Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The local and the not-so-local

Two political things that are making me happy this week:

1. Edmonton-Strathcona environmental lawyer Linda Duncan has decided that she's going to throw her hat into the ring for a second time and run again for the NDP. Remember Duncan, the star candidate who even the national media took note of in the last election? Some people laugh off the thought of an NDP MP in Alberta, but with Duncan running it could actually happen--not only has the NDP shown remarkable growth over the past three or four elections, but Duncan took 33% of the vote last time. It wasn't quite enough to overcome the riding's notorious vote-splitting, but that 33% presents Edmonton-Strathcona's left-wing majority with a clear choice for the first time since...well, certainly since before I came to Canada. Especially with Duncan's new name recognition and celebrity status. And on the hipster cred front, local bloggers were invited to her announcement as members of the "citizen media." How cool is that?

2. More and more bloggers are starting to talk about the possibility of coalition governments for Canada. (In fact, it's become enough of a buzzword that I'm wishing I'd given the explanation for how coalitions work in a separate post rather than embedding it in a post about proportional representation that's harder to point back to.) Come on, mainstream media--first one out of the gate on that story gets a big smooch from me. After all, even with that very tidy little post-convention bounce that the Liberals can be very pleased with (with only two percentage points of their seven-point surge coming from the NDP and a full five percent coming from the Tories, delightfully enough), they're still not anywhere near majority government territory. And while proportional representation would be the one thing that would make coalitions inevitable, you can certainly have them without it.

12 comments:

Owin said...

Todays poll in the Toronto Star tells a different tale. Libs way up at the expense of the NDP.
I hope it's just a fluke poll. Jack's getting dangerously close to Audrey McLaughlin territory there.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Owin,

Look a little closer. It's the same poll I talk about in point two, here. It shows a seven-point surge for the Liberals, with two points coming from the NDP and five points coming from the Tories.

Not that I think this really means anything permanent--it's a post-convention bounce and nothing more--but it does indicate that there are a lot of people who voted for Harper's Tories, are not too terribly happy with how they've been doing, and are looking elsewhere. It's not just about Liberal-NDP swing voters going back.

My ideal scenario, of course, would be that Dion capitalizes on those voters while taking none from the NDP, but honestly, that's up to Jack and company at this point. I suppose we'll see. Anything could happen with this kind of fickle electorate.

Owin said...

The poll you linked to was the National Post. Today's Star had NDP at 10.2%, which is down over 5% from last election. Granted, the Conservatives were down too, and you are right to not read too much into these things.

Olaf said...

IP,

For the record, I fully support you in being at the forefront of the 'bloggers for proportional representation and coalition governments' movement in Canada. However, it would be nice if you didn't so often link back to the post long ago where you made me look like a complete ass with a comprehensive thrashing on the topic.

We've all done a lot of growing up since then, can't we just put that unpleasant incident behind us? Just a thought. :)

Otherwise, keep up the good work!

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Olaf,

Ha! One more reason to separate the coalition government explanation out into a neater, tidier post, I suppose. :-)

bza said...

Funny that this Liberal bounce comes almost one year later after this post:

http://calgarygrit.blogspot.com/2005/12/turning-40.html

I remeber what happened to the last Liberal at 40% in the polls. :)

Olaf said...

IP,

One more reason to separate the coalition government explanation out into a neater, tidier post, I suppose.

If it's all the same to you, I'd appreciate it. And if you could not reference my ignorance at all, that would be nice.

I'm also still looking for a response to my satirically confrontational and blatantly provocative question regarding the accountability of coalition governments. Here it is again, just incase you've forgotten...

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, nor could their be in the mind of any reasonable man, woman or child, that coalition governments in PR systems blur the lines of political accountability, and therefore would unequivocally exacerbate the democratic deficit, as opposed to alleviating it.

Especially considering the fact that you debunked in a post beginning with Myth #1, one would naturally believe that you would be equally interested in debunking Myth #2.

You owe the fans (which I consider myself) as much.

PS Sorry about all the commenting and deleting, but I like to get things just right on other peoples blogs, while I'm quite content on getting things completely wrong on my own.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Olaf,

I did eventually respond to that comment--sorry it was lame, but I think that's all you'll get out of me. I want the "myths" series to be about things that come up over and over again, and yours was an issue I'd never even heard of before.

Benjamin said...

IP,

I did see your response, and I suppose that a Myths series would be more effective if the myths were popular. I'll give you that. But it would also be a more effective series if there was more than one post.

Also, in case you're interested, Gordon Gibson has a piece in the Globe and Mail today which you may approve of (a Fraser Institute fellow, no less!)

He also bucks the trend and even mentions the possibility of coalition governments in Canada, and their remarkable stability.

Coalition governments. Mentioned in the mainstream media. By a right wing crank. Who'd have guessed it?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Benjamin,

*squints* Are you Olaf's alter ego? All right, then!

Patience on the PR series...there will be other posts. Something else just has to get under my skin again. *grin*

And that's a pretty good editorial by Gibson...good for him. It's actually pretty rare to mention coalition governments in an editorial about PR, so I'm appreciative. My only quibble is that he lumps together preferential balloting with proportional representation when they're actually very different things. They also lead to different outcomes--it's preferential balloting that leads to a single compromise candidate being chosen, while PR tends to elect more diverse representation who then have to work with each other to find a compromise. Centrism tends to be the ultimate result in both cases, but under PR, everybody's vote actually ends up helping determine the makeup of the legislature, while under preferential balloting that's not the case at all.

Olaf said...

IP,

Benjamin,

*squints* Are you Olaf's alter ego? All right, then!


Perhaps... I have many alter egos. In fact, the vast majority of the comments you get here are me, in one form or another.

Patience on the PR series...there will be other posts. Something else just has to get under my skin again. *grin*

Fair enough, I'll see what I can do.

OH, and I almost forgot, a Calgary Herald editorialist, has offered a rare, 100 year Alberta anniversary pin, to whoever can most impress him by sending in a short, 100ish word essay/poem/whatever on how to fix democracy in Alberta. If you have a few minutes, you may be interested.

Jen said...

When you said you'd give a big smooch to the first one out of the gates on this one, you really meant the first one past the post, didn't you? ;)