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April 1st, 2015

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Two hundred and twenty-eight candidates were nominated in the first three months of 2015 – three more than in the final three months of 2014 – but no party has yet confirmed much more than two-thirds of its national slate as the second quarter begins, making an early spring election call even more unlikely than it already was.

While undoubtedly each party has a pipeline of aspiring nomination contestants awaiting vetting or confirmed nomination dates – and a few star candidates it's holding back – at this rate it will still be at least another three months before any of the national party slates are ready to go to the polls.

The Liberals lead the pack with 234 candidates confirmed, representing 69% of a full national slate of 338, while the Conservatives are close behind with 227 candidates known to be confirmed (67% of a full slate). We have to say "known to be confirmed" for the Conservatives because that party does not always publicize its nomination races ahead of reporting their results to Elections Canada, so their totals are more accurate in the retrospective than looking ahead.

[Click on image to open full-sized version]

Nomination Meetings Held by Party and Date, as of March 31, 2015, with future scheduled meetings

The NDP, which had been far behind its red-blue cousins at the New Year, concluded 88 nomination races in the first three months of 2015, bringing its total number of selected candidates up to 192 or 57% of a full slate, from just 104 at the end of December. The Green Party largely caught up on its reporting of earlier nominations to Elections Canada this quarter, and then started to fill key spots across the country in January, most notably in BC and Alberta. It currently stands at 79 selected candidates (23% of what they'd need to finally fill a full slate for the first time since 2006). The Bloc also launched its candidate selection process, filling 11 spots since the end of January, while the Christian Heritage Party held a single nomination meeting last fall.

Monthly Nominations Held by Party (to March 31, 2015)

Month Party Totals
Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Oth Mnthly Qtrly
TOTAL 225 194 237 76 11 1 744  
Feb-2014 1           1  
Mar-2014 28 1 17   1   46 47
Apr-2014 26   7       33  
May-2014 48 3 21 1     73  
Jun-2014 10 5 19       34 140
Jul-2014 13 2 11       26  
Aug-2014 9 7 10 3     29  
Sep-2014 15 12 20 2     49 104
Oct-2014 16 14 25 4     59  
Nov-2014 19 42 38 6   1 106  
Dec-2014 5 20 21 14     60 225
Jan-2015 10 16 7 16 1   50  
Feb-2015 14 27 18 19 3   81  
Mar-2015 11 45 23 11 7   97 228

Mostly due to the flurry of activity from the orange team, March 2015 has been the second busiest month for picking candidates after last November, clocking in at 97 nominations – or just over one per day. In addition to the above party nominations reported to Elections Canada, the Libertarian Party has been appointing its slate (not yet having any registered Electoral District Associations outside Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, ON), and they've already surpassed the 50 candidate mark, although a few of their earlier names have since withdrawn. That party plans to run a full slate it says in October, while the Christian Heritage Party has yet to ramp up its candidate selection, preferring to wait until closer to the writ. The Pirate Party has appointed a few candidates, and also identified a few others who have not yet been confirmed by its governing council.

On the other hand, the NDP is leading when it comes to both the percentage of its slate composed of women (41.2%), and now the actual number of women candidates as well (79, a figure that only just moved ahead of the Liberals this past week). The Liberals had a stronger start, but have since fallen back somewhat, and have rarely budged above the 33% mark in this quarter. They currently stand at 32.5% women. The Conservative slate shows the percentage of women you can expect to see run in a party that makes no special provisions for proactive candidate search on the basis of gender: roughly 20% (the exact figure is currently 19.8%). The Greens are faring better than the Conservatives, and better than they themselves have done before, at 29.1%.

Eagle-eyed observers will notice that the number of Nominations Held does not precisely add up to the number of Candidates Confirmed. This makes sense when we realize that some candidates are instead Appointed, or are Protected Incumbents, or Self-Declaring (ie, Independent candidates), or else have had to step down or otherwise withdraw their candidacy. The latter category includes previously nominated candidates who had to be renominated (for example, Conservative Marnie MacDougall in Toronto-St. Paul's, or Borys Wrzesnewskyj who was originally nominated for a by-election that was not required in Etobicoke Centre, but then had to be renominated for the general election, according to his party), along with nominated candidates who later decided to retire (e.g., Conservative John Baird, Liberal-turned-Independent Massimo Pacetti, or NDPer-turned-provincial-Liberal Glenn Thibeault), or switch ridings (Scott Berry for the Libertarians), and one candidate who recently passed away quite suddenly before he could run at all this time (Liberal Max Khan from Oakville North-Burlington).

Meanwhile, the count of Members of Parliament who have either announced their retirements or resigned their seats, now stands at 49 (46 retirees plus 3 vacancies).

To keep track of all these metrics, and how they relate to both the Party Standings in the House of Commons, and the Number of Selected Candidates for each party, I've been working on a new table that can now always be found on the main page of this website, titled "Current Party Standings and Nominations Metrics". The table on the main page is drawn directly from the Pundits' Guide database as it's updated, rather than being calculated by hand, so it's a quick and easy way for you and I to stay ahead of the drudgery of counting things over and over.

Here's a copy of that table as it appeared on March 31, 2015:

Current Party Standings and Nominations Metrics (cá độ bóng đá trên điện thoại www.diretoriorestaurantes.com)

  Cons NDP Lib BQ Grn Oth Ind TOTAL
Won in last general election 166 103 34 4 1     308
By-election vacancies -9 -3 -3         -15
By-election wins 8 2 5         15
Left the caucus -5 -7 -2 -3     -3 -20
[Re-]Joined the caucus 1   2 1 1 2 13 20
Vacancies -1           -2 3
CURRENT STANDINGS 160 95 36 2 2 2 8 305
Retiring Incumbents 25 11 5 1     4 46
As yet Unrenominated Incumbents 3 8 1 1       13
Nominated – Own Caucus 132 76 30   2 2 3 245
Nominated – Different Caucus   1           1
Nominated – Non-incumbents 95 115 204 11 77 59 3 564
CURRENTLY NOMINATED 227 192 234 11 79 61 6 810
Contested Incumbents – Lost 2 2           4
Candidates – Withdrawn 6 2 4     4   16
Incumbents – Acclaimed 120 77 29   2     228
Incumbents – Protected 8             8
Incumbents – Won Contest 4   1         5
Incumbents – Other           2 3 5
Non-Incumbents – Acclaimed 67 66 104 7 69 1   314
Non-Incumbents – Appointed           58   58
Non-Incumbents – Won Contest 26 47 100 4 8     185
Non-Incumbents – Other             3 3
NON-INCUMBENT CONTESTED RATE 29.5% 42.6% 49.0% 36.4% 10.4%     37.6%

The table also keeps track of useful metrics like the number of As Yet Unrenominated Incumbents, the number of times an Incumbent Won or Lost a Nomination Contest. One good indicator of the competitiveness of a party's nominations process is its "Non-Incumbent Contested Rate" – in other words the percent of a party's non-incumbent candidates who had to win a competitive nomination contest to claim their spot on the ticket. The Liberals are currently running at 49% of their non-incumbents having to win a contested nomination, while the NDP is just behind at 42.6%, and the Conservatives are a bit back at 29.5%. It's too early to know whether the Bloc's rate will remain stable, but the Greens are acclaiming most of their candidates.

Just 13 sitting Members of Parliament have not yet been renominated:

  • Conservatives (3): Julian Fantino, Lynne Yelich, and Leon Benoit
  • New Democrats (8): Jack Harris (who says he's running again), Tyrone Benskin (who just lost a nomination in Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs, QC on the weekend, but has yet to signal his next moves), Francine Raynault (who is facing a contested nomination in Joliette, QC as soon as the meeting can be rescheduled), Jose Nunez-Melo (who is facing an as-yet-unscheduled nomination contest in Vimy, QC), Réjean Genest (who was reported by La Presse to be facing a contested nomination, but I can't find any evidence of that yet), along with John Raffery, Dennis Bevington, and leader Tom Mulcair
  • Liberals (1): Eve Adams (who is currently running against another contestant in Eglinton-Lawrence, but might save the party some grief in that riding if she could be switched to Oakville North-Burlington after a suitable period of mourning for Max Khan)
  • Bloc (1): The Dean of the House of Commons, Louis Plamondon (who maintains that he is running again, but has yet to be officially renominated by his party)

A future addition to the table will be a row for the number of so-called "Super-Contested Nominations" (i.e., those with 3 or more participatns), and perhaps the number or proportion of Mixed-Gender Nomination Contests won by women. I hope you find the new table useful, or can suggest any other nominations metrics you can think of that might be useful to track automatically.

2 Responses to “First Quarter Nominations Keep Pace, But No Party Election-Ready Yet”

  1. Dan Wilson says:

    It would be interesting to see candidates nominated in the other equity categories beyond gender, if possible. Parties may not facilitate this though I have seen counts (possibly inaccurate) of the Indigenous nominees on Twitter.

  2. Doug says:

    I agree that it would be very useful to see if parties are suceeding in showing more of the diversity in Canada. It would be very discouraging if we can’t make greater headway in this area.

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