Blogs

Why are the Conservatives paying us to buy homes?

By Tom Bateman on Sep 18, 2008

The Conservatives have just announced that if re-elected they will make available to first-time home buyers a tax break to defray the costs of purchasing a home. The tax break is for costs like legal fees, land title transfers, and home inspection costs. Is this responsible? Is this a conservative policy?

Of course the Tories need the large, urban middle class to support them. The electoral logic is clear. But isn’t this too cynical by half?

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NDP Narrowcasting

By Jared Wesley on Sep 17, 2008

I asked the students in my Canadian Political Parties class what they thought about the "air war" thus far.  Almost everyone reported having seen the Tories' famous "blue sweater" ads.  (This is hardly surprising, given that they were released on most major networks in the weeks before the writ-drop.)  No one had seen the Liberals' "Turn the Page" ads.  (Again, not surprising.  I have to admit, I have yet to see a live, TV version.  For his part, Dion vetoed the release of an earlier version on the opening day of the campaign.)  Yet, I was surprised that none of my students had seen Jack Layton's "New Kind of Strong" ads.  This was interesting and somewhat embarassing for me...

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In the News: Recycling old policies, divisive issues and May opens flat

By Tammy McCausland on Sep 17, 2008

Driving home from work, I listened to the 6:00 pm news on CBC radio. While the United States' imploding financial system dominated the news, I took note of coverage of the Canadian election campaign. First up: promises by the Liberals and NDP for new childcare spaces, 125,000 and 150,000, respectively. Hmmm... haven't we heard this issue before? I think it was a policy put forward and started by the Liberals a decade ago. Will either party really follow through if elected? I'm not convinced.

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What if they held an election and nobody came? Campaigning in Alberta

By Harold Jansen on Sep 17, 2008

One of the discussions I often end up having with my classes is how much local campaigns and candidates matter. There is a school of thought, best represented by the work of political scientists Ken Carty and Munroe Eagles, that argues that local campaigns can be very important and make a difference. Another school of thought suggests that in an age of electronic, media-intensive, leader-focused campaigns, local candidates matter very little. We often joke in class that one great way to settle this debate would be to convince a candidate not to campaign and see what happens. Unfortunately, we conclude, it would be difficult to convince someone to do this.

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On Airplanes, Footballs and Tanks

By Jonathan Rose on Sep 17, 2008

Yesterday the Liberal party campaign plane made an unscheduled stop in Montreal. We are told that there was a problem in the Liberal's aging Boeing 737. Thankfully the malfunction was minor and no one was hurt.This should have been the end of it but for the media it was a great stand-in for the entire campaign.

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Lastest seat projections from LISPOP put the Conservatives short of a majority

By Harold Jansen on Sep 16, 2008

One of the challenges of interpreting public opinion polls and predicting election outcomes in Canada is the single member plurality electoral system that only loosely translates popular vote into seats. That's why models that try to predict seat totals are interesting. One of the oldest and most successful is done by the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy. Political scientist Barry Kay has developed a model that looks at regional shifts in party support as reported in polls and maps that on what we see at the district level in the previous election.

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Collective Action at Work: the Anti-Harper Vote Swap

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 16, 2008

I heard about this on The Current this morning and thought two things:

1) Fantastic example of collective action!

2) How is this NOT political?!

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How will the economy affect the election? What political science research tells us

By Harold Jansen on Sep 16, 2008

The election was pushed off the front pages by the crisis surrounding the financial industry in the United States, the subsequent carnage on the stock markets, and the implications for the global economy. What impact might all of this have on the election? Political science research into the economy and voting provides us with some clues about what to look for.

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Crisis Within the Bloc

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 16, 2008

Even with new media reports nearly every day in Quebec of separatist politicians taking a swipe at the Bloc, I was reluctant to believe there was a real problem within the party. Rather, I thought some separatists might be more inclined to sway voters to a different party (odd as that might sound).

I'm beginning to realise, however, that it's both: colleagues of mine much closer to the Bloc suggest there is a "genuine crisis" and it centres around the idea that right-wing viewpoints and ideas are no longer welcome within the party.

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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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Comment on this Blog and You Could Win!

By Greg Farries on Sep 15, 2008

Here is your chance to win one of two gift-certificates to Chapters.ca!

We have invited a number of university academics, from across Canada, to write on the Maple Leaf Web Election 2008 Blog. If you register and post a comment on any of the Election 2008 Blog postings, your name will be entered into a draw to win one of two $50 gift-certificates to Chapters.ca.

Each time you post a comment, your name will be entered into the draw - so the more comments you post, the better chance you have to win!

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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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First week report card: Conservatives win the week

By Harold Jansen on Sep 14, 2008

So, who won the first week? I'd have to go with the Conservatives. It certainly wasn't a perfect week for them: some overeager election staffers sent them off message and into damage control mode. However, Harper and the party dealt swiftly with pooping puffins and with e-mails about the political motivations of grieivng parents of dead Canadian soldiers. Furthermore, the party also had the most significant policy announcement of the week in the announcement of the 2001 end to Canada's mission in Afghanistan. I'd give them an A-.

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First week poll numbers: Good news for Conservatives and Greens, BQ is in trouble

By Harold Jansen on Sep 14, 2008

All right, a disclaimer before we begin discussing the latest poll numbers from Decima-Harris and Nanos. There's a lot of trouble with how the media reports polls: they tend to do a horrible job of reporting margins of error on regional poll results, as Melanee Thomas detailed in her recent blog posting. Also, in a country with a heavily regionalized electorate like Canada, the national poll numbers don't mean a whole lot. If the Conservatives are up nationally because they the remaining 35% of voters in Alberta who haven't already succumbed to their charms have now decided to join the majority, it won't mean much for seats because the party can't win any more seats there. The key battlegrounds are British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario.

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