Sunday, March 27, 2011

CTV; Liberal Fortress Toronto Safe...UofT Experts Assure...

I came across this piece on the CTV News website today. An excerpt:

One of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's first stops on the campaign trail is a speech Sunday at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton, in what will be the first of many attempts to woo GTA voters.

But experts say Toronto's Liberal-leaning voters aren't likely to switch allegiance to the Tories in large numbers before the May 2 election.

Stephen Clarkson, a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto, says even if Tories campaign hard in the GTA, they likely won't break the Liberal stronghold in many ridings.

Interesting observation but I wonder what Professor Clarkson bases it on. Further down he offers this:

Clarkson said the Conservatives likely won't make a big breakthrough in Toronto also because the NDP is likely to put in a strong campaign. He also pointed out that the Liberals can send out Ignatieff on the campaign without worrying about making silly mistakes like previous leaders.

"He speaks well, he has experience in campaigning and he's learned from his mistakes," said Clarkson.

Now this leads me to wonder if Professor Clarkson happened to catch Michael Ignatieff"s non-denial denial vis a vis coalition government. The one in which MI emphatically declares his devotion to democratic principles ..."from the bottom of my feet to the top of my toes..."

From my perspective what Count Ingatieff offered on day one of this campaign was both a mistake and poorly spoken. Then again I'm no polysci expert.

Of course CTV went a step further and consulted another political expert for this piece, one Nelson Wiseman, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

Professor Wiseman offered the following analysis:

Some ridings are vulnerable to a Conservative takeover on election day, says Nelson Wiseman, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. He says some of these include Eglinton-Lawrence, York Centre, Brampton-Springdale, Mississauga-Brampton South.

Wiseman said that Liberals will campaign hard to hang on to the ridings they have.

"I think they'll also target some of the ridings they lost in the last few elections like Trinity-Spadina," which was lost in 2006 to NDP member Olivia Chow.

And this somewhat out of place observation:

Wiseman said that part of the Conservative's strategy has been, particularly in north-western ridings, to heavily target new Canadians.

"Chinese-Canadians, Filipinos, South-Asian Canadians have been a target," he said, citing the example of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who made frequent appearances at events involving Asian-Canadian communities.

"Earlier this month, he was at a Filipino-sponsored affair where they put a cape on him and called him the ‘King of Multiculturalism,'" said Wiseman.

He says that at most, the GTA ridings may switch by maybe six or seven seats. "It's too early to tell, but according to the polls, Conservatives do have an early lead."

The piece concludes with the following:

A recent poll conducted by Nanos Research for CTV and the Globe and Mail shows the Conservatives at 43 per cent support in Ontario, up from 39 per cent last month. The Liberals are at 30.9 per cent, down from 32.8.

"The only thing that strikes me that could work for the Conservatives is this ‘coalition is undemocratic' shtick. It might convince voters to elect more Conservatives." Clarkson said.

So to recap, two UofT polysci Profs offer a "nothing to see here" analysis regarding CPC prospects in the GTA despite polling trends in the Conservatives favor.

This caused me to pause and wonder about the credentials of the two professors CTV consulted for this story. A quick google search produced the following on Professor Clarkson:

Stephen Clarkson, CM, FRSC (born 1937) is one of Canada’s preeminent political scientists and a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto.

His current work focuses primarily on two areas: the evolution of North America as a continental state, reinstitutionalized by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and two decades of neo-conservatism; and the impact of globalization and trade liberalization on the Canadian state. His recent publications on these themes include Uncle Sam and Us: Globalization, Neoconservatism and the Canadian State, published in 2002; and Global Governance and the Semi-peripheral State: The WTO and NAFTA as Canada's External Constitution in Governing under Stress: Middle Powers and the Challenge of Globalization".

Clarkson has taught and written on Canadian foreign policy and federal party politics. Following an unsuccessful campaign as Liberal candidate for the mayoralty of Toronto in 1969, Clarkson was active in the Liberal Party for six years. After Pierre Trudeau’s retirement from active politics in 1984, Clarkson spent a decade co-authoring the epic, Trudeau and Our Times, with his wife Christina McCall, which won the Governor General's Award for non-fiction.

His knowledge and experience in Canadian politics led to the commissioning of a history of federal election campaigns in Canada from 1974 onward. These essays were the basis of his 2005 book, The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics.

The good Professor was also once married to somebody named Adrien Clarkson, a name which sounds vaguely familiar for some reason, but I digress.

I also found some interesting mention of the work Professor Wiseman is noted for here:

Nelson Wiseman’s Social Democracy in Manitoba: A History of the CCF/NDP fills a gap present in earlier histories of Manitoba...

...Nelson Wiseman is the first to chart the rise of the NDP as a political force in Manitoba and to provide a detailed account of the activities of the political left over the last ninety years...

...Wiseman began to research and write this book on the NDP as a strongly partisan insider. In the 1960s, he served as president of the University of Manitoba NDP Club and sat on the party’s provincial executive committee. He was active in the left-wing Waffle and quit the NDP in 1972 when the party refused to move closer to the Waffle position. Wiseman’s Waffle perspective is evident in this book, especially in his probing, thoughtful, and often critical account and analysis of the Schreyer years...

...Wiseman, the ex-Waffle member, is very critical of Ed Schreyer’s leadership and the NDP in power. He observes that “little in the NDP government’s performance diverged from what non-NDP government’s did” (p. 139) and that in office the NDP was just like any other government. He charges that little notice was taken of party policy and instead the “cabinet and caucus” (p. 132) were responsible for making policy. Wiseman chides the Schreyer government for failing to promote greater worker control in crown corporations, for failing to bring about major redistribution in income and for failing “to move towards public ownership of natural resource industries and urban land.” (p. 139).

Good to see that CTV found non-partisan experts.

Friday, March 25, 2011

On the Matter of Contempt

It seems the current Canadian government has been found in contempt, not just ordinary contempt but unprecedented contempt.

Many have also noted an unprecedented vitriolic atmosphere in the political air.

Few, if any, mention the unprecedented fact that we are are in our 7th consecutive year of minority government.

My sense of contempt is reserved for those who lack perspective.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Susan Delacourt...Obtuse or Self Satarizing?

Susan's latest effort at the TorStar has me posing the above question. It seems Sue snidely dismisses CPC communications that question Michael Ignatieff's claim of being the child of common immigrants.

She then publishes an entirely convincing case which points out the very privileged position the Ignatieff clan has always maintained regardless of where they resided.

An excerpt:

While the Ignatieffs have made the most of their coming to Canada in their respective fields, they have never ceased to enjoy great privilege, as a function of the financial and educational resources and social status they brought with them, and which are theirs to this day. The Ignatieff immigrant experience is one of significant wealth, first-rate educations and privilege. Very few Canadian families can claim this “immigrant experience.”

Hence my question.

OTOH the whole thing could also have been a poorly constructed vehicle to associate Canadian conservatives with those nasty American birthers. More from Sue...

Somewhere in here, they may well be claiming that he was born in Kenya.