Musings —10.06.2015 07:13 AM—
- Lots to cover this morning. So let’s get to it!
- First off, I’ve got a column in the latest edition of Post City. Here it is, in bulleted and italicized bits, but it’s here too.
- “Toronto is the centre of the known universe. Now all of us who have alighted here know that already, of course. Other Canadians, found hither and yon throughout the hinterland — eking out an existence that is nasty, brutish and occasionally short — probably aren’t as convinced. Growing up in Calgary, Alta., as I did, I was regularly presented with evidence that my neighbours were not super-big Toronto fans. “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark,” was one popular bumper sticker of the day. Nice. Another pithy aphorism of the time: “All that [Insert name of central Canadian political party here] know of Canada is what they can see from the top of the CN Tower on a clear day.” And so on. All of that stuff notwithstanding, the facts are the facts: Toronto, politically at least, is rather important. That’s why you keep seeing the federal leaders here all the time, doing all that they can to win your affections. Toronto will determine who forms the next government.
- The Conservatives: Folks in Toronto may not believe it, much less like it, but it’s true: Toronto is the place where Stephen Harper’s party won his majority in 2011. Before the writ was dropped, the Reformatories held 11 seats in the 905 beltway — but they would go on to seize 21 out of 22 on election day. The 416 area code worked out almost as well: Harper’s party hadn’t secured a toehold in Toronto since 1988. But when all the votes were counted, they’d taken nine seats in Toronto. That’s a pretty good toehold. Thusly, the Tories picked up 19 seats in the Greater Toronto Area, and that’s why they won a majority. It gave them what they needed. This time, it won’t be so easy. Harper derangement syndrome (HDS) has reached pandemic levels in Toronto the Good, and it is hard to think of a single 416 seat the Tories will be able to keep in the fold. That unhelpful factoid aside, Harper and his well-oiled machine are spending plenty of time in Toronto — announcing transit money, announcing tax breaks, announcing that Wayne Gretzky likes him — to hold on to what he has. Good luck with that.
- The New Democrats: A “senior liberal strategist,” as the species is known, leaned across the table at a Yorkville eatery: “The 416 is going from red to orange,” he whispered, “and the 905 is going from blue to red.” Sounds about right, at least based on the anecdotal evidence: that is, cheery orange NDP signs in all sorts of places you would not ever expect to see them — in front of sprawling multimillion-dollar homes in Rosedale and the Beaches. New Democrats are on the move in the old Toronto. They’ve attracted outstanding candidates, such as Jennifer Hollett (alum of MuchMusic and Harvard alike), and they’ve expended no shortage of effort here. The polls suggest it’s paying off. Plenty of eyebrows were raised nationwide, however, when NDP leader Tom Mulcair declared Toronto to be “Canada’s most important city” back in August. Mulcair shrugged about the resulting outcry: he knows, as does Harper, that all Parliamentary roads lead to Toronto. Thus, Mulcair has become ubiquitous in Toronto for weeks, offering to boost the guaranteed income supplement for seniors or launch his autobiography or even attract applause before a blue-chip crowd on Bay Street. If he can crack open Liberal fortress Toronto, Mulcair is well on his way.
- The Liberals: Not every move Justin Trudeau has made in Toronto has been well-received. His embrace of former Conservative MP Eve Adams in Eglinton-Lawrence, for instance, was an unmitigated disaster. So, too, his unsubtle meddling in Toronto ridings to parachute in supposed stars, such as Chrystia Freeland or Bill Blair — all of which shredded his solemn promise to have “open nomination” contests. Those missteps aside, Trudeau has been the most energetic federal campaigner in Toronto and environs — partly because he knows that, elsewhere in Canada, he simply isn’t going to win enough seats he needs to become our next prime minister. He is well ahead in Atlantic Canada, yes — but that region has fewer seats than the 416/905. So, he needs Toronto. Trudeau has welded himself to Premier Wynne’s side for weeks — and taken on her pollsters, strategists and many of her staffers to help oversee his campaign. The polls, as flawed as they are, suggest Trudeau’s Ontario-centric campaign is paying dividends: Ontario-wide, he has lately squeezed out the NDP, and he is poised to win back 905 seats that haven’t been red since the good old days of Jean Chrétien. Can Mulcair undo it all? Sure. But so far, so good. Also: nice hair. The hair is ready.”
- Mainstreet (and others) put CPC in the lead: I don’t know who this Too Close to Call guy is, but I like the way he thinks. Quote: “The fact that Nanos is the only firm providing daily updates is annoying. It means they effectively dictate a lot of the coverage about the horse race in this campaign. And this is a little bit absurd because Nanos only polls 400 respondents every day. So really, there is no point in comparing Nanos’ numbers of yesterday and today. I have nothing against Nanos – I consider them as one of the best polling firms in this country and regret they don’t poll more often. But it can create a false narrative…Why am I talking about this? Because Nanos has shown an important (and increasing) lead nationally for the Liberals for a few days. Therefore a lot of people believe that this is the current trend. A lot of people are discarding the polls showing a big CPC lead (namely Angus-Reid, Forum and Ekos) because they are slightly older.” And here is the Mainstream from this morning that he is talking about: “As the campaign enters the final two weeks, the Conservatives (37%) have opened up a substantial lead over the Liberals (29%). The Liberals have now also opened up a substantial lead over the NDP who have dropped to just 24% among decided and leaning voters.” But – but– Mainstream’s data is six days old.
- If I am asking you to read too much stuff early in the morning (and I am), here’s a simple slide from Mainstreet’s guys. Why do I believe they (and Ekos, Ipsos, et al.) are right and Nanos is wrong? Because of Nanos’ sample sizes and the sample sizes of others, because of Nanos’ record, and because of Nanos’ general methodology. But…whatever. I’m sick of this interminable Nanos vs. The World debate. You, however, may not be – so debate it ad nauseum in comments!