Electoral Political Remains a Man's Game. For Shame.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 29, 2008

In the midst of running what seems to be an endless sequence of statistics demonstrating persistent gender differences in political engagement in Europe (read: what dissertation research will do to you), I must admit to deliberately avoiding local Canadian stats on women's involvement in the current federal election.

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Why Attack Ads? Because They Work.

By Jared Wesley on Sep 28, 2008

A reporter from our university newspaper once asked me, "Why do parties run attack ads?  Don't they just turn people off?"  A friend offered a similar comment in reaction to the Conservatives' latest round of 'Weak Dion' ads:  "I wasn't voting Conservative before I saw them," he said.  "Now, I'm really not voting for them.  Why would they run these ads?"  My response:  Because they work.... but not in the way most people think.

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Latest LISPOP projections have Conservatives just short of a majority

By Harold Jansen on Sep 25, 2008

Professor Barry Kay has posted his latest projections of how vote shifts will translate into seats and he has the Conservatives at 153 seats, tantalizingly close to that magic number of 155. It will be interesting to see if there is any fear of a Conservative majority out there and if that sparks a backlash against the party in the last half of the campaign. It will also be interesting to see whether Dion and Layton shift their campaigns from talking about forming a government to denying Harper a majority.

Stephen Harper: Jiu Jitsu Master?

By Royce Koop on Sep 25, 2008

Melanee and lots of other commentators have characterized Harper's recent defence of arts subsidies as an "amateur mistake." I'm not so sure.

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Alternatives for the Divided Left: A Short-List of Strategies

By Jared Wesley on Sep 24, 2008

These days, we hear a lot about the divided left in Canada.  The Harper Conservatives are poised to win a number of close seats by virtue of vote-splitting among Greens, New Democrats and Liberals.  In Alberta, the Provincial Liberal Party is debating the same issue: how to unite a fractured, left-leaning opposition to defeat the 36-year Conservative dynasty.  If the history of Prairie provincial politics is any guide, below is a short-list of the options available to these opposition parties:

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Keeping an eye on stop-gap candidates

By Royce Koop on Sep 24, 2008

The latest Tory candidate to flame out over inflammatory blog postings is Ryan Warawa in Vancouver East. No word yet on whether the party will force him to "voluntarily resign" but the events of the last week-and-a-half suggest that Warawa is on the way out.

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Vote Swappers Should Concentrate on Advocating for PR

By David McGrane on Sep 24, 2008

From ‘Puffingate' to the flood of e-mails and postings on websites urging that Elizabeth May participate in the leaders debate, the internet has began to effect this federal election campaign in a profound way. The latest internet splash is the creation of a Facebook group dedicated to ‘vote swapping' in order to stop the Conservatives from forming a majority government.

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The Politics of Hope vs. the Politics of Uncertainty

By Jared Wesley on Sep 24, 2008

I'm not sure whether many people noticed, but Barack Obama's speech this afternoon marked a major shift in the American presidential campaign:  It's become a little more like Canada's.

The second line in Obama's statement -- "This is a time of uncertainty" -- officially shifts his campaign from one emphasizing "hope" to one focusing on "ambiguity" and "instability" (at least for the time being).  It's the same theme Stephen Harper has been stressing for the past two weeks.

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Media Leading Polls by the Nose?

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 24, 2008

Today, I went to a talk given by Dr. Stuart Soroka entitled, "I know what's going to happen five days from now." Soroka, one of the founding members of the Media Observatory at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and his research team investigate how news media affects poll results. He argues that there's about a four to six day lag between when a story breaks in the news and when it shows up in public opinion polls. Based on data from the current election campaign, Soroka's willing to bet that both the Liberals' and Conservatives' polling numbers go up over the weekend.

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May's Roots Run Deep

By Jared Wesley on Sep 24, 2008

God bless the CBC Digital Archives.  The folks over there uncovered a gem in a 1978 Fifth Estate documentary on the Nova Scotia forestry industry.  In it, we're introduced to a 23-year-old Elizabeth May -- a young, anti-logging, women's rights activist. 

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Money makes the campaign go round

By Harold Jansen on Sep 24, 2008

I had to take a little hiatus from blogging about the election to finish up a paper for a conference this coming weekend. In this paper, my co-author, Lisa Young of the University of Calgary, and I look at patterns of fundraising and spending since the adoption of the changes to Canada's electoral laws in 2004. You may remember that the government banned corporations and trade unions from donating to political parties, enriched the election expenses reimbursement given to qualifying parties (those who get at least 2% of the vote nationally or 5% of the vote in the districts in which they run candidates), made individual donations to poltiical parties more advantageous by strengthening the individual political contributions tax credit, and gave every qualifying party (2%/5%) $1.75 per vote per year. As the media have reported, the Conservatives have been raking in money like crazy.

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Liberal Party Releases Platform - The Response is Deafening

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 23, 2008

Has anyone else noticed that the Liberals released their full platform yesterday, and hardly anyone has said a word about it? It's as though the collective response has been *crickets chirping*. 

I did see on CBC Newsworld this morning that the English and French political bureau chiefs indicated that Dion's performance "wasn't bad" ... specifically, it wasn't as bad as John Turner's in 1988. 

I don't remember the 1988 Liberal platform announcement, but based on what was relayed about it, particularly the child care portion, the fact that the media is comparing Dion's announcement yesterday to Turner in 1988 is not good. 

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The Politics of Endorsements: Pro-lifers in Winnipeg

By Jared Wesley on Sep 23, 2008

To accept, or not to accept.  That's the question facing Tory candidates in two of Winnipeg's closest ridings, as they ponder whether or not to accept the endorsement of a pro-life interest group (Campaign Life Coalition).

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CPC & NDP Agree on Crime: Download it to the provinces

By Jared Wesley on Sep 22, 2008

In separate platform planks released on the same day, in opposite ends of the country, it looks like Jack Layton and Stephen Harper agree on one thing:  Let's get tough on crime, but tiptoe around Alberta and Quebec.

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