)
5 - Shas (Ultra Orthodox)
4 - Yisrael Beiteinu (Right-Populist)*
4 - Jewish Home (Nationalist Orthodox)*
4 - Gesher (Centre-Right)*

* = Has fallen below the threshold at least once recently in polls.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

More news from the Israeli election

Just a quick update that Naftali Bennett, the leader of Jewish Home, has left the party to found a new party, saying that Jewish Home was too religious. He left with Ayelet Shaked, who may, in the long term, play a major role in Israeli politics.

The new party will be similar to the old party, but far more secular. 

There's only been one poll with the new party; so what I've presented below is a bit of a mash of a poll average that heavily depends on that single poll with some additional artistic liberty taken to ensure everything adds up:

25 - Likud (Conservative, Netanyahu)
15 - Resilience (Benny Gantz)
12 - Joint List (Arab)
11 - New Right (Secular-Nationalist)
10 - Yesh Atid (Liberal)
9 - Zionist Union (Progressive)
7 - United Torah (Ultra Orthodox)
6 - Kulanu (Centrist)
6 - Meretz (Left)
6 - Yisrael Beiteinu (Right-Populist)
5 - Jewish Home (Orthodox-Nationalist)
4 - Shas (Ultra Orthodox)
4 - Gesher (Centre-Right)

It seems increasingly likely that one or more parties will fall below the threshold and likely not be able to rise above it before election day.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New year elections

Israel is going to the polls on April 9th. The polls there have seen a radical and drastic change that does need to be noted.

Before this November the polling average looked a bit like this:

33 - Likud (Conservative, Netanyahu)
19 - Yesh Atid (Liberal)
12 - Zionist Union (Progressive)
12 - Joint List (Arab)
10 - Jewish Home (Neo-Nationalist)
7 - United Torah (Ultra Orthodox)
6 - Kulanu (Centrist)
6 - Meretz (Left)
6 - Yisrael Beiteinu (Right-Populist)
5 - Gesher (Centre-Right)
4 - Shas (Ultra Orthodox)

Current poll averages however look like this:

29 - Likud (Conservative, Netanyahu)
12 - Yesh Atid (Liberal)
12 - Joint List (Arab)
10 - Jewish Home (Neo-Nationalist)
9 - Zionist Union (Progressive)
7 - United Torah (Ultra Orthodox)
6 - Kulanu (Centrist)
6 - Meretz (Left)
6 - Yisrael Beiteinu (Right-Populist)
4 - Gesher (Centre-Right)
4 - Shas (Ultra Orthodox)
15 - Benny Gantz (New)

Benjamin "Benny" Gantz is a General in the IDF who is starting a new political party. There is suspicion among some the new party would join with either Yesh Atid, or Zionist Union; and, given what the polls look like when his new force is counted separately (as I've done here) it is quite clear that these two parties is where his votes will be coming from; as such its fairly safe to call him a progressive liberal politically.

Looking at past polls, Orly Levy, who re-started the Gesher party, polled at around the current level of support for that party when it was first announced, and, Kulanu when founded years ago, also stayed relatively close to its initial polling after its foundation. As such it is quite likely that Gantz can actually take 12 to 15 seats. There are a number of ways this could then play out.

It is possible Gantz would be willing to work with Bibi, but would wish to hold him on a leash; if so, a Gantz-Netanyahu coalition would give them 44 seats, only 17 short for a majority. The outgoing government was made up of Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, and UTJ; after Yisrael Beiteinu withdrew. It would be much easier for a smaller number of parties to present a stable coalition.

Perhaps more likely is a new Gantz lead centre-left government. Yesh Atid and the Zionist Union have a somewhat friendly working relationship, and added to the 15 seats Gantz could take, they could start counting at 36. The problem is growing from here. Kulanu would likely be willing to work with them, but after that the only other left-wing option is Meretz, and combined this is only 48. Even then it might not be easy to get Kulanu and Meretz to agree on a coalition.

In short; to get a better idea what will happen we will need to follow polling trends between now and April.

In Sweden, it has been decided that Parliament will vote on the 16th and 23rd of January to try to form a new government; if these votes fail, the country will head back to the polls for an April 21st election.

In Germany polls have somewhat stabilized with the CDU/CSU at 30, the Greens at 20, the SPD and AfD each at 15, and the FDP and Linke at 10; all roughly of course; but no party has strayed more than 3 points from this in December, and even then, each party has only strayed that far once. There likely will not be an election in Germany in 2019, but, I always endeavour to keep everyone updated. On that note;

In Italy and Spain previously mentioned trends continue; in Spain Vox remains at around 10% as polls are trying to find the new stabilization point, while in Italy Lega continues to ever so slowly rise in the polls.

Monday, December 24, 2018

What if: "Yes" vote, Quebec 1995 - The people

In this post I would like to examine 9 key people and what they expected and wanted in the event of a "yes" vote. 3 from the "yes" side, 3 from the "no" side, and 3 from outside Quebec; one of whom will expand into subchapters.

Note that I will be citing no sources. This is from memory; and while I am double checking various items, a lot of what I'm sharing does not come from public sources, and was shared with me during my time in politics by those who played roles at the time or know those who did.


Mario Dumont

Dumont was 25 years old at the time. The ADQ leader. The ADQ won 6.5% of the election in the 1994 election. To get to the point; Dumont was in over his head, and even admitted that he was simply following the intuition of Bouchard. As such he had little in the way of plans after the referendum.

Lucien Bouchard

Bouchard's main aim was a renegotiation of the Canada-Quebec relationship. Bouchard started to get the, correct, idea that Parizeau was going to push him out. The problem is that despite time to think about how he would have reacted, it seems he had no clue how to defeat Parizeau at this beyond publicly denouncing him.

Jacques Parizeau

Parizeau's dream was to see a Quebec flag at the United Nations. Parizeau had plans to tighten control over the process after the vote; he was moving to exclude Bouchard and wanted to purposefully botch any negotiations that could lead to Quebec remaining within Canada. the Parizeau-Bouchard feud will be the topic of another post.


Daniel Johnson

Johnson quickly became overwhelmed with events. What plans, if any, he had in the event of a yes-side victory are not widely known, and it is generally thought and expected that the forum of events would have moved outside of Quebec towards dialogue between Quebec and the remainder of Canada.

Jean Charest

Charest was seen by many as the best campaigner during the referendum, and despite his party having only two seats, he still maintained quite a bit of influence over events. Charest was a federalist and likely would have bent the least if at all possible; his problem is this was likely not possible.

Jean Chretien

As Prime Minister, Chretien had the most to lose. His plan was simple; to deny that a yes vote was a vote to leave Canada. Chretien was on shaky ground, not only as a Quebec PM but as the guy who would have overseen the loss.


Sheila Copps

As Deputy Prime Minister, Copps, as well as some of those in Cabinet, felt that the government would become hers to lead in the event of a yes victory.

Allan Rock

We now know, both through contemporary leaks and current implication of past decisions, that Allan Rock had enough support within the Liberal Party and its Cabinet to take over the leadership and the government in the event of a yes win.

Roy Romanow

Romanow was Premier of Saskatchewan; which leads us to the


Many provinces had various plans and ideas, which I will go through below.


Saskatchewan had extensive plans in the event of a yes vote. There were plans for every realistic possibility that every province would have to face. These plans included

1 - A reformed Canada.
Prefered by many, and implied by the final committee report to be the most preferable option. Expected to include a EEE Senate, some additional powers for the provinces, and should Quebec be kept in Canada, veto powers for Quebec on various items. Both a Canada with Quebec and a Quebecless Canada were considered under this section.

2 - Independence, alone.
This would leave Saskatchewan in a very vulnerable position. Widely seen as a non-starter for Saskatchewan.

3 - Independence, with others.
Saskatchewan in particular expected BC and Alberta to work with them. This was presented as the main alternative to a reformed Canada.

4 - Annexation to the United States
Being so close to the US, and the US being made up of States, allowed provinces like Saskatchewan to consider joining simply as a new state. This was seen as the fall back option should both "Canada" and "Western Canada" fail to materialize as reformed nations.

These 4 options would become the bedrock for every province, and though they did not examine the details as closely as Saskatchewan did, no province would have any inkling or idea to do anything else.


Newfoundland was in a very bad place at the time of the referendum. To fully understand the Newfoundland mindset, it helps to know more about the 1948-1949 Referendums that brought Newfoundland into Canada.

In 1946 a convention was called to discuss the future of Newfoundland. At that convention, it was decided to hold a referendum 2 years later, and on it, to present three options. First, to continue with the commission of government, which would see the UK continue to govern Newfoundland as a colony. Second, for Newfoundland to resume its Independence. and Third, for Newfoundland to join Canada. The convention rejected a fourth option; that of joining the United States. The referendum saw 45% vote for Independence, 41% vote for joining with Canada, and 14% vote to remain with the commission.

The following month a final referendum was held that saw 52% vote to join Canada with 48% voting to become independent.

Those that wanted to join the United States supported Independence both times; but it is generally thought that the majority of those who wanted to join Canada would have been at least somewhat friendly towards joining the United States; and given the situation in the United States at it time, and that in the UK, it is thought that a vote for Independence would have seen Newfoundland join the USA within a decade.

This is the context in which many Newfoundlanders viewed the current situation, in 1995.

In short; there was a massive pull among many within Newfoundland to join the United States should Quebec vote to leave Canada. Despite this, change is always more difficult than the status quo, and if a quick and easy deal could be reached, Newfoundland would have been likely to stay.


All 3 maritime provinces had made an agreement with one another to stick together during the crisis.

The general feeling in the 3 provinces was that there were 3 basic options open to them. The first was remaining in a reduced Canada (most in the Maritimes expected a yes vote meant Quebec was gone and gone for good) with the second being all 3 provinces, united as 1, joining the United States. The final of the 3 options would have seen all 3 provinces, united as one, forming an independent nation; much as was the plan in 1867 when delegates from all 3 met in Charlottetown to discuss union before Canada showed up unannounced.


The Manitoba government at the time was more friendly towards the idea of joining with the other Western provinces than was widely known. Despite that the province was generally seen as having the strongest will among all provinces to keep Canada united at any cost.

Alberta and British Columbia

Some thought had gone into 'what next' in both provinces. Both, with BC being much more receptive, generally agreed to follow the lead of Saskatchewan. Alberta is generally known to have strongly wanted a "EEE Senate" which would have seen a senate with real effective power have an equal number of elected members from every province.

Yukon and the North

What little we know about events in the north was that the Yukon had effectively decided to stick with BC due to their ties to that province. No credible information has ever come out about the plans of the Northwest Territories; which at the time, included Nunavut.


Ontario was widely unready and did not make much of a plan for a yes vote.


Things would have been an utter mess.

We know though various infrequent surveys and things said since, that Ontario would have accepted a EEE senate as part of a reform package if push ever came to shove. Given what we know about the plans in the Prairies, as well as the feelings of BC, one could effectively lock down those 5 provinces into a reformed Canada. Along with them the Yukon and likely the NWT would have remained; thus ensuring that Canada, west of Ottawa, remains united.

The Maritimes likely would have signed on to such a deal, with the only big question being if Newfoundland does as well. With the other remaining provinces agreeing, it is quite likely that Newfoundland would have also gone along, and signed on to this new Canada.

All of this, however, assumes a Canada without Quebec.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Quick look at the provinces

I celebrated by 34th birthday yesterday (the 19th) so I did not finish that 1995 blogpost; but it will be done by monday at the latest.

Just wanted to share some quick thoughts on the provinces, and share something I said to some friends in a discord chat.

I gave some basic guidelines on which provinces I follow politically and why. These are the guidelines.

Don't follow politics in provinces

A - not your own, or
B - does not have an election, or a potential election, in the next 365 days, or
C - has not just undergone a major change such as a party merger, premier or opposition leader change, or, for example, suddenly dismisses its clerk and serjeant-at-arms.

As such, I am not following politics in Nova Scotia whatsoever. I only know the NS NDP leader because I opened the wikipedia page to double check when the next election there is; its 2021.

Ontario has recently had an election, but I live here. Quebec also recently had one; but there is also speculation about some kind of merger of the PQ and QS; plus the PLQ is going to have to pick a new leader, so I'm sort of keeping an eye on things over there.

The Yukon will not have an election in 2019 likely, and will likely go in 2020 or 2021.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan both are scheduled to vote in 2020.

New Brunswick recently held an election but the result was a minority government. As such they could have an election at any time. Polls suggest the Greens are up since the election.

So who IS having an election this year for sure?

May 31st is the latest date for an Alberta election; but it could happen as early as March 1st. Wisely, the law for the fixed election date gives some flexibility as to adapt to changing situations such as holidays.

Polls continue to have the UCP in the lead; but the polling trend over the term has seen the NDP rebounding. In the end it's going to come down to what Calgary does as the more rural areas seem more strongly opposed to a lot of what the NDP is up to. The Alberta Party may also play a role in who wins by taking votes away from the stronger party; the NDP in Edmonton, and the Tories in rural areas.

In the end I don't think the NDP will be able to catch up to the UCP in Calgary, but the Alberta Party could well play enough of a spoiler to ensure a minority government; if that happens it is possible that the NDP could form a coalition government with the Alberta Party, or at least, secure some kind of deal from them that would allow them to continue governing.

On October 7th, PEI goes to the polls. The PC Party will still need to find a new leader between now and then but the big problem is the massive shift in PEI politics.

At one time, the two parties had very similar policies and were thought of as "Team Red" and "Team Blue" with the Liberals frequently having the more right-wing platform. While the two parties still present very moderate platforms, what seems to have changed is that a lot of PEIslanders are fed up with the old two party system. Beyond that, they seem to trust the Greens to be the new "team" in this equation. The Greens have lead 3 of the 4 most recent polls, and have been ahead of the tories in 9 of the past 11 polls. It may simply be that enough Islanders will switch to the Greens to oppose the Liberals that the PC Party wont be able to retake their traditional spot as the go-to "not liberal" party.

If this happens a Green government, especially a minority, is certainly possible. PEI has never had such a minority government before and it would be interesting to see how the Greens would navigate such a system; the internal party culture would likely mean they'd deal with it rather well and this could then lead to a Green party Majority government in that province in an election that happens a year or two later.

The very next day on October 8th, NL goes to the polls. This will be an interesting election to watch largely based on who the PC leader is.

Ches Crosby is the son of John and grandson of Chesley; his namesake. Chesley was a huge personality in the convention that lead to the two Referendums to join Newfoundland to Canada; in which he very heavily pushed for union with the United States. John was the finance minister under Joe Clark and was a key architect of the NAFTA while a cabinet minister to Brian Mulroney. It remains to be seen if Ches can fill the mukluks left behind by his father and grandfather. If so, he could well win this election.

After the election in 2015, the government had perhaps the worst first few months of any new government, making gigantic cuts to the budget, and dropping from the 57% of the vote they took in the election to 37% in the first post-election poll; 27% in a poll the following month. Since then they managed to rise again, dipping only during May of this year, days after Ches Crosbie election as leader of the PC Party. Crosbie won his seat in October and although the margin has opened back up to 10 points with the Liberals ahead; the PC Party could still win the election.

British Columbia's referendum on electoral reform will be interesting to watch.

The Northwest Territories also votes in October (or November?) but for the same reason I don't follow Presidential systems as closely as I do Parliamentary systems - personality vs political parties - I do not really follow politics here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Personal: A quick note on how close I am to losing the internet

When my computer died it was only my windows vista single core laptop that kept me online.

Last night I spilled some water on my desk. It spilled off on to the floor, and on to the router between my desk and the floor below. The internet stopped working.

This morning in a bit of a christmas miracle I was able to get the router working again, but my VOIP phone is not working. I need to try to restart the router again.

The problem is after the water damage, it might not want to restart; but I do need a working telephone.

I have a friend who donated to help get me my new computer who became homeless after family trouble. He was able to stay with a friend.

Another donor lost her job suddenly, and had to get by on credit cards for a month or two while finding a new job.

Another donor in this streak of bad luck crashed his car, totalling it, and had to get a new one with the help of his parents.

My parents dont have the kind of money needed to help me get more than the basics. I don't have any friends in town, in part due to my autism and the impact it has on my social skills. I don't have a credit card in large part due to what happened after I got sick (depression) and had to take months off work.

I don't have the backup resources that even you might if something goes wrong. If the router will not restart when I reset it in a few minutes, I will have no internet, and will only be able to access it from the library, for a maximum of one hour a day.

My father who lives nearby has no internet at home. If my apartment were to burn down I'd also thus lose my internet. The same if ODSP changes mean I can no longer afford rent.

I have no cell phone. I have no backups. I have no alternatives. If the router breaks, I wont have internet. Beyond that since these are teksavvy routers, its likely I wont have internet for weeks while they mail me a new one (that I need to somehow find money for) during the xmas holidays.

Even if that happened, I could still finish that 1995 post, from the library; at least, I should be able to. More and more places are requiring 2-factor authorization which requires a cell phone. Thus if I cant update it, it will autopost on the 31st, only half finished.

The TLDR of this is simply that things beyond my control may mean I suddenly vanish from the internet. I'm writing this because if that happens; either now with this router or later via some other calamity, that I will start working on day 1 to get back online, but that this might not be possible for days, weeks, or even months. I want you to know that I've not abandoned this blog, nor have I abandoned any online communities I am in, nor have I abandoned my twitter. If I suddenly vanish, I will be back. The only reason I wouldn't be is if my poor health decisions finally catch up with me; and in that case, I will be asking people to try to get the word out that this has happened. As such, you may need to search for someone tweeting at me to let my followers know what's happened.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sweden may face new elections

Earlier today, the right-wing parties in Sweden managed to pass a budget. Sweden still does not have a new government however, but developments in the past few days have made it unlikely that any grouping can manage to form a government. The Social Democrats and Centre parties are pointing the finger at one another, and the traditional 4 party right-wing coalition is starting to slowly fall apart. The most likely outcome beyond an election is a Conservative lead government backed by the Neo-Nationalists, but the Conservatives are still saying they refuse to work with the Neo-Nationalists.

As such, Sweden may be headed back to the polls sooner before later.

Current polls suggest the Moderate Party (Conservatives) and their close allies the Christian Democrats are down, as well as the Liberals. Other parties are near their election level of support while the Sweden Democrats are up by 2 to 3 points. Such a result would not change the coalition math, and, instead, strengthen the position of the Sweden Democrats (Neo-Nationalist) handing them a potential second place finish. It may, however, convince some of the other right-wing parties to be more willing to bend to the demands of the Social Democrats.

What could change the math is if either the Liberals or the Greens fail to reach the 4% threshold, which some polls suggest is possible. the November 1-7 Sentio poll has both under the threshold. A single poll projection would see the Social Democrats take 108 seats, the Neo-Nationalists take 78, the Conservatives take 71, both the Centre and Left parties take 36, and the Christian Democrats take 20. 144-127-78 would be the new coalition math based on those numbers. If either the Greens or Liberals did pass the threshold, it would give them roughly 15 or more seats, and 15 is not enough to take either alliance over the top and bring them to 175 for a majority.

In short; the impasse will continue, past any election, until one of three things happen.

1 - A coalition between parties not traditionally allied occurs.
2 - A party announces its willing to work with the Sweden Democrats.
3 - The agreement from after the last election is continued; which would see a minority government permitted.

Given the current balance is 144-143-62, it is far more likely for option 3 to occur after an election where one side loses more seats than the other.

My personal expectation is that there's still a chance for a coalition, but that we will have no idea what until the moment as it will depend on exactly when the Social Democrats in particular 'break' and offer compromise, and who happens to be offering that compromise to them at that time. Failing that, the Social Democrats will "win" the next election and option 3 as suggested above will be brought back.

Regardless, refusing to work with the Sweden Democrats can not continue in the long term (IE 20 years from now) so long as they maintain these levels of support, and shutting them out will only see their popularity continue to grow. It is my expectation that the right-wing will eventually agree to work with them, but, likely not until 2022 at the earliest.

On a side note, my alternate history post about 1995 is still half finished. I've been busy with the CMHoC election recently, and this may delay that post slightly.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Greyhound, what next?

In this previous post I examine what will happen now that Greyhound has decided to shut down operations in Western Canada.

In it, I made a number of predictions.

As we've passed the shut down and near the end of the year I'd like to look at how well (or poorly) I did. Lets go through this point by point.

No new rail service has been announced.

Nobody is buying the entire Greyhound network in the area as happened in the Maritimes.

Alberta company, myEbus has started a service between Vancouver and Kelowna, that continues on to Kamloops. Ebus says sales are slow and need to pick up if the route is to be maintained.

Alberta company Red Arrow, mentioned on my earlier post, is picking up the route from Edmonton to Grand Prairie. Despite my expectations, they are not expanding outside of Alberta much.

BC Bus North, a public company, will, for the time being, run routes in Northern BC, with a hub out of Prince George.

I can't find any information on connections from Vancouver to Prince George, beyond that a company based out of Merritt is trying to set up a route. What I'm reading leads me to believe there is a company already providing this service but I can not seem to find out who.

A first-nations owned company will be running buses from Thompson to Winnipeg.

Kaspar offers a service from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg, and Thunder Bay to White River, connecting that portion of the network.

The backbone of the network however will be taken over by Rider Express, the small Saskatchewan company. They will be running buses from Vancouver to Winnipeg. They are also opening a route connecting Edmonton to Winnipeg via Saskatoon.

In the end, the large majority of routes I outlined as "expected to be replaced" have been replaced; and a large number of other private services also exist that go into communities that I did not expect to retain service.

A nation-wide bus trip will not be easy however. My understanding is between Winnipeg and White River you may have to transfer as many as 4 times total. This makes the train a much more attractive option for those wishing to travel between Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal and Winnipeg.

Also take note that I'm working on a long blogpost, alternate history, about a "yes" side victory in the 1995 referendum. It's about half written, and will rank among the longer posts I've made for this blog.

Monday, December 3, 2018

New party in Spain

Spain has a new political party of sorts.

It's actually an "old" party that was founded 5 years ago; Vox. Many call the party far-right, and others say it is right-populist; so that puts it in line with people like Donald Trump, Mario Salvini, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, and Viktor Orban. This is known to some as Neo-nationalism, which is likely the term I will stick to when discussing such parties.

I'll keep this short.
Yesterday, elections were held in Andalusia, a large region of Spain. This region is known for being left-wing. The Socialists held a majority from the reintroduction of democracy in Spain to the 1994 election, where they were 10 seats short; but still managed to take government and win a plurality. In 1996 they managed to win additional seats, being only 3 short; this time managing a deal with a left-wing opposition party, with the 2000 election being more of the same. In 2004, the Socialists won a majority again, and held it in 2008. 2012 saw the Conservatives win a plurality of the vote; but the united-left party form a coalition with the Socialists to keep them in government. 2015 would see the Socialists win a plurality, with the Liberals supporting them.

The TL;DR is that this is a left-wing region, known for not being friendly to far-right parties.

And yet; Vox managed 11% here, beating most polls, which had them closer to 6%. 55 seats are needed for a majority; the election resulted in the following:
33 - Socialist (PSOE)
26 - Conservative (PP)
21 - Liberal (Cs)
17 - Left (AA)
12 - Neo-nationalist (Vox)

The only two-party coalition that has a majority is a grand coalition, and that is extraordinarily unlikely. PSOE wants a coalition of the left; them with AA and Cs, while PP wants a coalition of the right; them with Cs, and Vox. Cs is not keen on working with Vox and has proposed a centrist coalition of Cs, PP, and PSOE, with them in the lead.

Why this is important is how well Vox did, and how their votes seem to have come from the Left. Polls had Vox 5 points below what they eventually took in the election; while PSOE was polling 5 points above. Cs, PP, and AA all had results in line with polling.

Using the ratio method; this meant that 15% of the PSOE vote went to Vox. Applying this nationally, it would peg Vox somewhere around 10%, and push PSOE into second. The attention drawn by this "win" for Vox will also likely boost their poll numbers; likely drawing votes from the right and impacting the PP numbers; this could push Cs into first.

Interestingly, it puts things in spain in a new light. Formerly there were two "old" parties and two "new" parties. PSOE and PP were old, while Cs and Podemos (which is allied with AA) were new. Both of the new parties were to the left of an old party. Now, with Vox, there is a new party to the right of PP, and voters may feel comfortable parking their vote there.

Where this goes remains to be seen. I'll keep an eye on nation wide polling in Spain for the next month or so and let you all know where things stand once Vox's poll numbers start to stabilize after their expected jump.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Follow my twitter for additional content

I made a tweet today that you may find interesting. I will often tweet various things I do that are not big enough for the blog. If you want some additional content, following my twitter is a good way to get it.

If you are picky about who you follow on twitter (I am) then I simply recommend bookmarking the account and checking in on it every so often.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

December Plans:

There is not much in the way of december elections. Georgia (the country) recently held an election and Armenia is holding one shortly; but neither are countries I tend to follow close. At most I may make posts about Armenia, Bangladesh, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but overall, it will be a quiet winter.

I am mulling over some ideas for posts; including one that would show what Canada might look like with a more "Australian" political system. I'm also still keeping track of a situations in a host of countries; in Sweden, the Social Democrats are again trying to form a government. Parliament will hold the 2nd vote on a proposed government on Monday.

Beyond that we are likely into the second half of February before things start up again. Regardless, I am always working towards making interesting posts, and in the "off season" I have a great chance to examine both the past and hypotheticals.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Victorian election

Elections were held today in the Australian state of Victoria. While counting continues, current results are as follows:

55 ALP +8
22 LIB -8
6 NAT -2
2 GRN +-0
3 IND +2

And in the upper house:

19 ALP +5
9 LIB -5
4 DHJP +4
2 TMP +2
1 GRN -4
1 NAT -1
1 SA +1
1 ABP +1
1 LD +1
1 AJP +1
0 SFF -2
0 FPRP -1
0 LDLP -1
0 V1LJ -1

The governing Labor Party will now control 19 of the 40 upper house seats, needing only two more to pass any legislation. The left-wing Greens and Animal Justice Party may well provide these votes when needed.

DHJP and ABP are both very right-wing and populist in a social aspect, while TMP is effectively a lobby group for Taxi drivers who are anti-Uber.

LD is libertarian leaning towards economic capitalism.

SA likes to think of itself as centrist and may vote for policies they like.

Compared to the old council, this one is slightly more friendly towards the government and should be slightly easier to get legislation through.

The lower house, however, was more of a blowout. The result is similar to the 2006 result in some ways, but not as lopsided as the 2002 contest which saw the Liberals reduced to 17.

Key reasons for the Liberal defeat was the trouble in the federal party (which turfed Turnbull and replaced him with Morrison as PM.), not campaigning on the issues that most voters cared about, and the Labor government simply being popular and being considered to have done a 'good job'.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Changes to Welfare and ODSP in Ontario

To start, I'd like to note I've done some math on a reddit; you can see the post here. The post details ODSP changes, and if you scroll down one post, you see the changes to Ontario Works.

For those who don't know, Ontario Work is "Welfare" for Ontario. If you have no job, you can apply for Ontario Works, or OW. It will give a single person $733 a month, split between Rent and Needs. This $733 is an 'estimate' as if you somehow find a place to rent that's cheaper than $390 a month (nearly impossible in Ontario; but not totally impossible, especially in the right city and right circumstances) then you only get support up to your actual rent. The remaining $343 is for all your other basic needs. The rates are uniform across Ontario (for now, bill 60 may change that) and the Toronto rates can be seen here.

ODSP rates are a bit harder to find but are mentioned on pages like this. The basic maximum rate is $1,169 a month; $672 for basic needs and $497 for rent. Again, if your rent is below that, you get the lesser amount. ODSP is the Ontario Disability Support Program. When originally implemented by the Mike Harris government, it was designed to support the so-called 'deserving poor' which is a term used to criticize the system; but using more modern and intentional phrasing, ODSP is supposed to be for those who "can't work", with the implication being those on OW can, but choose not to.

As most of you know, I am on ODSP. These changes will impact me. How exactly is a devil in the details.

The old system saw a $200 exemption a month in income, plus a 50% clawback beyond that. $200 a month works out to $2400 a year. The new system will allow $6000 a year, plus a 75% clawback. $6000 a year works out to $500 a month.

For Ontario Works, they are changing from a $200 exemption and 50% clawback, to a $300 exemption and 75% clawback.

For ODSP the pivot point is roughly $21,800 a year, or, $1,816 a month. For OW the pivot is at $13,000 or $1,083 a month. If you make more than that, you will now have less money under the new system; but if you make less than that, you'll have more under the new system. Note these are combined OW/ODSP+Job figures. They work out to 20 hours of work a week at minimum wage for ODSP, and 7 for OW. As such if you are on welfare and work 12 hours a week, you will have less money after these changes than you do now.

This math has some caveats. I did not, for example, include the $100 a month that ODSP will basically give you for having a job to support additional costs related to employment such as transportation to and from a job. OW's system is different, but under the right circumstances, you could claim up to $250 a month for such costs; though my understanding is very few qualify for that maximum. This means that you can make more money than outlined in my math before the clawbacks hit.

To clarify a few misconceptions that many people have online.

1 - People on ODSP do "pay taxes". Someone on ODSP gets $14,028 a year, and that requires you to pay $333 in federal taxes and $186 in provincial taxes. In reality, this never applies as people on ODSP almost always either rent, or, get less money due to not renting. Renting grants you a tax exemption up to a certain amount, and will always zero out the tax bill for people on ODSP. This credit, for example, is worth $418 to me. Beyond there there are credits for sales taxes. There are, however, always edge cases where you would not qualify for various credits. In the end, because of the various credits however, most people on ODSP without a job pay $0 in income taxes.

2 - Most people on ODSP are honest. The system puts up roadblocks. For example when I reported the $4 I get as income from Patreon to ODSP they outright sounded irritated at me that I'd report so little. They literally told me not to report amounts so low. They also didn't have an answer for *when* I should report such income; when Patreon charges them, when it goes into my account at Patreon, when I transfer it out of my Patreon, when the transfer gets into my Paypal, when I transfer it out of my Paypal, when it gets into my Bank account, when I withdraw it as cash? They had no clue.

3 - It is possible to live on $14K a year. It's just not very fun. At one time I had a full time job where I made $24K a year, and I was always running short on money. That was a decade ago. The Autism gives me ADHD symptoms to the point I take Ritalin daily. The ADHD can make it very difficult to budget due to impulse purchases. The Autism can make it difficult to learn certain "life lessons" that come naturally to others. My brain simply does not work the same way yours does; its broken. It has been a long, hard, grind to get to the point that I can regularly live within my means on ODSP without outside help; but it can be done.


I want to outline what I would do.

I'd do a number of reforms to the system.

First and foremost is near-literally taking people by the hand and leading them to jobs that they can do. "they can do" being key. Not everyone is suited for factory work, or to be a barista at starbucks. When a job is found that can be done, the recipient must be - for lack of a better term - babied into it. small steps. perhaps literally driving them to the interview, making sure they look nice, and so forth. A lot of people on the system have been without work for years and have simply and literally forgotten workplace culture. Ease people back into that.

A huge help towards this would be grants for employers who hire people on social assistance. It would mean there is less of a financial risk in training and hiring someone who is on welfare.

I would also increase the rates. OW would go up to $977 a month, a 33% increase. Both the basic needs and rent portions would increase be 33%, bringing expected rents up to a far more realistic level. ODSP would go up to $1,559, also a 33% increase. Again, the increase would apply both to rent and basic needs; which ironically puts my own ODSP under the maximum as I only pay $535 for rent.

Clawbacks would be 0% for the first $560 a month, 25% for the next $560, 50% for the next $560, and 75% beyond this. This would mean a full time minimum wage job sees you off the system.

I like the idea that those working full time at minimum wage should not get welfare.

Those on ODSP, however, would be able to work full time, 40 hours a week, at a job that pays $18.50 an hour, prior to the clawback zeroing out your ODSP. ODSP would also not stop fully if you reach that limit; instead your drug benefits would be calculated separately and would have a higher income level at which they stop.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is that all these clawbacks would be applied in total only last. This means if someone else in some other program also has some sort of income clawback, that this is taken into account when calculating your clawback for OW and ODSP.

In structure, this is similar to the system the tories just brought in. Harsher at the higher end but nicer at the lower end. The key difference is that the rates are actually high enough to survive on.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Poland has (likely) stabilized into a 2 party state

Just a quick note about Poland.

Some may look at the polling for the next election, polling which shows PiS far in the lead, and assume Poland is a one-party state. To them I'd encourage them to look at polling for the prior election. Beyond this, to also look at polling for the election before that.

This is actually a pattern that is familiar.

Consider that, in Canada, in 1968, the Liberals took 45% of the vote, compared to 31% for the PC Party. 72 saw a split of 38%-35%, and 74 a split of 42%-35%. The PC Party managed to win 1979 despite losing 36%-40%, then lost the 1980 election 32%-44%, but won 1984 50%-28%. 1988 saw their re-election, 43%-32%.

This is the pattern of a two party system.

Local elections show this trend as well. The polish page for such elections (don't worry about the language, we are looking at the numbers and the maps) show the "Liberals" winning 6 regional assemblies VS 9 for the "Conservatives" The total number elected from all assemblies was 254 for the "Conservatives", 194 for the "Liberals" and 94 for all other parties combined.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Situation in Israel

Israel is potentially heading towards early elections. This article gives a bit of a background on that.

The current government is lead by Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu. Member parties are Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, and UTJ. Yisrael Beiteinu was a member party until recently. Jewish Home is also negotiating to prevent a withdrawal. Such a withdrawal would leave the government with 53 seats in the 120 seat Knesset.

Polls taken this month, averaged, compared to the results in 2015, are below. The current polling average is on the left, and the number on the right indicates gains or losses since the 2015 election.

29 Likud -1
17 Yesh Atid +6
12 Joint List -1
11 Zionist Union -13
11 Jewish Home +3
8 Kulanu -2
7 Yisrael Beiteinu +1
7 UTJ +1
6 Shas -1
6 Meretz +1
6 Orly Levy +6

Should Jewish Home leave the coalition, and should the results be as the polls indicate, this would see the coalition drop from 53 to 50 seats. The two parties that would withdraw from the coalition in such a situation would gain a combined 4 seats, perhaps putting them in the driver seat for any current negotiations.

Orly Levy is a defector from Yisrael Beiteinu who has a more progressive stance on the issues than her former party. If counted on the left of any right-left political divide, the net result of an election would be a loss of one seat for the progressives vs a gain of 1 seat for parties in Netanyahu's 2015 coalition. Most of the change comes from within the various voter blocs, with Zionist Union's losses being offset by gains in Orly Levy and Yesh Atid.

If this comes to pass it would be a disaster for the Labour party. From 1949-1977 the party was consistently first in elections. 1977 saw the party defeated by Likud, but the party would go on to finish either first or second up to the 2009 election.

In 2009 the party obtained only 13 seats, finishing behind Likud, but also Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima. 2013 saw them rise to 3rd behind Yesh Atid, while 2015 saw them form an alliance with Hatunah, a breakaway party from Kadima.

Both 2009 and 2013 saw the party effectively standing on its own. It has never finished worse than second when in an alliance with another party. The current alliance, Zionist Union, is polling very poorly, and could leave the party in 5th.

The party has been on somewhat good terms with Yesh Atid and an alliance with that party may be part of the long-term future of Labour.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

US Update and Maps!

In the Senate, Arizona has gone to the Democrats. Mississippi's senate race has seen consistent polling that when voters choose the Senator on November 27th that the incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith will win. The only poll that suggests otherwise is from the Mike Espy campaign itself. As such I'm marking that down as a GOP win.

This leaves only Florida undecided. Pro-Democratic county, Broward, has managed to, yet again, screw up hosting the election. Due to this it is likely the Republicans will take that seat. If they do the Senate balance will be 53-47. If the Democrats somehow win Florida, it will be 52-48. Both are gains for the Republicans over the current 51-49 balance.

In Georgia the Democratic Governor candidate is pushing for a second round of voting. She is up against the GOP Secretary of State, whose job it is to count the ballots. For there to be a second round the winner needs to take under 50% of the vote; but the Brian Kemp of the GOP is at 50.3%. While there are arguments about ballots yet uncounted, even if there were a second around, a Kemp victory is extremely likely; as such I'm counting this as a GOP win.

In Florida, the GOP again leads, but this time its not clear the screw ups in Broward were enough to tip the scale. Either way my read of the situation is that the GOP has the clear edge here and will manage a victory at the end of the day; as such I'm calling this for the GOP, at least, for now. This puts the final Governor balance at 27-23 in favour of the GOP.

In the House, the same 10 seats remain undeclared. Four favour the Democrats; CA10, NJ3, NY22, and UT4, while 6 favour the Republicans: CA39, CA45, ME2, GA7, NY27, and TX23. Maine's 2nd district, due to not being won by over 50% of the vote, is headed to a second round. Both Independent candidates are more left leaning from what I can gather meaning that it is likely the Democrats pick up this seat.

As such the most likely result, according to my read of the situation, is 232 Democrats and 203 Republicans.

The GOP has lost at least 32 seats in the House; but they did actually managed to 'gain' a few seats. In Minnesota, the GOP gained both districts 8 and 1, but lost both districts 3 and 2. This makes the state's election map appear more logical, as 8 and 1 were highly rural in nature. In Pennsylvania, which had its districts forcibly redrawn by court order, they gained district 14 while losing neighbouring district 17.

Every house seat the GOP has a lead in, including Maine's 2nd, has a GOP incumbent. The same is true for the 4 seats the Democrats currently lead in.

Lastly, maps!

Note the map without a label is the Senate, where Blue means both senators caucus with the Democrats; Purple is one each, and Red is two Republicans.

The last map may be important if the next Presidential election does not result in someone winning 270 electoral votes. The Republicans control the House in terms of number of state delegations (26), and as such, would be in the drivers seat for choosing the next President.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Quick Updates


Democrats: 231 (4)
Republicans: 204 (6)

The numbers in brackets indicate seats where the winner may not yet be clear. They've been included in the total.

Republicans: 53 (fl, ms)
Democrats: 47 (az)

states in brackets are seats that are, again, not fully clear as to the final result.

Republican: 27 (fl, ga)
Democrats: 23

There was some speculation that Pelosi might not win the speaker election. After looking into some recent historical results, if the Democrats match their lest-unified speaker election (2015) then only 87% of their members would vote for the official candidate. This number is below the 204 the Republicans are expected to win. However; the second most messy speaker election saw 89.6% voting with the official candidate; a number higher than the total of Republicans. 


The leader of the Moderates is forming a government, one which will require a vote of confidence. He is looking to rely on unofficial support from the Swedish Democrats; but members of his own alliance are saying they plan to vote against this; which would likely send Sweden to another election. Polls suggest the resulting Parliament would by in large be mostly the same but with slightly different math. The left is up slightly, which could make it easier to form a left-centre government should such an election occur. 


Green support is still growing but may crest soon. The numbers are very bad for the SPD, who sit at 14% in the latest polls. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Canada: A quick prediction

Not much commentary. I stole the basic prediction from QC125 and changed some ridings based on my own personal feelings about how things will go; but this is not a fully fledged mathematical projection from me.

Monday, November 5, 2018

US 2018: House

As this map has smaller districts and may be harder to see, I've included the direct link:

The methodology was simple. For districts that 270towin (which uses Sabato's Crystal Ball) deemed to be not-toss-ups (all but 21) I simply went with what 270towin said would happen. For the 21 that are toss-ups, I went with the "lite" forecast from 538. This gives me a fairly accurate feel for what is likely to happen.

Tomorrow: Canada!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

US 2018: Senate

Just a quick post; and there likely won't be another about the senate before election day on the 6th; my thoughts on how things are going in the Senate:

Note that there are 5 states that are still too close to call; NV, AZ, IN, FL, and MO. Of those the democrats have very narrow leads in 4. This means its more likely the Republicans gain from here (here being 51) and as such, its very unlikely the Democrats win the Senate, even if still very possible.

Tomorrow, I look at the House, where the news is better for the Democrats.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Winter Update

The 'winter' political season is upon us. Once the coming US elections are complete (and yes I'll be doing a post on them) worldwide politics will die down, in terms of news, for the winter season, as usual.

As such this post will contain a plethora of small items.


An update here that I failed in my due diligence by not finding and reporting that the current government was that of the CDU and Greens. Since such a coalition has identical numbers to a CDU-SPD coalition, the things I said on the latter also apply to the former.

Upcoming Elections


This Australian State votes near the end of the month. Polls suggest a Labor victory.

Keeping and Eye on


In my post about the election results last year I posted this image:

Based on an assumption the CDP would vacuum up the supporters of the old Democrat party. This has not happened. The current numbers in the house are as follows:

283 - LDP
29 - NKP
(312 GOV)
58 - CDP
37 - DPP (continuation of KNT-Democrat coalition)
13 - GI (Democrats in neither the DPP or CDP)
12 - JCP
11 - INO
24 - Oth

I still think in the longer term (next year or two) that the Group of Independents (GI) will merge itself into the CDP; but those extra 10 Democrats who stuck with the KNT as the DPP are not likely going anywhere.

What has changed is the upper house. At the time of the election the Democrats held 50 seats. 3 of them went on to sit with KNT.

In the new year, 6 of them left to sit as CDP councillors.

In May, the Democrats finally dissolved in the upper house. 24 joined the DPP and the remainder became Independents. Very shortly thereafter (the next day?) many of those who became Independent joined the CDP, bringing them up to 23. At the time the standings were as follows:   LDP 125,  NKP 25,  DPP 24,  CDP 23.

Finally in october, a DPP member switched to the CDP, making the CDP the largest opposition party in both houses.

In short, as I expected, the CDP would displace the DP as the main opposition party; but this would take a while.


I've been waiting for Putin's United Russia party to rebound in the polls after the drop due to pension reform, but this is not happening. Regardless, the current projection based on the current polls would see the following legislature elected:

285 - United Russia [loss of 58 seats]
80 - Communist Party [gain of 38 seats]
60 - Liberal Democrats (nationalist) [gain of 21 seats]
25 - Just Russia [gain of 2 seats]

Still an easy and decisive victory for Putin's party.

Stable Polls

Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Greece, Poland and Australia have all seen fairly stable polls for the last number of weeks and months.

New Brunswick

Lastly, those who follow me on twitter will have seen this tweet about the seating plan in the NB Legislature. Given that the plan is going to change with the new PC government being sworn in, I wonder if this odd set-up between the two smaller parties will continue.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Stacking the Senate

I'm going to be bold and start this post by claiming the Senate can be divided into 4 eras.

This wikipage I created will help guide you though this discussion. I made it when I was far more partisan and wanted to show off how "fair" Paul Martin was as Prime Minister.

The first era would last but a single day; the "Royal Proclamation" that created the Senate. Worked out, in part, though a sort of an all-party agreement, these would be the first Senators.

The second era would start rather quickly with the first government. In this period at least 80% of all Senators appointed were from the governing party; and in fact, in total, 95% of senators appointed were.

This era ends when Pierre Trudeau gets elected, and puts an age limit (mandatory retirement) on the Senate.

The third era is thus from his election to the end of Harpers term. Again we return to a time when, except for Paul Martin, at least 80% of Senators appointed are from the governing party. A total of 93% of senators in this era were from the government.

This would end when Justin Trudeau was elected.

Trudeau (Justin) has appointed a large number of Senators who would sit in the Independent Senators Group, or ISG. The ISG's mission statement outlines their intent to sit as an answer to the "Crossbench" found in the UK. As such, for the remainder of this post, I shall simply call them Crossbenchers.

To that end I'll dive straight into current caucus numbers:

Trudeau - 41
Harper - 7
Chretien - 2
Martin - 2

Harper - 30
Mulroney - 2

Chretien - 7
Martin - 3

Trudeau - 3
Harper - 1
Chretien - 1

Trudeau - 1
Martin - 1
Harper - 1

At this time, there are 52 Crossbench Senators, and 50 Non-Crossbench Senators. In effect, the Crossbenchers control the Senate.

Please note that this post is part of a larger series I plan to do on Senate Reform. My objective with this post was to show that

A - The two Trudeaus did more for "Senate Reform" than any other Prime Minister (with more of a focus on what Trudeau Sr did in a later post)

B - What Justin Trudeau has done potentially changes the very nature of the Senate itself.

and C - That as things currently stand, this can not last, and something will have to give (which I'll show using the points I highlighted as the 'why' in a later post)

For now, simply be aware of the ISG's role in controlling the Senate, and if this interests you, perhaps look at their website.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Hessian elections

Quick post about the results of the elections in the german state of Hesse, home of the city of Frankfurt.

40 - CDU
29 - GRN
29 - SPD
19 - AfD
11 - FDP
9 - LNK

Things might still change as final results come in; and the Greens and SPD are contesting for who finished second (right now the SPD has 570,166 votes, behind the Greens at 570,260)

This would be a 137 seat assembly, 69 needed for a majority.

40+29 is exactly 69. As such a CDU-SPD coalition may be possible; however part of the reason both parties dropped compared to last election is the current CDU-SPD national coalition is not terribly popular.

A coalition of the Greens and SPD would have 58 seats; adding FDP to this would bring them to their 69; however FDP and the Greens have had trouble working together in the past.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Penetanguishene election results

The election results in my town were as follows:

for Mayor:

2033 - Douglas Leroux
710 - Gerry Marshall

Marshall is the sitting mayor, but resigned a few weeks ago to become the CAO of Wasaga Beach. My understanding is that the CAO of a municipality is basically the Clerk of the Privy Council but for a municipality; and is the highest unelected position. The job became open when, ironically, George Vadeboncoeur resigned to run for Penetanguishene Council. Due to the date this happened it was too late for Marshall to withdraw; but he stated that he would not serve if elected. This all happened prior to the open of advance voting

For Deputy Mayor:

1402 - Anita Dubeau
1400 - Doug Rawson

I voted for Dubeau. She's the former Mayor here, defeated in 2006, and ran for and won the Deputy Mayor's job in 2010. (note to reader: it is at this point I literally stopped writing to walk the 90 or so seconds to the town hall to do some further research) Dubeau was mayor from 2000-2006. Interestingly, her deputy mayor for part of this time was Douglas Leroux. Dubeau was also deputy mayor from 1991-1997.

In terms of history, finding the past mayors of Penetanguishene online was not easy. I do however have a list.

In December, Leroux will take over as Mayor.
2006-2018 Gerry Marshall
2000-2006 Anita Dubeau
1989-2000 Bob Klug
1981-1989 Ron Bellisle
1979-1981 Gil H Robillard
1960-1971 Vince Moreau

Sadly I was unable to find information from before this.

The council election was perhaps more interesting.

Penetanguishene uses an at-large system where all 7 councillors are elected using a block vote system. Every voter is given 7 votes and votes for the at-large councillors. The results were as follows:

1871 - Jill M. ST. AMANT
1453 - Jessica KLUG
1334 x Michel MAYOTTE
1287 x George VADEBONCOEUR
1098 - Dan LAROSE
1097 x Debbie LEVY
983 - Brian CUMMINGS
921 x Brad SAUNDERS
866 x Mike LAUDER
743 - Ron LEPAGE
742 - Kristyn TINNEY
658 - James DALZELL
657 - Michael CADIEUX
449 - Tom GUTHRIE
416 x Robert J. CONTOIS
413 - Peter GRAHAM
357 - Jasen CRONIN
348 x Jason MALOTT
134 - John STAMP

I've included an X for those candidates I voted for to help show how someones vote may relate to the results. 

I learned earlier today that LaRose has been a councillor for over a decade, and that St. Amant, and Klug both have family (I assume fathers?) that were former councillors, that Cummings is a former councillor, and that Vadeboncoeur was the CAO of Penetang. Had I known some of these things it may have impacted how I voted. 

My priority in voting was to elect a council that is majority pro-bus. I have no car, and my town is somewhat small; but our neighbouring town has the major malls. As a result my #1 priority is making sure I can access those malls. I believe this new council is pro-bus and will keep the bus service. In fact, it is the bus that caused me to vote for Dubeau over Rawson, without that, the vote would have been a tie!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Unique way of looking at the Toronto election

A map showing the winner in each ward of the Mayoral election would be terribly boring as it would be a single colour. Therefore, I've artificially boosted both Jennifer Keesmaat (by a factor of 2.5, meaning for every 1 vote she received, I counted it as 2.5 votes) and Faith Goldy (by a factor of 15) so we can better compare where the candidates did and did not do well.

The Keesmaat vote pretty much does what is expected, concentrates in the core of the city. What's more interesting is how the vote patterns of Faith Goldy do not actually match that of other right-wing candidates perfectly. While she does well in Etobicoke, she actually does quite poorly in the eastern half of Scarborough, an area Doug Ford did very well.

Ontario municipal elections; Toronto, Brampton and others

I've updated the Toronto map to be a lot less friendly to John Tory. It's the same map, and I've intentionally left the lossey bits around the candidate name the 'red' of John Tory to help them pop when compared to those committed to Ford; but it shows very well the fact that the progressive middle, by holding the balance of power, is what really won the election in Toronto.

In Brampton, parachute candidate Patrick Brown managed to win, 44.4% compared to 40.7% for the sitting mayor.

In my area alone the following cities, towns, and townships, have had to delay voting for another day due to issues with online voting:

Muskoka Lakes
Georgian Bay
Bradford West Gwillimbury
Owen Sound
Town of Blue Mountains
Lake of Bays

This does not even include places like Sudbury, where elections were also delayed, but since it is not within my local area, it does not appear on this list.

Beyond that there is not much to say today. Without a standardized set of political parties, telling the story of the election in each various municipality would require a post onto itself, and with over 400 municipalities in Ontario alone (remember BC voted the other day, and Manitoba and PEI both vote soon in their own municipal elections) this is not really something that's possible for me to do.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Toronto "final" results

Still unclear if these are the final results (I'm trying to follow dozens of municipalities and may be missing something)

toronto election - early counting

Why online voting is a terrible idea, part 1

My own town of Penetanguishene has extended voting by a full day, they have confirmed on twitter.

I'll be doing quite a bit more about why online voting is a very, very bad idea, but lets say that this is a good place to start.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Toronto election, what will happen?

John Tory will win. Sorry to spoil it so early, but all the signs point to a fairly easy victory. My prediction would see something like this:

56.97% - John Tory
32.32% - Jennifer Keesmaat

Why those exact numbers? That's what David Miller and Jane Pitfield got in 2006, when the general feeling was the same between the Left, Right, and Swing voters. "We sort of like the current Mayor and want to keep them, but they really have not build as wide a consensus as we'd prefer, and will vote for an opposition candidate strong enough to ensure the Mayor actually has to campaign"

I've been attacked before for suggesting that Jennifer Keesmaat is like Jane Pitfield because both are female. As I said then and as I say now, their gender has nothing to do with it. Both are simply "fillers" for a 'side' (left or right) that needs a 'candidate' to vote for. Had the left put up a candidate in 2000 against Mel Lastman, I'd have expected a 56.97%-vs-32.32% split, or something similar. The numbers "56.97%-vs-32.32%" are simply a representation of what happens when swing voters are happy enough with the current Mayor, but people on the opposite end of the political spectrum are not.

As for how council turns out, that's another story.

Polls are rare, if not outright non-existent, and, as such any prediction is an outright guess. Regardless, here is my guess:

A larger council would likely have provided for more councillors who are friendly to the mayor.

While not terribly effective, this situation is not ungovernable. Tory has straddled the middle before, and if he can use the Left against the Premier, and the pro-Ford councillors against the Left, he can govern effectively. In fact, doing so would probably lead to a third term for him. Tory's problem is that the Left really does not like him, and he may find them unwilling to help him in battles with the Premier and the Ford-allies on council. Such a scenario would likely result in the "Ford Squad" on council organizing, and if that happens, Toronto will be more dysfunctional than it was with 44 councillors.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bhutan election, 2018

Little Bhutan went to the polls earlier this month. The small kingdom is sandwiched between India and China, and is near to both Nepal and Bangladesh, with both being under 100KM across the Indian border from Bhutan. (Click here for a link to Google Maps)

It is an interesting country. In 2016 the sitting Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, gave a Ted Talk, about how the country is carbon negative. The country also judges itself by its "Gross National Happiness"

In terms of electoral politics, the modern history began on December 9th 2006, when Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck rose to the throne of the absolute monarchy. With Totalitarian power, the King could have taken Bhutan in any direction he wanted, and he did just that; by implementing a Democratic system, and an elected Parliament.

In 2008, Bhutan held its first ever election, using a unique voting system. This system was trialed in a mock nationwide election in 2007, to help voters understand how "voting" would work. In the 2007 mock election, the government put forward 4 mock parties.

In order to simplify things, I will not directly translate the names of the parties, but instead, name them based on the mock policies each party supported.

In the first round of voting, the results were as follows:

44.3% - Tradition Party
20.4% - Progress Party
20.3% - Accountability Party
15.0% - Environment Party

Where things get unique is what happens next.

Only the top two parties go on to the second around, and anything else that happened in the first round is simply discounted.

Next, in each of the 47 constituencies (I will use the Canadian term "riding" but beware that this is not used outside Canada) each of the two parties puts up their candidates, and voters choose between the two.

The results of the mock election were 46 seats to the Tradition Party, and 1 to the Progress Party.

2008 saw the first real election.

The BNP, a pro-business party, was disqualified from running. "Why" is not exactly clear, but it seems they did fully and properly not register in time. In order to qualify a party must not only follow the standard procedures found in any random western democracy, but also must have a certain share of their party membership be university graduates, and only those with various degrees may run for office. Not unreasonable for a brand new democracy. As such 2008 only saw two parties, and thus, did not have the first round of voting. The second round result was as follows:

67% - DPT - 45 seats (Conservative)
33% - PDP - 2 seats (Liberal and Royalist)

There were some accusations of civil servants pushing for a DPT victory, but things were mostly calm. DPT leader, Jigme Thinley thus became Prime Minister.

2013 saw the second election.

Joining the two existing parties was the DNT, and DCT. Both left-wing parties, the DNT could be described as somewhat "social democratic" while the DCT was in some ways "socialist". First round results were as follows:

44.5% DPT (Conservative) [Incumbent]
32.5% PDP (Liberal and Royalist)
17.1% DNT (Social Democratic?)
5.9% DCT (Socialist?)

As such the two parties already holding seats, DPT and PDP, progressed to the second around.

The second around saw the following:

54.9% PDP 32 seats (Liberal and Royalist)
45.1% DPT 15 seats (Conservative) [Incumbent]

As such Bhutan defeated its first government and elected a replacement. Tshering Tobgay thus became Prime Minister.

This brings us to 2018 and the most recent elections.

In September, the first round of elections was held. A new party was running, BKP, which some have implied is downright Communist. The party is lead by a woman, rare in a country with only three female MPs.

The first round was a shocker to many.

DNT - 31.9% (Social Democratic?)
DPT - 30.9% (Conservative)
PDP - 27.4% (Liberal and Royalist) [Incumbent]
BKP - 9.8% (Communist??)

As such the governing PDP would not even advance to the second around.

This past Thursday (October 18th) the second round was held and produced the following result:

DNT - 30 (Social Democratic?)
DPT - 17 (Conservative)

Popular vote figures are not tallied yet (I may do this myself as its only 47 seats) but the margin of victory in the seats suggests a similar 55-45 vote split as in the previous election.

It is not all rainbows and roses for Bhutan however. Even though there are parties with policies that might be seen as "Communist", they would not dare say so in public, for "Communist" parties are banned in Bhutan. In large part because of their support among the ethnic Nepalese community within Bhutan, who have faced widespread and outright ethnic cleansing from the Bhutanese government.

Regardless, Bhutan is progressing more and more towards a free society, and is growing economically. It will be interesting to see how the new government deals with the issues that confront Bhutan.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bavarian Election

The election sort of snuck up on me; apologies. Results seem to be as follows:

85 CSU (christian democrat)
38 GRN (green)
26 FW (bavarian unique; centrist, no strong whip)
24 AfD (neo-nationalist)
23 SDP (social democratic)
11 FDP (liberal)

analysis in a following post

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Quebec, recounts and Proportional Representation

I've made a special map of Quebec that shows not only the 3 ridings likely to undergo recounts, but what things may look like with Proportional Representation.

Remember the map shows the current state of the Assembly, and not the election results.

You'll notice the 20 extra hexes on the map. This shows what a Parallel system would produce with 20 seats, coloured by party.

I am a big fan of parallel systems, and Legault would be well advised to look into one. I've included this here due to its ease of calculation and to quickly show an example of how this might work using Japan as a template.

Japan uses an interesting method to figure out who wins these seats. Instead of a list, which most countries use, Japan ranks the local (riding) candidates. A list still does exist for candidates with no riding, but it is not over-used. For example in 2017 in the Hokkaido region, 4 of the winning candidates ran locally, while 3 were on the list only.

So how is this decided? Using Sekiharititsu. Or, ratio of margin of defeat. Now that word "ratio" may look familiar to regular readers of this blog. All of my projections are done using ratios. As such, I am well set up to calculate the Sekiharititsu of any election. Simply divide two numbers; the number of votes taken by the winner and the number of votes taken by the candidate you are looking at. If, for example, someone takes 10,000 votes in a riding, and wins it, someone who lost and took 9,900 votes, would have a ratio of 99%, a very high number.

In fact, by using the Japanese method, we know who would win in the Quebec election. The candidates from the following ridings:





You'll notice some extras, riding names in brackets. These are the extra seats that could be won if the party manages to win a recount or two.

The downside of using this method - a single province-wide district, is that it allows regional imbalances to continue; the CAQ for example gains no extra seats on the Island of Montreal. It is quite likely if some sort of parallel system is adopted, it would be regional in nature, at least, as a part or feature of the system. This would allow the CAQ to win additional ridings. As well, as mentioned, in Japan you can have list-only candidates who are preferred when it comes time to dole out the seats. The CAQ in particular would be very likely to have an Anglophone from Montreal on such a list, probably joined with a Francophone from the downtown core.

I will speak more on Proportional Representation in Quebec in a future post (hopefully tomorrow)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Quebec, Left vs Right

I saw this poll earlier. In particular this graph from it. While the PLQ and PQ were over 80% supportive/opposing sovereignty, both the CAQ and QS had at least a third of people from either side of that divide.

My read of this is that CAQ and QS voters were and are more likely to vote on issues - such as being left or right wing - than simply based on their position on sovereignty.

As such, it gave me an opportunity to make a good left vs right divide map for Quebec using the CAQ and QS vote patterns.

This is the resulting map:

QS actually wins more votes but CAQ more seats. Given how far QS had to be boosted (2.6) its unlikely this is "realistic" especially as both CAQ and QS are new to being at the level they are at now (that being "potential government" and "serious province-wide party") and those patterns tend to change in the 2nd such election.