Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why do I not unsubcribe?

because I have perverse of humour and find these ultra right wing fundraisng letters from US candidates entertaining.  

Here is one for the only Canadian running for US president, Ted Cruz

Cruz For President
Dear Bernard,

I'm about to ask you to make a sacrifice in the next 48 hours. But before I do, I want you to know: I wouldn't ask you if I hadn't already done it myself.

Please let me briefly explain.

You see, running for President of the United States is a significant sacrifice. Only through prayer and many late night discussions with my wife, family, and closest friends did I makeTHE decision.

And I must share with you -- I've committed to sacrificing a great deal for our campaign:
     >>> Time with my family: Spending almost every day on the campaign trail or fighting on the Senate floor means precious little time spent with my wife, Heidi, and my daughters -- the very family that gives me the motivation and drive to fight.
     >>> Health and sleep: My runoff campaign for the Senate in 2012 took a toll, but now I'm sacrificing even more sleep with long nights and constant travel. And the pizza diet is a staple on the campaign trail.
     >>> Finances: the cost of campaigning back and forth across the country for president is increasingly expensive, but Heidi and I are willing to invest our livelihoods into this sacrifice.
     >>> Personal time: You think of this the least, but as a candidate, my days are no longer my own. Days start before dawn and many times don't end until early the next morning. There is almost no personal time when you run for president.
Bernard, I've chosen to sacrifice part of mine and my families lives to run for President -- but I think you will agree with me that the sacrifice is well worth it.

Unless courageous conservatives are willing to make tough sacrifices to stand up and fight, we will not be able to restore America.

Today, I'm asking you to make a sacrifice BernardWill you join me by making a special, one-time gift to my campaign?

I've asked my staff to put together these secure links below so you can make an instant and secure sacrificial gift -- it can be done in just 5 minutes.




Will you be a courageous conservative and make a special gift today to help restore America? I can only reach this goal with your help.

I wouldn't ask you if 1) I wasn't willing to make the same sacrifice myself; and 2) the stakes weren't so high.

Bernard, time is critical, and if you will, please make this special gift in the next 48 hours -- I would be so grateful.

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

P.S. Bernard, I've chosen to make some steep, necessary sacrifices in our fight to restore America. Will you join me with your gift of $250 or $100? OR if $35 or $10 is a stretch gift for you, I will be grateful for every dollar you can sacrifice and will ensure it is faithfully used.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Votes in Alberta General Election Results

I find it interesting how over the last 40 years the total votes for the PCs in Alberta has remained relatively stable.   From 1975 to 2008 the PC total vote tracked somewhat closely to the total vote.  It is in 2012 and 2015 that this pattern changed.  The PC vote remained in their traditional band but the total number of voters increased dramatically

What this says to me is that in 2012 a whole bunch of social conservatives came out to vote for Wildrose that had not been voting.  At the same time traditional Liberal voters seem to have gone to the PCs in that election.

In 2015 it seems that several hundred thousand left of centre voters bothered to come to the polls because the NDP could possibly win.   The 2012 social conservatives did vote again for Wildrose.  The 2012 Liberals that voted PC seem to have voted NDP this time as well as some of the people that still voted Liberal in 2012.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wayne Easter explains why the Liberals like bill C51

This is an email a friend got this week.  I explains why the Liberals think the new powers in C51 are a good idea for Canada

From: "wayne easter" <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 9:11:18 AM
Subject: RE: the vote today on C-51

Dear Mr.  

Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion on Bill C-51, the Government’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

The Liberal Party of Canada is voting in favour of Bill C-51 because it contains significant measures that will keep Canadians safe. We welcome the measures that (1) lower the threshold for preventative arrests, (2) expand the no-fly list, and (3) allow for greater and more coordinated information sharing between government departments and agencies involved in security matters.

Experts, including witnesses from the House of Commons Public Safety Committee, agree that these measures are necessary to ensure Canadians’ collective security. Without collective security, the individual freedoms we cherish as Canadians cannot exist. This truth is supported by the great majority of witnesses presenting before the House of Commons Public Safety Committee, who, while raising concerns about civil liberties, also recognized the need for additional security measures during these times. 

We understand Canadians’ concerns regarding oversight and accountability for this bill.  Liberals know that if a government asks its citizens to give up even a small part of their liberty, they must ensure that there are legislated transparency and accountability safeguards so that these powers are not abused.

That is why we tried to work with the Conservatives to make this bill better, proposing amendments that balance security and civil liberties based on conversations with Canadians like you. These measures are found in legislation crafted by a Liberal government in response to heightened international security following 9/11 and are similar to measures that are standard internationally.

Following the C-51 committee process, the Government submitted the following amendments that address the issues raised in amendments put forward by the Liberal Party of Canada:
  • Remove the word "lawful" prior to “advocacy”/ “protest”, so that legitimate forms of demonstration are not captured under this legislation;
  • Narrow the scope of information sharing from “with any person for any purpose”‎ to 17 government departments and agencies, therefore restricting the possibility for abuse; and
  • Limit and clarify the Minister’s intervention powers over Canadian airlines.
Further, due to public pressure the government clarified in law that CSIS is not a police agency and has no power of arrest.

These were needed and welcomed changes, but not enough. Canada is the only nation of its kind without national security oversight being carried out by parliamentarians. If the Harper Government will not act responsibly and legislate transparency and accountability measures into this bill, then the Liberal Party of Canada is committed to presenting these proposals as part of our platform in the upcoming federal election.

We also know that Canada’s response to terrorism goes far beyond legislative measure alone; it must include a robust plan for preventing radicalization before it takes root. This means that our security agencies must be adequately resourced so that they can carry out these new tasks required of them.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your opinion. It is through dialogue with Canadians like you that we can continue to ensure that the policies we support and create are representative of the values and needs of Canadians.


Wayne Easter, P.C.
MP for Malpeque

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Federal Political Public Opinion on Vancouver Island May 5th - 8th

The survey was was conducted between May 5th and 8th using Google Surveys to sample public opinion.  Here are the results:

I need a better tool for making graphs, please suggest one for me to use

Party  Vancouver South of North of
       Island    Malahat  Malahat
NDP     33.3%     33.8%    32.6%
Greens  22.5%     24.8%    18.5%
Cons    20.5%     14.7%    28.0%
Liberal 20.5%     23.5%    15.4%
Other    4.0%      3.2%     5.4% 

815 weighted responses - weighting based on age and gender.
247 weighted responses were undecided
568 weighted decided voters for all of Vancouver Island
318 weighted decided voters south of the Malahat
237 weighted decided voters north of the Malahat
Google Surveys were used as a the sampling method
Because this is not a probability sample of the population of Vancouver Island a statistical margin of error is not applicable.  Getting a true probability sample is virtually impossible to achieve, getting even close no longer possible.  You can read a basic explanation of sampling methods at this link

I have been getting back into the world of polling.   Back in the 1980s I ran polls for BCPIRG and then in the later 1990s to early 2000s from time to time for various First Nations.   

I have been unhappy with the quality of random data the various methods of sampling methods most pollsters are using.   I have been experimenting with various models since the 2013 BC election but found limitations to the various different ideas that made them less than ideal solutions.   About a month ago I came across Google Surveys for the first time.  I have run a number of tests of the Google Survey model since then and I have been pleasantly surprised at the statistical quality of the results.  I am still working through the math of the statistics and comparing the results from the surveys with the 2011 census demographics.   

I am comfortable enough with the results from Google Surveys from my tests that I have confidence that the results are a good statistical representation of the public

My intention is to run regular polls of federal political opinion in BC between now and October 19th.   The frequency will depend on how successful the crowdfunding campaign will be to pay for the work.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Top Ten All Time MP Occupations

This is the all time list from 1867 to 2015.   Data comes from this link.


  1. Lawyer 1,091
  2. Farmer 601
  3. Businessman / businesswoman 486
  4. Merchant 464
  5. Teacher 353
  6. Physician 213
  7. Manager 211
  8. Professor 182
  9. Journalist 176
  10. Consultant 153

Current parliament


  1. Businessman / businesswoman 52
  2. Lawyer 44
  3. Consultant 35
  4. Teacher 30
  5. Manager 23
  6. Director 22 includes the following occupations: artistic director, corporate director, director - minister's office, director general, director of fisheries, director of human resources, director of personnel, director of public relations, director of Quebec relations for the Grand Council of the Crees, director of recreational services, executive director, executive director - sustainable energy (not-for-profit), managing director, program director (radio station), railway company director, railway director, research director, safety director, sales director, stage director
  7. Professor 20
  8. Farmer 19
  9. Journalist 19
  10. Author 16 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Federal Political Opinion in BC created with a Google Survey

I have been testing out Google Surveys as a possible polling tool.   Here are the headline results

April 30-May 2
n=914 - decided voters only
Liberals - 28.5%
NDP - 27.5%
Conservatives - 23.5%
Greens - 15.7%
Other - 4.8%

I did a smaller one roughly at the same time - April 29 - May 1
n=545 - decided voters only
Liberals - 33.7%
Conservatives - 23.9%
NDP - 22.2%
Greens - 16.5%
Other 7.7%

I did a first one a week earlier - April 23 to 25
n=432 - decided voters only
Liberals - 31.3%
NDP - 26.2%
Conservatives - 25.5%
Greens - 11.8%
Other - 4.4%

For comparison, here are the EKOS results from April 22-28
n=400 - decided voters only
Liberals - 30.9%
Conservatives - 26.4%
NDP - 21.9%
Greens - 19.6%
Other - 1.1%

The numbers I am getting are in the same ballpark as the EKOS results but that does not mean my numbers are a useful representation of public opinion.   It may only be luck.  What I have been testing is how good the Google Surveys sampling method is, can it give me a demographically accurate representation of BC?

I think it may be a useful polling tool but in the testing I have made some observations that leave me feeling mixed about the quality of the results.  I will discussing the results in detail with Google on Monday,

Here are some quick observations:

  • Too many of the responses come with no demographic data which means when you start a survey looking for 1,000 responses you are likely to only 700, I am finding 30% of the responses are without demographic data.   The results above are weighted for age and gender which means all the responses with no demographic data are not counted in the results above
  • The geographic distribution of the results are not an accurate reflection of BC, it is far enough off that I am not happy with it.  I would like to calculate the weighting that would need to go into that to correct the number but I do need more information about how the locations are set.
  • The responses consistently have had more men than women answer meaning the female responses are given a lot more weighting and this makes the results less reliable.

I have lot more detailed analysis to do over the next couple days.  I also want to run one more test, this time targeted specifically to Vancouver Island, I want to see if choosing a specific region would remove most of the responses with no demographic information.

If Google Surveys can be made function as a opinion poll, I would like to run a weekly public opinion poll of federal voting intentions in BC till the election.  If I go ahead with this I will be crowdfunding to cover the costs, but feel free to drop me a line now if you would like to support this idea.

If you want the raw data, I will happily share it with you, just drop me a line.

Google Surveys can be very cost effective.  A single question survey within one province or the whole country costs only $0.10 per responses - a 2000 response survey only costs $200.

Google gets their respondents from people wanting to read content that costs but which by answering a survey you can read it for free.   

This is how a Google Survey looks: