PC Leadership: first ballot predictions

I pride myself on having made some pretty accurate predictions in the 2006 Progressive Conservative Party leadership contest and so on this, the eve of the first ballot of the 2011 edition I feel it is necessary to register my thoughts.

Environics has provided a little bit of help for prognosticators, but I don’t put a ton of weight into their polling results. Nearly 100,000 people voted in the first ballot in 2006 and the Environics poll was based on a membership list of 22,000 members. The origins of the list is under investigation, but I suspect it came from one of the campaigns. This is important because it may mean that campaigns that turned in their lists prior to the poll being conducted would be overrepresented while campaigns that didn’t want to release their lists to the other candidates would be underrepresented. Similarly, a large number of voters will be registered at the polls.

With that in mind, I think the two front-runners have been clear and consistent all the way along and they are Gary Mar and Ted Morton. Similarly, both Rick Orman and Doug Griffiths faced uphill battles and will be a long way off from making the cut of top three for the second ballot. The only real questions remaining for me are who will be number three and how far ahead will Gary Mar be?

This is where I will take guidance from Environics. Alison Redford’s support in that poll is well ahead of where I thought she would be. She is also perceived as a bit of a game changer and has been pretty much at the center of any of the big news-worthy controversial issues in the campaign. She also has a cracking campaign manager in Stephen Carter. Doug Horner has run a strong campaign, but in a contest that was initiated on desire for change, I worry he will be perceived too strongly as the status quo candidate.

So here is my predicted order of candidate placements on the first ballot. And heck, just for fun, I will put some numbers in for possible results.

1. Gary Mar (30-35%)
2. Ted Morton (25-30%)
3. Alison Redford (15-20%)
4. Doug Horner (10-15%)
5. Doug Griffiths (around 5%)
6. Rick Orman (around 5%)

Of course, endorsements should be interesting and will have a big impact on how the second ballot turns out – as will, the ability of any of the campaigns to sell memberships and get votes out on October 1.

The Hamilton Oilers? I highly doubt it!

The biggest thing that irks me about the Edmonton arena debate is how the Katz group is using Oiler fandom to separate reasonable consideration from the debate over public funding. Typically, the arguments are based on one big fallacy – that the Oilers will leave Edmonton if public funds are not spent on a new downtown arena.
The fallacy was created when Katz delivered a veiled threat by stating that the Oilers would not play in the Northlands Coliseum (a name I will use for Rexall Place in order to separate the building from the Rexall brand of companies, which owns the naming rights) after 2014. I wrote twice earlier on this issue. Ultimately the argument is based on the misconception that professional hockey in Edmonton is not viable in the long term.
First, I find it hard to believe that the Oilers franchise is not profitable year-over-year. They currently have a sweetheart $1 per year lease on the Coliseum. All of the rinkboard and ice advertising is consistently sold out. All luxury boxes and season ticket seats are sold out with waiting lists for any vacancies. Nearly all of the individual seats for every home game is sold by game time. The team also owns a WHL team and an NAL baseball team, used to help market the Oilers brand. Merchandise sales are strong and lucrative broadcast deals are in place. Furthermore, the much desired salary cap is in place and the Oilers are operating well underneath it. If NHL is not profitable in Oil Country then I do not know where it would be profitable.
But, we won’t know much about the profitability of the Oilers because the Katz group is not willing to share their financial information – even though they want taxpayer money to subsidize the future operation. And really, profitability doesn’t matter so much. Just ask the Edmonton Investors Group. The EIG owned the Oilers from 1998 – 2008 and while the team consistently lost money over the years, it didn’t bother the members of the EIG too much. You see, they bought the team for $70 million in 1998 and sold it to Katz for $200 million in 2008. What matters more than profitability for businesspeople is Return on Investment (ROI). The ROI for EIG’s investment was 285% for a very generous growth of 11% per year – a number that would make every Dragon in the den sign on.
The final piece of the moneymaking puzzle for Katz comes back to his intricate understanding of how to leverage sports fandom and loyalty to make money. The business case for the Rexall group of companies is very strong. Tie the brand to the Edmonton Oilers and to hockey in every way possible, including using Blue and Orange as your brand colours, ensure that the brand owner is reinforced consistently as a true Edmontonian and watch as the brand overtakes market share in Northern Alberta. There is nothing wrong with this strategy, by the way, but it needs to be reiterated that building the Oilers brand also creates revenue for the Rexall companies, which I’m sure are much larger and more profitable then the Oilers brand.
Now, add together these three models of moneymaking for the Katz group and ask yourself the following questions. Why would Darryl Katz even consider moving the Oilers out of Edmonton? Why should any money that rightfully belongs to all taxpayers be going to subsidize the lucrative business operations of a billionaire? Should taxpayer money be more appropriately spent to hire more police officers, paramedics, doctors, nurses or teachers? And, is there a better way to spend $225 million of taxpayer money to revitalize downtown?

Federal Election Prediction

With the 41st Canadian General Election Day arriving tomorrow, it seems that it is time for me to get my election prediction on the record.

I am predicting a Conservative minority government with the New Democratic Party holding the balance of power. At this point, those two predictions are not ground breakers, so I want to add that I see the NDP and Liberals being placed in a position where their combined seats will challenge the number of seats that the Conservatives hold – meaning that a coalition government formed by those parties would not necessarily require the formal support of the Bloc Quebecois. I am also going to predict that Elizabeth May will win her seat for the Green Parties.

Here are my predictions, by the numbers:

Bloc Conservative Green Liberal NDP
Total Seats 30 140 1 41 96
Popular Vote 6% 36% 6% 19% 32%
Regional breakdowns
BC 18 1 3 14
Alberta 26 0 0 2
Sask/Man 20 0 2 6
Ontario 56 0 24 26
Quebec 30 9 0 3 33
Atlantic 10 0 9 13
Territories 1 0 0 2

A special thanks to this page for supplying such a great summary of the poll numbers.

BKACPP – Marijuana Party

Party Name: Marijuana Party

Leader (Location):

  • Blair T. Longley (Hochelaga, PQ)

Date of Registration:

  • November 6, 2000

2008 election:

  • 8 candidates
  • 2,298 total votes
  • 13th of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • Between 2000 and 2004, 90% of contributions to the marijuana party were made under a legal scheme known as “Longley’s Loophole.” Under the scheme, the contributor could define how the contributions were to be used, even in a way that was of direct benefit to the contributor.

Biggest Issues:

  • Two policy statements are written on the website: Legalize marijuana. Legalize revolution.

Intriguing statement on website:

  • “People who are Members of the Party, or people who are Officers or Agents of this Party, have NO obligations to endorse nor vote for its Candidates. They have an independent right to vote, and to vote strategically, as they decide. Candidates are not obliged to agree with other Candidates or the Leader. We make no efforts to collectivize. We operate in decentralized ways.”

Extraordinary statements on website:
It is interesting to note that the Marijuana Party website can be edited by any candidate, official agent or ‘regular marijuana party activist.’

  • The world is controlled by huge lies, backed up with lots of violence, and that is automatically getting worse! It is a runaway fascist plutocracy juggernaut … Since the world is controlled by the people who are the “best” at dishonesty, backed up with violence, we actually are living in a Bizarro Mirror World!

BKACPP – Libertarian Party of Canada

Party Name: Libertarian Party of Canada

Leader (Location):

  • Dennis Young (Sudbury, ON)

Date of Registration:

  • July 7, 1973

2008 election:

  • 26 candidates
  • 7,300 total votes
  • 8th of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • “The party described itself as Canada’s “fourth party” in the 1980s, but it has since been displaced by new parties such as the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada. The party declined to join the Reform Party of Canada when it was formed in 1987, attracting many libertarians who saw it as a better vehicle to put forward their philosophy.” – Wikipedia

Biggest Issues:

  • Small government, property rights, personal liberty.

Intriguing statement on website:

  • We believe that no measure should have the force of law unless adopted by a duly elected Parliament, or by initiative; therefore, we are opposed to government by Order-in-Council.

Extraordinary statements on website:

  • Government interference in current social concerns such as pollution, consumer protection, health care delivery, and poverty exceeds the level required for the protection of individual rights. In addition, problems in these areas have not been solved, but primarily caused by government.
  • We support the repeal of compulsory education laws, and the elimination of government operation, regulation, and subsidy of educational institutions.
  • We propose the elimination of all government involvement in welfare and relief programs. Any aid to the poor should be conducted on a voluntary basis.
  • Doctors and other health care professionals should be free to work without licensing from the government.
  • We advocate an end to defense based on “insanity” or “diminished capacity,” which absolve the guilty of their responsibility

BKACPP – Communist Party of Canada

Party Name: Communist Party of Canada

Tag Line:

  • For peace, jobs, sovereignty and democracy

Leader (Location):

  • Miguel Figueroa (Davenport, ON)

Date of Founding:

  • May 1921

2008 election:

  • 24 candidates
  • 3,572 total votes
  • 10th of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • “Figueroa v. Attorney-General of Canada resulted in the courts declaring several sections of the Elections Act unconstitutional, including a precedent-setting judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2003 which struck down the 50-candidate rule as the threshold for federal party registration in Canada.”

Biggest Issues:

  • “Our goal is a socialist Canada, in which resources and economic wealth are socially owned and democratically controlled by the working people, not private capitalists.”

Intriguing statement on website:

  • “Scrap the Drug Patent Act (which guarantees mega-profits for the big drug companies, and high costs for health care), and build a publicly-owned pharmaceutical sector. Expand Medicare to include eye, dental, pharmacare and long-term care. Stop the “war on drugs”; treat addiction as a medical problem, not a criminal act.”

Extraordinary statement on website:

  • “the Conservative party ‑ the preferred party of monopoly capital ‑ is the most dangerous threat to peace, democracy, and workers’ rights. They must go… now!”

BKACPP – Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Party Name: Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Tag Line:

  • Better Solutions for Canada

Leader (Location):

  • James (Jim) Hnatiuk (Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley, NS)

Date of Registration:

  • June 17, 1986

2008 election:

  • 59 candidates
  • 26,475 total votes
  • 6th of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • “During its 25 years history, the CHP has contested every federal election with candidates from across Canada who have been true to this vision. (Although in 2000 CHP candidates ran as independents because the CHP fell one candidate short of the minimum 50 candidates required at that time.)”

Biggest Issues:

  • Abortion and Immigration seem to be the most prevalent issues, but the CHP has a broad comprehensive policy. This party would be the extremist brother of America’s Tea Party. Their childcare strategy would give $1,000 per month to two parent families who have one parent stay at home – they argue this policy would be cost neutral because of savings in EI and Welfare.

Intriguing statement on website:

  • “The CHP proposes that student loans be interest-free and repayment-free for ten years after graduation, to allow grads to get well-established in their chosen career fields before they begin repaying their share of their tuition.”

Extraordinary statements on website (there are tons of them!):

  • “The CHP rejects cultural relativism, and asserts that not all cultures are equal or equally good.”
  • “Canada is currently at war with an enemy that espouses a particularly dangerous and pernicious ideology, radical Islam, which seeks the subjugation of the entire world to its ideology.”
  • “Recognize that immigration is being used as a form of jihad designed to undermine Canada’s Judeo-Christian culture and law to replace it with Sharia law; CHP Canada would immediately implement a moratorium on immigration from any Muslim nation.”
  • “Abortion is now the most common surgical procedure in Canada, but rather than curing any illness, it creates new health problems: the newest research confirms that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, and recent studies in the UK show that in the two years after a pregnancy, the death rate from all causes is twice as high for abortive women as for those who carry their pregnancy to term, and the suicide rate is six times as high.”
  • “HIV/AIDS is essentially a behavioural disease, and control requires (a) behavioural change; and (b) normal public health measures (contact tracing; quarantine the infected to protect the uninfected; education). The AIDS Establishment’s focus on medication, if not accompanied by behavioural change, increases the rate of infection by enabling infected persons to live longer (which is good) and to continue to be sexually promiscuous (which is bad)”

BKACPP – Canadian Action Party

Party Name:

Leader:

  • Christopher Porter

Date of Founding:

  • 1997 05 13

2008 election:

  • 20 candidates
  • 3 455 votes
  • 11th place of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • Party was formed in 1997 after the collapse of the National Party of Canada by former Minister of Defense and current member of Privy Council Paul Hellyer.

Biggest Issues:

  • Securing Canadian sovereignty through monetary reform. Five key pillars: Monetary Reform, Sovereignty, Civil and Human Rights, Parliamentary Reform and Environment.

Intriguing statement on website:

  • The Canadian Action Party is, above all, a pro-Canadian party dedicated to the principle that Canada can best serve its citizens and the world by re-claiming and maintaining its political and economic sovereignty as an independent country. It is opposed to the ascendancy of “corporate rule” and those aspects of unrestricted global investment that promote colonization of the world’s smaller powers and in Canada’s case its absorption by the United States of America.

Extraordinary statement on website:

  • There is a massive body of research suggesting that an intentional program of spreading diseases and health problems has been underway for many years in Canada, as elsewhere in the world; and further, that many pharmaceuticals being promoted have not been adequately researched, nor their effectiveness properly followed up. Serious health risks appear to be associated with chemtrail spraying, inoculations, the fluoridation of drinking water, the use of aspartame and other additives, and the introduction of irradiated and genetically modified foods, and a range of pharmaceuticals. The government appears to consistently support the corporate agenda while putting the health of Canadians at risk.

BKACPP – Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada

Elizabeth May is quite concerned that the Green Party will not be included in the televised debates. And while I like the Green Party and believe that their contribution to the general political discourse is valuable, I believe that it is important to have a reasonable and consistent principle on which to judge the parties that will take place in the debates. I understand that the test being used is whether a party held seats in the last parliament. The fact is the line has to be drawn somewhere, as there are 19 registered political parties in Canada and all of them cannot be included in a single meaningful debate.

This of course got me thinking, what are the other parties that exist in Canada?

With that in mind, I am pleased to present part 1 of my 19 part series, Better Know A Canadian Political Party. This edition, the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada… the fighting Barkers!

Party Name:

Tag Line:

  • North America’s first environmental and animal protection political party

Leader (Location):

  • Liz White (Toronto)

Date of Founding:

  • 2005

2008 election:

  • 4 candidates
  • 527 total votes
  • 16th of 19 parties

Notable History:

  • Predecessor group challenged 2000 law limiting the role of third parties in electoral politics.

Biggest Issues:

  • Animal rights and prevention of cruelty to animals.

Intriguing statement on website:

  • “For politicians working in a democracy, re-election often becomes the biggest concern when deciding public policy; it can overwhelm all other considerations.”

Extraordinary statement on website:

  • “Contact your MP and ask where he / she stands on topics including ending Canada’s commercial seal hunt – the largest, cruellest marine mammal slaughter in the world, curtailing or shutting down the Alberta Tar Sands – the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and banning the importation of horses from the United States – where it is illegal to slaughter them for human consumption”

Stay tuned for more episodes in this series!

A tale of two schools

I want to tell you about two schools:

I won’t pretend that the linked reports are unbiased comprehensive depictions of either school, but they paint an interesting picture of the type of education that occurs in each school. Please ensure you take a few moments to read each article.

Now, you might be surprised to hear that some have deemed Mormon Hills school to be the best school in BC, while claiming Athabasca Delta Community School is one of the worst schools in Alberta.

This little tale of two schools is indicative of the Fraser Institute’s view on the function of education.

Without knowing too much about either school, it is reasonable to expect that the level of critical thinking being developed at Mormon Hills School would be low. After all, you would not want the 14-year old students/brides to be questioning authority or their pre-defined future careers in “cooking, cleaning and child-minding.” But, who needs high levels of critical thinking skills in order to fill in the bubbles on multiple-choice tests?

On the other end, you have the high needs children of Athabasca Delta Community School, where students are starting out well behind in academic achievement and are further hindered by “numerous socioeconomic issues beyond their control and comprehension.” The small miracles of the school are accomplished when the students can read the exams, let alone answer the questions.

On one hand we have a school that is doing everything it can to help students achieve to their fullest potential in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and on the other hand we have a school that is seemingly focused on ensuring that their students are best positioned to be subservient cogs in an oppressive regime.

And the Fraser Institute is saying that the one form of education has little value while the other one is commendable.

But, as I’ve written about at least twice before, this fits the world-view of neo-conservatives like the Fraser Institute. Their world-view is based on a father-knows-best morality and their vision of education is based on a system that develops good little worker cogs.

The alternative is a system based on nurturing talents and encouraging students to think critically and creatively over multiple domains, prepared to be confident open-minded citizens.

I know which education system I prefer.

This post was inspired by this article.

Fresh views on politics in Alberta