08.30.2015 08:43 AM

KCCCC Day 28: back in Canuckistan


  • Took 12 straight hours but I made it home with Sons 1, 2 and 3 last night. Drove through four states and two countries, made three pee stops, was greeted with a pleasant border services guy at the Niagara Falls crossing, and…took two hours to cross Toronto. Traffic was insane. So we went through many TO neighbourhoods. 
  • Anecdotal, non-scientific impression? Dippers are winning the sign war, but Grits aren’t doing too badly, either. Conservatives are nowhere. Greens exist, but barely. 
  • Signs probably don’t mean a whole lot, but politicos spend a lot of time talking about ’em. When I ran in North Van in ’97, I had more signs up than the Reform Party gremlin I was challenging. That made me and my team feel good. But I still lost in the end, and decisively, too. 
  • So signs are useful for forming impressions, but not much else. And the impression me and my very-political sons got is that the Liberal fortress of Toronto isn’t as Liberal as it once was. The New Democrats clearly have momentum. You can see it. 
  • You can feel it, too. They are organized and they look and sound confident. There’s a danger in looking too confident, however: you start to appear arrogant. Thus, their anti-C51 campaign. If I’d been running against ’em in Danforth, I would’ve said: “We, like every other democracy, have laws criminalizing hate and genocide. Why does the NDP oppose criminalizing – as every other democracy has done – hate and genocide’s bastard sibling, terror?”
  • But that’s just me. The Libs are acting like they are on the defensive on security, and they don’t seem terribly confident about the deficit-financing promise, either. 
  • What’s your take? Who is winning the sign war in your ‘hood? Who has momentum in your riding? Oh, and here’s what greeted us at the end of that long, long drive. Was great to see. 



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    Ridiculosity says:

    Small world. I have one of those beautiful red NATHANIEL ERSKINE-SMITH signs in my front yard too. If you live in Beaches-East York, you can get one of your very own by emailing info@votenate.ca

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    Chris Sigurdson says:

    Justin sounds like an actor in a reality TV show trying to prank everyone into believing he’s a REAL politician. There is no commitment to his platform because it was chiselled out in response to Harper and his rabid attacks on the LPC and leaders past.
    JT burst on the scene and initially made a good impression beyond the party loyalists. He offered a rare authentic voice. He should have doubled down on his “whip out your CF18” comments not tried to dance around them. He would have sounded more convincing as a Harper opponent if he was allowed to speak in his own voice.
    Mulcair is charismatically challenged – he smiles like a teacher feigning interest in a student’s Show and Tell story.
    That said- he is slowly gaining support. He presents as a competent politician and not a demagogue. But the biggest asset T M has is ironically, Harper’s Ahab-like quest to decimate the LPC. The attack ads – JT’s not ready- implant the question- then who is? So people are checking out the NDP as an alternative.
    In a judo-like flip, T M and the NDP have promised no deficits, and whether or not they can deliver, it has dulled the CPC attacks that they will “Spend and tax, spend and tax”.
    My riding has a strong LPC candidate that has a good chance at defeating a CPC incumbent. I will make my vote count.
    vote ABC

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    Alex says:

    I had a different experience with signs. I live in Ottawa Centre which is represented by Paul Dewar. In my part of the riding there are more Liberal signs than Dipper ones, with the rare Tory blue. Greens are nowhere. But even though the Liberal candidate is very impressive — remember the name Catherine Mckenna — there is no way she will beat the NDP in this election. If it was any other riding in Ottawa she would have a shot, but not in this one.

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    Don Wilson says:

    Signs don’t matter, rallies don’t matter, polls don’t matter. Only GOTV matters. And we know which party won GOTV in 2011.

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      RogerX says:

      But ‘hatred’ and ‘fear’ are both great GOTV motivators. We know the Cons have a hardcore +/- 30% base support while the Libs and Dips are depending on the ‘time for change’ vote which is iffy for GOTV, and depending on a wave of discontent tsunami-style. This election will be the most suspenseful and entertaining and as we get down to the short strokes in October it will be a wild ride!

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      doconnor says:

      The NDP did great in Quebec with no GOTV. These days only a small percentage of people answer the door, so it probably only boosts your vote 5%. It can make a differance, but it far from the only factor.

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    Mark says:

    I live in Victoria. Liz May signs only in most of her riding. NDP signs for the majority in the Victoria riding. Lib and Con signs nowhere but on public lands.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    Bizarre situation generally at the start of the campaign in 905 Peel (Mississauga and Brampton): more Conservative signs in the first two weeks of the campaign than Liberals and NDP combined.

    That has changed in last two weeks (really, we are now 4 weeks in, in the past the upcoming week would be the last or second last week of the election) and the Liberals have passed the Conservatives, and the NDP are far back now in the rear view mirror.

    All this makes sense because I don’t think the other two parties were really expecting an election before the Duffy trial and thus had not the signs ready to put up. Also, the NDP have won only 1 seat provincially or federally in Peel in the 20 years I have been irving here (not even one in Bob Rae’s miracle). The only one was Jagmeet Singh provincially in 2011 and 2015.

    I am voting NDP, no strategic voting here because I fear the Trudeau Cabal in the PMO, but for the NDP to win a federal seat in 905 Peel, there would have to be a massive collapse/swing of the Liberal vote. Not fearless prediction, the NDP are winning 0, that is zero, of Peel’s 11 federal seats. It really is a toss up between the sitting CONS and Libs.

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    Matt says:

    Signs are actually pretty even in my area (Scarborough Centre) between CPC and Libs, with more NDP popping up. The Dippers were the last to start putting up signs. Maybe they didn’t have a candidate selected when the writ was dropped.

    Greens are non-existant.

    But what’s funny is I’m seeing more and more houses with CPC, Lib and NDP sigs on their lawn. Two houses on my street are like that, and I know in both cases only one elderly person lives in each house.

    Undecided? Just didn’t want to say no the the canvasers?

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    Kaplan says:

    In Edmonton-Griesbach, the NDP have coloured the riding orange. Even in my little ‘hood, where I wouldn’t expect to see so many politically engaged folk (it’s predominantly blue-collar), there are half a dozen NDP signs, and one Liberal sign, just on my street. Pollsters have picked Edmonton-Griesback as one of the few, if only, Alberta ridings to swing from Conservative to NDP, and apparently the Dippers read the memo, too.

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      Matt says:

      Signs aren’t really an indication of vote outcome.

      Most Conservative voters tend not to advertise their intentions.

      In 2011, the Liberal candidate in my riding out signed the CPC candidate by at least 5 to 1, and the NDP candidate’s signs were very, very few and far between.

      On election night it was CPC first, NDP second and Libs third.

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    Matt says:

    Should add if you’re not seeing signs in your area, that be a result of municipal election signage by-laws governing when signs can be put and where.

    IIRC Ottawa allows signs on public land 60 days before election day, but not on private land until 30 days before election day.

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      Domenico says:

      same in Oak Bay (Victoria). No signs until 30 days from date.

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    KBab says:

    Here in Brant its a 3 way toss, Libs jumped into an early lead, then the Cons put up massive signs in usual spots, the NDP were holding off until Mulcair came to town, which he did, but the orange wave they wanted for that turned out to be a modest ripple. Con incumbent McColeman not terribly popular, or effective, a permanent backbencher puppet with local ties to housing and development sector, by that I mean suburban sprawl and cement everything.

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    Priyesh says:

    I’m thinking about voting NDP in Toronto.

    (A) Bill C-51 has given me zero faith in the Trudeau brain trust.

    (B) I’m not a fan of my local Liberal candidate.

    (C) It’s not like I’d need to vote strategically against the Conservatives… but I wanna help the NDP increase their margin of seats, just in case Harper tries some shit.

    (D) Civil liberties, jobs, childcare, the environment, electoral reform, roll back taxes for the wealthiest corporations. It’s hard not to feel like the NDP is where the Liberals *should* be.

    Scratch that. I’m almost certainly voting NDP in Toronto. I’m starting to wonder if I should listen to my friends asking me to volunteer for them, or just feel hugely guilty.

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    doconnor says:

    On the spectrum from opposing the government to civil disobedience to terrorism, bill C-51 covers more then it should.

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    Nicole says:

    On a different note, why did Fahmy end up with a jail sentence when Baird made it sound like it was going to be a release prior to his sudden departure from politics ? If Australia can get their guy out of a kangaroo court situation (pun somewhat intended) why can’t Canada do the same? Does Egypt have some special hold on Canada that it doesn’t have on Australia, or does the Harper government just not care because Fahmy is a double barrelled Canadian?
    I know Kenney is spouting off about discretion today, but it is hard to fathom that Canada is unable to do what Australia was able to do.

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      Domenico says:

      Nicole, that is a good point. I wonder whether Harper’s “All In With Israel” policy is hurting any behind the scenes negotiations. Or whether Baird somehow managed to make a mess with his negotiations.

      As for Jason Kenney, the less said about his blovulating the better.

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      Mclind says:

      Could it have anything to do with the Australian being an Australian and Fahmy being an Egyptian citizen as well as a hyphenated Canadian?

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      DavidS says:

      the Australian was not a duel citizen,, unfortunately for Mr. Fahmy he was a duel citizen of Canada and Egypt when he was charged,, I expect he will be expelled from Egypt in a day or two.

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    gyor says:

    Trudeau is too busy apologizing for his support C-51to defend it, he reeks of buyers remorse. The NDP are attacking him for it, because he’s vulnerible on it and I don’t see that changing.

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    RogerX says:

    In TV advertising, it is well understood that if the commercial is not understood by a 10 y.o. it will not be understood by 95% of the adult viewing audience. Same in politics with the voting decision an uninformed emotional decision.

    Let’s just admit it, the average Canadian voter is not fully tuned into politics of the nation, they are only tuned into the political theatre, sad to say. Of course, forum commenters are highly attuned to the daily politics.

    Ergo, the ‘sign war’ is a strategy to impress the average Canadian voter who may like the colour of one party over the others. I’m Blue… I love Red… I’m an Orange! And then there is the Look-at-Me factor… I’m new and improved!

    Are the Cons short of sign erection volunteers, or are they strategically holding back until after Labour Day so they look like the new kids on the block and gain everybody’s attention? After all, they are selling the candidate’s name as well as the party logo and name recognition…. and by then the Duffy Debacle may have worn off and forgotten. Who knows?

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    Leslieville Bill says:

    As a former campaign worker, I can tell you that campaign signs are just not that important. Sure, you need to be competitive with your opponent but no one ever voted for a someone based on the number of signs installed. Also, many sign watchers don’t realize that a lot of the signs they see are on public property (especially down town or in rural areas). For the record, I am in Toronto-Danforth (Layton’s old riding), a sure win for the NDP. They are also winning the sign wars as the Liberal candidate just started putting them up a few days ago.

    My thoughts on C-51? Bringing it up is a waste of time for the NDP. It’s is a wedge issue, as it sets the NDP apart from the other two parties, but it’s not likely a ballot issue. People are much more likely to worry about the economy or health care than C-51.

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      Ridiculosity says:


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      MississaugaPeter says:

      CONS signs were outnumbered 2 to 1 and even 3 to 1 (including Crombie’s, Bain’s, Alghabra’s and Fonseca’s incumbent ridings) by Liberal signs in Peel last time around, and every Liberal lost. So number of signs last time around did not help. The Liberal national campaign sucked and even Iggy lost his sure riding. They may have actually hurt because they may have lead Liberal folks to believe that it was a sure win thus they did not feel a great need to vote. The reality, if you looked at Etobicoke Centre, where less than 30 votes cost a good Liberal his riding, that kind of sure thing thing can be a hindrance. Signs play an important role in our elections, although they don’t necessarily affect each race equally.

      C-51 doesn’t matter? It was what made many NDP followers who switched over to Trudeau come back to the NDP. Look back at what point Trudeau started to decline and the NDP took over their position. In spite of my angst against Trudeau’s cabal, I was still waffling with my vote, and C-51 pushed me over to the NDP. Trudeau lost his massive advantage with university students when he supported C-51. I believe he has avoided universities since then, after getting beat up in B.C. universities in the spring. Mulcair and the NDP are wise to bring up C-51!

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        Leslieville Bill says:

        MississaugaPeter, I didn’t say that C-51 did not matter. I said it wasn’t a “ballot box” question. It not a defining or pivotal issue for most voters. Most voters are self interested and will vote for a party based on a issued that DIRECTLY impacts them.

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          Ridiculosity says:

          Agreed. As Carville famously said, “It’s the economy…”

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      Marc says:

      I think the NDP is actually right on C51 but as an issue it serves only two purposes- a) get people whipped up mid term, and b) used a a nail-in-the-coffin type of issue. But it’s not mid term, and it is way too early to bury anyone yet. It’s going to woosh over most people’s heads, and will just get the NDP more questions about why they’re talking about civil rights legislation rather than the economy – particularly with Trudeau well times zag to Mulcair zig.

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    bobbie says:

    No NDP signs in my mid-western Ont. riding. It’s all Red and Blue. Counties most Blue, towns a mix of Red & Blue. The closer to the wind turbines the Bluer it gets.

    Are signs important? No really. A type of prop. If a bad candidate has lots of signs but no solid plan to speak of he’s still going to be the loser.

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    Mike Adamson says:

    Up here in Nipissing—Timiskaming I see more Red than Blue although it’s close, a smattering of Orange and a single Green. It’s probably indicative of the final result.

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    ottlib says:

    Ottawa West Nepean: Conservative signs went up pretty quick and outnumbered Liberal signs by a large margin at first. However, I have not seen too many new Conservative signs in the neighbourhood while new Liberal signs keeps popping up on a daily basis. They are about even now. No NDP as I do not believe they have chosen a candidate yet.

    Ottawa Centre: More Liberals signs than NDP signs in the areas I go through to get to work. Have not seen a single Conservative sign yet.

    Ottawa South: Only drove down one road so this is by no means indicative of what is happening there but I only saw Liberal signs on that road. No signs from other parties yet.

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    Iris Mclean says:

    In my eastern Ontario riding (Leeds Grenville), Gord Brown will snooze his way to yet another easy victory. If the Cons ran a fence-post here, and some say they are, they’d still prevail.

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    SF Thomas says:

    I’m in Ottawa-West Nepean (formerly John Baird’s seat). So far I have seen a pretty even mix of Liberal and Conservative signs. There are some clusters of NDP ones particularly in the more downtown-ish parts of the riding closer to the river, but not as many as Liberal or Conservative ones.

    Regardless the number of Liberals signs helps reinforce my belief the Liberals have a decent shot here. The demographics of this riding have changed a bit in the last few years; it has become a bit more urban and there is a fairly decent mix of income levels and people from different professions. Baird is gone and the Conservative candidate doesn’t have the name recognition or the benefit of a likely cabinet post. In contrast the Liberal candidate Anita Vandenbeld ran last time, so she has some recognition and has a bit more experience. In 2011 she came within 10 points of Baird in the popular vote even with the Liberal collapse, so if the Liberal poll numbers hold around the high 20s low 30s in Ontario we have a pretty good chance..

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      SF Thomas says:

      Actually no NDP signs yet. Bit embarrassing but I was getting Ottawa Center mixed up for a sec since I go through there on the way to work.

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    Mike Corbin says:

    From the riding of Nanaimo/Ladysmith and using the highly accurate, scientifically proven “signs I see on my way to work” method it seems the Green guy Paul Manly has the momentum in the sign battle. He’s the only one I’ve seen so far who is using his picture on the larger of 3 sizes they all seem to be using. Seems effective and he’s got lots of them out and on private property.

    Usual amounts of NDP signs you’d expect to see in this riding. Conservative guy is, so far, only on public property that I’ve seen. Liberal guy has no signs as it appears those are arriving this week.

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      davie says:

      A few NDP’s could shift to Green in Nanaimo Ladysmith because of NDP HQ involvement in deciding a fellow with NDP roots could not run for the NDP.

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    Peter says:

    Still Rock n’ Roll to Me:

    What’s the problem with deficit financing
    Don’t you know that it’s out of style
    So the Dippers are right of the Dauphin
    Haven’t seen that for quite a while
    Who cares if Tom is lookin’ kinda stuffy
    You can’t win elections with all that Duffy
    It’s left, right, Harper-lite
    Damn thing is too tight
    It’s all politics to me

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    Steve T says:

    I think signs are primarily a way to raise awareness of lesser-known candidates. Strong incumbents, or pseudo-celebrity contenders, don’t need them as much. Signs make a candidate look legit, but twice as many signs does not equate to twice as many votes – nowhere close.

    To that point, in my riding (Winnipeg South), it is virtually all Liberal and CPC signs. Few if any NDP signs. I think that is indicative of the hate most Manitobans have right now for our provincial NDP. Even if some folks intend to vote NDP federally, they probably don’t want a Dipper sign in their yard.

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    Focus now turns to the NDP and Muclair’s mathematical abilities, or more to the point, the lack thereof…



    Mulcair keeps referencing NDP provincial governments as proof of their capabilities.

    I agree. The NDP trashed British Columbia’s economy down to have-not status and reliance upon equalization dole (mostly paid for by Alberta oil).

    The NDP’s brief stint running Ontario right into the dirt is pretty much the stuff of political legend.

    Saskatchewan, once upon a time a perennial recipient of equalization dole, has never had it so good since Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party put the boots to the NDP in that province.

    Will be interesting to see who is going to pick up the massive tab for equalization dole…$10 billion plus for Ontario and Quebec…when the NDP have had their way with Alberta’s economy for a little while, and it already is looking pretty sad there.

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      davie says:

      During the 1990’s, when transfer payments from the feds were slashed and demand in Asian markets for BC commodities dropped so much, the NDP decided to maintain health and education spending – much tot he displeasure of Howe Street and their media out here. (In Ontario, the Harris gang decided to cut health and education spending – a ‘common sense’ set of priorities there)
      During that time, I lived and worked in the Northeast of BC, the oil and gas patch. The economy in our area just kept growing every 6 months, sort of the way the Alberta oil patch grew. I could not figure it out how, with n NDP government in BC, our oil and gas sector just kept bubbling along.

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        The Doctor says:

        The BC NDP’s Corporation Capital Tax was a toxic, bone-headed job and investment killer. Glen Clark reportedly boasted that he was shovelling taxpayers’ money off the back of a truck, and he indeed was — to his union buddies. The BC NDP is the perfect embodiment of Union Cronyism. Their “fair share BC” scam/boondoggle meant that BC taxpayers systematically overpaid and we’re overcharged for everything (see in particular the Island Highway Project, never mind those snazzy fast ferries), so that Glen Clark could grease his union buddies. These people are not fit to manage a lemonade stand, never mind a province.

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      Maps Onburt says:

      Don’t forget the mess they made in Manitoba and Nova Scotia recently too…

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    pod says:

    Dippers will eventually DIP in Ontario- They have NOBODY

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    Joe says:

    Not that I put much stock in signs but I find it interesting that a few months ago this riding in Edmonton was covered in NDP orange. Now I can’t find an orange sign anywhere. Lots of blue and a few red but no orange. Of course the orange don’t have the best candidate either. He’s public service union hack that has said some pretty silly things over the years.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    In Quebec, we generally never ever do signs on private property. That applies to both federal and provincial elections.

    Only one NDP sign on a private plot. Have seen zip others, of any party, in Quebec City.

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    Marc says:

    Trudeau’s deficit financing pledge, regardless of whether it was thought out, is playing really well and putting the NDP on the backfoot in Toronto. It was a smart gamble.

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    gyor says:

    You won’t really be able to gage the sign war until all candiates have been chosen at least and more likely until October.

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    danny says:

    Drove around town today. East side, West side, Burnaby, North Shore.
    It is pretty clear ReMax are winning. Rich, poor, every neighborhood. They got my vote.

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    BillBC says:

    I’m in Nannaimo-Ladysmith too, and there’s only one sign on my street: Green. I’m really hoping no one on the street puts up signs–they didn’t last election–because I really don’t want to know my neighbours’ political opinions…I never put one up…

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    My message to Canadians is this: this campaign isn’t about me and my ego. It also isn’t about organizers, strategists, operatives or movers and shakers. It’s also not about the party or the leader.

    It’s only about what is best for Canada, a nation loved by Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Greens alike. Now, it’s up to all of you to decide.

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      Not in the closet says:

      Good lord. What drivel. Are you high?c

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    Jon Evan says:

    Next week it will be four months since the Alberta NDP won election. With the economy in trouble what is the Alberta NDP solution? After four months: silence! Why? They haven’t got a clue what to do! If they did they would show the way Alberta will move forward. This would inspire people throughout Canada that the NDP can govern. Instead silence! It is what we would expect a federal NDP to do with Canada’s recession trouble: no clue! TM spending spree so far not costed out is the first indication of being clueless. Scary!

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    JPSD says:

    The thing about impressions, Warren, is that you’ve got a 50% chance of have the wrong one.

    Come October 19th, all the lawn signs in the world will matter little. Voters are only given one vote, and that vote will go to the candidate that has earned their support (for better or worse). Signs make volunteers and campaign team feel great but when those signs don’t translate to votes on e-day, they’re all left standing there saying “but we though we had so much support”. Vote efficiency is going to be key because, people are might be more inclined to taking a lawn sign that they are to actually putting pencil to paper and voting for you.

    With regards to the NDP’s C51 campaign; huge degree of arrogance and cynicism. Theres an increasing level of cognitive dissonance taking place in the NDP camp. You cannot not logically be speaking of “hope, love and optimism” while focusing attacks based on wedge politics. The NDP is claiming to be fighting fear and division while using that very tactic against the Liberals.

    We’ve always said that the NDP was “Canada’s conscience”, well it seems our conscience is at war with itself.

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      ralphonso says:

      Fighting fear and division does not preclude pointing out the flaws of other competitors. I think the reason that Liberal backs are up about the campaign is that it rings pretty true. Trudeau licked his finger and stuck it in the air, and misjudged completely. (That being said, I don’t think the ad campaign will work.)

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        JPSD says:

        I agree. The decision was a misjudgment and in hindsight, probably the wrong choice.

        That said, “simply pointing out flaws” is an incredibly ludicrous and hollow justification for the NDP’s strategy on the whole matter. It’s a crass attempt at wedge politics targeting very specific ridings. Olivia Chow and Jennifer Hollett spearheading the ad campaign demonstrates that exactly.

        Lets be absolutely realistic here: Supporting C51 by the Liberals = political misstep. Manufacturing a campaign to emphasize that decision instead of actually criticizing the bill born of CPC agenda = duplicitous politics.

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    Sam Tate says:

    We’re thinking of an airdancer sometimes known as “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man”
    By our calculations, 1 AD = 97 average size lawn signs.
    As per HST: ‘when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

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