Canadians on the federal parties

According to the latest Nanos Survey,

Party personality – Conservative Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=925)

Untrustworthy: 14.4%
Conservative: 12.9%
Bad/Incompetent: 9.9%
Good/Good choice : 9.1%
Trustworthy: 6.4%
Controlling/Authoritarian: 5.8%
Arrogant: 5.5%
Strong/Powerful: 5.3%
Selfish: 4.6%
Intelligent: 4.0%
Progressive: 3.3%
Realistic/Pragmatic: 3.2%
None: 3.2%
Strong leadership: 0.8%
Other: 6.7%
Unsure: 4.9%

Party personality – NDP: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=923)

Socialist: 13.3%
Caring: 10.2%
Bad/Incompetent: 10.1%
Good : 10.0%
New: 10.0%
Innovative: 8.6%
Trustworthy: 5.8%
Idealistic: 5.6%
Aggressive: 4.2%
Untrustworthy: 3.3%
Intelligent: 2.8%
None: 2.7%
Jack Layton: 1.0%
Other: 6.5%
Unsure: 6.0%

Party personality – Liberal Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=931)

Bad/Incompetent: 18.4%
Untrustworthy: 16.2%
Good: 11.5%
Competent : 6.8%
Progressive: 5.8%
Strong/Powerful: 5.1%
Arrogant: 4.9%
Old-fashioned/Outdated: 4.4%
None: 4.3%
Liberal: 4.3%
Boring: 3.3%
Selfish: 1.7%
Centrist/Middle of the road: 1.0%
Other: 6.6%
Unsure: 5.8%

Party personality – Green Party: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties].

Canada (n=941)

Environment/Eco-friendly/Green: 16.7%
Unrealistic/Naive: 14.7%
Not well known: 11.1%
Idealistic : 8.6%
Useless: 7.8%
Caring: 6.0%
None: 5.0%
Good: 4.8%
Hippie/Radical: 4.5%
Innovative: 4.5%
Boring: 3.2%
Other: 6.5%
Unsure: 6.5%

Party personality – Bloc Quebecois: Let’s assume for a moment that each federal political party was a person. What one word would you use to describe the personality of each of the following political parties? [Open-ended] [Randomize parties] [Quebec sample only].

Canada (n=232)

Useless: 15.4%
Narrow-minded/one-sided: 13.0%
Separatist/Independent: 11.7%
Aggressive : 10.7%
None: 6.3%
Untrustworthy: 5.2%
Selfish/Self-centred: 5.0%
Boring: 4.6%
Incompetent: 4.5%
Good: 4.0%
French: 3.4%
Arrogant/Stubborn: 2.9%
Radical: 1.7%
Not well known: 0.4%
Other: 4.0%
Unsure: 7.3%

Third Quarter Party financial statements out today

Conservative Party Liberal Party New Democratic Party Green Party Bloc Quebecois
Q1 $4,362,596 $1,857,728 $595,611 $215,967 $133,586
Q2 $3,957,662 $4,053,568 $711,269 $194,090 $198,858
Q3 $4,554,787 $2,010,823 $1,078,376 $265,507 $249,477
Total $12,875,044 $7,922,119 $2,385,256 $675,564 $581,921

For all of the Liberal crowing last quarter over their 2Q results (largely buoyed by a “leadership” convention where Michael Ignatieff was coronated leader) and their 1Q->2Q plus/minus, their 2Q->3Q plus/minus is that story in reverse. However, realistically this quarter’s results shows the real strength of each party’s fundraising machine.

Interestingly, the Greens are outraising the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens may argue that this is another example of why we need proportional representation, however, I’d argue that this represents Canadians that believe in something, rather than believing against another (see what I mean in this article).

The NDP is raising half of what the Liberals are raising showing that for their relative size, their numbers aren’t surprising. Further, it shows that the NDP base is still healthy enough for their smaller party. For the Liberals, their numbers are also relative to their seat count (when compared to CPC numbers) in the House of Commons. However, this may be bad news for the Liberals as they’d like everyone to believe that their seat count is rather a result of a unpopular leader in the last election rather than current Canadian (and Liberal member) attitudes about this party.

Despite the economic crisis, the numbers are still relatively healthy. My friends in the fundraising sector would suggest that if corporate donations were still legal, we’d see party fundraising take a hit this year. However, although Canada went through some tough economic times this year, personal donations are still relatively strong in all charitable sectors.

Liveblogging the PM’s address

6:59pm: PM’s address on Global delivered via Youtube!

7:00pm: Canadians selected the Conservatives on October 14th to bring Canada through the economic crisis

7:00pm: First points past intro are details of the Conservative economic measures.

7:01pm: January 27th will be a budget.  Additional measures there.

7:01pm: “We are consulting with the opposition [on the economy]”

7:02pm: “Instead of a new budget, they propose a coalition that includes a party that wants to break up the country.”

7:03pm: “This is a pivotal moment in our history”

7:04pm: “will use all legal means at our disposal to protect our democracy”

7:06pm: Media coverage: Bob Fife of CTV speculates that if the GG turns down the PM’s request to prorogue, the PM may resign creating urgency for the GG to appoint a new PM.

7:07pm: Craig Oliver upset there was no contrition in the PM’s speech.

7:15pm: Fife suggests Conservatives are actively trying to poach Liberal MPs or have them miss the confidence vote on Monday.

7:16pm: Peter Donolo slamming the PM on CTV.  CTV presents Donolo as a pollster instead of Jean Chretien’s former Director of Communications.

7:17pm: Fife complains that Dion’s hasn’t presented a tape to CTV yet.  Lloyd complains that network time is expensive.  They presumed that they’d be back to prime time television by now.  Fife reveals that Layton wanted equal time as part of the coalition.

7:25pm: CBC says that Dion’s tape delay shows poor communications by the Liberals.  Maybe Dion didn’t understand his own speech.

7:26pm: Liberal tape has a poor start.

7:27pm: Jeffrey Simpson’s global warming book on Dion’s bookshelf.

7:28pm: Dion mentions the Bloc and the Green party will support the Liberals (on issues of confidence – what?)

7:28pm: Dion: Consensus is a great Canadian value

7:29pm: “Rivals are working together elsewhere in the world.  Why not here?”

7:29pm: Dion messaging against possible prorogation.

7:30pm: Dion outlining a potential economic platform.

7:31pm: Dion moves past allotted network time.

7:32pm: Dion describes his letter to the GG.  Outlined his suggestion to her not to prorogue.  “If [Harper] is to suspend parliament, he must face a vote of confidence.”

7:32pm: Dion says he’ll work day and night on the economic crisis.

Here’s Prime Minister Harper’s speech

Flaherty to end campaign welfare

On November 7th, I argued that we should end government-subsidized campaign welfare in this country and follow the example set by President-elect Barack Obama and amend our electoral system to eliminate our $1.95-per-vote subsidy received by political parties each year. During the US Presidential campaign, Obama did not take a single dollar of public financing and went on to win the election. On a panel for the Public Policy Forum yesterday, I suggested to my Obama-obsessed co-panelist Judy Rebick that Mr. Hope and Change had set the wheels in motion for the elimination of public money for political campaigns.

In my post earlier this month, I suggested that such a system implemented in Canada would cause parties to actually appeal to the electorate and work for donations rather than put their hand out for a per-vote subsidy for being the least offensive option. The theory goes that if our politics inspires (Yes We Can) rather than demonizes (No They Can’t), people will show additional financial support that parties should depend on rather than be the public cash-receptacle of successful fear mongering campaigns that they are. How many Quebeckers these days actually support the Bloc Quebecois on its principles (they’ve all but abandoned sovereignty these days) rather than voting for that party to “block” the Conservatives or the Liberals?

I argued that we should end party welfare to motivate parties to appeal on their own issues.

In the past couple of hours, we’ve learned that in Jim Flaherty’s economic update tomorrow, the Conservative government will move to do just that in the name of showing that even politicians can tighten their own belts.

I may have been a bit of a tongue-in-cheek cynic by using the Obama magic to suggest removing critical funding from two parties of the left. The Bloc Quebecois, as mentioned, has depended on their status as those that could block Liberal corruption in 2006 and the Conservative Party’s… er conservatism in 2008. The Liberal Party on the other hand has depended upon what they are not. Specifically, they have warned Canadians of the Harper hidden agenda and what the Conservatives would do if they had a majority. In this spot and in relative comfort, the Liberals have relied on their per-vote subsidy. Under the new proposed financing cuts, the strength of the Liberal brand won’t matter as it is veritably without substance as conservatism is represented by the CPC and progressive politics is claimed by a resurgent NDP.

CTV reports that under Flaherty’s cuts, the parties could stand to lose up to:

* Conservatives: $10 million
* Liberals: $7.7 million
* NDP: $4.9 million
* Bloc Quebecois: $2.6 million
* Green Party: $1.8 million

Late this evening, I’ve learned that the per-vote subsidy stands to be reduced in full.

In this, the Conservatives aim to level a strategic blow to the Liberals as Conservative fundraising efforts — rooted in the Reform tradition of passing the hat in legion halls and church basements — has remained strong. Buoyed by detailed supporter databases, the party is set to compete on an advantageous — despite it’s now mutually diminished — footing with other parties. The Liberal Party still has not mastered grassroots fundraising and with an expensive year ahead with another leadership convention, Liberals will need to determine how to appeal (and fast) if they are to survive as a viable organization.

Green Party releases platform

Here’s the platform of the Green Party of Canada:

Read this document on Scribd: GPC platform

Notes:
– Money for a Green VC fund for green R&D
– renegotiation of NAFTA
– corporate tax cuts for carbon reductions
raise the GST to 6%
– combines the Liberal Green Shift carbon tax with NDP/Conservative plans for cap-and-trade. Also has a more intense GHG target than the Conservatives with 30% reduction from 1990 levels rather than Conservative’s absolute carbon reduction of 20% by 2020 from 2006 levels.
– raise taxes on cigarettes
– labeling of GMOs
– Single payer, universal healthcare
income splitting for everyone
raise income tax exemption to $20k
Guaranteed Annual Income
– meet 0.7% GDP pledge for foreign aid
– turn Afghanistan mission over to the UN

From carbon taxes, to income splitting to massive increases in foreign aid, I look forward to the costing of this platform.

There is not one word in this platform on proportional representation as it relates to democratic reform. Has the Green Party dropped this from it’s goals? Was this dropped at their last party convention on policy? Is this just more evidence that PR is a distasteful policy to the Liberal Party and a Red-Green alliance depends on seat sharing and first-past-the-post rather than proportional representation? Is the NDP now the only party that supports PR?

TVO disagrees with Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May writes a statement on the Green Party website hoping to put the “Canadians are stupid” issue to rest.

Unfortunately, in her statement she writes,

“I reviewed all this on TVO with Steve Paikan [sic] more recently and he confirmed that no one in the room thought I had said Canadians are stupid.”

TVO wants to set thing right and expresses disagreement as their director of corporate communications explains,

For the record, I would like to clarify that at no point during his September 12th interview with Elizabeth May did Steve Paikin express such a personal opinion.

We feel this use of Mr. Paikin’s name – and by extension, that of TVO’s – is inappropriate. We ask that the above mentioned blog posting be corrected, along with any other Green Party of Canada postings or communications of a similar nature.

Here’s my post and YouTube video that started this controversy.

Here’s a good summary of May’s gaffe and explanation to TVO and CTV:

Green Party wilts, tape was not doctored

Concerning this story,

John Bennett, the director of communications for the Green Party as reported by thetyee.ca:

Fiction: “TVO is considering legal action as well”

Fiction: “It’s an attempt by the Conservatives through a front website to attack the credibility of Elizabeth May”

Fiction: “They took what she said, cut it up, then put it back together.”

From TVO.org:

Fact: “TVO confirms that the audio of the clip in question is intact”

Fact: “TVO is not and will not be pursuing legal action of any kind on this matter”

and finally (from me),

Fact: stephentaylor.ca nor Buckdog Politics are fronts for the Conservative Party. I am a conservative and want to see the Conservative Party elected.

Perhaps the first lesson of doing damage control against a viral message is to stop fuelling it. By threatening legal action and making a video even more interesting by trying to make it forbidden will only drive people’s interest. Of course, the interest will lead people to watch the video of Elizabeth May in her own words.

I’ve met Elizabeth May, I think she’s a nice person and I believe she is quite committed to her ideas, and this is in itself admirable. However, as my motive was questioned in an interview today, “why would you do this to May if you think she’s a nice person”, I responded by saying that May has gone prime-time and she’ll hit the national stage in the leaders debate and though she is not running for Prime Minister (she has already endorsed Dion), she is running to elect Members of Parliament to the legislature. May deserves scrutiny. My motive is that I support the Conservatives and wanted to put up May’s words, undoctored, for Canadians to understand. I think that May is wrong on the issues and wrong on her support for a carbon tax. Does Elizabeth May say Canadians are stupid? From the video, that was and is my honest interpretation of her words. What did it for me was her statement of agreement with the assessment that comes right after the words “[I/they] think Canadians are stupid.”

Perhaps May was expressing frustration in her belief that Canadians cannot understand the complexity of a complete reconfiguration of the Canadian government’s system of taxation. Poorly considered quips, asides and gaffes can happen to us all. Do I believe that May believe in her heart of hearts that Canadians are stupid? No.

And through this exercise, my credibility has been questioned and prior to their backing down I was called a liar by the Green Party of Canada. This isn’t the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of this sort of kneejerk smear but this usually occurs when leftwing partisan bloggers don’t want to believe what clearly sits in front of them on their computer monitors. As for the Green Party, Kady O’Malley quotes another GPC spokesperson Camille Labchuk who says that this “was a misunderstanding on John Bennett’s part about the way that YouTube works”.

Lying about TVO’s legal intentions, accusing me of doctoring audio and threatening bloggers with legal action from the Green Party? And it’s my motive that is questioned?

I’m still waiting for my apology John.

Leave Leftdog alone!

he may be a dog online, but he’s… a human.

There’s a lot of brouhaha in the blogosphere and in the Green politicosphere about this video:

A left-wing blogger named Leftdog re-posted it on his blog called Buckdog and got a legal threat from John Bennett, the director of communications to Elizabeth May.

I’d like to say leave Leftdog alone because I produced that video. You can check it out on my YouTube account here.

According to thetyee.ca, John Bennett told them “It’s an attempt by the Conservatives through a front website to attack the credibility of Elizabeth May… They took what she said, cut it up, then put it back together.”

Unfortunately for Bennett, truth is a defense and the May quote unedited and unspliced. I even provided further context to what she said in my original blog posting.

You can listen to the original show (which was TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin) here:
The Debate: The Long Goodbye to GDP

The quote is at 38:32 – 39:01.

You can read some original leftwing disgust to May’s comments at this rabble thread. The comments were posted just after the taping.

Elizabeth May on Canadians and their distate for a carbon tax

May went on to say “but most politicians believe that if they say they are going to put on a carbon tax and reduce your income tax…they don’t think they can sell it. It is all about votes.”

Today we heard the news that Elizabeth May has been given the go-ahead to participate in the national leaders debate. Since this election will be a referendum on Stephane Dion’s leadership and his carbon tax, perhaps Mr. Dion can explain why he made a deal with May to have the Liberals stand-down in Central Nova and why May feels the way she does about Canadians who distrust politicians that want to raise their taxes.

h/t: audio quote from a compilation of quotes posted by Lore Weaver

Who needs the MSM to debate? New media brings populism to political coverage

Yesterday, Green Party leader Elizabeth May learned the news that she will not be featured in the leader’s debate broadcast on the Canadian television networks. The arrangement by May of former Liberal MP Blair Wilson to form a Green caucus of one was risky given his infraction of section 83 of the Canada Elections Act. The Green Party argued that they met the same standard set by Deborah Grey of the Reform Party which allowed Preston Manning to join the leader’s debate in 1993. Differences that I would underline is that Wilson was elected as a Liberal while Grey was elected as a Reform MP and that the Reform party opposed all other parties while the Green Party supports the Liberals.

I was on TVOntario last night on a tech-politics panel with Dr. Greg Elmer, Warren Kinsella, Kady O’Malley and Andrew Rasiej of TechPresident.com (formerly of the Howard Dean 2004 campaign). My friend Kady and I dusted it up a bit when the topic of the mainstream media came up. I argued that social and new media is creating accessible tools to reject the purpose of a gatekeeping middleman between stakeholders in a democracy and the politicians that speak to them. I have my own experiences with this as the unaccountable and unelected Parliametary Press Gallery – the media guild that reins supreme over Parliament – used the state to enforce its monopoly over news as it relates to politicians on Parliament Hill. I noted at the time that it is disturbing in a democracy when those that fought for press freedoms become the gatekeepers to access. These are the same folks that bellyached when Stephen Harper made them sign up for a list for his own press conference and the same group admit journalists that write questions for MPs with the rare occasion to compel a former Prime Minister to answer partisan questions under oath.

The tools of new media that we discussed on the panel create the possibility of reducing one of the burdens that necessitate the organization of news producers and reporters into a corporation. Digital video cameras are becoming ubiquitous these days as anyone with $150 and a YouTube account can capture news in video format. Sites like Ustream.tv even allow “citizen journalists” like myself to interview the likes of Preston Manning or John Tory live online while visitors submit their questions. However, the wiser minds of the Parliamentary Press Gallery would disagree and as its President Richard Brennan told the Hill Times,

“They will be ejected and if they continue, they’ll be prohibited from coming into the main block, particularly here, I should say, the Foyer of the House. You’re not to use anything collected in the Foyer of the House, be it video or voice that could be used in some kind of a nefarious way. That’s what these guys want to do. They want to collect tape, video, voice, people making mistakes or saying something that’s not exactly correct, they want to use it for some kind of an attack ad. That’s what we’re afraid of. They’re not supposed to be here anyway. They’re not members of the Press Gallery. This area is for the members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery or visiting media only.”

As Dr. Greg Elmer stated on the program last night, capturing these sorts of moments is good for democracy because it increases the accountability of politicians. But the unaccountable PPG has their territory and this group will protect their turf if it means eroding the principles of free press and institutional transparency.

What stands between Elizabeth May and a debate (Stephane Dion has agreed to debate her) is the mainstream media. This elite cadre of corporate (CTV, Canwest) and public (CBC) interests seems to have shut out May and the 4.6% of Canada that voted for her party during the last election. But, this is their right. They are not obligated to broadcast any political debate by law and they can set the ground rules. CBC could invite me to debate Jack Layton and there are no election laws or rules that govern this (of course, this would be a bad decision for CBC).

Why not use the tools that promise to bring populism to the media? We can make the broad scope of media available (blogs, television, radio etc.) “mainstream”. Though they were broadcast on television networks, Youtube and Facebook sponsored debates in the primary cycle of the 2008 Presidential race in the US and MySpace will sponsor one or more presidential debates between Obama and McCain. As Clay Shirky writes in his book, Here Comes Everybody, the advent of user-generated content has the potential of doing to journalism as a professional class that which movable type did to the few elites known as scribes that copied books by hand. Scribes used to have an honoured and privileged position in society, but when the printing press was invented, the cost of printing books plummeted and society’s literacy rates increased. New media has the potential of tearing down the barriers set up by elite gatekeepers in the mainstream media. The tools of web 2.0 restrict May’s ability to debate by only those that would agree to debate her (now the singular limitation but one that she would face on television as well).

Elizabeth May should challenge the federal party leaders to debate via ustream.tv. The live debate (and subsequent video produced) would be easily embedded on blogs, on the Green Party websites, on other party websites and even on Blogging Tories. Democracy is literally the power and strength of the people and by its very definition, does not integrate the concept of an elite class. The internet has bandwidth in abundance and is not a scarce resource like the bands owned by corporate and public media. Further, the internet has the advantage that it is accessible to whomever would access it, whether a voter in Yellowknife or an absentee voter on the Yellow river in China. As stakeholders in democracy, we could choose (or choose not to participate) by extending the discussion online via twitter, blogs and other forms of social media. As site owners, if we opt not to feature May’s debate, there are many others that would.

In an evolving media ecosystem, the MSM may not be entirely replaced but perhaps the word “mainstream” will be redefined. No longer will the coverage and restriction of coverage be decided by elites that were the only ones capable of organizing and controlling vast networks of satellites and cable to distribute information. The network of media distribution and production is available to the people and as a nascent party, Elizabeth May should take advantage.