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A sting, and a salve.

The Liberals did end up losing Vaughan last night, but the result was a lot closer then a lot of pundits and prognosticators predicted. Fantino did not end up “winning in a walk”. His margin was under 1000 votes, with about 30% turnout, give or take. If that’s the best he can do in a by-election campaign, where he was the more recognizable candidate, I said last night and I say again today, he’s in serious trouble for the general election. (paradoxically, while I think the peek-a-boo campaign hurt him, I don’t think he’ll be able to pull that type of a campaign again in a general election.. and I think the more he talks, the better it is for Liberals).

And the salve: A great win in Winnipeg North – one that no pundits were predicting, (though Mr Kinsella did come closest in saying we had a shot there) I’m still looking around in the media today for the doom and gloom stories about whether or not the NDP and Layton are in trouble over losing a supposedly secure seat, (“Layton’s Outrement!”) but I’ve yet to find one. Apparently that would ruin the narrative of “Liberals/Iggy in trouble”.

More seriously, I think Aaron Wherry had it right to a certain extent about the major factors in these 2 byelections – “..the winner of the night might be “name recognition.”


30 comments to A sting, and a salve.

  • By elections Pundits Guide
    30.8% in 2010
    31.2% in 2009
    28.0% in 2008
    42.5% in 2007
    37.1% in 2006

    It is interesting looking at those who demand citizens vote or else. The same people who demand we fill out the Census or else. I prefer people not vote or fill out Census if they are not interested. Socialists like a big nanny state to solve their problems.

    Are you a NDP’r who can win any respect than for your brilliant ideas?
    We had bigger names with May, Muclair, Trudeau so your numbers omit “contested or star candidates”. You would be shocked how many Liberals deny they vote Liberal. The media opposition parties created the 62% number in November 2008. It is their math. The Senate has always been unelected, I would support abolishing it tomorrow if we fix the seat per 100k across the board. Do you think PEI should have four seats? Add BC,ON, AB seats as per Democratic reform.
    Is Karzai worse than OPEC goons? Will the Liberal majorities in Ontario+Quebec ban the import of OPEC oil?

    • Jon Pertwee

      @CanadianSense, Is Karzai less annoying than Canadiansense? Would there be demand for a plugin that automatically excises Canadiansense from all your blogs so you can exercise your right to quiet enjoyment? Maybe a greasemonkey script to shut this clatter off.

    • ck

      @Canadian Nonsense: I prefer people not vote or fill out Census if they are not interested

      Oh you prefer that they didn’t vote or fill out the census–Period! Your precious Oh So dreamy Steve Harper wouldn’t get his precious totalitarian regime you so dream of. Just remembr, when cuts every social program, including old age pensions and CPP, that includes your parents, grandparents and yourself when you get old. How does that grab ya?

      • @ck, Apparently you are not aware of the $ 25 billion cuts to those services you mentioned. I could provide a dozen links that prove Liberals were heartless with their cuts and offloaded the burden to provinces.

        The Supreme Court of Canada says that Ottawa illegally collected employment insurance contributions for three years under the former Liberal government.The court, though, rejected union claims that Ottawa diverted money from deliberately-over-inflated EI surpluses to balance the federal budget and fund programs.In a 7-0 decision, the court ruled EI premiums were inappropriately collected between 2002, 2003, and 2005.

        This Federal Government tagged by your posse cherries pick Kevin Page’s reports. He cites transfers, equalization payments including HEALTH above the rate of inflation as the BIGGEST items since the CPC have been elected. These are the same programs the left take turns rejecting now as not big enough.
        I don’t remember CPC ever calling out the ARMY or being blamed for police brutality. Check with War Measures Act, Quebec City 2002, APEC 1997 JC I put pepper on food. I do believe the Toronto-G20 breakdown on Sat-Sunday after releasing 900/1100 picked up warrants an investigation. Contact Premier McGuinty and Mayor Millor to order Chief Blair to testify.

    • Redrum

      @CanadianSense, your days are numbered: looks like the Senate’s about to… Abolish The Penny!

      www +

      • Jon Pertwee

        @Redrum, she’s just go running, sobbing into the arms of John Nunziata. Oh wait, that’s just a Klic fantasy!

  • As a highly successful Liberal once said, “A proof is a proof.” Almost winning means pretty much nothing. It’s possible that a series of almost-wins might bring the Liberals around to the need for electoral reform but other than that, all it means is fewer LPC MPs sitting.

    A significant feature yesterday was the exceptionally low voter turnout. If I am not mistaken, by-election turnout is always low but typically ranges between 40% and 50%. The hottest race was in Vaughn and turnout was a pitiful 32.4%. Winnipeg North had a paltry 30.8% and Dauphin was worse with only 26.9%.

    An effective GOTV campaign by any party could have made the difference but judging by the turnout and close finishes, no party was able to rally much support.

    On Twitter this morning, someone said “apathy” won the by-elections. I don’t entirely agree. It was a coalition that won: a coalition of apathy, disgust and disgruntlement.

    There is little that anyone can do to motivate the apathetic; convincing them that politics affects their own well-being (i.e. taxes, personal liberty) might work.

    As for disgust, the kindergarten antics in Question Period, campaign smear jobs and low-brow attack ads have generated repulsion and those factors could be addressed.

    Disgruntlement is largely due to the inherent undemocratic, unfair nature of our archaic FPTP electoral system. If it’s a foregone conclusion that one’s preferred candidate or party is not going to be a winner who takes all, there is little incentive to bother voting.

    The sad part is that low voter turnout is a plus for politicians. Fantino only needed to attract 16% of eligible Vaughn voters in order to operate as if he’d gotten 100% of the vote. Those disproportionate percentages feed a vicious cycle of disgruntlement and voter alienation.

    If the 41% who didn’t vote in 2008’s general election all got motivated to vote for hamsters, Canada would have a majority rodent government. Instead, we got a minority.

    • ck

      It’s laziness, pure and simple. Laziness and short attention span.

      As such, I’m not sure proportional representation would get them out voting. Most don’t even understand our current system of First past the post. Think they’re going to understand PR?

      The Aussies have the right idea. Make voting mandatory.

      As far as I’m concerned, those who stay home from the voting booth pretty much endorse the front runner, and forfeit their right to complain.

      Even though the near win didn’t translate to a seat in Vaughan for the Liberals, it does tell us that it was more the Fantino name that won it than the Harpercon brand. As I’ve mentioned above, I don’t see Fantino sticking around for very long; maybe not even the next general election, unless Harper calls one early in the New Year.

      • @ck, I think there’s more to it than laziness. For many non-voters, I agree that sheer laziness is a factor. I disagree that it is the only factor.

        I agree that electoral reform is a tough sell, as witnessed by referenda in BC and ON. However, for Green supporters who saw the GPC get about the same popular vote as the BQ in 2008 and elect zero GPC MPs while the BQ elected 40+, it is a significant factor wrt disgruntlement. The “Why bother?” factor for supporters of third-place finishers contributes to low turnout, IMHO.

        Disgust, as in “They’re all a buncha crooks,” or “They’re all dirty pool players,” or “They’re all a buncha ill-behaved loudmouths,” plays a part, too. IMHO.

        Immigrants who become Canadian citizens are taught that voting is not only a privilege of citizenship: it is also a responsibility of citizenship. Rather than mandatory voting, I would prefer that we instill a strong sense of civic duty among all Canadians. Having people vote because they want to do so is preferable to having them vote to avoid punishment. I’d wager that Canadian citizens who immigrated and were taught (and quizzed) on the responsibility to vote do so more than natural born Canadians. The right to vote is something not everyone feels the need to exercise. The responsibility to vote should be thought of differently, though.

    • @JimBobby, Voters are engaged, they are not angry with the Federal Government. NB ended the Liberal experiment? Toronto sent the Liberal coalition of candidates packing? In BC a massive recall is under way. Wait for it, Liberals in BC, Ontario and QC will get their rebuke.
      The polls, general election results and seven by elections in two years don’t support the narrative from the cheap seats regarding the Federal Government.

      • @CanadianSense, If voters are “engaged,” why was the turnout so low? Why has voter turnout in general elections also been steadily declining? Those voters who bother to vote might be engaged. In these by-elections, about 70% of eligible voters were so unengaged that they stayed away from the polls entirely.

        Up is down? Down is up? Senseless!

        • @JimBobby, 30% for by elections in not normal? Vaughan was at 32% the highest of the three contests. It appears the biggest loser is the coalition parties because their base is NOT showing up to vote.

          In the US democrats did not show up and were sent back to the 1938 example with hundreds of them looking for a new line of work. In New Brunswick the PC voters showed up and won.

          Maybe you can provide your math about the last seven by elections. Ignatieff and Layton are both tied at 14% (1/7) the Federal Government is 4/7 or 59%. Not sure how you do measure things but looks like that coalition of 62% has joined the endangered list of political ideas.

          Merge don’t merge, does not bother me. Your BASE is making up their mind. In 2010 your coalition lost 25,000 raw votes vs the CPC of 13,000. That is 2 for 1. So take your time insult Conservatives don’t make any changes.

        • @Canadiansense, “My BASE? My coalition”? I ain’t a Grit or a Dipper or BlocHead. I don’t belong to any coalition. FWIW, I think Ignatieff has been a disaster for the Liberals. Not everyone who disagrees with your idiocy is a Liberal.

          The average turnout for pre-2010 by-elections was 35%. This time the average was 30%. Turnout is dropping.

          Perhaps, it’s things like seeing an unelected senate reverse the will of elected MPs that has voters staying away from the polls. Why bother voting for an MP when appointed senators can override the wishes of a majority of MPs who supposedly represent a majority of Canadian voters?

          Perhaps, it’s seeing an official opposition that fails to oppose a senseless Afghan war that has voters saying, “Why bother? Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee. Coalition of CPC and LPC.” Maybe it’s sheer disgust with both big parties backing a corrupt Islamic Republic of Afghanistan where people face the death penalty for converting to Christianity. ( Or when both big parties back Karzai and his corrupt goons who are releasing top Taliban fighters while taking Canadian tax dollars and making a mockery of Canadian lives sacrificed. (

  • Tom

    What this was, was a loss by the LPC of one of their safest seats in the country. Spin it any way you want, it was a huge loss. Think how many ‘safe’ Liberal seats are now in play in the next election. Ontario is where the majority lies.

    • Gayle

      @Tom, As many as Harper can find big name candidates for – preferably candidates whose name has been in the news for years prior to the election.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @Tom, as opposed to the way you’re spinning it “Tom”? Thanks Jason Kenney!

  • ck

    Public safety, (I mused about that and the Aaron Wherry article also suggests it) huh? Anyone give the bad news to Super Toews, the good socon theocrat, yet? I wonder what will happen to him?

    As for that Kinsella guy, I have to say that I’m with him here; exactly how long is Fantino gonna stick around for?

    For the two reasons he brought up, permanent campaigning can’t be fun for a guy Fantino’s age; he is pushing 70, after all.

    Then, the guy has been in management for the better part of two decades; sounds like he was left to his own devices; used to running the show and rigidly set in his ways. Think he’s gonna adapt so easily to being micromanaged by Master Harper?

    • @ck, Impressive you alienate voters that are religious and people over the senior demographic. Please keep it up!
      The intolerance of Christians and Seniors will help sweep the Liberals into the dustbin as Janine Krieber predicted on her Face book post.

      You should refer to the non partisan studies why ethnic, Catholic and rural voters have abandoned the Big Red Tent party. The stunt over Maternal Health did not help.

      Be thankful the NDP dropped the ball with Judy and Chief it almost makes up for your fumble with Genco.

      • ck

        Canadian Nonsense, Impressive you alienate voters that are religious and people over the senior demographic

        Where did I do that here?

        I pointed out facts. Something you and your cheerleaders should try sometime.

        yes, we all know how you would like to go back to the 19th century.

        Talk about alienating seniors? Look who’s talking. It’s the cons who want to further send seniors further into poverty

        Yeah, save it, it’s not shelved forever. It’s “under review” translation–put away until they get their majority and then unleash it again, and probably something even more draconian. Since you have no problem seeing human suffering, including seniors and probably even enjoy it like your other conservative cheerleaders, save your sanctimonious BS.

        As for Christians, well, it is your team that has an intolerance for everyone else.

        • @ck, thanks for starting the rebuttal with personal name calling. Stay classy!

          You are christian bashing by using “socon theocratic” when talking about conservatives. Alleging some right wing conspiracy. (Again CK those are your words)

          What do you know about my personal religious views? Nothing. Feel free to point out my intolerance for any religion including the alarmist faith of Global warming. I only ask those of faith to pay for their own schemes.Get out of my wallet.

          Would you like me to view your site on the “Armageddon” book and use your own thoughts to abolish any pretense of Christian religious tolerance?

          I refer to a non partisan studies that measures the loss of Catholic voters, and other groups. You also raised the age of Fantino suggesting he is old and would be unable to campaign. I rarely met a partisan Liberal that will stick to FACTS. They have been doing this for a nearly a decade.

          Social Background Characteristics: The Shrinking Liberal Core (Page 6/28)
          The Liberals were able to coast to victory in 2000 with the support of two key groups:
          visible minorities and Catholics. By 2008, the Liberals could no longer count on their loyalty. The visible minority vote dropped 14 points between 2000 and 2004 (see Figure 2).3 The main beneficiary was the NDP. The Liberals did not lose any further ground in 2006, but in 2008, they lost a massive 19 points. And now it was the Conservatives who benefited. In fact, minority voters were almost as likely to vote Conservative in 2008 as they were to vote Liberal.

          Pelosi is 71 and is Harry Reid both democrats and both hold much bigger responsibilities.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @CanadianSense, Impressive you alienate anyone with a differing opinion CS. Please keep it up! The intolerance and nutbarriness of Canadiansense must surely be the X factor that will make the Conservatives win a 99% majority as you predicted in your blog that noone reads!

        You should refer the consistent and numerous posts that show a lack of comprehension, knowledge, lateral and critical thinking as well as grammar. The inability to stay on topic and the ever faux attempts and non partisan arent working.

        Be thankful your MP avoids you and you’re known as the Oakville Crackpot. You’d probably do a considerable amount of damage to the country if you were given the reigns of power.

        Back to the spamcan Klic

        • Marie

          CanadianSenseless, Typical troll party lines emailed to the sheep this morning in the wee hours? Bla bla, bla. That’s about all the sense you make now or ever.Get a life. When are you ppl going to realize that the more you spin, the less likely anyone will ever take Reformatories seriously or will even consider voting for them again.

      • ck

        @Canadian Nonsense I point out the truth and that makes me intolerant? I can’t point out that Toews is a socon theocrat or if anyone else is, for that matter?

        Boy, you cons sure have difficulty grasping the truth, doncha?

        • @ck, I never met an obese vegetarian before either will wonders never cease?

          CK feel free to insult and bash Christians. I have provided the non-partisan study that shows why Liberals have lost key groups. You are responsible and until they purge radicals like you from their party it will continue to march toward the dustbin of history.

          The party of my parents, the party I voted for is dead. Nerdy kids like you are responsible.

          Passion over prorogation pales next to political apathy – Roy MacGregor Jan 24, 2010 Globe and Mail.
          “There is no Liberal Party,” says one lifelong card carrier who has sat at cabinet tables.
          “It died a long time ago. It’s not completely extinct yet, but there’s no there there.” In this lifelong Liberal’s eyes, the party has been stalled for years. No new energy, no new ideas, no vision of what it might like to do. The singular advantage of proroguing, this Liberal would say, is that it has put an end to the squirming every time the opposition pounces.
          “The ‘gotcha’ stuff is out of control,” says the Liberal. “They bring in all these nerdy keener kids from campus and it’s some kind of game to them. They’re turning politics into pro wrestling.” The media concentrates on the top, Ignatieff, and on the Hill, but disenchanted Liberals say there is a story to be told far from the now-silenced sound bites of the Centre Block

  • Greg

    Who’s the Kinselaa guy? He sounds like a dork.

    He’s the Sun’s cheaper, Mexican replacement writer, for that Kinsella guy.

  • Who’s the Kinselaa guy? He sounds like a dork.

  • Goran

    A win in Winnipeg and a loss for the NDP, and now we’re taking solace in the fact that a Toronto seat that was Liberal for over two decades is lost and is now Conservative? Every seat is important, but I’d take Vaughan over Winnipeg North any day of the week, especially considering the implications.

    But it’s a “squeaker”, so Ignatieff has just enough to hang on by his finger nails. Great. Just great.

  • The Liberals were the ones talking about the massive lead and the race tightening up. If you can find a Conservative Spin doctor talking about public polls that were not published I would be interested in those “ghost polls”.

    Dion was the leader for 2 years. Ignatieff the same. In seven contests since the worst general elections results since confederation your team is batting 14% (1/7). I am not sure if this number is worth bragging about. Jack shares the same problem with 1/7. The result is you have traded seats with Quebec and Manitoba.

    Maurizio’s endorsement was missing and would have made the difference. I would be asking why he stood back and allowed this riding to turn blue.

    • Jon Pertwee

      @CanadianSense, Canadiansense was the one talking massive shit and not making sense. If you can find a literate Canadian that can actual make sense of what CS says that Im not interested in meeting your “ghost canadians”

      CS loved Nunziata for 2 years. Ignatieff the same. Yet they never brought her flowers. In seven anniversaries Nunziata and Ignatieff are batting 14% for delivering chocolates to CS. Im not sure if this number is worth bragging about. Jack Layton shared a milkshake with her but she only counted it for 1/7. Layton is no Nunziata.

      A bottle of bubbly and John Nunziata in a bathrobe was missing in CS’ world and that would have made the difference. I would be asking why the Liberals didnt use the Nunziata Love Pack and allowed her to turn blue.

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