Federal Election 2011 – Some Thoughts and Prognostications

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who is well connected and knowledgeable about Federal politics. The thoughts immediately turned to election prognostications. This election has a strange feel  to it – kind  of like  people  feel  that they should be interested in it – even if they aren’t. Welcome to my series  of  thoughts on Federal  Election 2011.

Why are we having this election at all? The answer is simple:

This election is  NOT about the well being of the country. This  election IS about the well being of the parties and the party leaders.  To put it simply we are having this  election because:

– Harper wants  a Conservative  majority government
– Ignatieff wants to be Prime  Minister
– Layton wants  to matter to something beyond the NDP

Political  parties  are private organizations whose activities  are  largely funded by Canadian taxpayers. Consider this:

– the election of 2011 is an activity orchestrated by The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP which will  cost Canadian taxpayers in excess of 300 million dollars (Query Mr. Layton – should  this 300 million not have gone to the poor instead?)
– political parties  receive $1.95 from the taxpayers for  each vote their party receives

Canada’s registered political  parties are a tax on the democratic process. Perhaps one should consider  voting for either unregistered political  parties or Independent Candidates.

Vote Independent – Save Your Money!

In any case, here  are some thoughts which could  be a starting point for election analysis.

1. The Conservatives have  nowhere  to go but down.

2.   Mr. Harper is campaigning very defensively. Remember  what happened to General  Motors? His  primary advantage is that that the  election period  is only 36 days. I believe that his  support would  erode  with a longer  time frame..

3. The Liberals are a party with nowhere to go but up.

4. Mr. Ignatieff is  perceived as  a weak  leader. Remember that the most dangerous person in the fight is the person with nothing to lose.

5. In the case  of the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP the individual  candidates are basically irrelevant. The Conservatives waited a full week before even bothering to put their  candidates on their site. Occasionally, a party will override the wishes  of a  local  riding association and install a “parachute candidate”. That said,  for  the most part,  a Liberal, Conservative  or NDP  candidate is  the mechanism you use  to vote for  the party or the leader.

6. Because  the Bloc  will receive the Quebec votes,  it  is  irrelevant to any election analysis. When one analyzes the  results of an election in Canada,  one simply subtracts the Quebec votes. The Bloc is relevant to the extent its votes can be  added to the votes of other parties to affect the balance of power in Parliament.

7. The Green Party is rising in popular support. Numerically the Green party will receive  a large number  of votes. That said, in a “first  past the post system”, it  is unlikely that they will win any seats.

The Green Party is the only party where the individual candidates matter. I have been very impressed with the quality of many of the Green Party Candidates. Because  the Greens are  not the Conservatives, Liberals  or  NDP and because they have  recruited good candidates, they will continue to do better and better. In the 2008 election, in Toronto Danforth, the Green Party candidate  did better  than the Conservative candidate placing third  behind the NDP (Jack Layton) and the Liberal candidate. This  year, in Toronto Danforth,  the Green Party is  well organized   and has a superb candidate in Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu. For  the Greens this is good  news and bad news:

The Good News – This is a riding where the Greens could make a significant breakthrough.

The Bad News – The significant breakthrough means that the  best she can do is place second. That said,  a second place  finish for the Greens in Toronto  Danforth is possible and  a huge  victory.

That’s all for now .

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