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Posts Tagged ‘42nd (2015?) General Election’

Minority Math is Hard on the Liberals

September 28th, 2015 | 19 Comments

The Liberals have run a strong and energetic campaign thus far under leader Justin Trudeau, so it seems unfair how hard it will be for them to find enough seats to claim the head of a minority government.

Whether you're following one of the popular poll aggregator and seat projectors, or just working from your own spreadsheet and rolodex, the Liberals are stuck stubbornly in third place in the seat counts, even as they've topped or come second in the daily tracking or polling averages. One political pro who has run the simulations says they'd need a 6-point lead before they could claim the largest number of seats.

Why is that? A number of factors come into play:

  • While the Liberals are up 10-12 points from their 2011 vote-share of 18.9% nationally, outside Quebec that's mainly come out of the hide of the Conservatives, putting more ROC seats into play across the country for the NDP. Counterintuitive, if your focus has been on Ontario to date in this campaign, but true nonetheless. The benefits accrue to the orange team mainly in BC, but a smattering as well across the Prairies, and in Northern and Southwestern Ontario. In Quebec, the Liberal gains in vote-share as of Sunday night had come equally out of the Bloc and the NDP.
  • The Liberals are only leading regionally in Atlantic Canada, and (mostly) in Ontario, though they have some other concentrated pockets of support: in anglo- and allo-Quebec ridings, Winnipeg, and upscale Vancouver. Even in Ontario, Liberal support is concentrated in the 905, 416, Halton-Peel, and the National Capital Regions. There are plenty of seats to be won for them there, to be sure, but not enough to get over the minority government threshold of 120 or so, especially when they are shut out of large swaths of rural Ontario.
  • The Liberals are not competitive in over half of the 338 seats in the new House of Commons. Even if they kept every current seat, and completely ran the table in i) NDP-Liberal races, ii) Conservative-Liberal races, and iii) three-way races, they would still fall well short of the magic 170 to secure even a slim majority.
  • By contrast, were everything to go their ways, either the Conservatives or NDP could each conceivably be competitive in around 60% of the seats, albeit not at the same time.
  • Racking up larger and larger margins in the Atlantic, anglo- and allo-Quebec ridings, the 905, north Toronto, and Halton-Peel doesn't win the Liberals more seats. By the same token, even at 36% in Quebec with a split opposition, the NDP could still expect to leave the province with the majority of seats. In 2008, for example, the Bloc won two-thirds of the seats in Quebec with just 38% of the vote (against 24L, 22L, 12N). Three years later it won 4 seats with 24%. As of Sunday, it stood at 16.4%.

To help see this pattern, let's first remind ourselves of the parties' performance in 2011. I've grouped the Prairies to be comparable with the CTV Nanos Daily Tracking, and included the count of nominal seat wins based on the new (338-riding) boundaries.

2011 General Election Performance
[seat counts using nominal wins on new boundaries]

2011 Vote%
[seats/338]
N60 BC Pra ON QC Atl TOT
Cons 36.3%
[2]
45.6%
[28]
62.8%
[55]
44.4%
[83]
16.5%
[5]
37.9%
[15]
39.6%
[188]
NDP 27.8%
[1]
32.5%
[11]
22.0%
[6]
25.6%
[24]
42.9%
[61]
29.5%
[6]
30.7%
[109]
Lib 26.4%
 
13.4%
[2]
10.8%
[1]
25.3%
[14]
14.2%
[8]
29.3%
[11]
18.9%
[36]
Grn 9.3%
 
7.7%
[1]
4.4%
 
3.8%
 
2.1%
 
3.0%
 
3.9%
[1]
BQ         23.5%
[4]
  6.1%
[4]

And then, let's look at the CTV Nanos tracking as of Sunday, with the changes from 2011 in brackets below.

CTV Nanos Tracking Poll of Federal Vote Intention, Showing Change since 2011
(CATI, n=1200, September 24-26, 2015)

Nanos/CTV
Sep 24-26, 2015
(chg since 2011)
N60 BC Pra ON QC Atl TOT
Cons 32.5%
(-13.1)
46.7%
(-16.1)
37.6%
(-6.8)
18.2%
(+1.7)
13.2%
(-24.7)
31.5%
(-8.1)
NDP 31.8%
(-0.7)
21.3%
(-0.7)
23.5%
(-2.1)
35.7%
(-7.2)
26.9%
(-2.6)
27.6%
(-3.1)
Lib 27.8%
(+14.4)
26.1%
(+15.3)
35.6%
(+10.3)
27.9%
(+13.7)
54.4%
(+25.1)
32.5%
(+13.6)
Grn 7.8%
(+0.1)
3.0%
(-1.4)
3.3%
(-0.5)
1.8%
(-0.3)
4.7%
(+1.7)
3.7%
(-0.2)
BQ         16.4%
(-7.1)
  4.0%
(-2.1)

To help sort out the range of seat possibilities, I rated each riding for its range of outcomes, current guestimated winner, and noted the nominal winner from 2011 on the new boundaries.

That yielded seven groups of ridings. Imagine a triangle with one group on each point (core and strongly leaning seats for each party), and one group on each side (the two-way contests between each pair of parties), with the seventh group in the middle (the three-way contests).

If you completed the exercise, you might quibble with the categorization of ridings here and there, but I suspect would arrive at a similar configuration. Remember I was not trying to precisely determine a seat projection for today; just group the ridings by range of outcomes for this election. This yielded the following groups:

  • Core and strongly leaning Conservative seats – 70 (42 core and 28 strongly leaning) as follows: 2-NB, 2-QC, 22-ON, 7-MB, 8-SK, 21-AB, 8-BC
  • Core and strongish leaning NDP seats – 63 (12 core, 3 based on incumbent strength, and 48 strongly or likely leaning) as follows: 1-NS, 46-QC, 6-ON, 1-MB-, 1-SK, 1-AB, 4-BC. I'm hedging my bets slightly here, as several pollsters were reporting overnight that their morning numbers would show a significant shift, which I take to be some movement in Quebec. I guess we'll see.
  • Core and strongly leaning Liberal seats – 18 (15 core, 1 based on incumbent strength, and 2 leaning) as follows: 8-Atl, 3-QC, 5-ON, 1-SK, 1-BC
  • Conservative-Liberal contests – 49 (46 currently held by the Conservatives, 3 by the Liberals) as follows: 3-NS, 1-NB, 1-QC, 39-ON, 1-MB, 1-AB, 3-BC
  • Conservative-NDP contests – 44 (32 currently held by the Conservatives, 12 by the NDP) as follows: 11-QC, 8-ON, 1-MB, 3-SK, 5-AB, 16-BC
  • NDP-Liberal contests – 44 (29 currently held by the NDP, 13 by the Liberals, and 2 by the Conservatives) as follows: 7-Atl, 13-QC, 18-ON, 2-MB, 3-BC, 1-N60
  • Three-way contests – 45 (36 currently held by the Conservatives, 5 by the NDP, and 4 by the Liberals) as follows: 7-Atl, 23-ON, 2-MB, 1-SK, 5-AB, 5-BC, 2-N60

Five other ridings are left over:

  • BQ-Cons contest – Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC
  • NDP-BQ contest – La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC
  • Cons-Ind contest – St. Albert—Edmonton, AB
  • NDP-Grn contest – Victoria, BC
  • Green Party leader Elizabeth May incumbency seat – Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Now suppose each party ran the table in terms of holding their core and strongly leaning seats, and then winning all of the two-way contests they were involved in and all of the three-way contests. That would yield the following theoretical ceilings for each party:

  • Conservatives: 70 core and strongly leading + 49 Cons-Lib + 44 Cons-NDP + 45 three-way contests = 208
  • NDP: 63 core and strong leading (unless the Quebec numbers massively moved last night) + 44 Cons-NDP + 44 NDP-Lib + 45 3-way = 196
  • Liberals: 18 core and strongly leading + 49 Cons-Lib + 44 NDP-Lib + 45 3-way = 156

Next, consider the share of seats if each party were to win an equal share of all the contests it was involved with:

  • Conservatives: 70 core and strongly leading + 25 Cons-Lib + 22 Cons-NDP + 15 three-way contests = 132
  • NDP: 63 core and strong leading + 22 Cons-NDP + 22 NDP-Lib + 15 3-way = 122
  • Liberals: 18 core and strongly leading + 24 Cons-Lib + 22 NDP-Lib + 15 3-way = 79
  • Five other seats: 2-NDP, 1 or 2-Cons, 1-Grn, 0 or 1 BQ

From there, everything is a zero-sum game. But, so long as the NDP can maintain a large bloc of seats in Quebec as the anchor of its caucus, it has a much better chance of winning more seats than the Liberals, in spite of a third place finish in Ontario. It's the difference between starting off with 60-some and 20-some seats in your column.

In terms of Quebec's 78 seats, Sunday night no-one was crediting the Conservatives with more than 8-12, nor the Liberals realistically with more than 12-14 either. I discount the projected Liberal wins in the Gaspesie and Bas-St-Laurent, given they were based on 2011 results from a strong local candidate

We'll consider each group of seats in subsequent blogposts, and take a look at where the Leaders have been concentrating their attention.

Campaigning in 3D: Six more weeks of the three-way race

September 8th, 2015 | 11 Comments

Following the maxim that you shouldn't wear white after Labour Day, none of the major political parties will be waving the white flag just yet either.

Conservative Party leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes questions from the media at a campaign stop in Ottawa, Aug 31, 2015

But as the extra-long election campaign called by the incumbent Conservative Prime Minister crosses the hump from pre-season into prime time, there are signs the governing party's machinery is not running as smoothly as it once did.

  • The Conservatives are actually running third in the number of candidates nominated, behind the Liberals who led the pack for the longest time on that measure, but now the NDP as well – who as of Sunday night have just 3 spots left on their slate to fill, and will likely be the first to confirm a full complement of 338 candidates with Elections Canada.
  • Indeed, the Conservatives lost two of their nominated candidates on the long weekend, in addition to several others who were dropped in Quebec in the latter half of August.
  • While the governing party recruited a few stars to replace the growing number of incumbent MPs and cabinet ministers calling it quits, overall the party's slate is notable for the lack of sizzle in the new blood stepping forward.
  • The one place bucking that trend for awhile was Quebec, where the Conservatives attracted a number of local mayors, TV personalities, and sports figures in the spring, but now the party has been stubbornly stuck with 10-11 holes to fill in its Quebec slate for the past few weeks.
  • Meanwhile, Newfoundland & Labrador candidate recruitment risked becoming a full-on fiasco after the party disqualified lawyer Ches Crosbie, son of the Rock's Conservative icon John Crosbie. Until very recently, they had only finalized one of the province's seven nominations, an outgoing provincial MHA, with few other prospects on the horizon ('we're down to pulse-optional," the CBC's David Cochrane was told). Then this past week they announced a political aide in Avalon, and disgraced former cabinet minister Peter Penashue in Labrador. A contested nomination was completed on Friday night finally in St. John's East, leaving 3 of the 7 seats still to fill.
  • The Conservative leader's tour is, with few exceptions, focusing on weak incumbent seats ("playing defence") and far less on pickup targets ("playing offence").
  • And crowds at the PM's tour events are tiny by previous standards, and in contrast to the crowds greeting Trudeau and especiallly Mulcair.

The fact that the Conservatives were not able to field a complete and properly vetted slate of candidates within a week of calling the election — and in fact are still unable to do so a full five weeks after the writ dropped — suggests to me that the idea of an early call was not a long time in the making for them, after all. Or that, if it was, the party's ability to execute is substantially diminished, or else its new National Candidate Selection Committee process has proven too cumbersome to reach timely or canny decisions.

Given the party's culture of secrecy and message discipline, we can only infer from reading the tea leaves and watching the smoke signals. But a sovietology-like study of the signs from outside will no doubt be pondering:

  • why Jenni Byrne as campaign director is said to be on the plane rather than in the war-room,
  • why are any party insiders complaining to Bob Fife in the middle of the campaign that Jenni Byrne is on the plane rather than in the war-room
  • what impact National Field Director Fred Delorey's spring departure to run for the nomination in Central Nova would have had on the party's ground preparation and candidate search, and
  • how serious an impact the wasted $7M spent on a failed IT project to upgrade the party's frontline data-gathering capacity is having on their ground game.

I also think it points to another motivation for their seemingly inexplicable obsession with attacking then-third place Liberal leader Justin Trudeau: namely that the Conservatives needed to forestall any weakening that would see them drop seriously into third place themselves. It both satisfies the bloodlust of their own base, and reminds swing voters of their one big hesitation with the young opposition leader.

For the longest time, the convention in Canadian federal politics has been that the Conservatives have a solid base of support, and can win a majority by splitting their opposition to the centre-left. Arithmetically this formula works so long as the party in the cat-bird seat controls over a third of the vote, and has enough control over other levers to calibrate support and opposition for its two rivals to keep them in equilibrium, both just below the one-third threshold.

Liberals (big- and small-L) accepted this paradigm for the longest time too, and instead focused on trying to reinforce their credentials as the natural alternative governing party by targeting other pretenders to that throne, or by tinkering with "cooperation" or "strategic voting" schemes to suppress those progressive rivals.

Two new strategic approaches eventually emerged to challenge that conventional wisdom. First was the idea promoted by the NDP since the days of Jack Layton that any opposition party worth its salt should be directly challenging the Conservatives, and not taking it as gospel that their vote couldn't be shaken loose. Both by turning in solid and vigourous performances in the House and Committee in their critic duties, led now by prosecutor-in-chief Tom Mulcair, and by trying to develop issues that had the potential to politically separate the Conservative government from its base, the NDP was trying to establish its claim to be the anti-Harper party of choice based on merit rather than on tactics.

Second was the idea, floated for some time by Liberal strategists who understood the futility of strategic voting arguments made by a party on the down cycle, that not being the current alternative governing party offered the Liberals the opening to take bold positions to both the right and the left, and thereby defy labelling. Thus one of the first moves of the Trudeau leadership was an op-ed piece favouring the foreign sale of Nexen, while another was to announce support for legalizing marijuana.

The strategy was further elaborated in a series of successful provincial Liberal campaigns, either to win power, or hang onto it, culminating in the successful "reach-around strategy" whereby the Ontario Liberals ceded the southwest to blue-orange switchers, but constructed an apparently left-wing policy offer to urban red-orange switchers, which had the side-benefit of dividing the ONDP family internally at the same time.

Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne thus successfully occupied the pole position as the centre-left foil to job-chopping PC leader Tim Hudak, winning over nervous urban knee-dippers with the "most progressive budget ever", and distracting attention from her party's decay outside metropolitan Toronto by focusing on the NDP's vulnerability in the downtown. The fawning parts of the Toronto media willingly chimed in. Of course as thanks for all the lefty love she received during the campaign, Wynne turned around and proposed the highly unpopular privatization of Hydro One. This bait-and-switch is important to mention because of its potential impact on the ability of the federal Liberals to repeat the same feat nationally against the NDP.

Thinking about three-way campaign dynamics is foreign to most of the folks who've covered Canadian federal politics. They totally understood the "red-door-blue-door" dynamic, and preferred the US-style narrative of a two-party clash of ideas, where the challenger attacks the winner in order to move ahead. But politicos have always needed to understand the three-way dynamics of our varied national battlegrounds, and the varying approaches available to draw on or avoid:

  • A centrist party in a weak first place conjures the evil of a conservative opponent in a threatening second place to try and corral the votes of an earnest social democratic party in third place
  • An opposition party facing a conservative opponent in government tries to reinforce its standing by ignoring the third party, and promoting favourable media coverage and highlighting opinion polls to try and build a bandwagon effort in its favour to surpass the government
  • An unpopular governing party tries to halt the sudden gains of an unexpectedly strong fourth-place opponent by turning its guns on them, only to find it's accidentally confirmed that opponent was indeed strong enough to be worthy of all the attention
  • One opposition party from third place attacks the governing party so hard and so effectively, it inadvertantly makes the case for defeating the government by voting for someone else stronger
  • A governing party tries to assist a third party in order to help it pincer the second-place challenger
  • A governing party attacks its major opponent so hard, it doesn't notice the extent to which that opponent's support is bleeding to a stronger alternative
  • A candidate compliments her weaker opponent so as not to make their supporters feel uncomfortable about switching their support to her
  • Another candidate attacks his weaker opponent, unconsciously doing the dirty work of the frontrunner who is thus able to stay above the fray
  • Candidates or leaders starting in third or fourth place do not receive sufficiently robust media scrutiny, and are thus able to enjoy a halo effect far longer than their front-running competitors during the campaign, enabling last-minute surges

Stephen Harper is said to have had a long-term strategy of crippling the Liberal Party, thereby enabling a reunited Conservative Party to win three elections out of four against the now-national NDP.

But what if the Conservatives settle into third place in the public domain polls, with a weakened ground organization and demoralized volunteer troops? Well, they can still parlay their fundraising advantage into doing voter contact using vendors, and plastering the airwaves with increasingly hard-hitting advertising against their most fruitful target, drawing on the red meat issues that would most motivate their core supporters.

The Liberals were apparently following a strategy of tilting right on some issues such as opposing universality and a national childcare program, but "reaching-around" to the supposed left of the NDP with a few others (notably advocating deficit financing to support infrastructure spending), as a way to avoid being the meat in the sandwich between the Conservatives and the social democratic NDP.

But what if the Liberals are now in second place, and challenging for government? Would that "reach-around" strategy help or hurt them in a new position as the strongest capitalist party opposing the social democratic NDP? Did they inadvertantly allow the NDP to better stake its claim to the praire style of fiscal management that allowed premiers like Gary Doer and Roy Romanow to win tory-crossover votes?

If the Conservatives are shedding support, where is it going? Traditional left-right spectrum analysis would guess the Liberals. And yet Sunday night's first offering from the Nanos rolling 3-day tracking for CTV suggests that the latest week's tranche of fleeing Conservative support benefited the NDP, while their losses earlier in the month were to the Liberals.

Also, to this point, we've believed the election would be about whether Stephen Harper's Conservative government should be replaced, and if so, who was offering the better alternative as between the Mulcair NDP and the Trudeau Liberals, and which was better positioned to pull it off.

But now, if the Conservatives were to fall to third place, the ballot question would be up in the air, and the NDP and Liberals would be fighting as much to establish their preferred ballot question, as to prove that either the orange team or the red leader is "Ready". Are the Liberals really gearing up to run a campaign against the NDP for wanting to balance the budget? If so, which party's "base" would revolt first? And, how would the strategic voting advocates react then?

This is not to suggest that the Conservatives would take the possibility of third place lying down. They might take a bold risk of announcing a GST rate cut, designed to throw a grenade into their opponents' platforms and make any debate over deficits that much more fraught. They would certainly try to drive wedges between the Liberals' newfound enthusiasm for deficit-financing and the red team's well-entrenched position as the party that had balanced budgets "in their DNA". And they will try to activate fears of the NDP in government (and it's not like some of that party's provincial sections didn't give them at least some material to work with on that score).

Question: would they suddenly put out hints of being open to reviving an English-language Consortium Debate? I only suggest this now, because that was my punditry-slash-speculation back last May during the "debate on the debates". Probably not, given Stephen Harper's distaste for climb-downs, but desperate times and all that.

None of the three major parties has any experience fighting a three-way race from their current position: the NDP has never been the front-runner in five straight weeks of a federal election campaign (especially with nearly no advertising outlay to date), the Liberals have never been fighting to come back from third place in the House after tumbling from first place in the polls, and the newly-formed Conservatives – so used to being the dominant force in the ground game and defining the air war – are not used to feeling such a victim of events and their own record in government.

Yet more reasons the 2015 election is proving one of the most fascinating in recent memory.

A hat-trick of double-takes on the ballot

August 28th, 2015 | 6 Comments

And now for something completely trivial. There will be three sets of candidates with the same names on the ballot this coming October:

Robert Kitchen

The most recent pairing came last night, when businessperson Robert Kitchen of Nackawic in New Brunswick (pictured left) won a two-way contested nomination to represent the NDP in the open riding of Tobique-Mactaquac, NB. He joins his namesake Robert Kitchen, a chiropractor from Estevan, SK (right) who won a six-way contested nomination last November to represent the Conservatives in the open seat of Souris-Moose Mountain.

Robert Kitchen (NDP candidate in Tobique-Mactaquac, NB) and Robert Kitchen (Conservative candidate in Souris-Moose Mountain, SK)

Erin Weir

Previous to that, we got the pairing of Erin A. Weir a registered nurse from Raymond, AB (left) who was acclaimed the NDP candidate in Medecine Hat-Cardston-Warner, AB on July 27 of this year, joining Erin M.K. Weir (right), the Steelworkers economist who won a two-way contest for the NDP in the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Lewvan over a year ago on June 22.

Erin Weir (NDP candidate in Medecine Hat-Cardston-Warner, AB) and Erin Weir (NDP candidate in Regina-Lewvan, SK)

Scott Andrews

The first potential couplet emerged when Scott James Andrews (left), a caregiver for adults with disabilities, won a two-way contested nomination for the NDP in Vancouver Quadra on November 23 of last year. Two weeks earlier, then-Liberal MP Scott Andrews of Avalon, NL (right) was suspended as the Liberal candidate for that riding, and suggested he could run for re-election as an Independent. He confirmed he would do so this past August 10.

Robert Kitchen (NDP candidate in Tobique-Mactaquac, NB) and Robert Kitchen (Conservative candidate in Souris-Moose Mountain, SK)

So, if you're compiling candidate lists, don't do a double-take if you see two candidates with the same names. Double-check the party and riding before you accidentally eliminate a dupe that wasn't.

UPDATED: The State of the Slates

August 27th, 2015 | 10 Comments

As we head into Labour Day weekend, the three main parties are within eyeshot of completing their national 338-seat slates, as is the Bloc Québécois in la belle province. The NDP leads the pack with 326 or 96% of their candidates selected, with the Liberals just behind at 322 or 95%, and the Conservatives close behind at 319 or 94%. The Bloc Québécois has by my count 70 candidates on the books or 90% of the 78 ridings in that province.

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

The Greens are more than 100 candidates behind (231 of 338), and will have to nominate over 3 candidates per day between now and the nominations deadline of Monday, September 28 to meet party leader Elizabeth May's commitment to run a full slate on October 19. Typically in previous election cycles, they have completed most of their slate in the final weeks before the deadline, however, so that's not an unfamiliar position for that party.

Nominations Progress by Party and Province, as of Aug 26, 2015

 
  YT NT NU BC AB SK MB ON QC NB NS PE NL Tot Pct Wom Pct
Seats 1 1 1 42 34 14 14 121 78 10 11 4 7 338    
Lib 1 1 1 41 27 11 14 120 74 10 11 4 7 322 95% 101 31.4%
NDP 1 1 1 41 32 14 10 121 76 9 9 4 7 326 96% 139 42.6%
Grn 1   1 35 31 13 14 82 32 8 8 3 3 231 68% 73 31.6%
BQ                 70         70 21% 18 25.7%
Cons 1 1 1 41 34 14 13 120 68 10 11 4 1 319 94% 62 19.4%
Ind       2 3   1 3 3   1   1 14 4% 2 14.3%
Oth 1 1   16 14 1 2 42 26 1 2   1 107 32% 14 13.1%

The NDP has filled its slates in Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, all 121 seats in Ontario (the first party to do so), Saskatchewan, and the three territories north of 60. It also has four scheduled nomination meetings scheduled before month's end: the announcement of star candidate Monika Dutt (co-chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare) tonight next Thursday in Sydney-Victoria, NS; two other 2-way contested nomination meetings tonight in Tobique-Mactacquac, NB and Lévis—Lotbinière, QC, and another 2-way nomination contest in Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB on Sunday.

That leaves the NDP with 8 holes to fill:

  • Kings-Hants, NS – where nominated candidate Morgan Wheeldon "got quit" after some remarks on Facebook were highlighted on a Conservative Party opposition research micro-website. The EDA president resigned, and the other nomination contestant refused to run in Wheeldon's stead, as party supporters in the area continue to believe Wheeldon worthy of support. The party will have to resolve this situation before leader Tom Mulcair arrives to campaign in Halifax this weekend.
  • Portage-Lisgar, MB – a traditionally safe rural Conservative seat in Manitoba
  • St. Boniface-St. Vital, MB – where a poll was reportedly in the field testing former provincial health minister (and gang of five member) Erin Selby's name as the NDP candidate
  • Winnipeg South, MB – a suburban seat, about which I've heard no chatter whatsoever
  • Grande Prairie-Mackenzie, AB – a northern seat where Conservative MP Chris Warkentin is running for re-election
  • Battle River-Crowfoot, AB – a traditionally safe rural Conservative seat in eastern Alberta
  • Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, BC – a traditionally safe rural Conservative seat in northeastern British Columbia
  • Outremont, QC – leader Tom Mulcair's seat, where it seems safe to say the party is planning a tour event around his nomination

For the Liberals' part, they have filled their slates in all four Atlantic provinces, Manitoba, and the three northern territories, and they have a 2-way contested nomination tonight in the Laval riding of Vimy, QC and an acclamation scheduled for Andy Kowalski in Grande Prairie-Mackenzie, AB the same evening.

This leaves the Liberals with 11 holes to fill:

  • Jonquière, QC and Lac-Saint-Jean, QC – both in the historically sovereignist-leaning Saguenay region
  • Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC – though the party expects to be able to schedule a meeting there by the end of the week
  • Oxford, ON – a rural seat in southwest Ontario which is nearly always that party's last or second-last seat to fill in the province
  • Three rural ridings in Saskatchewan – Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek, Souris-Moose Mountain, and Yorkton-Melville
  • Calgary-Nose Hill, AB – where the party has yet to replace its young candidate Ala Buzreba who stepped down after a number of three-year old Tweets were brought to light by her opponents
  • St. Albert-Edmonton, AB – an Edmonton suburb where the EDA president stepped down to endorse the NDP, and other activists are said to be quietly supporting Independent MP Brent Rathgeber's re-election
  • Red Deer-Mountain View, AB – no meeting or details available
  • Three other rural ridings in Alberta – Battle River-Crowfoot, Bow River, and Sturgeon River-Parkland
  • Abbotsford, BC – the growing Vancouver suburb which was once considered the socially conservative enclave of Dutch Orthodox Reform [thanks to the commenter below for this significant correction] religious adherents and retired military families, but is now an increasingly ethnically diverse ex-urban community

The Conservatives are full in PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and all three northern territories, and they have their final BC candidate being selected in a 3-way contested nomination on Saturday in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

That leaves the governing Conservatives with 18 holes to fill as follows:

  • UPDATE: Nickel Belt, ON – the working class northern rural seat around Sudbury, which will complete their Ontario slate. Nominations were to have closed last Friday according to the local papers.
  • Churchill—Keewatinook Aski, MB – the remote northern seat that is often their last to be filled in the province
  • 10 of the 78 seats in Québec, including: two in east Montréal (Hochelaga and Rosemont-La Petite Patrie), four in western and northwestern Quebec (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Hull-Aylmer, Mirabel, and Rivière-du-Nord), two on the north shore (Berthier—Maskinongé, and Repentigny), one on the south shore (the Bloc-held Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel), and one on the Gaspé peninsula (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
  • 6 of the 7 seats in Newfoundland and Labrador – and here is where the disqualification of John Crosbie's son Ches Crosbie is having serious repercussions for the party's ability to find candidates willing to run for them. Outgoing PC MHA Kevin O'Brien is nominated in the rural seat of Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame, but apart from him the party does not seem to have any other prospects in the easternmost province, and may be reduced to appointing candidates soon to fill their slate there.

The Bloc Québécois held nomination meetings for its first 40 candidates, mainly organized under the auspices of former leader Mario Beaulieu, and then froze nominations until incoming leader Gilles Duceppe could pick his own seat and consider other candidates. Then, once the election was called, the party opted to proceed by appointment. As of today 68 candidates are listed on their website, but I'm aware of at least one more that's previously been identified, and of course leader Gilles Duceppe has already been confirmed as the candidate in Laurier-Ste. Marie.

The Green Party has been putting out a few fires where candidates were either nominated on a mandate to drop out and support the [UPDATE:] Liberals or NDP (Kelowna-Lake Country, BC and Peterborough-Kawartha, ON respectively), or resigned to run for the NDP themselves (Red Deer-Mountain View, AB – although Evan Bedford subsequently withdrew from that contest to back successful NDP nomination contestant Paul Harris). Party leader Elizabeth May has said as recently as yesterday that such decisions were in the hands of the local constituencies, but not everyone in the party's governance structure agrees with that position, and the situation has yet to be resolved.

We'll cover the smaller parties' slates in a subsequent post.

Last-minute, longer election campaign: “Cunning” or just cowardly?

July 27th, 2015 | 9 Comments

[Originally published on July 15, 2015 at NationalNewswatch.com]

The morning after he had won the last federal election, Stephen Harper was asked how people fearing a Conservative majority government could be re-assured.

"One of the things I've learned is that surprises are not generally well received by the public," he replied.*

That's why the Prime Minister sought a mandate during the last election to eliminate the per-vote subsidies for registered federal political parties who met the vote-share threshold. He won a majority government in that election, and therein obtained a mandate to proceed with that policy.

As had been recommended by Tom Flanagan several years earlier, the PM and his Finance Minister Jim Flaherty proposed that the measure be phased in over three years, in order to give the other political parties time to adjust.

"That's what elections are all about. We made it very clear in the platform that we would do this. But we would do it phased in over the next several years, and that's what the amended budget will provide. Exactly as we had it set out in the platform. There will be no surprises," Flaherty told the CBC in a pre-budget interview in May of 2011.

So, the parties have had four years to plan, fundraise and save the money required to wage a five-week election campaign, based on a five-week spending limit, taking into account the declining value of the now-eliminated per-vote subsidy.

But here, at the last minute, you want to surprise the parties with a doubly-long election campaign, that will cost them double the money to run? Based on a hidden provision in a humongous bill, that was dropped as a surprise on the opposition, with little time for advanced study, detailed consideration, or reasoned debate?

And you want to call yourselves "cunning", in a trial-balloon so obviously floated in the National Post?

How about "cowardly"?

That's what you'd call someone who could only win by tying their opponents' hands behind their backs.

Who would be prepared to so sully the public interest of our democracy and its citizens to have a real choice, that no basic sense of fair play were too sacrosanct to violate, nor base partisan interest too small to elevate above the greater good.

An election is the highest form of expression of our citizenship, not a sneak attack where you surprise your opponents while they're sleeping and slaughter them all before dawn.

That is not the way a wise and brave leader is called on to behave.

Prime Minister, you and I worked down the hall from one another decades ago, so I say this to you directly: You are capable of winning an election on the merits of your ideas, the strength of your intellect and your ability to persuade. And yes, through the superior organization the party you built has assembled through its admirable work ethic and obvious dedication.

What you don't need to do is cheapen that victory by nuking your opponents into the stone age. That's the coward's way, not the warrior's way.

And moreover, it might backfire. Because, as you once observed, Canadians don't like surprises.

————————

Alice Funke is the publisher of cá độ bóng đá trên điện thoại www.diretoriorestaurantes.com. She first reported on the implications of the new pro-rated election campaign spending limits on her blog, and later on for Macleans.ca. She worked on 7th floor Confed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, at the same time as Stephen Harper.

* as transcribed in Paul Wells’s The Longer I'm Prime Minister (p.349)

UPDATED: Candidate Drilldown: Vancouver Island Part II

June 28th, 2015 | 2 Comments

We'll continue north over the Malahat and up the Island Highway where we left off last time, reviewing the ridings and nominated candidates in central and northern Vancouver Island. Part I of the series on Vancouver Island can be found here.

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

Elec/Poll Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
  British Columbia – All
2011 GE – May 2, 2011 45.6% 32.5% 13.4% 7.7%   0.8%
[2015-06-16] Ekos 23.0% 37.3% 23.2% 14.1%   2.5%
[2015-06-16] Forum 27% 39% 24% 8%   1%
[2015-06-07] Angus Reid 30% 38% 23% 9%   1%
[2015-05-31] Abacus 31% 25% 28% 14%   2%
[2015-05-29] Ipsos 28% 34% 31% –>   7%
[2015-05-09] Insights West 29% 35% 25% 10%   2%
  BC – Vancouver Island
2011 GE – May 2, 2011 38.4% 38.5% 7.9% 14.9%   0.4%
[2015-05-09] Insights West 14% 47% 19% 20%   0%
Seats (2011 Tr) 2 4   1    
2nd place finishes (2011 Tr) 5 2   1    
Nominated (2015 GE) 5 6 6 (+1) 7   5

cá độ bóng đá trên điện thoại Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Alistair MacGREGOR NDP Elected Jan 25, 2015 Jean Crowder's constituency assistant
  Cons     no names announced yet
Fran HUNT-JINNOUCHI Grn Elected Jan 30, 2015 Small businesswoman; former chief Quatsino First Nation
Marian MANNA Lib Acclaimed Mar 7, 2015 Jazz singer, debt counsellor and charity fundraiser
Paul CORTENS Lbtn      

The BC Federal Boundary Commission split the old riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan basically in half, and giving ever so slightly more of it to this new riding, which also takes in 30% of the old Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. Not only is CML a new riding, it's an open seat, given Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder's decision to retire and the fact that no sitting Members of Parliament are running here. For that reason, there has been intense interest in party nominations for every party, and not surprisingly, the Dogwood Institute picked this riding as one of its polling targets – though they perhaps unwisely took their sounding before a Conservative candidate had been selected.

Elec/Poll Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
  Cowichan—Malahat—Langford
2011 Transp 43.1% 43.6% 5.8% 7.2%   0.3%
[2015-05-09] Insights West* 28.2% 41.0% 15.4% 10.3%   5.1%
 * Small sample (n=302); results shown for decided voters only (22% und)

Six people contested the NDP nomination, which was the first to be settled, back on January 25, 2015. Jean Crowder's constituency assistant Alistair MacGregor defeated environmentalist and Shawnigan Basin Society executive director Georgia Collins who had been endorsed by both Nathan Cullen and Randall Garrison and who was a later entry to the race after the meeting was twice postponed by Ottawa. Also running were area cheesemaker Hilary Abbott, Cowichan Valley Regional District director Ian Morrison, Nanaimo-Duncan labour council president and former school trustee Ellen Oxman, and party activist and organizer Nick Wade. 488 votes were cast in the balloting.

Five days later small business woman and the former Quatsino First Nation chief Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi defeated Cowichan area farmer Dan Ferguson for the Green Party nomination. Around 70 people attended the nomination meetings, according to Twitter reports. And a little over a month after that, the Liberals acclaimed jazz singer, charity fundraiser and debt counsellor Maria Manna on March 7, which leaves only the Conservatives without a candidate or a scheduled nomination contest.

There are three candidates in that race, however. The first is John Koury, a former aide to Keith Martin who then ran against him as the Conservative candidate after Martin switched to the Liberals in 2004, placing third after Martin and the NDP's Randall Garrison. Koury then served two terms municipally in North Cowichan punctuated by a federal run in 2011, where he placed second to Jean Crowder, and then ran unsuccessfully for the North Cowican mayoralty last year. Also originally in the federal Conservative contest was another North Cowichan mayoralty candidate, entrepreneur Damir Wallener, who ran provincially for the BC Conservatives in 2013, however he has since withdrawn. Still in the race is veterinarian chiropractor Martin Barker, in his third term municipally a former two-term muicipal councillor in Duncan, but who lost the 2011 federal Conservative nomination to Koury. The two remaining contestants were joined more recently by a special education teacher at Duncan's christian school, Jeremy Smyth, who represented the fundamentalist christian Freedom Party provincially in 2005, and made an earlier municipal bid in the Fraser Valley.

No date has been set as yet for the Conservative nomination, which is the target of persistent speculation that a higher profile candidate is being sought.

Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Sheila MALCOLMSON NDP Elected Oct 5, 2014 Energy policy expert; 4-term Islands Trustee, 2 terms as Chair
Mark MacDONALD Cons Acclaimed Sept 25, 2014 Managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily News
Paul MANLY Grn Acclaimed Jan 12, 2015 Documentary film-maker, son of former NDP MP Jim Manly
Tim TESSIER Lib Acclaimed Mar 29, 2015 Business consultant

The rest of the old riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan was joined with 45% of the old Nanaimo-Alberni to create a new all-east island constituency. The transposed results from 2011 show a party vote for the NDP just 5 points ahead of the Conservatives, with the Liberals and Greens trailing below 10% each. Given the shifts in the provincial and Vancouver Island polls since then, the NDP should have been expected to call this an easy pickup, but they did make it a bit harder for themselves with the fallout from a competitive nomination contest this time last year.

The disqualification of activist and documentary filmmaker Paul Manly by the NDP for comments he had made about Mulcair, Crowder and Libby Davies in a Vancouver Sun interview from 2012 when his father, former NDP MP Jim Manly, was detained overseas for his participation in a flotilla destined for the Gaza strip, blew up in the media at the same time as renewed tensions in the Middle East hit the top of the news. A second contestant – a one-time supporter of Vancouver Island provincial status, and provincial NDP staffer – was also disqualified, but his wife entered the race instead. By the fall, the 5 remaining contestants went on to a vote, which was convincingly won by Sheila Malcolmson, an energy policy expert who had served four terms on the Islands Trust (municipal-like government for the Gulf Islands), eventually serving as its Chair (mayor-like role). Also running were lawyer and professor Dominique Roelants, Natasha Bob from the Snaw-naw-as (Nanoose) First Nation who worked in child and family services, former president of the Nanaimo Teachers' Association Kip Wood, and nurse Jackie Moad. Malcolmson scored 339 votes on the final ballot to Roelants' 217.

Watching all this from the sidelines were the Conservatives, who the week before had acclaimed Mark MacDonald, managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily News, and of course Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who invited Paul Manly to make a film documentary about a party event and then recruited him as her star candidate, revealed in a high profile news conference around the same time as Jo-Ann Roberts in Victoria. Manly was acclaimed in January, as was business consultant Tim Tessier for the Liberals at the end of March.

Back to the expected contest in this riding, while the Greens claim to have targeted every seat on the Island, from what we know of their Island-wide support in the May Insights West poll, and subtracting Liz May's own vote-share and the known Insights West/Dogwood riding poll results for the Greens, it's hard to see them competitive in any of the other Island seats at current levels of support. If their leader's support in Saanich-Gulf Islands grew from 2011 levels of 46.4% to a reasonable 50%, and the other three Dogwood-polled ridings came in at the stated levels, and given the overall Island-wide party vote-share sat at 20%, then even if every other Green vote were found in only one riding – for example Victoria, which we know the party is already targeting, and whose demographics better fit the profile of a potential Green voter – then neither Nanaimo-Ladysmith nor North Island-Powell River would be in the cards for them. In fact, with Ms. May at an assumed 50% level of support and Victoria at an assumed 25% vote-share, that puts the rest of the Island ridings at between 10%-15% each. To win more than just the one seat on the Island, then, the Greens would have to be polling at least 8-10 points higher on the Island, and have more of that support concentrated in its strongest non-incumbent seats. The fact that, to date, those seats are held by the NDP might help if, or once, the NDP was seen as being able to sweep the country, but absent that unlikely prospect, Green voters being more susceptible than others to "stop Harper" tactical voting pitches, it will be a taller order than if they were fighting a Conservative like May did in 2011.

cá độ bóng đá trên điện thoại Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
John DUNCAN Cons x-Elected July 18, 2014 Chief government whip & former aboriginal affairs minister; Sitting MP; former Ucluelet town councillor; worked in the forest industry
Gord JOHNS NDP Elected Oct 19, 2014 Executive director Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, former Tofino town councillor
Glenn SOLLITT Grn Acclaimed Oct 7, 2014 Owner of a seafood distribution company
Carrie POWELL-DAVIDSON Lib Acclaimed Oct 23, 2014 Former 2-term Parksville town councillor
Troy DEGERNESS Lbtn      

We continue up the Island Highway, veering west "over the hump" on the Pacific Rim Highway, through Cathedral Grove into Port Alberni and out to Tofino, Ucluelet and Ahousaht in Nuu-chah-nulth territory on the west coast, doubling back and up through Cumberland to Courtenay, and taking in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, and Fanny Bay along with Denman and Hornby Islands. Do I know the geography of this riding well? Oh yes I do — and I love it. This riding takes in the greater portion of the old Nanaimo-Alberni (60% of it), along with 29% of the old Vancouver Island North, to make a riding that straddles both sides of the island, and more closely resembles the last configuration the NDP had won it in (Comox-Alberni).

Elec/Poll Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
  Courtenay—Alberni
2011 Transp 44.9% 40.7% 6.7% 6.8%   0.3%
[2015-05-09] Insights West* 29.5% 42.3% 14.1% 11.5%   2.6%
 * Small sample (n=301); results shown for decided voters only (23% und)

In order for nominations to get underway on the Conservative side, two decisions had to be made. First, Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney had to decide that he would not re-offer for a sixth term in office, which he announced in October 2013 — not long after criticizing his own government for its cutbacks to BC Coast Guard stations. Then, Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan had to decide both that he would run again, and that he would do so in the more southerm of the two seats his riding was being split into, and one he had some earlier connection with when he worked for M&B and sat on the Ucluelet town council. He made his announcement in May, after having moved his constituency office out of Courtenay and up into Campbell River in January, conveniently leaving his policy advisor Laura Smith to run in the new North Island-Powell River seat. (see below)

As a loyal cabinet minister and chief government whip Duncan might have been afforded an acclamation, but for the ambition of Errington financial services rep Patrick Chenier, who had earlier launched an aborted one-week nomination bid for the BC Liberal nomination against Michelle Stilwell in late 2012, that he ended only after admitting he had been a party member for just 3 weeks and being unable to name a single issue he could "align with". By June of 2014 he was ready to challenge Duncan for the federal nomination as a candidate of "renewal". Duncan dispatched Chenier pretty decisively the next month, however, though no specific vote counts or attendance figures were reported.

For the NDP, while the new boundaries mostly mirrored the last version of the riding they had held, it also revisited the old friendly rivalry between the Comox Valley membership and the Alberni Valley and west coast members, as 2011 Vancouver Island North candidate and three-term Courtenay municipal councillor Ronna Rae Leonard was challenged by Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce executive director and former Tofino town councillor Gord Johns for the nomination. The race got started with their announcements in September and concluded on October 14, with 340 people voting in a result the riding association described as "close" and I'm told was a margin of 20 or so votes.

Two weeks earlier, the Greens had acclaimed the owner of a seafood distribution company Glenn Sollitt, and the following week, the Liberals acclaimed two-term Parksville town councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson.

James Lunney has mainly been in the sights of eastern progressives for his views on abortion, equal marriage and evolution; but his willingness to go public with criticisms of the governments cuts to Coast Guard stations on the west coast was prescient. In particular, the closure of the station in Kitsilano serving Vancouver harbour is now being widely blamed for the allegedly slow federal response time to the recent oil spill threatening the Vancouver shoreline. Given the environmental concerns over pipelines and oil tanker traffic, the closure of that station came to symbolize the Conservative government for many British Columbians looking for change, and it can't have been comfortable for BC's senior minister to defend.

But Lunney also carried on a different tradition in that riding: of hypocrisy around MPs' pensions. In 1993 the Reform Party's Bill Gilmore defeated the NDP's Bob Skelly in part via an attack on his eligibility for an MP's pension if re-elected. In 2000, James Lunney defeated Bill Gilmore for the Canadian Alliance nomination by attacking Gilmore for changing his mind and accepting the MPs pension after all, contrary to the policy of the Reform Party. Now Lunney's retiring, under the grandfathered pension rules. For myself, I don't begrudge a pension to our elected Members of Parliament, who have to exist in an often very unstable employment situation while running, serving, and after losing; and frankly pensioning them off is better than worrying about the influence and motives of those offering to take care of them after leaving public office. But jumping on a populist bandwagon and winning election by running against the pension plan, and then buying into it anyway, only fuels public cyncism, especially when the people doing it have been responsible for trying to dismantle and undermine everyone else's pensions. So please stop doing that, everyone. Thank you.

North Island—Powell River, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Laura SMITH Cons Acclaimed Feb 19, 2015 Senior policy advisor to John Duncan
Rachel BLANEY NDP Elected Nov 22, 2014 Immigrant services NGO executive director
Peter SCHWARZHOFF Lib Acclaimed July 24, 2015 Retired Environment Canada meteorologist; former RCAF officer
Brenda SAYERS Grn Acclaimed May 24, 2015 Member of the Hupacasath First Nation; former director of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

The northernmost seat on Vancouver Island also now stretches across the Georgia Straight to take in the coastal town of Powell River, reminiscent of the older riding by the same name, but this time including Comox and Lazo from the Comox Valley as well as Campbell River and points north (including Port Alice!). It gets 71% of the old Vancouver Island North, and 14% of the old West Vancouver-mouthful on the mainland, mainly because Vancouver Island had enough population for 6.5 seats and the North Shore of Vancouver had enough for 2.5 seats, while Vancouver's population won them an even 6.

The Liberals acclaimed one-time RCAF officer and 30-year Environment Canada meteorologist and air quality specialist Peter Schwarzhoff back in July of 2014. Then the outgoing national president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union (CEP), Dave Coles, retired after the merger with CAW to form Unifor, and moved back home to the coast in part to seek the NDP nomination here. However he was challenged by immigrant services NGO executive director Rachel Blaney, who prevailed in the November 22, 2014 vote of around 500 members.

John Duncan senior policy advisor Laura Smith declared for the nomination in May of 2014 around the same time Duncan announced his own plans in the wake of the late Jim Flaherty's sudden passing. However, the party did not confirm her as acclaimed until February of 2015. Like Duncan she has lived in many parts of the riding, working in the forestry sector before coming to Ottawa, and serving as a Search and Rescue volunteer.

Green Party candidate Brenda Sayers of the Hupacasath First Nation joined the frey a month ago, when she was acclaimed on May 25, 2015 June 5, 2015 (according to the party's report to Elections Canada).

The riding transposed to a narrow Conservative win of 2011 results on the new boundaries, and its predecessor went back and forth between the Conservatives and NDP over the last few elections. It has new boundaries and brand new candidates, and should be considered a Conservative-NDP riding to watch, along frankly with all four of the central and northern Vancouver island seats.

————————-

We'll move on to the North Shore next time, but first we'll continue some of the informal "counts" and add a few new ones:

Fun thing to track Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
"Media Party" Lukens
MacDonald
  Kane Roberts
Litman
   
Lawyers   Rankin Merner May    
Former Federal Candidates (Koury,
if he wins)
         
Previous Federal Nomination Contestant (Barker,
if he wins)
         
Former Provincial Candidates (Smyth,
if he wins)
         
Former Municipal Councillors Lukens
(Koury,
if he wins)
Duncan
Garrison
Malcolmson
Johns
Powell-Davidson      
Former Municipal Candidates (Smyth,
if he wins)
         
Former School Board Candidates Rizzuti          
Professors   Rankin
Garrison
Blaney Thomas      
Teachers Rizzuto          
Party Activists     Merner
Blaney Thomas
     
Former Political Staffers (Koury,
if he wins)
Smith
Garrison
MacGregor
  May    
"All in the [Political] Family"       Manly    
"Born in the USA"   Garrison   May    
Musicians     Manna      
Federal Public Servants / Retirees     Merner
Schwarzhoff
     
Retired Military / Veterans     Schwarzhoff      

 

UPDATED: Candidate Drilldown: Vancouver Island Part I

June 25th, 2015 | 4 Comments

The seven seats on Vancouver Island are key to both the Conservative and NDP paths to victory, and have been a key regional concentration of Green Party support. Recently some of its ridings were the focus of publicly-released opinion polls from an activist group. The Island gained a seat during the redistribution, and is home to the provincial capital of Victoria in the south and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. What better place, then, to start a west-to-east series of deep dives into the nomination races and candidates leading into this fall's 42nd federal general election.

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

UPDATE: I've added Randall Garrison to another category in the Fun Things to Track table below under Former Municipal Councillor, as he was elected to a three-year term on the Esquimalt City Council in 2008. When looking that up, I also realized that he was born in Nebraska, which made me think "Born in the USA" might make another good category to track, so I'm adding him and Elizabeth May under that heading as well.

FURTHER UPDATE: Cheryl Blaney Thomas won the Liberal nomination in Victoria.

Elec/Poll Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
  British Columbia – All
2011 GE – May 2, 2011 45.6% 32.5% 13.4% 7.7%   0.8%
[2015-06-16] Ekos 23.0% 37.3% 23.2% 14.1%   2.5%
[2015-06-16] Forum 27% 39% 24% 8%   1%
[2015-06-07] Angus Reid 30% 38% 23% 9%   1%
[2015-05-31] Abacus 31% 25% 28% 14%   2%
[2015-05-29] Ipsos 28% 34% 31% –>   7%
[2015-05-09] Insights West 29% 35% 25% 10%   2%
  BC – Vancouver Island
2011 GE – May 2, 2011 38.4% 38.5% 7.9% 14.9%   0.4%
[2015-05-09] Insights West 14% 47% 19% 20%   0%
Seats (2011 Tr) 2 4   1    
2nd place finishes (2011 Tr) 5 2   1    
Nominated (2015 GE) 5 6 6 (+1) 7   5

Victoria, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Murray RANKIN NDP x-Acclaimed Nov 22, 2014 Sitting MP; Aboriginal right lawyer, former prov treaty negotiator
Jo-Ann ROBERTS Grn Acclaimed Jan 20, 2015 CBC Radio Victoria morning show host
John RIZZUTI Cons Acclaimed Feb 12, 2015 Retired school principal; former school board candidate
Cheryl Blaney THOMAS Lib Elected July 4, 2015 Business woman; longtime local Liberal activist
Art LOWE Lbtn      

At the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island is the seat of the provincial government, and Mile 0 of any cross-Canada trek. The riding is one of the few nationally that did not change boundaries in the redistribution. New Democrat Denise Savoie regained the seat from the Liberals in 2006 when former Environment Minister David Anderson retired from politics, after former mayor David Turner fell shy by 4 points in 2004. When Savoie in turn retired, a hotly-contested by-election race ensued between aboriginal rights lawyer and provincial treaty negotiator Murray Rankin, and the upstart and hungry Green Party eager for a second seat with their candidate Donald Galloway, who was on the law faculty at U Vic. Rankin narrowly won that 2012 by-election by just under 3 points.

For the current election, he was the first candidate to be confirmed in Victoria riding, via acclamation at a November 22, 2014 nomination meeting. Then former CBC Radio Victoria morning show host Jo-Ann Roberts was acclaimed as the Green Party candidate quietly on January 20, 2015, followed by a news conference with leader Elizabeth May to announce her candidacy on January 24.

The Conservatives quietly installed retired school principal and former school board candidate John Rizzuti on February 12, 2015 after nominations closed with a single contestant. The Liberals have been talking about holding a nomination meeting since late February, but have finally set a date for July 4, featuring a contest between U Vic economics student and former CFAX news radio announcer Adam Stirling and business woman and long-time local Liberal activist Cheryl Blaney Thomas.

Apart from May's neighbouring seat of Saanich – Gulf Islands, BC and fellow caucus member Bruce Hyer's northwestern Ontairo riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON, Victoria is being described by local Greens as their top priority non-incumbent target, and party president Dave Bagler says they'll be going after the NDP there "with all we've got".

Had the Greens been able to win the November 2012 by-election, they would have had the incumbency advantage going in to October's general election. In growing their vote-share from a previous high of 11.6% (which co-existed with the NDP's own high of 50.8%) in 2011, to 34.3% in the by-election, the party nearly doubled its raw vote to 13,400. Their 22.7 point gain came from the NDP (-13.6), Conservatives (-9.1) and Liberals (-0.9), with the Libertarian picking up half a point. Those gains were made on a compelling argument: "the results of this by-election won't change the government, but they give you a chance to send a message, and give Elizabeth May someone to second her motions in the House". (Bruce Hyer had not yet officially crossed the floor.) While the party has developed considerable riding infrastructure and experienced campaign operatives there now, they will have to find a different narrative in order to defeat NDP incumbent Murray Rankin in a general election, especially in the face of all the national campaigns. Also, in a general election we can expect to see the Liberal and Conservative vote shares reclaim some of the contrarian ballots cast for the Greens in the by-election, though no-one expects either party to contend seriously for the win here now.

Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Elizabeth MAY Grn x-Acclaimed Sept 9, 2014 Party leader; Sitting MP; environmental lawyer & activist
  Cons     no names announced yet
  NDP     no names announced yet
Tim KANE Lib Acclaimed Feb 14, 2015 Co-owner of Delta Media
Meghan PORTER Lbtn      

Directly north of Victoria on the Saanich Peninsula and neighbouring islands is the riding won by the Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, in the last election. For a longer look at that effort, read back to my post "Elizabeth May’s Big Green Gamble Pays Off". May herself was acclaimed for another bid back on September 9, 2014, and her only confirmed challenger to date will be well familiar to older Ottawa denizens as the co-owner of Delta Media who retired to the left coast, Tim Kane. He was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate on Valentine's Day earlier this year. Rumours persist that the Conservatives are trying to talk former M.P. Gary Lunn into a comeback bid, and last I heard the NDP had met with a prospective candidate, but no announcements are forthcoming from either camp.

Spirited Liberal opposition notwithstanding, no-one seriously expects May to lose this seat, though if she plans to aggressively target neighbouring incumbents, they may be less willing to take a hands-off approach to her here. We'll have to wait to assess the threat level until all the candidates are known, though, which doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon.

Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Candidate Party Selection Date Quick bio
Randall GARRISON NDP x-Acclaimed Oct 18, 2014 Sitting MP; Camosun college criminal justice instructor; 3-term Esquimalt city councillor
Shari LUKENS Cons Acclaimed Feb 5, 2015 Former CTV regional anchor and skating coach; 1-term Colwood city councillor
Frances LITMAN Grn Elected Feb 4, 2015 Former Times-Colonist photographer
David MERNER Lib Elected Mar 2, 2015 Justice dept lawyer; former LeadNow board member; former fed Liberal leadership candidate
Josh STEFFLER Lbtn      

Spreading west and northwest of Victoria is the other riding in the Capital Regional District, currently represented by first-term NDP MP Randall Garrison. It takes in just over three-quarters of the old Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding, added to just over 10% of the old Saanich-Gulf Islands. The Conservatives had coveted Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca ever since former Reformer-turned Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin bolted for the Liberals ahead of the 2004 election.

Keith Martin should be pulled out as the counterpoint example every time a political science expert claims local candidates make no difference to vote-shares in a riding. When he crossed to the Liberals in 2004, the combined conservative vote-share of nearly 58% in 2000 dropped to less than half for the united Conservative Party – just 24%. Meanwhile, he grew the Liberal vote-share concomitant with a comparable growth in the NDP's take, both at the expense of former PC and Canadian Alliance voters, turning the riding into a perennial three-way race until Martin's retirement for politics in 2011. Seat projectors continued to call the race for the Liberals in that election, right up until enough badgering produced a riding-specific poll late in the race showing Garrison and not the Liberal as the main competition for the Conservatives. It was never a "Liberal" vote in that seat: it was support for a strong incumbent who had adopted that party. Once he left, the riding dissolved into a close two-way race, with the Liberals falling back into an uncompetitive third place.

Elec/Poll Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
  Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke
2011 Transp 37.6% 39.4% 9.7% 12.9%   0.4%
[2015-05-09] Insights West* 16.7% 50% 14.3% 15.5%   3.6%
 * Small sample (n=301); results shown for decided voters only (16% und)

One other unknown with the redistribution here is whether the 2011 Green-voting polls being moved into the new riding boundaries from neighbouring Saanich-Gulf Islands would portend greater growth potential for the Greens here as well, or whether they would give way to an Assimilation Effect and adopt voting behaviours consistent with the new riding's contest instead. The Insights West riding poll commissioned by the Dogwood Institute in May seems to suggest the latter.

Speaking of candidates, incumbent NDP MP Randall Garrison was renominated by acclamation last October 18, 2014. Then in February, former Times-Colonist photog Frances Litman defeated Dave Hodgins, a former fire chief, provincial ADM, and one-term Esquimalt municipal councillor for the Green Party nod. Hodgins had previously run unsuccessfully for the Liberal nomination in 2011. By March, former one-term Colwood municipal councillor, skating coach and one-time CTV anchor Shari Lukens outlasted her two aspiring competitors, lawyers David Busch and William Robertson, to be acclaimed the Conservative candidate. And two weeks later, Justice Department lawyer and former federal Liberal leadership contender David Merner, a then-member of the LeadNow.ca board who dropped out of the leadership race to back Joyce Murray's campaign for "cooperation", defeated Luke Krayenhoff, president of Langham Court Theatre, to represent the red team.

————————-

We'll pick up with the rest of Vancouver Island next time, but first we'll start some of the informal "counts":

Fun thing to track Cons NDP Lib Grn BQ Ind/Oth
"Media Party" Lukens   Kane Roberts
Litman
   
Lawyers   Rankin Merner May    
Former Municipal Councillors Lukens Garrison        
Former School Board Candidates Rizzuti          
Professors   Rankin
Garrison
Blaney Thomas      
Teachers Rizzuto          
Party Activists     Merner
Blaney Thomas
     
Former Political Staffers   Garrison   May    
Born in the USA   Garrison   May    

 

Just how many MPs are retiring, anyway?

June 18th, 2015 | 7 Comments

We can say with more certainty at the end of the final session of the 41st Parliament how many MPs will be retiring at the next election, but there may still be a few shoes left to drop.

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

On the home page of this website, I now have a table titled "Current Party Standings and Nominations Metrics", which is pulled directly from the Pundits' Guide database, and currently shows the following:

  • 4 vacant seats: 2 Conservatives, and 2 Independents (1 elected a Conservative, and 1 as a New Democrat, fyi)
  • 54 retiring incumbents: 30 Conservatives, 14 NDPers, 5 Liberals, 1 Bloc Quebecois, and 4 Independents (1 each elected under the CPC, NDP, Lib & BQ banners)

The breakdown by party is as follows:

  • CPC: 34 = 30 current MPs retiring + 2 seats already vacant (John Baird in Ottawa West-Nepean, ON & Patrick Brown in Barrie, ON) + James Lunney now sitting as an Independent, but elected as a Conservative, is retiring + Dean Del Mastro last sitting as an Independent, but elected as a Conservative, has already resigned his Peterborough, ON seat and it's vacant
  • NDP: 14 = 12 current MPs retiring (including 3 who lost their nominations) + Sana Hassainia now sitting as an Independent, but elected as a New Democrat, is retiring + Glenn Thibeault last sitting as an Independent, but elected as a New Democrat, has already resigned his Sudbury, ON seat and it's vacant
  • Lib: 6 = 5 current MPs retiring (including 1 elected as a New Democrat) + Massimo Pacetti now sitting as an Independent, but elected as a Liberal, is retiring
  • BQ: 2 = 1 current MP retiring (Claude Patry, who was elected as a New Democrat) + André Bellavance now sitting as an Independent, but elected with the Bloc Quebecois, is retiring

If you've been following the storylines to date, a few outstanding questions were settled this week:

  • Conservative MP Leon Benoit did confirm his intention to retire, meaning he won't be contesting the Peace River, AB nomination. His Vegreville-Wainwright, AB riding got split up into many pieces, and he seemed to lose the game of nomination musical chairs.
  • The other two NDP MPs who lost their nominations – Tyrone Benskin and Francine Raynault – were among the retiring NDP MPs feted at their Tuesday night caucus party. Technically they could have run as independents or for another party, but that will not be the case, so we can include them in the retired count now.
  • Shefford, QC NDP MP Rejean Genest just announced his retirement at the Wednesday caucus meeting, for family reasons. A first nomination contestant announced in his riding the same day. His retirement became public first thing this morning.

Retiring (and Resigned) Incumbents, 41st Parliament, by Year First Elected
(updated to June 18, 2015)

Class of Cons NDP Lib BQ Ind
Total = 41 30 + 2 vacant 14 5 1 4 + 2 vacant
1993 Ablonczy
Benoit
Breitkreuz
Harris
       
1996 (By)     Byrne    
1997 Anders
Goldring
Keddy
MacKay
Vellacott
Davies
Godin
     
1999 (By)     Cotler    
2000 Rajotte Comartin     Lunney
2002 By         Pacetti
2003 By Schellenberger        
2004 Devolin
Hiebert
Kamp
Kormarnicki
O'Connor
Preston
Smith
Crowder     Bellavance
2006 Allen
Baird
Brown (P)
Bruinooge
Davidson
Hawn
Mayes
Norlock
Paradis
Storseth
Atamanenko
Charlton
    Del Mastro
2008 Boughen
Glover
Kerr
Payne
  Valeriote   Thibeault
2011   Benskin
Brahmi
Genest
Jacob
Latendresse
Morin (M-A)
Morin (M-C)
Raynault
Hsu
St-Denis
Patry Hassainia

The shoes still left to drop are below:

  • We learned today that Conservative MP Lynne Yelich is being challenged for her party's nomination in Saskatoon-Grasswood, SK by CTV Saskatoon sports director Kevin Waugh.
  • Julian Fantino has said several times he'll seek the Conservative nomination in Vaughan-Woodbridge, ON, but no movement has occurred on that nomination whatsoever, and he's refused further comment to his local paper.
  • Laval NDP MP José Nunez-Melo is being challenged by two women for the nomination in his renamed riding of Vimy, QC. The meeting hasn't been scheduled yet, and in fact no NDP nomination meetings have been scheduled in Québec seats for several weeks now.
  • Western Arctic NDP MP Dennis Bevington has not yet announced (nor apparently really decided) whether he will run again in the renamed riding of Northwest Territories, NT.
  • NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is not yet renominated in Outremont, QC, but that smells like a campaign event in waiting to me, and there's no hint he would be challenged.
  • Conservative-turned-Liberal MP Eve Adams is still fighting for the Eglinton-Lawrence, ON nomination against Marco Mendocino. There is no indication when that meeting will be called.
  • Louis Plamondon of the Bloc Québécois is not yet renominated, but continues to say he will run again in the new riding of Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel, QC
  • Liberal-turned-Independent MP Scott Andrews has not yet ruled out running as an Independent in Avalon, NL.

Retiring Incumbents and Open Seats, 1993 GE – 42nd GE

General Election Seats Retiring Incumbents* New Seats Open Seats
1993 GE 295 72   72
1997 GE 301 43 6 49
2000 GE 301 25   25
2004 GE 308 58 7 65
2006 GE 308 28   28
2008 GE 308 38   38
2011 GE 308 19   19
42nd GE 338 58 30 88

So, we have 58 seats either open or already vacant, and I expect as many as 6 others will wind up being open by the time all is said and done. Coupled with the 30 new seats that makes for a record high number of open seats. And that's not even including the cases of the sitting MPs running in different seats, as we discussed a few posts ago.

You can see the full, detailed list of Retiring MPs here (scroll down a bit after clicking it):

or find that link on the main page under the heading "Open Seats / Retiring MPs" as the "Open Seats List".

I've been peppered with questions about these counts all afternoon, so it will save everyone time if I just blogged the answers. Meanwhile, we will bid a fond farewell to the 41st Parliament any minute. Let the 42nd be a kinder, gentler one, please! I've really reached my fill of nastiness in this Parliament.

Liberals lose four candidates in a month

June 11th, 2015 | 25 Comments

Four federal Liberal candidates have quietly stepped down over the last few weeks, and are in the process of being replaced.

Susan Watt, former 2015 Liberal candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, ON

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

The first one we know of is lawyer Susan Watt, who won a contested nomination against former Liberal leadership contestant George Takach last November, in Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON. Her resignation was kept quiet by the party, and her photo and bio remained on their website, until it was reported by the CBC's John Lancaster out of Toronto a month later on May 27. Watt's husband apparently received an exceptionally good job offer in Hong Kong, but it appears the party did not want to announce the resignation before it had identified a star candidate to succeed her, and the story was not picked up on by the national media in Ottawa. The riding is currently represented by first-term Conservative M.P. Bernard Trottier, who will be challenged by lawyer Phil Trotter for the NDP in the fall.

David MacLeod, former 2015 Liberal candidate for Central Nova, NS

The second one we know of is Canadian Forces veteran and former Conservative David MacLeod, who had won a contested nomination last September in Central Nova, NS. His resignation came to light the day Conservative Central Nova MP Peter MacKay announced his retirement from federal politics, presumably when reporters wanted to contact MacLeod for his reaction. In fact, MacLeod had stepped down several days before MacKay, and as CBC Nova Scotia reported, even after the party asked him to reconsider in wake of the seat opening up he still declined to run, and the party then asked the media for privacy on his behalf. Meanwhile former Conservative Field Director Fred DeLorey and Jim Ryan are contesting the Conservative nomination to replace MacKay, and local New Democrats are expecting lots of interest in their nomination now.

However, it may be the third and fourth cases that make for an uncomfortable trend if it continues, as both are aboriginal candidates from urban prairie seats.

Daniol Coles, former 2015 Liberal candidate for Edmonton-Griesbach, AB

The third case I became aware of was the Métis candidate Daniol Coles in Edmonton-Griesbach, AB (successor of Edmonton East). I noticed when updating Alberta candidate contact information that Coles' Twitter and Facebook accounts had both been taken down, even though his profile remains on the party's Candidates page. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made a high-profile visit to Edmonton last weekend, where he and his Edmonton-area candidates attended a rally to kick off Edmonton Mill Woods candidate Amarjeet Sohi's campaign, and all marched together in the Pride parade. Coles was not part of either event as a candidate, and moreover his LinkedIn page lists an end-date for his candidacy in the riding of June 2015. It's not known when or why he stepped down, but from Twitter replies to his former account, he appears to have been engaged in some vigourous debates over Bill C-51 just before he stopped tweeting altogether. Coles was acclaimed the Liberal candidate here last August, and soon became included in stories about high-profile aboriginal candidates being recruited by Trudeau, alongside Jody Wilson-Raybould and (since defeated for her nomination in Manicouagan) Native Women's Association president Michèle Audette. The riding is a Conservative open seat, with Peter Goldring stepping down, and former journalist and municipal councillor Kerry Diotte nominated for the Conservatives, being challenged by provincial curriculum manager Janis Irwin for the NDP.

Marcel Isnana, former 2015 Liberal candidate for Regina-Qu'Appelle, SK

The fourth case was rumoured via social media in Regina for several weeks, but can now be confirmed because a potential replacement has stepped forward soliciting memberships. Former Regina police officer and educator Marcel Isnana (son of the late former Standing Buffalo First Nation Chief and himself former Liberal candidate, Melvin Isnana) appears to have signalled his intention to step down to the Liberals, as Della Anaquod is now running for the Liberal nomination in his riding of Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK. Again, it's not known exactly when or why Isnana stepped down. However, his candidate Facebook page has not been updated since the end of April, and family members have been posting items critical of Bill C-51 to social media. Anaquod declared her bid for the apparently re-opened nomination on June 2. Isnana had originally won a contested nomination to represent the Liberals back in September. The riding is held by Commons Speaker and Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, who is being challenged by Agricultural Producers Association manager Nial Kuyek for the NDP.

There is no doubt that the act of measuring something changes its behaviour. In the last two elections, bloggers started counting the number of nominated Liberal candidates who had stepped down for sport, to the point that it became a crippling narrative — much as Liberals now are counting the number of retiring Conservative incumbents before the current election (and admittedly that number is starting to reach fin-de-regime rather than merely renewal proportions). So, it's not surprising that the Liberal party might now be keen to downplay candidate resignations, which could be nothing more than normal turnover, at a time when the public opinion polls have started to move.

But the rule of three says that three or more examples of a phenomenon is a trend, and a trend is a story.

The Conservatives have had 11 nominated candidates step down, but nine of them are incumbent MPs who have already either announced their retirements or vacated their seats. The other two were Marnie MacDougall, who for some unknown reason had to complete a second nomination meeting in order to carry the party banner in Toronto—St. Paul's, ON, and Christopher Lloyd, who had decided to assume the Conservative candidacy in order to run against Justin Trudeau in Papineau, QC as a work of performance art. His candidacy did not last more than a few hours after its raison d'etre was reported by the CBC.

The NDP has lost 5 nominated candidates: Lewis Cardinal for health reasons very early on, then Glenn Thibeault for provincial opportunity reasons last fall, and more recently three Alberta candidates who were since elected to the provincial legislature on May 5, which is the kind of problem as a political party that you like to have.

So, no-one is at crisis levels of losing large swaths of their slate yet, though the count of retiring MPs is climbing and could reach 60 by the day the writ drops, I figure. But some of the secrecy around these resignations does raise questions about the reasons behind them, so it's worth keeping an eye out for any further signs of a pattern.

First Quarter Nominations Keep Pace, But No Party Election-Ready Yet

April 1st, 2015 | 2 Comments

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.