Sunday, December 22, 2019

Left VS Right in Canada

So, I found this file that I apparently made in 2013.

I disagree with some of it today, but only slightly. As such, I've made an updated version.

I am still open to more thought on the graphic; and I wouldn't call it final, but it does represent, at its core, how I understand and view the movements within the electorate and the parties in terms of left vs right wing policy. A note; that within the "Electorate" I count some non-voters; those who would probably usually vote, but are not voting this election for whatever reason. These voters are one of the reasons why a party that governs away from the centre can win elections.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

impeachment, partisanship, and the US election

I wanted to make a quick note on US politics.

I am old enough to remember the Impeachment vote against Bill Clinton. I am old enough to remember how this was the watershed in turning US politics toxic. I remember how the vote was extremely partisan, all the Republicans thought he was guilty, while all the Democrats thought he was not.

In the end, it didn't matter if he was guilty or not. What mattered was starting a process that the instigating party knew they would lose served only to make US politics toxic.

Now we have another Impeachment, against another President.

I want to make clear, and using super blunt language so everyone fully understands:

"just because the good guys are doing it to the bad guys does not make it right"

It does not matter if he is guilty or not. What matters is a process was started by the instigating party that everyone knows they will lose. The only thing to gain from this is making US politics toxic.

I have 0 desire to discuss it. I have 0 desire to talk about it. I have 0 desire to think about it.

Quite simply, I'm washing my hands of US politics as a whole.

I may post updates about the presidential election from time to time, but I will not be posting them nearly as regularly as I did 4 years ago.

US politics is broken, sick, and infectious. I have no desire to be infected with its toxicity.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

delay, and twitter

The next post, on the UK election, will be delayed slightly. I'd also like to remind and ask everyone to follow me on twitter

I post my thoughts there often, and many times a reason a blogpost can't be expanded is simply that I've felt that I've said everything as well as I already could on Twitter.

Friday, December 13, 2019


There are a few updates in the countries I've been passively following.


There has been a slow change in Italy that only began to really show itself in late November. It's been long enough, however, that I can pin down the movement as real and significant.

FdI, the Brothers of Italy party, a National Conservative party, is up in the polls. M5S, the centre-progressive Populist party, is down.

Now this is where I need to do some assumptions based on what I know because Italian polls do not tend to break down results by region. I am going to assume the FdI growth is in the south. Why? Lega, also known as Lega Nord, is a Northern party at its core. FdI is an ally of Lega. M5S meanwhile always had its heaviest support in the south of Italy. Ergo, it makes sense to assume that if M5S is dropping while FdI is increasing, that it is southern voters who want to vote for an ally of Lega.

Also to keep in mind is Renzi, the former PM, broke away from PD to start Viva Italia (IV) as a new party. With that in mind, polls suggest the following:

18.8% - PD (Social Democrat)
16.3% - M5S (Progressive Populist)
4.3% - VI (Progressive)
39.4% - Combined Left

32.6% - Lega (Neo Nationalist)
10.2% - FdI (National Conservative)
6.7% - FI (Conservative, Berlusconi)
49.5% - Combined Right

Note that there are smaller parties that also bolster the total of both the combined right and combined left, but they do not change the main story of a lead among the right.


On September 17th of 2019, Israel went to the polls. On the 25th of that month, the Parliament's member parties voted, narrowly, to recommend The incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, be given the first attempt to form a government. As such he was given 28 days in which to do so. He failed.

As a result, Benny Gantz, who lost the September 25th vote by a single ballot, was given a chance to form a government. He had 28 days, and also failed.

Finally, any sitting member of the Parliament who could get 61 signatures (a majority) had the chance to form a government for a period of 21 days. They failed. As a result, Israel is headed back to the polls on March 2nd, 2020.

Polls suggest fairly minor changes. Blue and White, Gantz's party, is up by between 2 and 4 seats, while Likud, Bibi's party, is down by a seat. Other parties are generally within one or two seats of their performance in 2019. I'll explain this with more nuance as we get closer to the actual election date, but right now it looks good for Gantz, but only marginally so. Bibi's recent charge of corruption might have something to do with it.

Lastly, I wanted to present the UK map I posted earlier, except, with more and updated data. I have a surprise post planned for tomorrow about the UK election as well.

Huge Johnson Majority

The images mostly speak for themselves. Thoughts on what happened will come later; before that I want to update everyone on what's been going on in places like Italy, where we've actually seen movement. Later today or Tomorrow expect a general update post, while thoughts on the UK result will come over the weekend. The short:

Two national parties offered a solid answer to Brexit, the Liberal Democrats who said no, and the Tories who said yes. One of them has won, this solves the deadlock in Parliament. A trade agreement still needs to be negotiated, but no longer is the UK in constitutional jail. I will expand on this in my later post. Jo Swinson, meanwhile, lost her seat and is thus already no longer the LibDem Leader. Northern Ireland now has more Nationalist MPs than Unionist MPs. Wales has over a dozen Tory MPs. And Scotland has gone heavily SNP.

Lastly, for anyone wondering, results in St. Ives are held up by weather. Unlike most other countries we cover, in the UK, all ballot boxes must be in the same location before any of them are opened, and a box from a small island in the seat can not be flown out due to storm conditions. Results could be out by the time I wake up, or, may not come until Monday.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Updated final projection

After reviewing the UK's election laws, it seems everyone is free up to 7am on election day, and not midnight like in Canada. As such I've been able to update what I thought was my final projection slightly:

Battleground seats have dots in them to indicate said battleground.

Final UK prediction - Tory Majority

The final prediction is ready:

I've used the same "gut method" I used in Canada.

The long-story-short here is the the Tories win a majority. The "why" is simple; the Brexit Party fell apart. People look at Labour and the Tories and compare their current polling numbers to their polling numbers earlier in the election. In that context, it is hard to see what has actually happened. Compare, instead, to their results from the previous election. You can see that Labour is down while the Tories are much more steady. This will give them a very slight edge, especially in those "Labour Leave" seats. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile have not been able to grow as strongly as they'd have hoped. While they are significantly up from the last election, it is not enough to take away many "Tory Remain" seats, which would have needed to have happened if the LibDems were to have stopped Johnson from getting his majority.

There is always the chance something unexpected could happen. I'm writing this a few minutes before 8:30pm in the UK on the 11th, there could be polls that come out over the next few hours that show results I did not expect, and thus, cast doubt on the entire prediction. Additionally, people could simply make up their minds in the final day, and cast ballots that do not match the polls. People may decide that Johnson is not worth the risk, or, that they simply want to get brexit done and they they can vote for a better party next time.

Regardless, I'll be keeping a close eye on the results as they come in and discussing them in my discord server. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in participating in, let me know on twitter!

Friday, December 6, 2019

General update

UK: my current thoughts are as follows:

Elsewhere: There simply is not much going on.

Canada:  Here in Canada we elected a new Speaker of the House, Anthony Rota. I think this may be the first time a returning speaker has lost re-election. Then again, elections only started a handful of speakers ago. Fraser didn't run again for a commons seat in 1993. Parent, who won that speaker election, didn't run again for a commons seat in 2000. Milliken, who won that speaker election, didn't run again for a commons seat in 2011. Scheer, who won that speaker election, did run, and win, his seat, but did not re-offer as speaker. Geoff Regan was then elected speaker. In this most recent election, he won re-election to his seat, and, re-offered as speaker, but was defeated by Rota. I will do more research on speakers in other similar systems to see if any precedent was set.

Japan: The two halves of the Democratic party, which split years ago, are now sitting together as a unified opposition caucus. The two parties, however, remain independent, and distinct.

Spain: PSOE and UP will sit in coalition, but such a coalition needs support from smaller, regional parties. Voting on that in the new Parliament has yet to complete.

Ireland: Recent by-elections have had interesting results; but I doubt said results as being important, and so am ignoring them for the time being. Recent polls, however, suggest I may be wrong, and if we get as few as one more poll suggesting such, I will revisit my stance, and make an update post.

Slovakia: There have been quite a few changes, but to fully grasp them, I need to do a deep dive, and simply have not found the time to do so yet. When I do, I will update.

Israel, Austria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia: no significant updates since my last post.

Other countries: I'm not following any other countries very close at the moment, the next elections that catch my attention are in Taiwan in January.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tactical Voting vs Strategic Voting and Labour’s rise

In Canada we have a phenomenon known as “Strategic voting”, in which a voter will cast a ballot for a party they do not necessarily like in order to stop a party they dislike from winning. The UK has the same phenomenon, where it is known as “Tactical voting”

I’d like to present the argument that both phrases are wrong. In the context they are used, both fail to grasp the full spectrum of activities that such voters participate in. I argue that both phrases should be used to describe the two major aspects of such activity.

Take the case of the most recent Canadian election. Many NDP voters voted Liberal to stop the Tories from winning. This ended up costing the NDP some seats that they could have otherwise won, seats that, in some cases, went to the Conservatives.

This is strategic voting. It is national-level voting based on topline poll numbers where one entire party is facing off against another entire party.

At the same time, we’ve seen clear historical cases where voters are far more precise in using their ballots to achieve such ends. Joe Clark’s win in Calgary Centre comes to mind. Voters banded together to defeat the Canadian Alliance candidate, and voted for Joe Clark in order to do this. They did not, however, band together to vote PC across the country to defeat CA candidates. This applied to one candidate in one riding. This vote was tactical.

The UK tends to see more tactical voting than Canada does, in part, because one party in particular, the Liberal Democrats, plays up the value of tactical voting. Infamous are the LibDem ads declaring that “only the Liberal Democrats can defeat X” even when the math does not support such claims.

So, why am I bringing this up in relation to Labour and the current election? It is my belief that the current boost Labour is getting from the LibDems (of about a raw 2%-3% of the total national vote) is a strategic vote. This comes from voters who do not want the Tories to win the election, and, regardless of local factors, are switching their support to Labour to prevent this from happening.

This could cost the LibDems seats. That being said, the party is still polling ahead of their result last time, 11% at the lowest vs 8% in 2017, and thus are very likely to gain seats. The cost, instead, will be that their seat gains will not be as broad as they’d otherwise expected.

We are seeing strategic voting for Labour and the question remains if more and more voters will decide to opt to vote the same way. If so, such momentum could cause “Leave-Labour” voters who are currently backing the Tories to switch back to Labour. There, however, may not be enough time for this to play out prior to the election next Thursday.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Alberta election with Wexit party - based on real polling

Based on this tweet, which suggests 25% support, I've done some quick math, and produced the following:

The results would be as follows:

49 - UCP - 39%
33 - NDP - 29%
5 - Wexit - 25%

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wexit Party, which seats could it win? (and a lesson on quick research)

I wanted to examine which seats a Wexit party, that runs federally and provincially, as they plan to, could win. Much like the Bloc and Parti Quebecois, a party running on an issue like this will see very similar vote patterns federally and provincially. What will change is the vote patterns of the other parties, thus meaning, again like the Bloc and Parti Quebecois, that even on identical vote shares, the party could win different seats. Consider for example, a PQ at 40%, facing a PLQ at 40% and a CAQ at 20%. Now consider a BQ at 40%, facing a CPC at 40% and LPC at 20%. There will be PQ ridings lost by the BQ and BQ ridings lost by the PQ, simply because of the differences in the other parties.

With that in mind, I'd like to start by looking at Manitoba. Rather than simply tell you, I'll teach. Go here:

This is a website I find myself using a few times a week.

In the navigation bar at the top, select MB (between SK and ON)

Hover your mouse around the ridings, and you will see in the upper right, the results in the riding you are hovering over. You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in to Winnipeg and look around summore.

One thing you should notice is that none of the parties you can see popping up in the box to the upper right are useful to us. None of them share many if any platform planks with the Wexit party, which appears to be a neo-nationalist and separatist party.

Going to the 2016 election give us the Manitoba Party, a right-wing party. Note where the party has done well (south and west rural ridings). Now go to 1990 and look at some CoR results; they've done well in the south and central rural ridings. 1988 shows the CoR also doing well in the rural south and west. With this, we have a pattern. Lets look to confirm or deny it. Social Credit is the only other viable party we can compare. Looking at past elections, the pattern seems to hold; these parties do well in rural areas in the south central and south west parts of the province. Note how weak they seem to be (and note that one MP getting elected does not make a party strong; it simply indicates a possible locally popular candidate VS popular ideas)

Head back to the federal map. Use the scrollbar on the right if you need to, and click "FEDERAL" now going through the years, check Manitoba results. Check where the 1988 reform party did well. The 1984 election is also interested as CoR, or the Confederation of Regions, played into separatist sentiments.

Now, if we do the same with Saskatchewan we find that the pattern is that, excepting the remote north, areas 'away' from the big cities, on the borders, are more friendly towards such parties and ideas.

It's important to also note here the difference in strength between the strength of the party in each province. Manitoba, unlike Alberta or Saskatchewan, does not have a strong separatist undercurrent right now, nor has it had such even during the last big push at western separatism in the 1970's and 1980's.

As such, the 'map' of the seats the party could take in an election in which they do well is as follows:

Saskatchewan is a lot harder to model, with only the WCC performance in the 80's providing a reliable base to build from. Regardless, it is doable, and doing so, produces the following:

Combined, federally, we get the following:

Alberta provides us with many chances to model such an election. We see strength in the rural and southern areas, but also a pocket of strength in Calgary. Wildrose, 1988 Reform, and the WCC all conform to this basic pattern. The results we get are as follows:

For British Columbia, it is important to keep in mind that a lot of what is driving the current resentment is much less popular in BC than it is in Alberta or Saskatchewan. As such, support is limited.

Combined, we get 19 seats Federally, and enough Provincial seats to force some minorities, but not enough for Governments. Saskatchewan in particular will likely tend towards a bandwagon effect; whereby either the Wexit party does well. Even in the above estimation (reminder: this is the estimation if the wins in a good election for the Wexit party) they take 16 seats, compared to 35 for the Saskatchewan Party.

Of course, this does not take into account the impact a Wexit party would have on the vote for various other right-wing parties. The Alberta NDP made it into office partly on a split vote on the right. While an Alberta right-wing government can survive with a divided right, one in Saskatchewan likely can not. As such, the Wexit party there will likely either remain small (taking a handful of seats, if any) or will suppland the Saskatchewan Party as the main alternative to the NDP.

All of this, is, of course, based on a good election for the party. For comparison purposes, a good election, by the same metric, for the Green Party, would see them form three provincial governments, and take over 60 seats federally across Canada. As such, the Wexit party has a long way to go to get here.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Spanish election, early results

counting continues, but results so far are as follows:

96% counted

120 - PSOE - social democratic - 28%
88 - PP - conservative - 21%
52 - VOX - nationalist - 15%
35 - UP - far left - 13%
10 - Cs/CS - centrist - 7%
3 - MAS/MP - centre left - 2%

7 - PNV - right wing, regionalist - (basque) - 32% (in region where it runs)
2 - CC/CCA - conservative, regionalist - (canaries) - 14%
2 - NA+ - centre right, regionalist - (basque [loal Cs+PP]) - 30%
1 - PRC - centre left, regionalist - (cantabria) - 21%
1 - TE! - local interest - (teruel province) - 27% (province only)

13 - ERC - left wing - separatist - (catalonia) - 23%
8 - JXC - right wing - separatist - (catalonia) - 14%
5 - EHB - left wing - separatist - (basque) - 17% + 19% (runs in two regions)
2 - CUP - far left - separatist - (catalonia) - 6%
1 - BNG - left wing - separatist - (galacia) - 8%

The polls, it seems, were rather accurate. Turnout at 70%

FTR, in Catalonia, PSOE took 21% // UP 14% // PP 8% // VOX 6% // CS 6% for a combined total of 55% for the non-separatist parties. Turnout of 72%, down from 77% earlier this year, up from 66% in 2016, 71% in 2015, and 65% in 2011

The left (PSOE & UP & MP) have 158 seats, while the right (PP & CS & VOX & NA+) have 152

It should be noted that 1 of MP's 3 seats is held by "Mes Compromis" which sits in alliance with MP, who won 2 seats in Madrid.

Senate results are only 27% counted, but suggest PSOE may lose its majority.

As for alternate coalitions, neither side can form a government even if all the regionalist parties back them. If CS were to sit with the left, they would need PNV and another party to obtain a majority, a coalition that could be quite unstable. The most stable coalition in terms of number of parties would be a grand coalition of PSOE & PP.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

UK elections and update on Austria

In Austria, it looks like a Conservative-Green coalition will be formed; I will continue to provide update until a new government has been formed.

In the UK we have an interesting poll; one that shows the Tories at 40%, Labour at 30%, and the LibDems at 15%. Given current trends, this poll is not unreasonable, and I wish to use it, in part because of its nice 'round' numbers, to make a number of projections.

Instead of using any of my own math, which in the past has shown mixed results in the UK, I'm going to use the following websites:

You'll notice that last time isn't a UK-projection website, instead, its a proportional representation calculator. Using the aforementioned topline numbers, I added 5% for the SNP, 1% for PC, 3% for the Greens, and 6% for Brexit, to produce the following:

253 - C
190 - L
95 - LD
31 - SNP
19 - G
6 - PC
38 - BX
18 - NI (northern ireland parties)

This can help you compare the other projections to a truly proportional result.

Speaking of which, starting with UK Polling Report, the results are as follows:

351 - C
214 - L
41 - SNP
21 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
1 - Speaker*
18 - NI

*Note that this website, as with many others, uses the 2017 speaker results, IE bercow's seat, which is solidly tory. As such, from here on in, I will be adding a seat to the tories and removing and speaker seat a projection gives me where said seat is Bercow's seat and not Hoyle's seat.

Electoral Calculus produces the following:

375 - C
195 - L
35 - SNP
23 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

Principal fish, which at the same time gets a #1 mark from me for being the easiest to use, gets a near-auto-fail for not providing a place to put in UK/GB wide polls, demanding things be split into England and Scotland/Wales/etc. Using their own nowcast projection*, I've been able to produce the following:

343 - C
213 - L
48 - SNP
23 - LD
4 - PC
1 - G
x - NI

*Their GB-wide split is 37C-25L-17LD while their England split is 39C-26L-18LD, as such, I went with 42C-31L-16LD for my England split. I also decided to use real polls for Scotland (39S/21C/19L/13LD) and Wales (29L/28C/12P/12LD/3G/15B)

Finally, Election Polling, gives us the following:

343 - C
220 - L
41 - SNP
23 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

It would seem that all but Electoral Calculus give similar results; the latter being the only one to not use the uniform national swing method. Adding in some tactical voting, weighted in a way I feel is reasonable, and adding in a specific scotland projection, gets me the following:

391 - C
173 - L
45 - SNP
19 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

Election Polling had the best Labour results. Note that there is a near 50 seat swing from Labour to the Conservatives between the two.

It is this difference in models which will make the election interesting to watch.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Spanish election (again)

On Sunday, Spain goes to the polls for the second time this year. Looking at projections, the following may be expected:

119 PSOE social democratic
89 PP conservative
50 VOX nationalist
35 UP far left
14 Cs centrist
4 MAS centre left

6 PNV right wing, regionalist (basque)
2 CC conservative, regionalist (canaries)
2 NA+ centre right, regionalist (basque [loal Cs+PP])
1 PRC centre left, regionalist (cantabria)

14 ERC left wing, separatist (catalonia)
6 JXC right wing, separatist (catalonia)
4 CUP far left, separatist (catalonia)
4 EHB left wing, separatist (basque)

A right-wing alliance of PP + Cs + VOX (and NA+) would have 155 seats
A left-wing alliance of PSOE + UP + MAS would have 158 seats

Adding in regionalist parties, the right would have 163 and the left would have 159

4 seats are held by a left-wing Basque separatist party who are unlikely to back anyone. The remaining 22 seats are held by Catalan separatist parties, who, given recent history, I can not see backing any government.

This contrasts with the election earlier this year which would have had 166 left vs 157 right, with 4 basque and 23 catalan separatists.

Put another way, not much change in the general left-right balance, but some shifts between parties, especially on the right, with Cs losing 43 seats, VOX gaining 26, and PP gaining 23.

I've not been able to pin down exactly why Cs is doing so poorly, but it would seem to be a combination of their inability/refusal to support a PSOE government, and more importantly, the attractiveness of other right-wing options with their fall in the polls being mirrored by the rise of VOX.

delay in senate reform posts

I want to apologize for the delay; the next post is taking longer to write than anticipated! Will be posted as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Senate Reform - Part 1.5 (Powers)

I wanted to make a quick detour before continuing on to Seat Distribution to quickly broach the issue of powers. Before I do, however, I wanted to correct something from the first part; that is that the government can change the retirement age without consulting the provinces. It seems my information is out-dated; while this was once true, it is no longer true, and such a change would require 2/3rds consent from the provinces.

As for what powers the Senate would have, I'd like to review what powers the current Senate has; which is just about all of them. Like most (if not all) other countries, only the lower house may introduce a money bill (IE the budget), and the Senate can only delay any amendments to the constitution (at least, those that do not involve itself) as opposed to vetoing them; but it can amend or veto any other bill it chooses to.

Many proposals for Senate reform come with changes to the powers of the Senate. Some look at the US or Australia and worry that some sort of "EEE" Senate would clash with the house too frequently, and look to thus reduce the powers of the Senate.

Since these are almost always tied to specific proposals, instead of addressing them here, I wanted to make clear that I will be addressing them when I look at the specific proposals.

As such, this is not a full "part" of the series, only a quick note on how the series will progress.

Tomorrow, Seat Distribution.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Dean (list), its the deanlist (and some basic info about speaker elections in canada)

This is my deanlist.

Louis Plamondon
Lawrence MacAulay
Wayne Easter, or
Hedy Fry
Geoff Regan
John McKay, or
Carolyn Bennett
Cheryl Gallant
Dominic LeBlanc
Scott Reid
Brian Masse
Dave MacKenzie
Michael Chong
Pierre Poilievre
James Bezan
Francis Scarpaleggia
Dean Allison
David McGuinty
Andrew Scheer
Diane Finley
Peter Julian
Colin Carrie
Charlie Angus
Scott Simm

What is it?

It is a list of MPs based on how long they've served, but only based on unbroken service. In case of ties, the tie is broken based on the order their name is listed in the Canada Gazette for the returns of the election. (for example, this sheet showing LeBlanc vs Gallant)

In two cases, Wayne Easter vs Hedy Fry; and Carolyn Bennett vs John McKay, I do not have access to an online Gazette to reference. For some reason (from the last time I did this, years ago) I think I recall this being the proper order.

So what is the "Dean"?

Basically, the person who acts as speaker during speaker elections. A UK equivalent would be "Father/Mother of the House"

This deanlist simply lists MPs based on how long they've sat in unbroken service. As such, the top person on the list, is the dean. Why a list is helpful is that you can then simply reference it whenever that person is no longer an MP to find out who is next.

I use such a thing for my own entertainment; but having it online means I can't lose my deanlist to hard drive crashes. As such, here is the current list as it stands.

Remember too that party leaders and cabinet ministers can not serve as Dean, hence, having a list can be helpful even to parliamentarians.

Except for the two 'ties' I mentioned earlier, this list is properly sorted; I've manually gone through the gazette for both the 2000 and 2004 elections to sort out the MPs in their proper order.

In 1986 the House of Commons began to elect its Speaker here in Canada. The first election was proceeded over by the outgoing speaker, John Bosley. John Fraser was elected. He was re-elected in 1988, with Herb Gray serving as Dean.

In 1994, however, Gray was in Cabinet, and so Len Hopkins served that role, while 1997 saw Charles Caccia do so. Both elected Gilbert Parent as Speaker. In 2001 Caccia served again, this time Peter Milliken was elected.

In 2004 and 2006, Bill Blaikie served, the first MP from outside one of the two main parties to do so. Both saw Milliken re-elected.

2008 saw Louis Plamondon, from the Bloc Quebecois, serve as Dean, where Milliken was re-elected again.

Plamondon also has been dean for the 2011 election of Andrew Scheer, and the 2015 election of Geoff Regan. He will do so for an unprecedented 3rd time later this year, in what is expected to be Geoff Regan's re-election.

Tomorrow, another Senate Reform post! From here on in I will try to schedule the Senate Reform posts to go up in the morning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Senate Reform - Part 1 (Terms)

According to some - in particular, my teacher in high school - the confederation conferences at which Canada was founded spent 45% of their time discussing provincial-federal power balances, 45% of time discussing the senate, and 10% of their time discussing everything else.

While I've not seen proof of this since, I would not be surprised if it was 100% true. The Senate has been something that nearly everyone involved in Canadian politics likes to debate. A good proportion of people simply want to abolish it. Another good fraction want to elect it. Between is the mushy majority who want all sorts of noodly fixes of varying esoteric value.

There have been some minor "senate reform" packages that have passed. In 1915 the number of senators per province was fixed and a 4th 'region' was added. In 1982 the senate was given a veto over certain constitutional reforms; but in both of these cases the reform is all but insignificant. The 1982 reform only codified the common sense conclusion that Senate approval is needed for "Parliament" to approve a thing, and the 1915 reform was only the last in a long line of changes to the number of seats assigned to each province.

The biggest successful "Senate Reform" was in 1965, when the term of Senators was changed. Senators still need to be at least 30, and still need to own $4,000 worth of property in the province they represent (1/17th of the original value as this has never been adjusted for inflation) but now instead of serving for life, they would serve to age 75.

At the time, at least according to this document from Elections Canada around 2% of Canadians were 75 or older, and according to google, the life expectancy was 72. Today, according to the same, 12% of Canadians are over 75, and life expectancy is 82.

I bring this up as this is the first in a multipost series I will be making on Senate Reform.

I propose we replace the retirement age with a term length.
What length?

"The average"

I propose the average term length of senators in the past 20 or 30 years be used to determine the term length.

As someone who follows politics, I guesstimate that to be 4 terms, or, 16 years. Going here and looking for the median senator's age at appointment (59), the number is 16 years. As such, I propose that we change the term of Senators, to 16 years.

This would not be retroactive, and would only apply to new Senators, however, any Senator who has served 16 years would be given the option to retire with whatever additional salary and benefits they'd have otherwise earned between their retirement and age 75 given to them upon retirement.

This change to the Senate would impact only how the Senate, and the Parliament, operates. This change would thus only require the consent of Parliament itself, and not need provinces to sign off on any sort of amendment to the constitution.

I start here in our reform discussion because most additional things we will discuss in this series will also see its own proposals for the changing of senate terms, and its best to get the background and discussion out of the way first.

Next: Seat Distribution.

Quick UK update

Hoyle, as outlined in the previous post, has been elected speaker. Bryant ran a stronger campaign than I expected, and finished second.

In the election, the Tories have gone from around 36% to around 40% in the polls, while Labour has gone from around 24% to around 28%. This is coming, in part, from every party, but is especially coming from both the LibDems and the Brexit Party.

If current trends continue, the Tories could well win the largest majority since before the WW2, and the largest non-coalition government since 1832, the first truly democratic election in the UK.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

UK speaker, general election, and consequences for Jagmeet Singh.

Britain is going to the polls on December 12th. Before they do, however, they will elect a new speaker.

This seems odd, and from a Canadian context, potentially outrageous. In Canada, the Speaker runs as a candidate for his or her party, and often times, fails to win re-election. There have been instances of a Speaker simply not running in an election; 1992, 1983, 1959, 1951, etc; but a british speaker has never lost re-election to their own seat. It is actually not unheard of for a speaker to have their seat contested, and while this has not happened in recent decades, it did happen from time to time prior to the 1990s, especially with Labour candidates standing against Conservative speakers. As such, the idea of electing a speaker just prior to a general election is not as absurd as it may sound to Canadian ears.

There are 8 candidates running to become speaker, 5 from the Labour party. It is quite likely that only one of these candidates will make it to any "final 2" round of balloting. It is likely that some, if not many, Tory MPs will be willing to vote for a Labour candidate whom they consider fair, but enough will vote on partisan lines to make it difficult if not impossible for a "final 2" round of balloting to have two Labour MPs. The strongest tory candidate is probably Eleanor Laing, one of the secondary deputy speakers.

Facing her are two popular Labour MPs. Harriet Harman is running on a reformist platform. Given the recent row about the treatment of women in politics, either could be a welcome choice to Parliament. However, both face a major road block in Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Hoyle is the current Deputy Speaker, and is generally seen as fair by many MPs. He has been in the deputy speaker's chair for nearly a decade, contrasted with Harman who served as Leader of the Opposition for part of 2015. As such, Tories willing to vote for a Labour MP as Speaker are much more likely to see Hoyle as a friendly face than Harman.

It is thus my guess and assumption that Hoyle will win before we ever get to the "final 2" stage, perhaps with two or three other candidates still on the ballot by the time he reaches his Majority, if it even comes to that. Using the 2009 speaker election as a model, I'd venture to guess that Hoyle takes around 220 votes on the first round, compared to 120 for Harman and Laing each, with Bryant or Leigh down at about 40 votes, leading the stragglers. If this does come to pass, its likely that not only would the 5 lower-placing candidates withdraw, but both Harman and Laing may also decide the can not win, and allow Hoyle to win without the need for a final ballot.

This will then bring us to Tuesday, when the house dissolves and we had to a general election.

Where Mr. Singh comes into play will be determined as the election plays out.

We saw in the previous election that elections matter. Labour entered the campaign on roughly 25% of the vote, largely based on Mr. Corbyn's perceived unpopularity. Corbyn, however, would show himself to be a strong campaigner, and would end the election on 40% of the vote.

The conclusion was that "Jeremy Corbyn is good at campaigns." This is not an unreasonable conclusion as many in the Labour party had claimed just such a thing would play out prior to the election.

Some in the NDP said the same about Jagmeet Singh. And, when the election started, the NDP was sitting on roughly 12%, yet managed to rise to above 20% in some polls, before settling back at 16% on E-day. The conclusion was that "Jagmeet Singh is good at campaigns."

There is a problem with these assumptions. Corbyn and Singh were both unknown and unpopular, at least, compared to other leaders. Both introduced themselves to the voters, and voters found both to not be as bad as they had expected. The problem is that it is quite possible that Corbyn is not a good campaigner, only that he simply dispelled the negative mythos built up around him. If that is true, then Corbyn will fail to increase Labour's vote total in this election.

Why that poses a danger to Mr. Singh is that politically interested Canadians, including those in the NDP, will be watching the UK election. Failure of Corbyn to again increase Labour's flagging poll numbers (the party currently sits at around 23.5%) would indicate that his first raise (from 25% to 40%) was not based on campaign quality, but on the dispelling of his negative mythos. That means that should Jagmeet Singh's popularity begin to slag in polls, a recover could not simply be automatically expected when the writ next drops. It would mean that polls showing Canadians do not like him, mean they do not like him, instead of meaning they'll like him when we get back to another election. It would mean that some in the NDP would start to get ancy about finding a new leader, one that might appeal better in Quebec. It would mean that Mr. Singh's leadership could be in danger.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Alberta vs British Columbia

The idea that Canada is split, west vs east, is misleading. To see this, one only needs to look at Alberta, and British Columbia.

One of the things I tried to do for a failed post was look at an alternate history of how Canada would look, using real Canadian elections, but treating Western Canada, and the rest of Canada, as two different countries. This failed for a number of reasons, but one was simply that it didn't show what it was supposed to; that there's a massive split between the two. The massive split simply didn't manifest in the way I expected. In fact, I got more mileage by simply removing Alberta. Without Alberta, Harper's 2011 majority becomes a minority. In 2006 the Liberals take the most seats instead of the Tories. Reform finishes behind the Bloc in 1997. Joe Clark's 1979 margin of victory is reduced to a single seat.

Additionally, part of my 'alternate history' project, included combing the vote of the left of centre parties in Western Canada. When you do that, you end up with the following maps:

Which works out to a centre-left Majority of one.

It may be unfair to do a 100% vote conversion of all 3 centre-left parties VS the various right-wing parties (CPC, PPC, CHP, Libertarians) but it does show something that I think a lot of people miss.

The major split isn't between Western Canada and the rest of Canada.

It is between Alberta and BC.

Lets look at federal popular vote for the Tories, Social Credit, Reform, Canadian Alliance in all elections, and the "proto-reform" Confederation of Regions party, in 1984, in the two provinces. Lets start in 1968, which is often a place I start as it is by this point that "national" media networks have taken hold in Canada, and the first one with a debate. Combining the vote for the above parties (in this case, just the Tories and Social Credit) gives us the following:

25.3% BC // AB 52.9% - 1968

Continuing we get results as follows:

35.6% BC // AB 62.1% - 1972
43.1% BC // AB 64.6% - 1974
44.5% BC // AB 66.6% - 1979
41.6% BC // AB 65.9% - 1980
46.6% BC // AB 68.8% - 1984
40.1% BC // AB 67.2% - 1988
49.9% BC // AB 66.9% - 1993
49.3% BC // AB 69.0% - 1997
56.7% BC // AB 72.4% - 2000
36.3% BC // AB 61.7% - 2004
37.3% BC // AB 65.0% - 2006
44.4% BC // AB 64.6% - 2008
45.5% BC // AB 66.8% - 2011
30.0% BC // AB 59.5% - 2015
34.1% BC // AB 69.2% - 2019

With this I've done additional math. I've taken the BC result and divided into the Alberta result to provide a percentage; it is a ratio showing the comparison between the two. For example, in 1968, the right-wing parties took 25.3% of the vote in BC vs 52.9% in Alberta. 235 is 47.83% of 529, hence our number. The results are as follows:

57.33% - 1972
66.72% - 1974
66.82% - 1979
63.13% - 1980
67.73% - 1984
59.67% - 1988
74.59% - 1993
71.45% - 1997
78.31% - 2000
58.83% - 2004
57.38% - 2006
68.73% - 2008
68.11% - 2011
50.42% - 2015
49.28% - 2019

You can see a clear trend here. First, note that when the Reform Alliance did well, from 1993 through 2000, BC was consistently hitting above 70%. Normally the ratio seemed to hover closer to 60%, popping out of that range from time to time, but staying usually within it.

Note the sudden and stark change in 2015.

Note how the gap only grew in 2019.

Lets also look at some provincial election results from BC, in particular, the popular vote totals for Social Credit.

47% - 1969
31% - 1972
49% - 1975
48% - 1979
50% - 1983
49% - 1986

Excepting their loss in 1972, these results are fairly consistent, and are similar to, if not better than, the federal 'right-wing' results in the province. 

In 1987, the BC Liberals elected Gordon Campbell as leader, and thus the party shifted to the right. The combined BCL/SC vote total was 57%, with 33% for the Liberals and 24% for Social Credit. The 1996 election would see a combined BCL+Reform vote total of 51%, with 42% for BCL and 9% for Reform. By 2001, although other right-wing parties continued to exist, the BC Liberals had become dominant, and they won 58% of the vote on their own. Tangent of a reminder, it was this government that introduced fixed election dates, now standard in nearly every province in Canada.

By 2005, things begun to change. BCL was down to 46%, while the combined NDP+Green total was 51%. By 2008, it was the BC Liberals themselves who introduced a carbon tax. The Environment simply was becoming a much more important topic of discussion and thought. The 2009 BC election saw the Liberals steady at 46% while the NDP and Greens combined to reach 50%. 2013 would see 44% for the Liberals, while 2017 would see them drop to 40%, but the combined NDP+Green vote increase to 57%

Simply put, the environment is important to BC Voters.

It is important to Canadian voters as a whole as well, but has yet to make similar inroads into Alberta's political culture.

We can see this across Canada. Lets look at the results for provincial Greens in the most recent provincial elections:

BC - 16.8%
AB - 0.4%
SK - 1.8%
MB - 6.4%
ON - 4.6%
QC - 1.7%
NB - 11.9%
NS - 2.8%
PE - 30.6%
NL - 0.0% (no provincial party)

Note that Quebec provincial parties tend to be more friendly towards the environment, though not always, and that this can explain the low number there. In Ontario, in past elections, the Greens have taken upwards of 8% of the vote, and, in the most recent election, gained a seat in the Legislature.

In the federal election, the Greens managed to take under 3% of the vote in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their next worst showing was in Newfoundland and Labrador, which, has a particular distaste of the party which goes back a decade to arguments about the seal hunt. Beyond this, the worst showing was Quebec at 4%, Manitoba at 5%, and Ontario at 6%. Results in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, all topped 10% of the vote. In fact the Greens received more votes from New Brunswick alone than they did from Alberta and Saskatchewan combined.

What we are seeing thus is not a divide between Western Canada and "Eastern" or the rest of Canada. It is a divide between Alberta (and large parts of Saskatchewan, as well as Newfoundland) against the remainder of Canada, especially parts of British Columbia, and the environmentally conscious urban centres of Toronto and Montreal.

This is not an issue that can simply be fixed by tapping the policy dials. This is an issue that will only resolve itself when one side, the other side, or both sides, decide it is time to either give in, or to compromise.

It is quite likely that in an attempt to hold on to votes in the other provinces, the Tories will adopt a tone less friendly towards Alberta and Saskatchewan and their anti-environment stances. This would give a chance for a new anti-environment party to pop up, or, for an existing small party to take on and champion the cause (for example, the Peoples Party)

Given the trend issues like this tend to take, it is my guess that in time, Alberta and Saskatchewan will come around to the trend that prevails in the rest of the country. It's only a matter of when that happens and how stressful of a process it will be.

Why no new posts? Canada is not as divided as we think.

Over the past week I have tried no less than 9 times to make a new post, only for it to fail. Two of these are simply due to lack of information; international elections in particular. Switzerland, for example, is ruled by a 7-person Federal Council instead of a single "President" or "Prime Minister" and it is unclear if the recent election results, which I will present below, mean this council's political balance will change or not. Neighbouring Austria meanwhile continues negotiations, but it seems we are getting closer to a OVP-Green coalition. Israel continues talks, with Gantz trying to form a government. The UK is headed to an election, but is not there yet. None of these really could morph into a post on its own.

Seven times, however, I've failed to prove a theory I set out to prove, and thus, made any post I wanted to make moot. My PR example on Twitter failed to show what I thought it would for the simple reason that Ralph Goodale, and Lisa Raitt, two MPs I consider of high quality, lost their ridings very badly. Additionally, numerous posts I've tried to make about how "Canada has never been so divided" have fallen to simple math; Even in 1974 or 2011 we were more divided by many measures, not to mention 1980 or 1993, two elections often thought of as divided.

So let me try to summarize all of these things into a single post. First, lets get the Swiss results out of the way.

To understand Swiss politics you need to understand the traditional coalition that ruled for decades from 1959 to 2003, and how that coalition saw a single change and continue to the present day.

Switzerland, as mentioned earlier, is ruled by a 7 person council. For decades, it operated under the "Magic Formula" coalition. This would see the council consist of 2 Socialists, 2 Christian Democrats, 2 Liberals, and 1 Peoples Party member. In 2003, due to the Peoples Party, for the second time in a row, finished first in the popular vote. They thus demanded a second seat on the council, and after some negotiating, eventually took a seat from the Christian Democrats who consistently had been the least popular among the other 3 coalition parties for over a decade. This thus made for a council of 2 Socialists, 2 Peoples Party members, 2 Liberals, and 1 Christian Democrat. There was a brief interruption by the BDP, which broke off from the Peoples Party, and took their seats, but, that ended in 2015.

The reason this is all important is that the Greens have done well. Both of them.

Switzerland has two Green parties. A traditional "Green Party" that is socialist in nature and leans heavily to the left, and a "Green Liberal" party, that is eco-capitalist in outlook. Combined, the two parties have taken 21.0% of the vote, up from a combined 11.7% last election. Importantly is that the Greens (the traditional left leaning party) have finished ahead of the Christian Democrats in the election. Results are as follows.

53 - Peoples Party - 25.6%
39 - Social Democrats - 16.8%
29 - Liberals - 15.1% (see note below)
28 - Green Party - 13.2%
25 - Christian Democrats - 11.4%
16 - Green Liberals - 7.8%
10 - others

(Cautionary note for some readers: the "Liberals" in this context are in the vein of mainland european "liberal parties", and are much more 'pro-business' than a 'liberal' from Canada, the UK, or the US would be expected to be)

As such, the Greens are looking to take a seat in the council, but the question arises, take a seat from whom? If they take the one Christian Democrat seat, not only will they remove a party that has been on the council since 1891, but it would mark a shift in the overall political leaning of the council, the first since 1959, by adding another "left" seat at the expense of a "right" party. Additionally, there may be questions as to why a party with 13% of the vote 'deserves' a seat, while one with 11% does not? Those questions could also, however, ask why a party with 8% then also does not 'deserve' a seat. It may then be from the Liberals whom the Greens would demand the seat, however the party finished closer to the Social Democrats than to the Greens, and may feel they 'deserve' two seats.

It is quite likely that this will be decided in time with a lot of negotiation, perhaps months from now. As such, there's nothing 'new' to really report.

As for Canada, in the process of writing all of the above, I've actually hit upon something I can do a blogpost on; I can show how we are not nearly as divided as we think - in the way we think - and show where the real divide actually is. That blogpost will be ready to go later today (I won't make you wait until tomorrow if I can at all help it)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Electoral Reform

I won't go over exactly what each system does, why they are used, or how we can use them, as I've done that before
and here
but I will give a quick summary explanation.

There are two ways I can do these examples.

One is to find the result from each polling box; there are 700,000-1,000,000 of these across Canada. I would then need to note those results for each party. Then, after consulting with Canadians from coast to coast to coast, I'd need to re-draw the electoral boundaries to create 287 ridings across the country. This way, when my additional Proportional ridings are added, the final end total is the same 338 we have now. This would not add any MPs. This entire process would take me 8 hours a day working for probably a month, and cost thousands upon thousands in advertising and transportation. If Canada were to adopt my proposals, this is what Canada would do. As such, no MPs are added.

Two, is to take fifteen minutes to simply add a few more MPs to make the calculation easier. I've opted for the latter. I want to make clear, however, that my proposal does not increase the number of MPs, only that I'm doing so in this example to save myself from going insane.

Lets start with our current results.

157 L
121 C
32 B
24 N
3 G
1 O

This gives us 338 MPs, the actual number of MPs we have.

My examples, however, all represent a house with 400 MPs. As such, we need to inflate this number. I've done so, and a 400 MP house with FPTP might roughly look as follows:

186 L
144 C
38 B
28 N
3 G
1 O

As such, keep these figures in mind, not the 338 figures, as it will make comparison easier.

First off, lets assume straight up simple MMP PR as is often proposed. What would that have resulted in? The answer:

141 C
136 L
65 N
31 B
26 G
1 O

This is a radically different Parliament. While the Tories and the Bloc end up roughly where they are in our above 400 seat example, the Liberals, NDP, and Greens move quite a bit. A Liberal+NDP coalition would barely obtain the 201 seats they'd need for a majority.

As I've mentioned before, in the posts linked to above, this is not what Canadians want. Canadians want stable government, majorities. The Pro MMP campaign likes to call this "False Majorities". Then so be it, Canadians demand "False Majorities". So, lets see what we can do to give that to them.

One way to achieve this is to simply lower the number of proportional seats compared to the number of single-member seats. Germany splits this in half. New Zealand has 71 single-member seats and 49 proportional seats. I propose 338 single-member seats and 62 proportional seats; or at least, that's what I am using in my example (see my rant about how this does not add any MPs above)

Why 62? Simple; I want 0.175 proportional seats for every riding in each area. Our proportional areas, where the math will happen, would be Ontario, Quebec, BC, Alberta, Atlantic Canada, and the Prairies + The Territories. Pretty much the same as how I divide my maps. In fact, if not for the additional math it would involve, I would split Ontario and Quebec as my maps are as well, as doing so will help make the PR system work better.

Why 0.175? Also simple; in my system I hope to limit list candidates to those who are running in a riding. This will thus ensure that at least roughly 1/7th of MPs come from a party different from the party that has swept the area. I hope each province adopts my system and we have seen, in PEI, in Alberta, and rarely elsewhere, (BC 2001 for example) massive majorities elected with little to no opposition in the Legislature. This would stop that, permanently.

Why 1/7th? That's more a gut thing. My gut says that's "enough" of a "minimum" for an opposition to "be heard"

Regardless, back to the math.

First, I want to divert from my proposal to an alternative; which is to use these limited PR seat numbers, but use standard MMP. Doing so produces an interesting result.

164 L
130 C
54 N
32 B
19 G
1 O

This is not nearly as drastic a change from the FPTP result as the pure MMP result would see. The Liberals are only 37 seats short of a Majority here, enough for the Bloc and the Greens to bridge.

This, however, is still to radical of a change for my tastes, and for the tastes of many Canadians. As such, I'd like to go over my proposal.

Lets start in Alberta, where we get to use my "riding candidates are list candidates" rule. The Tories, who should win 5 seats, win only 1, being unable to fill the other 4 seats. As such, they are assigned to the other parties. This means the Liberals win 3 Alberta seats, and the NDP win 2. This is above and beyond what they've won in the ridings; meaning the NDP gets a grand total of 3 NDP MPs from Alberta. Likely meaning an NDP MP from Calgary, and perhaps one from the Rural regions. The Liberals too would be able to have MPs from Edmonton, Calgary, and the Rural parts of Alberta. Not only does this allow for NDPers and Liberals in those areas to have their voices heard in Parliament, but allows those voters to have their voices heard in Caucus. There is now a voice from Rural Alberta in each Liberal or NDP caucus meeting.

Next, is the Atlantic, which also elects 6 Proportional members. The Tories get 2, the Liberals 3, and the NDP 1. The Tories could thus put George Canyon in the house, or choose to have MPs for both PEI and Newfoundland. The Greens narrowly miss a seat here, but that narrowness is important in demonstrating that this system is not designed to radically change elections, but rather to smooth over the rough edges that FPTP can produce.

In the vast Manitoba+Saskatchewan+Territories region, the Tories, who have a massive vote lead, get a whopping 4 list MPs. The Liberals and NDP both get one, which means Ralph Goodale would stay in the house, for better or for worse. The NDP too would be likely to have a Saskatchewan MP selected, meaning Saskatchewan goes from being a shut out, to having voices from three parties.

British Columbia takes us to 8 PR seats. 3 of those would go to the Tories, 2 to the Liberals, 2 to the NDP, and 1 to the Greens. Tories in Vancouver, and interior Liberals, are likely to sit in the House as a result.

Quebec leaps up to 14 PR seats. 6 of these go to the Liberals, and 5 to the Bloc. Given how well the Liberals did in Montreal, and how poorly they did outside of it, and how the Bloc mirrored this in reverse, it is not hard to guess how these MPs would be distributed. The Tories get 2 seats, likely meaning a Montreal Tory as an MP. The NDP meanwhile gets 1, likely meaning Ruth-Ellen Brosseau keeps her seat.

Finally, Ontario, gets 22 PR seats. 8 of these are Tories, more than enough room for Lisa Raitt to remain an MP. 9 are Liberals. 4 are NDP. And 1 is a Green, likely Gord Miller.

Our end result is thus as follows:

181 L
141 C
37 B
35 N
5 G
1 O

Similar to the Parliament we just elected, yet, with some important differences. All 3 large parties now find themselves with MPs from all, or nearly all, of the provinces. You now have Montreal and Toronto Tories. You now have rural Albertan Liberals and NDPers. As is common in PR systems, you have more women elected, more ethnic and religious minorities. You end up with numbers that show some similarity to FPTP with all its potential to elect stable majorities, but without the yawning chasms of lacking representation that FPTP can create over geographical areas. You also get to keep quality MPs, like Ralph Goodale, Lisa Raitt, and Ruth-Ellen Brosseau, even if the regions they happen to represent see wild partisan swings. The end result is simply a better, stronger Parliament, that can create a better, stronger Canada.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


There were a lot of errors. I want to go through each one and why.

Acadie Bathurst and Halifax
As outlined in my post, I relied on what other projections had, and many had the NDP winning here. My error was not realizing that this, like their egmont projections, was based on last-time math that no longer applied.

Saint Johns South and Avalon
I presumed the Liberals would not do as well in Newfoundland and Labrador; this was an error.

Cardigan, Saint John, Central Nova, and Miramichi
These errors all come from under-estimating Liberal strength and over-estimating Tory strength.

West Nova
I ignored a strong Tory candidate here, and should not have. This riding is traditionally Liberal, I found it odd thus that it could go CPC before any other NS riding; I should have known a strong candidate could make that happen.

I did know the Greens were strong here and thus, unlike the above, I do not count this one as a mistake of judgement, simply 'part of the job' as some ridings will be on the "knife's edge" and its hard to guess which way it will come down.

Le Moyne, La Prairie, Laurier Saint Marie, and Hochelaga
The pattern and play of the Bloc vote was always a bit unclear, this is not exactly the same Bloc that has run in previous elections. As such, like with Fredericton, I count these as simple 'part of the job'

Abitibi Temiscamingue, Berthier Maskinonge, Sherbrooke, Rimouski
I wanted the NDP to win these ridings. As such I let that bias creep into my projections. It is very hard to avoid, but I should have done better.

Saint Maurice
As I mentioned in my (s)election post, I want this riding to stop acting strangely. It did so again regardless.

Quebec, Compton, Chicoutimi, Trois-Rivières
These ridings all fell to that pattern of Bloc vote, and thus are 'part of the job'

Hamilton East, Kitchener Conestoga, Cambridge, Toronto Danforth, Davenport, Parkdale High Park, Whitby, Richmond Hill, King Vaughan, Newmarket Aurora
All of these ridings, all in the GTA-GHA, all went Liberal, and all were projected by me not to; yet all could have been projected to go Liberal if I'd held back my final projection for a few days. I simply guessed these ones prematurely

Kenora, Essex, Rainy River, Nickel Belt, Windsor West, Windsor Tecumseh
All 'part of the job'

Peterborough, Northumberland
I don't like Monsef. I still hold her partly responsible for the defeat of electoral reform. I wanted her to lose, and so, simply swapped a liberal win in the area for a win in another riding. This was foolish.

Elmwood Transcona, St. Boniface, Desenethe-Churchill River, Saskatoon West, Regina Lewvan, Regina Wascana
Here I failed to note how strong the Tories were in SK compared to MB. This is hard to see with the kind of polls we get here in Canada, and as such, I'm counting this as well as 'part of the job'

Similar to above, we just don't have proper polling to do this.

(Note, Alberta was called 100% correctly by me and many others)

I wanted the Greens to win here.

Port Moody, Coquitlam, Kootenay, Burnaby North, Langley City
More 'part of the job' ridings

Ridings that I failed: 15 (IE, I made a mistake/bias)

Ridings guessed prematurely: 13 (IE guessed too early)

Ridings "the model" failed: 27 (IE 'part of the job')

As such if I'd done a better job with my guesses, I'd have only 27 errors, or, 311 correct calls. If I'd simply not gone early, I'd have had 40 errors, or 298 correct calls. As such I'm going to stick with the gut system for the time being and try to better my calls.

Results!! (counting continues)

counting is winding down, but here are the results as of just after Blanchet's speech

Sunday, October 20, 2019

My (S)election

For fun - as, it is fun to make and colour in maps (if it was not, my maps would not exist!) - I've decided to do something that I sometimes do after elections; change the results.

Instead of using the election result, I'm going to use my last projection. These are changes that I, if I were God-Emperor of the Universe, would make to the election. I'll explain the changes in each region as I post.

The Atlantic:
I've weakened the Liberals here. I've also made PEI go Green, and added Tories in NL. Three of the provinces now have MPs from three different parties, NB has four. This is healthy for democracy. PEI however, goes 100% Green. This is because, having grown up there, I know what sort of impact this would have. PEI becomes a healthy proportion of the Green caucus, and thus, has greater influence than otherwise. It also makes the other parties sit up and take notice, meaning they will need additional efforts to win it back.

Tories! This area has lacked tories for quite some time and that is not healthy for democracy. It is good when a large number of viewpoints can be heard, and the views of Montreal area Tories deserve to be heard. I've also added an additional NDP seat for similar reasons.

Minor changes, I've never liked how Saint Maurice does really weird things at times, so I made it stop doing that by making it vote how it 'otherwise should' I've also slightly boosted the Bloc in rural Quebec.

Again, more tories; but also more Liberals in places. I've basically shuffled support around a bit, making the "borderline" between Tory and Liberal support much less clear and stark. As a result, the ridings in the area get more competitive.
More Liberals. Additionally, my riding goes Green. I figured if I'm voting Green it would be weird for me to not make them win my own riding.

Territories all go Green. I feel that this is "logical"; climate change impacts them the most, hence, they vote for the party strongest on climate issues. Like Rural Ontario, I've also strengthened the Liberals slightly.

Peoples Party!! More NDP, and more Liberals. Alberta, under FPTP, does not well represent its people. The 60-40 split can make for for a 100-0 split in seats. The Liberals get a boost here as well; this is to offset tory boosts elsewhere, and to make the entire country as a whole more competitive. The Peoples party also gain 2 seats, as their voices deserve to be heard.
British Columbia:
Greens! Wins off the Island will help strengthen the party. Also, I quite like the CPC candidate in Skenna, so, I made her win. She could well win on her own. Outside this, and beyond some Green strength, this is basically the actual gut projection for BC.

The result is a Liberal-Green coalition, with issue-by-issue support from either the NDP or Bloc as needed. Parties will find they have representatives from all across the country, with each and every province represented by at least three parties (except PEI) and some, represented by four.

Early in the term JRW will join the Green Party, and in a year or two, end up back in Cabinet. The Liberal-Green coalition would then turn into an outright party merger. As part of the deal, the new Green Liberal Party, which people call the "Grits" and which uses Green as its main colour, will hold a leadership election, as the merger agreement stipulates, which JRW will win over Trudeau on the final ballot, surprising many. She will then win a majority in 2023.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

How I've done my gut projections

Many likely are wondering exactly how I've done my projections without math. As you know, I've already released my final projection. I can do this due to the method.

First, I begin by looking at other projections. qc125, or more accurately,, whose projection map, is delightful. His projections are the anchor this entire election as I see it. Next, I go to Canadian Election Watcher, and other people who make projections like Rhea Donsman (twitter),, Kyle J Hutton (twitter),, and others.

This gives me a "sanity check" baseline. It means anything I do will not be so far from reality as to question my sanity.

From there I read. I read news stories, I read tweets, I even ask people to send me their opinions.

Following this, I go over my maps, and, using both the projections, what I've been told, and, importantly, what my gut says, I change the maps.

This is why I can make a projection days before the election. My gut is telling me how things will unfold over the final weekend. It tells me the NDP will outperform expectations. It tells me Scheer isn't gaining traction and people will abandon him for other options. It tells me Singh and Trudeau will probably agree to a coalition. It tells me that Canadians want a "Progressive Government" and will get just that, even if in minority.

The Liberal-NDP coalition will have 169 seats, exactly half. After the speaker is chosen - probably the current Speaker, a Liberal (Geoff Regan) this puts them at 168 VS 169 for all other parties. One of those 169 opposition members, however, will be Jody Raybould-Wilson, who is a progressive. Added to that will be 3 Greens who are also progressive. Beyond this will be a large Bloc caucus that also leans towards the progressive end of the spectrum.

If Trudeau proves he can behave (IE, does not have more scandals like JRW, or, break promises like electoral reform) he will likely be headed for a majority at the next election. As to when that election will be, my current thinking is May 2022 after a 30 month deal with the NDP expires. Just long enough to get some larger projects started, but not long enough to get them finished (therefore, "we need to be re-elected to finish this")

I hope that clarifies things. The only math I've done has been for the atlantic, both in the post I made, and 4 days ago as an additional sanity check. I'm convinced the projectonators do not have the atlantic down pat. The 2015 region-to-province vote distribution will not be repeated in 2019, at least, not to the same degree. The Tories will do better in NL and NS and as a result, worse in NB.

Regardless. This is how I've done my projections for this election, and, very likely, will continue doing projections for the foreseeable future.