Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wynne's Challenge

Kathleen Wynne has two major challenges to re-election which I'd like to detail.


The first challenge is that of change, people may simply have decided they've had too much of the Liberals and want some change. Doug Ford is actually an excellent brand ambassador for "Change". He is a populist, and is from Toronto, and area the Tories are seen as being weak in. He is an "outsider" who is viewed by most as understanding some of the issues that those who may not be seen as 'normal' tories have - IE he is "in touch" with "the common man"

This is not to say any of these things about Ford are true, or that they are false, but rather, that this is how people see him. Ford is a real threat to the Liberals and could easily win the election if the variables are right. He is not to be under-estimated as the driver of change, and this, is widely seen as a change election.

Ford is in the drivers seat, but he has a huge threat that I don't know if he realizes, one that even the Liberals may be under-estimating.


On the flip side is the question of who people can trust. The Liberals have put themselves in a dangerous position; they've adopted what many view as "NDP policies" and stolen what many see as "NDP ideas". The most recent budget could easily be painted as an "NDP budget" and a lot of the things Wynne has proposed in the past few weeks feel to many voters as being very "NDP"

Again, this is not to say that these are actually "NDP" ideas, or that they are not; just that this is how people view them. This, however, opens up the Liberals to a very dangerous line of attack. If you want NDP ideas, why vote Liberal when you can simply and directly vote NDP?

The problem is Bob Rae and his governments major failings. Being a trust issue, a lot of this will depend on if Ontario voters have forgiven the NDP for Bob Rae, and if they can overlook other supposed failings within the party in other jurisdictions. If they can, all of the multitude of proposals coming out of the Liberals become useless as the NDP simply "does it better" in a way, and this becomes a race between the NDP and the Tories.

This coming provincial election will have two phases that will run alongside one another but impact each other deeply. The first will be who the progressive voter views as the champion of progressive values, and the second will be who change voters view as party they want to be the vehicle for that change. In this way, the fight is similar to the 2015 federal election, but with different players who start in different positions.

In the end, this still anybody's game.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Not much "new" going on in the world of politics, just more of the same (PCs continue to lead in Ontario, for example)


The biggest news is probably from Italy where Berlusconi's FI party is looking to coalition with M5S. While the two do have a lot of policy overlap, M5S's main goal is anti-corruption, and Berlusconi is the symbol of corruption in modern Italy. Any coalition would thus be difficult.


Not only is there yet another new party on the horizon, but Netanyahu, which is increasingly facing possible corruption charges, only continues to get more popular. Sometimes Israeli politics confound me.


Hungary votes on the 8th of April. Polls show a landslide victory for the governing Fidesz party. It is interesting to see of Jobbik, a far-right party, can manage to finish second or not.


Lebanon supposedly votes on May 6th, but this date has been suddenly changed before. I will cover this nation in greater detail as we near that date.


May 12th is the day for the Iraqi election and it will be interesting to see what shifts, if any, have occured in the past 4 years. Keep in mind that Iraq has fought "civil wars" against both ISIS and the Kurds in the interim.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Legislature Check

Every so often I like to do a "legislature check" where I look in on all provincial legislatures, and other such things.


Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick will be having elections this year, with Ontario's election in June.


Senate (I always check on them during legislature checks)

Current standings are as follows:

43 - ISG (Crossbench)
33 - Conservative
11 - Liberal
6 - Other
12 - Vacant


A liberal quit the party and now sits as an Independent. Standings:

16 - LIB
8 - PC
2 - GRN
1 - IND


68 - PLQ
28 - PQ
21 - CAQ
3 - QS
5 - IND


55 - LIB
28 - PC
18 - NDP
1 - Trillium
1 - Independent
4 - Vacant (not filled prior to election)

Newfoundland and Labrador

30 - LIB
7 - PC
2 - NDP
1 - IND

Nova Scotia

27 - LIB
16 - PC
7 - NDP
1 - Vacant

New Brunswick

25 - LIB
22 - PC
1 - GRN


39 - PC
13 - NDP
3 - LIB
2 - IND


48 - SKP
12 - NDP
1 - Vacant

British Columbia

42 - BCL (Oppo)
41 - NDP (Govt)
3 - GRN (C&S)
1 - IND (Speaker)


11 - LIB
6 - YKP
2 - NDP


54 - NDP
25 - UCP
3 - ABP
1 - LIB
1 - "PC"
1 - IND

Saturday, March 10, 2018

No result tonight - PC leadership live

Due to the chaos within the PC Party, there will be no result today.

What we know:

I can roughly estimate the ballots

33% - Ford
32% - Elliott
18% - Granic-Allen
17% - Mulroney

41% - Ford
39% - Elliott
20% - Granic-Allen

51% - Ford
49% - Elliott

The problem is what postal codes and ridings. I know of this personally as I happened to live in a riding when I first moved to Ontario that was across the railway tracks from the majority of the riding; as such, my postal code was different from what it normally would be in the riding. I had to argue with the party about which riding was mine.

Due to how close this is, getting all the ballots recorded in the right ridings is important, and that seems to be the key issue.

On a more snarky note; after John Tory's big religious school screw up, and Hudak's missing 100,000 jobs, people thought, "Surely Patrick Brown can not screw up more than that"


He touched some women, refused to quit


Sparked a leadership race

Got kicked out of caucus

Said he was not going to run

Decided to run

Dropped out

Organize the leadership race

Fail to get verifications to voters

Extend deadline

Extend it again

Get taken to court

Have a big day

Fail to find a winner

Tell entire party to follow mike crawley on twitter

I guess they are trying to make sure that they screw up so badly, they can never screw up "worse than this" ever again.

Doug Ford has won the PC leadership - live

Reports are that Ford has won. Elliott was the one who challenged for a recount. Will have the ballot by ballot results when they come out; but reports are Mulroney finished 4th.

More live PC Drama

Supposedly the problem is that 1 of the 12 counting machines is not trusted for some reason, and so one of the campaigns wants a manual recount (all ballots were printed) but the winner is fighting that.

PC Leadership Drama, live

If you are not watching you need to be.

Supposedly, there is a tie. Tiebreaker rules for preferential balloting tends to dictate the person leading on the previous round wins. However, because this race uses "points" its likely - in fact almost certain given what we are seeing - that one candidate has won the tiebreaker based on the rules while the other has won based on the popular vote.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

More on the elections this past weekend (Italy and Tasmania)


227 - M5S - "5 Star Movement" - Populist, anti corruption, did not run in coalition.
128 - LN - "Lega Nord" - Autonomist, ran in right coalition, wants less immigration.
117 - PD - "Democratic Party" - Main left coalition party, lead by Prime Minister Renzi.
103 - FI - "Forza Italia" - Berlusconi's party, conservative, ran in right coalition.
34 - FdI - "Brothers of Italy" - Ran in right coalition, accused of being racist and fascist. 
14 - LeU - Left wing, did not run in coalition
4 - SVP - German Minority, ran in Left coalition
1 - +E - Pro Europe, ran in Left coalition
1 - MAIE - Special Interest, Italians Abroad (Mostly Argentina)
1 - USEI - Special Interest, Italians Abroad (Mostly Brazil)

A few notes. While Brothers of Italy has historic ties to the fascist party, I have some difficulty finding any actual racist incidents they are involved in; contrast this with parties like AfD, Jobbik, or France's National Front. As such that aspect of their platform may be overplayed in english language media. 

Additional, Lega Nord's main thrust is not lower immigration but more powers for the regions of Northern Italy. They wish to make Italy into - using a context Canadians can understand - a federation where the regions have province-like powers. Unlike FdI, finding racist content for Lega is quite easy. 

While the Senate's results are not yet fully clear, it is clear that the share of seats will be similar enough to the House that any majority formed in the House will likely also have a majority in the Senate, and vice versa. 

In terms of coalitions, the results were as follows:

265 - Right
227 - M5S
122 - Left
16 - Others

Both LN and M5S have declared victory and their leaders have called on the President to name them Prime Minister. LN says it is the lead party of the lead coalition, that the Right has taken 265 seats, just 51 short of a majority, and therefore, their leader, Mario Salvini, should be Prime Minister. Meanwhile M5S has said that they are the leading party, taking 227 seats, nearly double that of the next largest party, LN, and thus Luigi Di Maio, their leader, should be Prime Minister. Renzi will remain PM until a new one is chosen. 

To get a majority, a coalition would need 316 seats. The ways in which to get to 316 are limited by the math. M5S could ally with any of the next 3 largest parties, LN, PD, or FI to reach a majority. If M5S is not in government, then LN, PD, and FI would have to form their own coalition as there is no other way to reach a majority should any one of these parties be missing. 

As such there are three competing ideas for which coalition to form.

M5S + PD
Its a bit unusual for a reformist party to go into government with the government they just tossed from office, but the key here is that M5S would be the larger partner and thus lead the government. As such this is the option M5S is currently pushing and is the most likely outcome at this point in time.

M5S + LN
This would ally the two major populist forces in Italy, and the two largest parties calling for major reform and change; it would also scare the pants off the 'establishment' more than Donald Trump ever could. The problem with this is neither M5S nor LN seem very keen on the idea at this time.

This would be a coalition explicitly to stop M5S from taking power, one reason this seems unlikely is there is more fear of LN than there is fear of M5S in many places. In the end it may come down to who PD would rather work with, Berlusconi, or M5S.


While counting continues, the results will end up near to this:

14 LIB

This is the worst green result since 1998 when they took 1, and the first time that the Liberals win back to back majorities since their wins in 1982 and 1986.

What's most of note is the Green weakness, as without that, it is quite likely the Liberals would not have achieved this victory. 

There is not much more to say on the result at this time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Where I've been for the past 3 weeks

Please note that this post over on my personal blog explains what's been going on and what steps I am taking to fix it.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Election results from weekend elections

The Liberals managed to hold on in Tasmania due to Green weakness. While Labor did improve as expected, the Greens took 2-3% less than polls indicated, while the Liberals improved by a similar amount. This was just enough to allow them to retain their majority.

In Italy, the centre-right only managed what looks like 40-45% or so of the total seats, and interestingly, Lega Nord, the northern autonomist party, has taken more votes that Berlusconi's conservative Forza Italia party, meaning that Salvini, leader of Lega, may end up was Prime Minister. Lega, in fact, has come within a point or two of the governing social democratic and labour Partito Democratico in a move that is perhaps comparable to the Bloc Quebecois taking more seats than the Liberals.

Since nobody has won a majority it remains to be seen exactly how this will all play out.