Harold Jansen's blog

Voter tracking and identification: The Conservative advantage

By Harold Jansen on Sep 13, 2008

Michael Valpy has a great article in the Globe and Mail that details the Conservatives' sopgisticated voter database. It's something that Harper and the Conservatives have been building for years, as detailed in Tom Flanagan's interesting book, Harper's Team. It allows the Conservatives to identify and get out the vote, but also allows them to fundraise between elections. It's part of the secret why the Conservatives are swimming in cash while the Liberals have to borrow to finance their campaign. It's a big advantage and something that to my knowledge the other parties are well beyond them in developing.

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Fearless prediction for Alberta: 28 Conservatives will win

By Harold Jansen on Sep 12, 2008

I've been enjoying reading the profiles of contests from other parts of Canada that my colleagues have posted here on the Mapleleafweb election blog. It must be interesting to live in places where elections are actually close contests. So, I'll chime in from Alberta and fearlessly predict that the Conservatives will win all 28 seats here. Crazy, I know, but that's just how I see it. Perhaps what I will lack in writing about interesting local contests will be offset by having the best accuracy in predicting election results in my province.

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Defusing an Issue - Ending the Afghanistan Mission in 2011

By Harold Jansen on Sep 11, 2008

Besides the news that Elizabeth May would be joining the leaders' debate, the big news yesterday was Stephen Harper's announcement that Canada's current military mission in Afghanistan would not be extended past the 2011 deadline established by Parliament. It is important to note that this does not mean a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan at that point, but that the Canadian mission will change dramatically at that point.

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Urban-rural split likely back on the table

By Harold Jansen on Sep 10, 2008

The Conservatives' high-profile promise yesterday to cut the tax on diesel fuels likely won't have much impact on the average Canadian family, but it's big news if you're a heavy user of diesel fuel. Truckers, farmers and fishers will likely benefit. It also sets up a nice contrast with the Liberals' Green Shift, which would increase taxes on fuels. However, what I think is interesting is that it sets up a rural-urban policy showdown. Two of those three groups (and probably many truckers, too) are primarily rural.

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So much for dignified debate

By Harold Jansen on Sep 9, 2008

Every election, we hope for dignified debate over policy. But eventually, the whole thing grinds down into petty partisanship. It only took until the third day, but we're there. The Conservative website briefly had a puffin pooping on Stephane Dion.

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May Excluded from Leaders' Debate

By Harold Jansen on Sep 9, 2008

The big news on day one of the campaign was that Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, would not be allowed to participate in the leaders' debates. It's easy to see why the other parties wouldn't want her to participate. The Conservatives are weak on environmental issues and they know it, so having a leader wel versed on those issues would only show up their weakness in that critical policy arena. The NDP didn't want her in because they're worried about bleeding votes that way. The only one who seemed willing to have her participate was Stephane Dion and the Liberals, who have developed an understanding with the Greens.

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What Will Low Voter Turnout Do in the Alberta Election?

By Harold Jansen on Feb 28, 2008

I've been enjoying reading the comments of my University of Lethbridge colleague Professor Peter McCormick over on his blog at the Calgary Herald/Edmonton Journal Alberta Votes website.

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The Leadership Debate is Going to be Important

By Harold Jansen on Feb 21, 2008

There's always a lot of attention paid to the leaders' debate, but frequently they don't matter much. I think tonight's debate might be different. Since no one has caught fire and voters don't seem to be paying much attention, the leaders have a real opportunity here to turn this around. In addition, debates often make a difference when leaders perform significantly above or below expectations.

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We Finally Have Some Alberta Election Polling Numbers!

By Harold Jansen on Feb 20, 2008

I've been waiting for some polling numbers and we finally have them, thanks to a National Post/Global TV poll done by Ipsos Reid. Basically, it shows the Conservatives well out in front, thanks to a commanding lead (46%) outside of Edmonton and Calgary.

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Happy Family Day

By Harold Jansen on Feb 18, 2008

It seems entirely appropriate that we're in the midst of a provincial election on Family Day. Those of you who are really old (like me) will remember that Family Day originated duing the 1989 election campaign. Let's see if this sounds familiar....

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Mason has a point (or at least the start of one)

By Harold Jansen on Feb 12, 2008

NDP leader Brian Mason is proposing an end to corporate and union donations to political parties in Alberta. Mason is pitching this as something that would eliminate (or at least reduce) corruption in Alberta.

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Searching for Peter Lougheed

By Harold Jansen on Feb 6, 2008

I'm not ordinarily in agreement with Lorne Gunter, the political columnist from the Edmonton Journal, but I thought he diagnosed the election and the mood of the province correctly in a recent column.

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Good Reading - The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar

By Harold Jansen on Dec 21, 2007

Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang's book on Afghanistan is a timely contribution to the debate on Canadian foreign and defence policy.

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Best Prime Minister Since Pearson?

By Harold Jansen on Dec 15, 2007

If you haven't seen Gordon Gibson's Globe and Mail essay about the best Canadian PM since Lester Pearson, you can read it here. Gibson argues that Brian Mulroney wins the prize as best post-Pearsonian PM. It's pretty clear, though, that it's not an easy call.

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Ontario MMP referendum

By Harold Jansen on Oct 10, 2007

Matthew Soberg Shugart, one of my favorite electoral systems specialists, and certainly my favorite electoral systems blogger (it's a small club) has written a great blog post about the referendum and MMP in Ontario.

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