07.06.2014 10:32 AM

Help needed

Hoping to do a column about the correlation between a government”s popularity and the sitting of the relevant legislature – that is, governments go up when the Leg isn’t on TV. Anyone know of any studies related to same?


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    TrueNorthist says:

    I recall something along those lines a while back in an article or 3 on the BC Liberal’s determined efforts to avoid sitting in the legislature. It might take a while but I will see what I can find. The Ministry of War and Finance has given me a list of chores I must complete before dinner or find myself sleeping in the garage, again.

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    TrueNorthist says:

    I found this but haven’t had the time to read it in depth. Looks promising:

    If I keep multi-tasking like this I’ll blow my cerebral cortex, again.

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    Maybe it’s as simple as, nothing happening for the MSM to crap all over daily, people start paying more attention to what is actually going on around them…which rarely is anywhere near as bad as they’ve been hearing in the news.

    Kinda like, when you turn off the TV for a change, you can actually hear the birds singing outside.

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    TrueNorthist says:

    You might find some pertinent info here, although it tends to indicate the opposite happens:


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    Ron says:

    Parliament isn’t sitting but Harper keeps the horsebleep blender going full blast.

    Now he is taking “credit” for the “death” of separatism in Quebec. I guess he means the Marois crowd fell because he ignored Quebec as much as possible.

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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      No, it’s just a coincidence.
      Forget that he, unlike his predecessors, quit meddling in Quebec provincial affairs, dropping the paternalistic Ottawa knows best attitude. Or just respected the letter of the Constitution. Or granted them nation within a nation recognition. And refused to bite on anything the PQ and BLOC tried to bait him with so they could scream federal interference.
      I can’t remember a time in the last 50 years when this country didn’t spin around Quebec’s insecurities, demands and threats, until these last years since 2006.
      You know?

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        Ron says:

        Actually it’s a bad idea that fizzled out. For now.

        And Quebec isn’t the only province Harper has ignored. He’s the guy who took the federal out of federal-provincial conference.

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        Scotian says:

        Al in Cranbrook:

        You know, or that he just happened to be in power when the age factor finally caught up with the separatists like so many other things that came out of the 60s? That appears to have had a lot to do with it, the separatists are aging and there isn’t the fire of youth to it anymore, nor are the youth finding it all that appealing. Think that might also have had something to do with the collapse we’ve seen, and be something totally unrelated to who sits in the PM’s chair? Because remember it was the youth of a generation that ran with it, and they are hitting senior citiizenhood these days, and they have not been able to keep the dream alive to sell to the younger folks, at least not the ones who are politically active by the looks of it. Just another relevant point to consider alongside your claims, Al.

        Personally I find your willingness to give so much credit to Harper and ignore all that went before in preventing the separatists from destroying this nation for decades as also important in getting to this point more than a little bothersome as well. In essence we wore them out All, your premise I think has less to do with it than simply they got old, and could not sustain the fervour needed, nor could they really find a good argument that convinced, especially in this modern fractured/niche world of the information age. The concept of identity is very different for those of the information age than for those who preceded it, and now that the information age side has the greater influence in numbers, and the aging side does not combined with the inevitable loss of energy from age, well that I would argue has at least as much if not more to do with it than anything anyone can crediting the federal government with, especially the Harper government.

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          Sniper says:

          Don’t ignore the two crypto-separatist Quebec supremacists now leading the Liberal and NDP parties. How would you like to have a prime minister hailing from Quebec in control of all of Canada?

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            domenico says:

            Sniper, personally I would love it if our next PM was from Quebec.

            Just curious, was Mulroney a “crypto-separatist”? Abbott? Laurier? Chretien? PET?

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          Al in Cranbrook says:


          Were it not for the incessant bitching from Quebec, and the Liberals’ and PC’s eternal pandering to it, the Reform Party very likely would never have come into being. The CF-18 contract being yanked from Winnipeg, the best bidder, and sent to Quebec was the final straw. Westerners in massive numbers concluded they no longer could trust the two traditional parties.

          I went to a Western Canada Concept separatist rally in Lloydminster shortly thereafter. 600 were in attendance, and damn near every one of them bought a membership, including yours truly. The seething contempt among many westerners for the status quo cannot be understated.

          Several months later I attended a rally in the same building, attended again by about 600, to hear Preston Manning. Again, just about every one of them bought memberships, many discarding their previous separatist cards…including yours truly.

          I sincerely believe that very few easterners appreciate just how close this country came to imploding, nor the tremendous debt owed to one Preston Manning for providing an alternative.

          For my money, he changed the course of history, and Harper rose, ever so timely, to become the one to steer that ship home.

          There’s much more I could add to that, but suffice to say that’s the core of it.

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            Elisabeth Lindsay says:

            The NEP pretty much did it for me. Lost a friend to suicide over it. The rest of Canada has NO idea of the impact on Calgary businesses and families.

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            Warren says:

            I do.

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            Al in Cranbrook says:

            Five of our biggest oilfield accounts, representing 20% of the previous year’s business, shut it down inside of 6 months…most of them bankrupted.

            Occurs to me that perhaps one thing that might have thwarted the Wild Rose on Alberta’s last election day was a sense of loyalty to the PC Party, who fought that battle, still lingering among older generations of voters.

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        Derek Pearce says:

        Or perhaps 40 years of bilingualism and allowing provinces to opt out and run their own programs have deflated the separatists’ balloon. You can thank both Liberals and Conservatives for that.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Frankly I’m too lazy to look it up but if it’s accurate, the revolving door at the Quebec desk in the PMO has obviously done them no good…

      Separatism is far from dead — having been pronounced so a mutitude of times previously. The word I got was that the PMO expected a PQ majority. Reminds me of what they also expect for themselves.

      Here’s a tip: when Conventional Wisdom keeps saying you’re not worth two shits, it’s best to ignore that sage assessment. Worked for one guy previously viewed as a no-good that is, until his party glided into office without breaking a sweat.

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        Bill Templeman says:

        Ronald, your “Separatism is far from dead” cannot be repeated too often. What many here in this thread seem to overlook is that sovereigntist parties (PQ & Quebec Solidaire) got 33% of the popular vote in the 2014 Quebec election. http://www.cbc.ca/elections/quebecvotes2014/

        So before we start doling out big scoops of yummy credit to various PMs and their parties, let’s stay grounded in the evidence at hand: one out of every three Quebec voters still wants out of Canada. Not exactly grounds for celebration. So can we put away the party balloons and cool it on the back-slapping?

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    !o! says:

    fairly related:

    Government Responsiveness and Political Competition in Comparative Perspective: http://cps.sagepub.com/content/41/3/309.short
    Press and popularity, how coverage affects short-term political attitudes (UK) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9248.00442/abstract;jsessionid=22587B86E194B66C61A2441B5819BB3C.f02t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

    Somewhat related:

    on midterm and by-election vote loss (US): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1960537?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21104261320117
    election timing in majority governments (UK): http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=167507&fileId=S0007123403000188

    tangentially related:

    electoral business cycle in Japan (manipulating economic indicators pre-election): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/422311?uid=3739448&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21104261320117

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      !o! says:

      sorry, I’m not sure what happened to the formatting.

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    Sniper says:

    Ask Alice Funke over at Pundit’s Guide. ca. She should have something for you.

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    Derek Pearce says:

    That would partly explain how Republicans keep such a lock on Texas. They essentially have a part-time legislature that sits around 140 days per year. http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/2_1_0.html

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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      I recently read that, I think it was W. Virginia, where the legislature only sits for three months each year, and representatives are paid accordingly. Can’t help but think there is considerable merit in this, not the least of which is that time becomes valuable, and the inclination to waste it on silly nonsense is set aside.

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        Derek Pearce says:

        I agree that being paid to only sit for 3 months may give a meager savings. But to say that that short time is not wasted on silly nonsense is to be blind blind blind to politics. Give me a break. More sitting time = more silly time sure, but it sure gives more time to hold the governing party to account as well. I await your wails of protest when a Liberal governent invokes closure as much as Harper has. You’ll rue the day.

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    Marc-André Chiasson says:

    Warren. Although the 2011 book “Power: Where is it?” by Professor Donald Savoie does not touch directly on the issue you are interested in, it does skirt somewhat around its edges. If you Google “Donald Savoie Bibliography”, you should be able to easily find references and extracts.

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