Author Topic: Canadian Politics 2021  (Read 4785 times)

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #45 on: September 04, 2021, 06:58:43 AM »
Possibly of interest: Alex Usher, a vaguely centre-right consultant and the only person commenting on higher education in Canada full time, is starting to analyze the parties' education platforms https://higheredstrategy.com/2021-pse-platforms-the-conservative-party/

and the CBC has a piece on one of the problems in Canadian politics, the housing crisis
https://www.cbc.ca/radio/checkup/how-affordable-is-your-housing-situation-right-now-1.6155647/measures-to-make-housing-more-affordable-wouldn-t-be-popular-with-voters-economist-1.6155683  It does not talk about all the money obtained in dubious ways overseas being flooded into Canadian real estate to get it into global capital markets.  That obviously drives up housing prices especially in British Columbia.

Canada faces real issues - a global pandemic, an authoritarian and unstable neighbour trying to get us into a fight with another authoritarian great power, tainted recreational drugs which are killing more people than the pandemic, climate change, people becoming homeless because of housing prices - and I wish our elections and political thinking were at all serious.



Due to infighting, the Greens have slipped to the same level in national polls as Maxime Bernier's hard-right People's Party of Canada, about 4% support.  Polls are very unreliable in Canada and national-level or provincial-level polls are useless, but I suspect the party will lose its second seat leaving MP and former leader Elizabeth May.  That would be a very bad thing for the party because I am starting to think that both the new leader and her need to be showed the door and a larger pool of figures needs to start doing the work.


The Greens only have candidates in 75% of ridings, and Annamie Paul has only campaigned outside the Toronto riding she wants to win once (and that was in another TO riding).  That makes sense for the internal power struggle within the Greens (a party leader with a seat would be hard to dislodge) but must contribute to the fall in national support.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 06:43:51 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #46 on: September 09, 2021, 07:26:42 AM »
As further evidence that this is a boring and stupid election, the Liberals are trying to use firearms policy as a wedge issue between L/C swing voters and a vocal minority of the Tory base. As I have said before, Canada has firearms laws which should be effective at reducing homicides on paper, but we are not so good at things like tracking where the guns used in homicides come from (or investigating reports that people with friends in the RCMP are stockpiling weapons after being banned from possessing them).  Reducing violence between drug gangs or reducing the flow of handguns from the United States is HARD, but banning another scary-sounding weapon is easy and works on people who don't follow firearms policy.

It also entrenches firearms policy as a partisan issue, and gives hunters and collectors more bureaucratic hoops to jump, but this election is about people and power not policy positions.  When we wanted to, we got data and found that changes in firearms law had reduced suicides as intended, but right now the government does not want clear evidence on questions like "what percentage of the firearms used in crimes were legally imported into Canada for civilian use?"

Edit: for the Liberals to accuse the Tories of not being tough on legal gun owners is exactly as creative as parties in a British election to argue about who would do the most for the NHS or for parties in a US election to appeal to the Revolution and the Founding Fathers - they keep doing it because it works, but if you pay attention to federal politics you have heard it all before and its unlikely to result in substantive change
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 06:07:24 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #47 on: September 09, 2021, 09:37:39 PM »
I've been seeing some discussion of the election in my circles and social media timelines, almost all focused on Trudeau - usually a "this announcement is good but also very minimal compared to what's really needed" on any given topic. Although there was some more approving sentiment around a clip of him delivering a sharply worded put-down to some Covid-denier media group.
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #48 on: September 09, 2021, 11:09:11 PM »
I've been seeing some discussion of the election in my circles and social media timelines, almost all focused on Trudeau - usually a "this announcement is good but also very minimal compared to what's really needed" on any given topic. Although there was some more approving sentiment around a clip of him delivering a sharply worded put-down to some Covid-denier media group.
I actually only know two people face-to-face who talk about Canadian politics.

On one hand the policy convergence between the three major parties is a good thing, because most of the differences are debates about "is that the best way to spend that money?" or "would that policy achieve its stated objective?" rather than "are $minorityGroup people?"  Whoever is Prime Minister at the end of September, not much will change.

But on the other hand, the only new things to talk about are "WFT is going on inside the Geen Party of Canada?" and maybe "is Erin O'Toole really the moderate conservative of his platform?"  I guess Justin Trudeau got caught offering that $900 million contract to a charity slash company which had paid Trudeau family members generous speaker fees, but "Justin Trudeau is not the innocent reformer he claimed to be in 2015" was a theme of the last election.  There are big domestic issues like RCMP reform and Canadian participation in the wars in Syria and Iraq but I don't see much interest in them by the campaigns.

I might have one more post about platforms (the Greens are not releasing a proper one, just a series of policy positions which have not been submitted to the Parliamentary Budget Office for cost estimates).


Canadian media are focused on the unexpected rise of Erin O'Toole's Conservatives, because the Tories getting the largest number of seats would be different and unexpected.  (Its not clear that they could form government if there was a plausible coalition including the Liberals but not them, but Harper managed it and the parties will have no cash at the end of the month so you can imagine scenarios where they form government without too much handwaving).



Edit 2021-09-10: Looking at the candidates in my riding, the top four all seem like thoughtful people with a broadly materialistic world-view about policy (Elizabeth May is enthusiastic about being some kind of Christian).  Here are interviews with the candidates in the local daily paper, a Q&A about old-growth logging, and a short radio interview with the Green, NDP, and Conservative candidates.  As you can see, there is a lot of agreement about what issues locals are concerned about and in what direction things should change.  The problem is that the systems in parties and parliament and the old media get in the way of the thoughtful, well-meaning people who want to get things done.

Elizabeth May has a reputation for providing excellent services through her constituent office which is another of those issues that gets erased in the Ottawa and Toronto media
« Last Edit: September 11, 2021, 04:46:08 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #49 on: September 14, 2021, 03:46:41 AM »
Today I voted in advance (walked over to a local high school with photo ID and a form which came in the mail and marked my ballot with a pencil stub).

More standard operating procedures: parties have volunteers dredge through candidates' social media histories and release the controversial bits when it is too late or forbidden for parties to nominate another candidate.  This time, targets included Conservative candidate Lisa Robinson in the Beaches-East York riding and the posts were on twitter.  She denies that the account was hers.

This is a big deal if you happen to be in one of the ridings where a candidate is targeted, but since the 2010s it hits about 1% of candidates in every election.  Before the web people dug up trash in other ways, they just had to go out and talk to people and sort through newspaper morgues.



So far, the increase in advanced voting and vote by mail due to the pandemic seems to have been less than expected (CBC). 



Oh, and a Liberal MP in Ontario has withdrawn his candidacy after being accused of sexual harassment by a staffer.  That suddenly puts that riding up in the air since the party which won last time now has no candidate and its too late to nominate a new one.  The candidate denies the allegations.  But after #meTo, "elected official accused of sexual misconduct" is a dog bites man story.  (In this post, bold marks the bits of a controversy which in a game about Canadian politics could be generated by a random-number generator, although to the people involved each is unique and important).
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 02:27:27 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #50 on: September 15, 2021, 05:52:19 PM »
I suppose that the one new thing in the last weeks of this campaign is that Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada is now polling at 4-8% nationally after he started to make nice with the anti-vaccine protesters.  √Čric Grenier has some half decent analysis on his Substack.

Under First Past the Post, some people tell pollsters they will vote for a small party then pick a big party on election day, so unless the PPC gets a seat, or keeps enough support to be elegible for the debates in the next election, this will likely have no effect on results.  Its just possible that the PPC drains off enough support for the Tories to put them second in some close ridings, but I think its more likely that most of their votes will be in Tory safe seats.

Gerald Butts, the former Prime Minister's Office staffer who caused the SNC-Lavalin scandal, has been getting some work as a commentator. Obviously such a skillful, truthful, and nonpartisan person is an excellent authority for journalists to rely upon :headdesk:
« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 06:53:53 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #51 on: September 15, 2021, 06:34:36 PM »
Hmm, I'd expect anti vaxx support to be quite evenly distributed rather than pooling in already conservative seats. It's something that spreads well via tech more than in person which tends to lead to more even distributions electorally.
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #52 on: September 15, 2021, 06:47:12 PM »
Hmm, I'd expect anti vaxx support to be quite evenly distributed rather than pooling in already conservative seats. It's something that spreads well via tech more than in person which tends to lead to more even distributions electorally.
I don't think that is the case in Canada.  While the Internet allows the idea to spread rapidly to new communities, to become popular  in one it needs existing fissures and distrust of authorities.  In BC there is a large unvaccinated population in the south-eastern valleys, which is why cases hvae been exploding there but not in Vancouver like they did during the first year of the pandemic.  I think in the USA some black populations are suspicious because of the history of doctors in the USA using blacks and prisoners and people in the US overseas territories as lab rats.  But as a comment to Grenier's post said, Bernier's "broad shallow" support is exactly the opposite of how successful new parties have been built in Canada since 1918.


Orange is the southeastern valleys ("BC interior"), purple is Greater Vancouver, red is the adjoining mountains, all dates in 2021



There is also a strong base for "restricting gatherings due to the pandemic is unacceptable" thinking in the prairie provinces. A lot of the aggressive protests against the prime minister seem to be in southern Ontario.



This random substack has an analysis of PPC voters which disagrees with some of the things I said above (although agrees that there is a remarkable consensus between the three major parties) https://theline.substack.com/p/matt-gurney-we-know-who-the-ppc-voters  Some other PPC policies like anti-immigration and explicit climate-change denialism (versus "make me carbon-neutral, oh lord, but not yet") are strongly Tory-coded.  Under First Past the Post, the rural areas with low vaccination rates tend to send NDPers or Conservatives to Ottawa.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 06:03:02 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #53 on: September 21, 2021, 10:16:06 AM »
Well, I've occasionally had strong criticisms that Exilian has too many votes over not enough substance, but I guess at least I've never spent six hundred million dollars on getting basically the same result after a vote that we had beforehand. I guess it will be interesting to see what the vote breakdowns look like when I have energy to hunt for some, though a quick google wasn't finding me what I wanted there (e.g. a results readout with the ability to show vote share for parties, filter by seats changing hands, re-map to a population-adjusted map, etc).
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2021, 04:55:35 PM »
Elections Canada has a good "results tracking" page https://enr.elections.ca/National.aspx?lang=e  Canadian bureaucrats are usually not good at timely sharing of data, but Elections Canada is.

The mail-in votes are counted separately so some seats may change hands over the next few weeks.  For example, Nanaimo-Ladysmith has a close three-way race and 8,000 ballots to count which is about 15% as many as the total the total of counted ballots for those three leading candidates.  Paul Manly the Green incumbent is currently in third but its possible that mail-in ballots will have different demographics than the votes cast in person.

The three mechanical challenges this election were that many mail-in ballots arrived at electors late or at the wrong address, and that since it was September many students had just moved and had trouble proving their new address. In Canada a lease or bank statement or car insurance will do fine as proof of address.  Elections Canada also chose not to hold polls on campuses, so suburban polls were clogged up with electors who had to try to prove their current address and make sure they were at the right poll for that address.

Probably the most significant result is that the People's Party of Canada did get 5% of the vote.  That brings them much closer to being a real party and not just Maxime Bernier's personal project https://www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/platform

Edit: here is an OK explainer of how voting by mail works in Canada https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/federal-election-2021/record-number-of-mail-in-ballots-means-final-election-results-could-take-a-while-1.5593216  Ballots can be sent in by mail or dropped off in a ballot box at one of the polls.

Edit: it may be significant that the Green Party got a seat in Southern Ontario (the arrowhead of aerable land between the Great Lakes).  Southern Ontario is Anglo Canada's London or New York + LA, its the tiny area in a large country which the deeply parochial chattering class sees as real, so representation there gets disproportionate attention in the national media.  OTOH, Annamie Paul only got 8.5% of the vote in her riding of Toronto Centre despite spending almost the entire campaign there, and that chattering class loved to gossip about infighting inside the Greens. 



Now here is a story: one of the candidates who is currently ahead in his riding was rejected by the Liberals two days before the vote over a 2019 charge of sexual assault https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/undecided-races-2021-federal-election-1.6185685
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 11:20:40 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2021, 05:57:38 PM »
I am seeing some people in love with the sound of their own voices pronounce that Canadians must be satisfied with the current situation.  I think its more that the people who are not satisfied are not sure how to change that by voting under the current system and with such strong agreement between the three major party platforms.  If last election party A's candidate came first, party B's candidate came second, and party C's candidate came third, switching from A to C can result in B being elected.  Coalition negotiations under modern voting systems can be complicated, but voters can be sure that voting for party C will get C more seats in the legislature and won't cause their least-favourite party to get more seats.

I am also seeing speculation that former Green voters turned to the PPC because the Greens were the only party with a dramatic loss of votes.  I have not seen any surveys which back that, and its also possible that some traditional Green supporters stayed home (or split among the major parties) while new voters came out to vote PPC.  Since PPC supporters are not the kind of people who politely and honestly answer phone surveys or reporters' questions, it may be hard to get a sense of who actually voted for them.



Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has reached a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (the same legal mechanism which wrecked the 2015 Liberal government!) with the US government.  The two Canadian hostages in Chinese prisons will probably be deported to Canada by spring 2022.



And the two Michaels are back in Canada.  We now have a very tough task of figuring out a response to China without being dragged into some plain old great-power encirclement of a rising great power.  Canada was first fooled into this in the Boer War and it has rarely turned out well for anyone except the local worms.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2021, 03:42:12 AM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #56 on: September 26, 2021, 05:44:30 PM »
Yes, FPTP locks dissatisfied voters into their current party coalitions more heavily than PR systems tend to (or pushes them into the nonvoting bloc eventually if they only ever vote for losing candidates). One thing I've also realised in recent years is the extent to which many voters don't necessarily understand that their district representatives aren't necessarily in government even if they win, which is an interesting source of anti-incumbency sentiment sometimes (in the North of England there have been suggestionst hat this is a problem for Labour, as voters in Labour areas blame the party, because it controls their area at all levels of government, rather than the government which is actually doing the things people are objecting to).

I think a party on five percent under FPTP is only stable if that's geographically concentrated enough to turn into seat count. UKIP reached more than double that in the UK at one point and is now in tatters. So I'm not sure how happy the PPC really ought to be with that result.
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #57 on: September 26, 2021, 06:15:28 PM »
I have also seen an argument that there are feedback loops: as (for example) the NDP has trouble winning rural seats against the Conservatives, its MPs tend to be urban and less aware of rural issues, so rural voters start to tune them out.  This election the Conservatives lost about seven suburban ridings in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto which they previously held.

I also see people who don't understand how coalition negotiations work, such as an Italian friend.  It does not help that journalists in Canada often talk about which party or leader "won" when at everything short of a majority, the election is just the first step in forming the government.  But I still think that "if I vote for party A, party A will have more seats in parliament" is easier to understand than many-party first-past-the-post.

OTOH, I like this map of the election results where each riding gets the same area https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Canadian_Federal_Election_Cartogram_2021.svg  In national maps, thinly-populated rural areas tend to drown out the three urban areas where 1/3 of the population of Canada lives.  This is not the final results (it is missing the Green seat in Ontario) but still an alternative to maps of space.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2021, 07:23:18 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #58 on: September 27, 2021, 11:42:22 AM »
Oh, yes, that sort of cartogram/same area map is exactly what I'd been looking for earlier and not found, those are really helpful. Thanks!
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dubsartur

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Re: Canadian Politics 2021
« Reply #59 on: September 28, 2021, 03:01:26 AM »
One thing I've also realised in recent years is the extent to which many voters don't necessarily understand that their district representatives aren't necessarily in government even if they win, which is an interesting source of anti-incumbency sentiment sometimes (in the North of England there have been suggestionst hat this is a problem for Labour, as voters in Labour areas blame the party, because it controls their area at all levels of government, rather than the government which is actually doing the things people are objecting to).
That is actually one of the obstacles of electoral reform in Canada, there is a large constituency for the 19th century idea of having a single MP as patron to appeal to.  But not many Canadians have that kind of relationship in practice, and MPs in most parties are tied down by strong party discipline and staffers appointed by the party head, so its not easy for a MP to respond to constituents' concerns in parliament.  One of our biggest problems in federal politics is that nobody believes in the 19th century norms on which our parliamentary system was based, but there is no appetite for changing the system to reflect the values our parties and MPs actually have.

Canada is very well-represented in far-right circles (the cranks who call themselves sovereign citizens or freemen on the land have joined up with the anti-vaxers) but the People's Party of Canada have a lot of steps ahead of them before they can pass a bill or nominate a minister.  Like UKIP, they might pull Tory policy in a xenophobic direction, but if Maxime Bernier had become Tory leader he could have done that directly.



Annamie Paul has resigned as leader of the Green Party of Canada.  Journalists like speculating which parties will replace their leaders, I think its a neurotypical thing?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2021, 05:07:15 AM by dubsartur »