Royce Koop's blog

The National Election in Surrey

By Royce Koop on Sep 15, 2008

More on B.C. races: Shane Edwards also has a great ongoing series on the local campaigns in Surrey (on Fleetwood - Port Kells, Surrey North, and Newton - North Delta). Surrey's politics at the national, provincial, and municipal levels are

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B.C. Ridings to Watch

By Royce Koop on Sep 15, 2008

The Georgia Straight has a "Five Ridings to Watch" column. I have to grudgingly concede that Vancouver Centre has turned into one of the most interesting local races in the province, if not the country. Hedy Fry has been around for a long time and has cultivated good relationships with most groups in the riding. But Lorne Mayencourt has been a local MLA since 2001 and has worked with the same constituents as Fry. Mayencourt has to be considered a star candidate for the Tories. Fry should hold on to this riding, but she may be battered by a weak national Liberal campaign. Fry pulled off a shocker in this riding in 1993 when she defeated Kim Campbell; Mayencourt may pull off just such a surprise victory this time around.

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Impressions from Week One

By Royce Koop on Sep 14, 2008

First: Elizabeth May deserves congratulations for gaining entry to the leaders' debate. I'm not so sure that she should be so happy over this, however. Many people think that May has a good speaking style. This may be true in some contexts, but I'm not sure if she will perform well in a debate with four other party leaders. Harper, Dion, Layton, and Duceppe all have significant experience in Parliament and the first three have already participated in televised debates. May has no similar experience. "Elizabeth May," argues Kevin Libin, "talks faster than an auctioneer on a caffeine buzz." And we've already seen that her tendency to talk quickly can get her into trouble. As Harold Jansen observed, it may be Harper who benefits from May's inclusion in the debate, as he is left to look prime ministerial as the other four leaders natter away.

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Anti-Conservative Vote Swapping

By Royce Koop on Sep 11, 2008

A new vote-swapping project has been fired up on Facebook, in the hope that non-Conservative voters can coordinate their votes across ridings.

Aside from the enormous complexity of these sorts of projects, the paradox is that the people who are informed and committed enough to engage in vote-swapping are probably partisans who may balk at the prospect of voting insincerely and, once alone in the voting booth, destroy the honour system that this project depends on.

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The Retirement of Monte Solberg

By Royce Koop on Sep 11, 2008
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Rick Bell has written a glowing political obituary for Monte Solberg, one of the three senior cabinet ministers that won't be running for re-election.

First elected in 1993 as a Reform Party MP, Solberg was probably the most entertaining MP in the House throughout the 1990s. He was certainly one of the most effective oppostion critics I've ever seen (the other being Diane Ablonczy, although the two of them employ radically different styles). While complaining about tax increases, Solberg once asked Paul Martin in Question Period:

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Focus on B.C.: Richmond Part I

By Royce Koop on Sep 10, 2008
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One of Harper's first stops in this national campaign was on Lulu Island, home of the city (and electoral district) of Richmond, which in my opinion is one of the most interesting and dynamic ridings in B.C..

This is for several reasons. First, the city is home to several distinctive communities that play a role in shaping local politics. In 2001, 57% of the riding's population were new Canadians, and 44% identified themselves as Chinese. Together with visiting a local Chinese family, it's no wonder that the media interpreted Harper's high-profile visit to Richmond as an attempt to appeal to urban ethnic communities.

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Puffingate 2008 and notaleader.ca

By Royce Koop on Sep 10, 2008

I'm not that young nor the hippest cat on the block, but this latest example of bowing before middle-aged squareness is a bit much.

Dion's weakness is that he is perceived as weak and indecisive; in other words, not a leader. So how best to exploit that? With an entire website mocking him! Thus, a puffin defecates (to use the aghast term of national media writers) on his shoulder; you can play as Dion in a game of "Street Debater" against "The Russian Bear"; or generate Liberal policy in a slot machine. I was already laughing when the preview page came onscreen, asking, "Do you think it's easy to load websites?" And be sure to visit the blog that Dion's dog, Kyoto, generously maintains on the site:

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