Thursday, January 26, 2006

Canadian sovereignty over the arctic

Curt words are being exchanged between Stephen Harper and David Wilkins, the American ambassador, over the Arctic. The CBC reports.

Harper is planning to spend $5 billion over the next five years to defend Canada's sovereignty over portion of the arctic with military ice-breaker vessels.

Wilkins response:

"There's no reason to create a problem that doesn't exist."

"We don't recognize Canada's claims to those waters... Most other countries do not recognize their claim."


Harper's stance:
"The United States defends its sovereignty and the Canadian government will defend our sovereignty,"

I'd like to know what people think about this. Is Canadian sovereignty over the arctic important? Why is it worth 5 billion? How ought we to understand Canadian sovereignty?

Who's more into oil, Al Gore?

The self-proclaimed inventor of the internet should maybe browse over to Wikipedia and make a quick comparison of Stephen Harper's career to that of Paul Martin's.

Wikipedia, certainly credible for the inventor of the internet, has this to say on the leader's connections to oil and big business:

Stephen Harper "briefly studied at the University of Toronto before travelling to Edmonton where he found employment in the oil and gas industry of Alberta as a computer programmer in his early twenties." [1]

Paul Martin: "Executive Assistant to Maurice Strong, President of Power Corporation of Canada Vice-President, Power Corporation Vice-President, Consolidated Bathurst Ltd. (A Power Co. subsidiary) Vice-President, Planning and Development for Power Corporation President and later Chief Executive Officer, CSL Group Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Canada Steamship Lines Corporate Director for C.B. Pak Inc, Redpath Industries Ltd., Fednav Ltd., Manufacturers Life Insurance Co., Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. and Imasco Corp..." and much more.

And you know what Power Corporation means? Oil.

... plus a couple of other things, but who cares when your political vision is tunneled and your motivation embittered ...

Now, still using dubious internet techniques to prove a point,
google oil "Stephen Harper"
> 334,000 hits

and then
google oil "Paul Martin"
> 528,000 hits

Then whip on over to The Ethics Comissioner's site and look up Paul Martin in the public registry search find these oil related records:

1995/09/27 - 2002/02/14
Cordex Petroleums Inc. (oil and gas exploration and production) (Alberta)
- 4.6% owned by The CSL Group Inc.

1994/02/24 - 1995/07/12
Argyll Energy Corporation
(inactive, formerly engaged in
oil and gas exploration and
production) - 10%

Cordex Petroleums Inc.(formerly Baca
Petroleum Corporation)(oil & gas
expl. and prod.) - 4.6%

Of course I'd like to see Stephen Harper's public registry entry when it comes available, but for now I think the line "backed by big oil" cannot be backed by a claim that because a man is from oil country, he is ergo oil backed.

update: good point, Mr Anonymous

Gore accuses big oil of bankrolling Tories

Idiot Watch: Gore goes postal on Harper. Maybe he isn't aware that corporate donations are limited to 1,000 each. Even if 100 companies in the oil business gave the maximum amount, 100,000 amounts to squat. OH Al Gore. First you invent the Internet, next you....nevermind. Al Gore, in his own words:

Gore accuses big oil of bankrolling Tories:
"Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore has accused the oil industry of financially backing the Tories and their 'ultra-conservative leader' to protect its stake in Alberta's lucrative oilsands.

Canadians, Gore said, should vigilantly keep watch over prime minister-designate Stephen Harper because he has a pro-oil agenda and wants to pull out of the Kyoto accord -- an international agreement to combat climate change.

'The election in Canada was partly about the tar sands projects in Alberta,' Gore said Wednesday while attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

'And the financial interests behind the tar sands project poured a lot of money and support behind an ultra-conservative leader in order to win the election . . . and to protect their interests.'"

The conventional wisdom

Well, barely 2 days have passed since the Conservatives were flung into a minority government position.

It took only a few days for the media and the pundits to assess the situation. The almost universial mainstream media assessment was a "thin blue line" exists with the Tory government. The Tories, it is thought, have a weak minority. They have to work with other parties. The Tories have barely a mandate. The Canadian public wants the Tories on a short leash. They have to pander to big metropolis cities (the ones the Tories were were shut out of on Monday). Blah blah blah.

But let's be serious. The Tories can do whatever it is they want. And they should use this opportunity to rule like they have a majority. Thus, Conservatives ought not be down that their party did not secure 155 seats on Monday. No one will bring the house down.

There are three obvious reasons that stand out.
  1. Canada has had 2 elections in the past 18 months. It doesn't want another soon. It may have been done in the past more frequently. But this is now. And now people want stability; stability ideally means not voting often. People were saying this past election that "no one wants a Christmas election." The electorate proved the pundits wrong last time. But if we have another election soon, I am afraid Canadians' tolerance for an election will be short.
  2. The Liberals have no leader. Judging from the fact that changing leadership takes some time, the Liberals will be in no position to bring down the House without a leader. It would be suicide to install a proxy leader to lead an election on a whim of non-confidence. It won't happen.
  3. Debt. All the parties, except for the Tories, are rumoured to be in massive debt. If those rumours are true, my guess is that no party wants to be whirling accross the country consuming Russian petrol like this past winter. It just ain't ideal for most parties.
In conclusion, the Tories can do a lot this term. They can get "results" if they act fast. Who will dare stop them? If I were the Tories, I would call the bluff every time for the next year. They are home free. Clean up government, implement the policies they have been dying to implement...and then...when the time is right....pow! install Stockwell Day as your foreign minister. But only after the next election, when you get that really really big majority.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Unconfirmed outdated law in Calgary

I was just reading the BBC article on outdated laws that were being weeded out of the statute books. Came across this in one of the comments:
[A law] in the city of Calgary ... requires one to have a hitching post outside of their business establishment, or if one is kicked out of the city, the accused is entitled a horse and a day's worth of rations to see them to the next city. Cowboy laws die hard out here.

Can we confirm this?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Re-Elect Monte Solberg, Conservative Party of Canada Candidate for Medicine Hat

Monte Solberg, Conservative MP for Medicine Hat:
"This isn't just a change of policy. More importantly its a complete change of culture."


Well said.

Those seat projections

My seat projector, a modification of a spreadsheet developed by talkCanada, is surprisingly accurate I reckon. Some of you may be interested in how it preformed under actual regional numbers from tonight's election.

I plugged in the final unverified results from this 2006 Canadian election into the projector and came out with these seat projections:

Conservatives 122
Liberals 96
NDP 26

When in fact, the actual result is something like

Conservatives 124
Liberals 103
NDP 29

Not bad! The projector was most wrong in Quebec, where it overestimated Bloc support for the percentage of vote the Tories gained. In other words, it underestimated that Liberal and Tory support in Quebec would translate into seats for each respective party. And what projector could have predicted an independent in Quebec?

  • In Ontario, the projector was off by a very small number of seats. Conservatives gained 39 seats compared with 40 seats in the actual election (although Tony Clement won his seat by only 20-odd votes) whereas the projector underestimated Liberal seats by only 2 (56 actual vs. 54 projected). The NDP also got 1 more seat than was projected.
  • The projector was exactly right in Alberta and Sask, Newfoundland, PEI, and the Norther Territories.
  • In Manitoba, the projector underestimated Tory support by only 1 seat and thus overestimated NDP support by one seat. Ditto Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, except it overestimated a Tory seat at the expense of the Liberals.
  • The projector was quite off in BC (by about 4 seats). But what can you expect given a near exact popular vote outcome of last election?

Monday, January 23, 2006

In Quebec...

Quebec: wow, 10 seats for the Tories.

Oh, and remember that riding where Gilles Savard, a Liberal, threw his support to the Tory at the last moment? The same Bloc stronghold for the past 12 years?

Jonquière-Alma has gone blue. And Jean-Pierre has regained the same seat he held during the Mulroney era.

Jean-Pierre BlackburnCON2726251.94% X
Sébastien GagnonBQ2049439.04%
Martin BertrandNDP21084.02%
Gilles SavardLIB16333.11%
Sylvain DompierreGRN9941.89%

North of 60

Don't forget: a strong showing by the Conservative candidate in Nunavut, of all places. Only trailed by 800 votes.

The turnout and turnover

I think the standard line, for the media anyway, is that turnout for this election is an improvement over last election. It sure looks that way prima facie. Elections Canada is reporting 64.9% turnout - an improvement of 4 percent.

However, there is a caveat. For one, that number does not include people who are registering to vote on the day of the election. Expect that factor to drop the actual turnout a few percentage points.

On top of that, there is a big discrepancy for people actually on the voters list and people living in an electoral district. In most cases, an electoral district is probably missing about 10-20% of eligible voters in a given area. So while the turnout may be 61 percent after the numbers are adjusted for registrations, the true turnout is probably closer to 50% or lower.

I'm just saying...

Election Canada 2006: The winner of the polls...SES?

I have long thought SES-CPAC was inaccurate in its polling (its methodology is quite a bit differenet than other polls).

Today, Election Day, it appears as though their final poll was dead on target. I honestly believe it was a fluke. I mean, how accurate can one be by a sample of 1200 voters over 3 days? Especially when other polls had way less margin's of error? I don't get it.

Actual vote (with the difference of final SES poll in brackers)
Conservatives = 36.3% (off by 0.1%)
Liberals = 30.2% (off by 0.1%)
NDP = 17.5% (off by 0.1%)
Bloc = 10.5% (off by 0.1%)
Green = 4.5% (off by 1.1%)


SES predicted this:
Conservatives = 36.4%
Liberals = 30.1%
NDP = 17.4%
Bloc = 10.6%
Green = 5.6%

As you can see, SES was close. Really close. Fluke.

The Globe and Mail: Conservatives win minority; Martin to step down as leader

The Globe and Mail: Conservatives win minority; Martin to step down as leader:
"Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was headed to Parliament Hill as Canada's next Prime Minister after capturing a fragile minority victory in Monday's election, picking up votes in Quebec and making inroads in Ontario but failing to scale the heights early polls had predicted"

By late in the night, the Conservatives were leading or elected in 124 seats, to the Liberals' 103. The Bloc Québécois were leading or elected in 51 and the NDP in 29.

In Alberta — the Conservatives' stronghold — the party was elected in every seat. The Liberals' lone Alberta candidate Anne McLellan, who had served as deputy Prime Minister in Mr. Martin's cabinet, lost to Conservative Laurie Hawn in Edmonton-Centre."

It's over. More soon.

Martin announces he will step down as leader

Watching Mr Martin's speech. He just announced that he will not be leading the party into the next election.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Humanity in occupation

Ford's CEO speaks; I like what I hear.

It is not too often you see a man speak with the recognition of human personality in such a cutthroat environment. But Bill Ford does it.
"It's important to separate my demeanor from my determination. All along the way, I could have chosen to do something else. We're taking very tough actions that I wish I didn't have to take, but I'll take them knowing that it's going to make us a better company. If it ever gets to the point where I have to eliminate my humanity from the job, then I'll have a real problem."
Excellent post on Procedural Justice by the celebrated Lawrence Solum of the Legal Theory Blog

andrewcoyne.com: A word about tonight

Andrew Coyne, on the art of maintaining the integrity of the Canada Elections Act as it relates to restricting the distribution of early poll results from Atlantic Canada:
"We will need, then, to maintain a voluntary blackout until all the polls have closed. It shouldn't be too long: staggered voting hours mean the polls close in most parts of the country at the same time -- 9:30 pm EST. The exceptions are Newfoundland (7:00 pm EST), Atlantic Canada (7:30 pm EST) and British Columbia (10:00 pm EST -- thanks to DM for the correct times.) Three hours, then.

Mind you, while we're waiting for the polls to close in B.C., there doesn't seem any harm in passing the time speculating on the results of some future election, or perhaps warming up for the real thing by pretending to report the results from some election in a foreign or imaginary land, quite unlike our own, with completely different parties and completely different electoral districts.

But as for the results of this election: mum's the word."

Indeed.

Final Election polls

Here are the final election polls for this latest Canadian campaign.

Ipsos-Global: (sample size 11,000!)
Conservatives = 38%
Grits = 27%
NDP = 19%
Bloc = 12%
Green = 4%

SES-CPAC: (sample size 1200)
Conservatives = 36.4%
Liberals = 30.1%
NDP = 17.4%
Bloc = 10.6%
Green = 5.6%

Strategic Counsel/Globe/CTV:
Coming soon..

Election 2006: My predictions

The time has come. For my predictions. Back before the campaign even began, I predicted a very narrow Tory minority government. My prediction then was: Conservatives: 110, Liberals: 107, NDP: 28, Bloc: 63. Here is my final pre-election day prediction before Monday's vote. Feel free to add your own predictions.

::::

Popular vote:
Conservatives: 37%
Liberals: 29%
NDP: 18%
Bloc: 12%
Other: 5%

::::

Seat distribution
Newfoundland and Labrador: Liberals 4, Conservatives 3
Nova Scotia: Conservatives 5, Liberals 3, NDP 3
PEI: Liberals 4
New Brunswick: Conservatives 6, Liberals 4
Quebec: Bloc 59, Liberals 8, Conservatives 7, Independent 1
Ontario: Liberals 46, Conservatives 48, NDP 12
Manitoba: Conservatives 7, Liberals 3, NDP 3, Independent 1
Saskatchewan: Conservatives 13, Liberals 1
Alberta: Conservatives 28
BC: Conservatives 20, NDP 12, Liberals 4
Territories: Liberals 2, NDP 1

::::

Total: Conservatives 137, Liberals 79, NDP 31, Bloc 59, Independent 2.

SteynOnCanada

SteynOnCanada:
"How good is that going to be for the Liberals? It's clear that - as with the British Tories and Mrs Thatcher - dumping Chretien came at too high a price for party unity, discipline and effectiveness. None of that is going to improve until Martin's gone. If the Liberals against all the odds come out with more seats than the Tories on Monday night, what are the chances of getting rid of him swiftly?

If I were a Grit looking to the party's medium-term prospects, I'd be hoping the scary stuff bellyflops. For any non-Martinite fanatic with a eye to the real interests of the Liberals, the really scary thing would be if the scary stuff works."

The Toronto Star did not just print that

TheStar.com - Conservatives' rise in popularity has been driven by Canada's elite, not majority, says Linda McQuaig:
"For years, most Canadians have resisted the extreme strain of conservatism that Harper has represented, considering it at odds with goals like tolerance and diversity, social inclusion and equality, as well as internationalism, the United Nations and the rule of law."

Do she know ANYTHING about conservativism? The rule of law is precisely why conservatives are suspicious of the Courts. The rule of law is associated with predictability, something which leftists feel is expedient for the sake of liberal results. The rule of law is the rule of history, not some extreme strain of conservativism. Email her here: lmcquaig@sympatico.ca.

TheStar.com - Ignatieff scorns media yet again

TheStar.com - The lighter side of a campaign:
"No wonder they love you: 'We're all running to get to the federal parliament in Ottawa, for God sake. I'm not running for municipal council here.' Star Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff dismisses complaints he doesn't live in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, where he's running, or that he doesn't know much about the local issues."

He makes you question, why do we even have ridings with representatives in the first place? Next thing Ignatieff will be saying appointing senators is good for democracy.