Monday, April 14, 2014

Detailed results from the 2014 BC Conservative Party leadership election

Here is a link to the PDF of the detailed results of the 2014 BC Conservative Leadership vote.

I will do my own analysis of these numbers later.  For now this is here for anyone interested to review the details

Where could the BC Conservatives win in 2017

The BC Conservatives elected Dan Brooks as their new leader over the weekend.   My sense is that he was much more realistic about the future of the party than Rick Peterson was.   Without a dramatic change in the political landscape there is no realistic path for the BC Conservatives to win more than a couple of seats in 2017.

Dan Brooks has a monumental task ahead of him to elect anyone in the 2017 election but the BCCP does have some areas of more concentrated support which means electing a couple of MLAs is not impossible.   They are still the underdogs unless they build strong grassroots.

In 2009 the party only ran 24 candidates. Even with so few candidates in 2009 the party had measurable strength in the Okanagan and not just because former BC Liberal candidate Joe Cardosso ran as a Conservative Boundary Similkameen.

In 2013 it ran 61 though only 56 of them were on the ballot as Conservatives.    The party did not improve on their 2009 results in the Okanagan but did have a strong result in Peace River South, their best result in decades.

Here are the best results in the last couple of elections

Peace River South     2013 2,546 27.2% - second place
Chilliwack Hope       2012 3,615 25.2% - by-election
Boundary Similkameen  2009 3,596 20.2%
Port Moody Coquitlam  2012 1,766 15.4% - by-election
Chilliwack            2009 2,672 14.7%
Shuswap               2013 3,045 12.9%
Parksville Qualicum   2013 3,701 12.8%
Kelowna Mission       2013 3,051 12.7%
Nechako Lakes         2013 1,253 12.7%
Chilliwack            2013 2,510 12.0%
Kelowna Mission       2009 2,531 11.9%
Langley               2013 3,242 11.9% - party leader
Vernon Monashee       2013 3,169 11.8%
Richmond Steveston    2013 2,662 11.4%
Kelowna Lake Country  2009 2,253 11.4%
Westside Kelowna      2013 2,466 11.1%
Kelowna Lake Country  2013 2,351 11.0%

Few of the areas where there is strength for the party are any surprise other than Richmond Steveston.  

To win any of these seats will take serious local organization.   The only riding where the party can start as a serious contender is in Peace River South.  The next ten 2013 results are far enough behind that the party has to overcome the assumption that it is not a factor in the race.   This can be done in two ways, recruiting a high profile candidate or building a strong local team with several hundred active members.

I am not going to make any predictions of what seats the BC Conservatives might win because the party needs to do a lot more to prove itself before it can be taken seriously as a threat.

Kitimat Enbrdige Vote - the large No vote and a high turnout makes supporting Enbridge politically toxic.

Kitimat had a plebiscite on the Enbrdige pipeline on Saturday and the No to the pipeline side won a big victory, 58.4% to 41.6%.  A no vote in the community in BC that would benefit the most from the pipeline is stunning.  The legitimacy of the vote is further enhanced because of the high voter turnout.   

Kitimat has no jurisdiction as such over the pipeline so the vote the does not formally change anything.    With that in mind, the results were interesting

Here is the question asked:
Do you support the final report recommendations of the Joint Review Panel (JRP) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and National Energy Board, that the Enbridge Northern Gateway project be approved, subject to 209 conditions set out in Volume 2 of the JRP's final report?
Yes    1,278 41.6%
No     1,793 58.4%
total  3,071
Turnout 62%

The turnout is impressive.   Compare to the 2011 municipal elections when 2,426 people voted, this is a significant increase in voters.   A total of 761 new people registered to vote in the plebiscite.   That is a a 18% increase in voters.   In 2011 the new registrations were only 5% of the eligible voters. 

Pipelines offer very few ongoing jobs so the biggest benefit to BC communities from Enbridge would be in the form of property taxes.   The one community that would have any measurable increase in jobs would be Kitimat because they would be home to the terminal.   The oil shipment terminal and work related to ship movements will provide more jobs than the pipeline but still Kitimat voted no.

The last 20 years have been an ongoing hard time for rural resource towns in BC.   In a lot of these towns there is an attitude of anything goes as long as it bring jobs among large sections of the opinion leaders.   The fact that there was such a strong no vote is shocking.

The vote could be dismissed if no one voted, but the turnout was high.   Not only high, but higher than the last municipal elections.

Kitimat may not have jurisdiction over the pipeline decision, but the vote is a very important political signal.   If the pipeline can not be sold in Kitimat it is a political loser for any party that backs Enbridge.    Realistically the BC NDP and BC Liberals will not lift a finger for this pipeline.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Federal by-elections by parliament

There have been more by-elections in this parliament than in a long time.  We still have 18 months till the next election but we have already had nine by-elections and are waiting of five more.   It is likely we will see another three to five more vacancies before the next election.

This will be the most by-elections in a parliament we will have had since the 30th parliament from 1974 to 1979.  Minority parliaments tend to have fewer by-elections not only because they are shorter but also because no party wants to lose any MPs when the numbers are close.

Parliament  # of by-elect # by death  Govt
41st 2011-now    14           2       CPC Maj
40th 2008-11      7           0       CPC Min
39th 2006-08      9           1       CPC Min
38th 2004-06      1           1       Lib Min
37th 2000-04     12           0       Lib Maj
36th 1997-00     10           1       Lib Maj
35th 1993-97     10           1       Lib Maj
34th 1988-93      6           2       PC Maj
33rd 1984-88      6           0       PC Maj
32nd 1980-84     12           4       Lib Maj
31st 1979-80      2           1       PC Min
30th 1974-79     25           3       Lib Maj
29th 1972-74      0           0       Lib Min
28th 1968-72     11           5       Lib Maj

Reasons for vacancies
10 run for provincial legislature
9 run for local government
8 death
7 appointed to senate
5 various other political reasons
5 various other personal reasons
4 to take a private sector job
4 retirement
4 illness or family illness
4 appointed ambassador
4 to allow a new leader to run
3 provincial appointment

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Female Leaders in Canadian Politics

On November 14th 2013 Canada had six female first ministers, with the PQ election loss last night this is down to two.  If there is an election in Ontario in the near future and the Liberals lose, we will be down to one, Christy Clark in BC.

Even though over the last few years we have had more female leaders of major political parties than ever before in Canada, we have also seen a number of them have to resign or lose office.
  • Pauline Marois - lost re-election in Quebec
  • Allison Redford - resigned as Alberta premier
  • Kathy Dunderdale - resigned as Newfoundland and Labrador Premier 
  • Lorraine Michael - Newfoundland and Labrador NDP leader  had a serious caucus revolt in October 2013 and lost two of her five MHAs
  • Olive Crane - PEI PC leader was removed as leader by the PC caucus in October 2013
  • Eva Aariak - did not win re-election as an MLA in Nunavut, she had already said she did not want a second term as permier
  • Carole James - resigned as BC NDP leader January 20th 2011
There are currently 40 political parties represented in the various legislatures of Canada but only nine of they are lead by women.  On November 1st 2013 this was 13.

Current women political party leaders in Canada:
  • Christy Clark (Liberal) - premier of BC
  • Kathleen Wynne (Liberal) - premier of Ontario
  • Danielle Smith (Wildrose) - leader of the official opposition in Alberta
  • Elizabeth Hanson (NDP) - leader of the official opposition in Yukon
  • Andrea Horwath (NDP) - leader of the 3rd party in Ontario
  • Maureen MacDonald (NDP) - interim leader of the 3rd party in Nova Scotia
  • Lorraine Michael (NDP) - leader of the third party in Newfoundland
  • Elizabeth May (Green) - leader of the fifth party in the House of Commons
  • Rana Bokhari (Liberal) - leader of the third party in Manitoba, not elected to the legislature

Quick Quebec election analysis

The election started with the PQ and Liberals close in the polls and the CAQ distantly behind but as the election went on the PQ support dropped significantly while the Liberals gained marginally and the CAQ gained significantly.   The really big loser on the day is the PQ.

This election has not been a good one for the PQ.  This is the worst percentage of the vote for the PQ since the 1973 election.  In terms of seats it is their worst result since 1989.   The only saving grace is that the PQ remains the Official Opposition.

PQ Election results since formation
Election  vote   percent seats 
1970      662,404  23.1%   7   4th party but 3rd in pop vote
1973      897,809  30.2%   6   off opp
1976    1,390,351  41.4%  71   maj govt
1981    1,773,237  49.3%  80   maj govt
1985    1,320,008  38.7%  23   off opp
1989    1,369,067  40.2%  29   off opp
1994    1,751,442  44.8%  77   maj govt
1998    1,744,240  42.9%  76   maj govt 2nd in pop vote
2003    1,269,183  33.2%  46   off opp
2007    1,125,546  28.4%  36   3rd party
2008    1,139,185  35.2%  51   off opp
2012    1,393,703  32.0%  54   min govt
2014    1,074,027  25.4%  30   off opp 

It has been 16 years since the PQ has managed to get more than 40% of the vote, their overall electoral trajectory over the last five elections has been downward when compared to the era of 1976 to 1998.  Once example was the loss of the safe seat of Ungava. Since the riding was created in 1981 the PQ won it in every election until last night.

It seems only 1/4 to 1/3 of people in Quebec are willing to back the PQ any longer.   One of the reasons for this is the rise of third and fourth parties over the last four or five elections.  There was a period, after the final demise of the Union Nationale, that the PQ and Liberals took the vast majority of the votes, it was a two party race in Quebec from the 1970s to 90s.

PQ and Liberal dominance 
Election  share  seats
1970     68.5%  79/108
1973     84.7% 108/110
1976     75.2%  97/110
1981     95.3% 122/122
1985     94.7% 122/122
1989     90.1% 121/125
1994     89.2% 124/125
1998     86.4% 124/125
2003     79.2% 121/125
2007     61.4%  84/125
2008     77.3% 117/125
2012     63.2% 104/125
2014     66.9% 100/125

This is the first time a large third party in Quebec has been able to re-elect a decent sized caucus.   The CAQ lost popular support but gained three seats.   In 2012 the vote splits went against CAQ, in 2014 it went their way.   Could this be a sign of a realignment of Quebec politics where the CAQ will serve as a right wing alternative to the Liberals?

Quebec Solidaire has managed to continue to grow, they increased their vote total significantly and won another seat bringing their total to three.   They are also now serious contenders in two to four more seats.   QS continued their trend were a large portion of their total provincial vote was concentrated in their five best seats.  In 2014 17.04%  of their total vote was in their best five.  This is the lowest vote concentration they have seen since the party first contested the 2007 election but no by much.   Their five best seats average more than four times the support levels of the other 119 ridings where they ran candidates.

An interesting question, are current day QS supporters former PQ supporters?  If they are, the loss of 7.6% of the vote to the QS could make it impossible for the PQ to win the next election.

So now what for the PQ MNAs?   I could see some of them looking for a radical sovereigntist option and joining Option Nationale or something like that.  Some of them I could see switching to QS.  I could even see some of them joining CAQ.   The problem for the PQ  will be to maintain their 30 MNAs.  The loss of 2-3 to QS and 2-3 to CAQ would leave them roughly tied with CAQ for seats and status as Official Opposition.  The PQ is at a serious cross road that could lead to the party being small perpetual third party.

How the parties did in popular vote

Party       2012      2014     change   % change
Liberals 1,360,968 1,757,114  +396,125   +29.1%
PQ       1,393,703 1,074,027  -319,676   -22.9%
CAQ      1,180,235   975,512  -204,723   -17.3%
QS         263,111   323,372   +60,261   +22.9%
ON          82,539    30,736   -51,803   -62.8%
Greens      43,394    23,171   -20,223   -46.6%
The rest    38,738    48,579    +9,841   +25.4%