10.01.2015 07:19 AM

KCCCC Day 60: close don’t count in baseball


  • Frank Robinson said that. “Close don’t count in baseball.  Only counts in horseshoes and grenades.”  But what about politics? Does close count in the political game?
  • Well, how close are they?  Ekos, which I take seriously, said a few days ago that the Conservatives had “swung into the lead,” with nearly ten-points over the Liberals and the New Democrats.  Forum, which I don’t take seriously, said substantially the same thing this morning, on the Star’s front page: the CPC has “a clear lead” in the race, now, with Stephen Harper’s party at 34 per cent support, and the other two guys enthusiastically ripping at each other, seven points back. Other media polls, like Nanos, say the Tories and the Grits are tied. But forget about all that: let me continue with my baseball-based analysis, because God knows politics wouldn’t be politics if we didn’t try to explain it all the time with mostly-irrelevant sports analogies.
  • What impact does the Jay’s pennant win have on the proceedings?  I ask this question as a Red Sox fan, too: do the surging Blue Jays make everyone feel good, and want to vote a certain way?  God knows the country is gripped with B.J. fever, as it were: I saw countless Jays’ caps in recent days, even up in the Yukon.
  • One sharp-eyed reader, James Calhoun, offered a theory.  I present it to you in full, below.
  • Hello all, I’m a lurker here, (and a Tory voter in the suburbs of BC) and I’ve really enjoyed reading the vast majority of the comments on this blog: they’re literate, literary and astute. I wish all political discussions were as interesting as what appears here. Okay…enough smoke blowing….I have a question/premise I wanted your collective opinion on – does the success of the Jays have a potential effect on the election? If they get through the first round there is going to be wall to wall coverage of them across the country. I’m already seeing way more baseball in my twitter/facebook feeds, and I imagine it will seriously bump the election from the front pages (or whatever the online equivalent is) as we all jump on the bandwagon. If the first opponent were New York, and the Jays managed to beat them the nation will be thrilled. And not as engaged with the election as they might otherwise be.Round two of the playoffs would then see the Jays play on Saturday the 17th and the day of the election, being games two and three of the series. I think this scenario has got to drive down the turnout, as extremely casual voters will be rushing home to watch the game, not queue at polling stations.This would seem to make the organization to get out the vote to the early ballots even more critical than usual. Is that fair? I’d also suggest this will skew the voting patterns even more in favour of older voters, as younger ones who aren’t especially engaged skip the vote for the game. I’m trying to think of other cultural/sporting events that captured/distracted the entire nation’s attention for (potentially) the last two weeks of an election. I’m flummoxed. Any precedents? Thoughts? Cheers,James (Oh, and I wish you lot had picked the astronaut. You’d have had my vote.)
  • So, what about James’ theory, folks? Now, I don’t like that James used the “blog” appellation, but I will forgive him this once.  What do you think? Is it possible that a bunch of grown men playing a little kids’ game could somehow affect the election outcome?
  • While you think about that, here’s one from the aforementioned Star archives.  I love the juxtaposition of a political campaign and baseball.  And how did that one turn out, after September 1993? I remember well.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.12.46 AM


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    Ann Jarnet says:

    “grown men …..”. Grown women can probably multi-task, i.e., listen to baseball on the radio while driving to the polling station. But, the Red Sox, Warren? I live in a time warp and long for the return of the Expos (hopefully Denis Coderre’s dream will come true.).

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    Whoever is broadcasting the World Series wins. The parties probably have had to purchase commercial slots with no guarantee that the Blue Jays are in it.

    Other than who is fortunate/unfortunate in purchasing the commercial rights if the Blue Jays are/are not in the World Series, I do not believe there is any significant correlation between the election and baseball.

    However, I expect Liberals will hope there will be a repeat and the Conservatives will definitely not.

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    The Observer says:

    An observation on the world outside Andrew Coyne’s bubble:
    After watching for years on their screens (radical) Muslims demanding non- believers to submit to the will of Allah (far too often under the threat of brutal violence), most Canadians see that they are responding with a resounding “No” to the demand of a Muslim woman for Canada to submit to the will of Allah at a time when she is supposed to be swearing allegiance to Canada and its values.

    It is not “bigotry” but a bona fide disagreement on values. And it is a disagreement which is fundamental to who we are as a country.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      Actually, most rational Canadians see this as a case of a woman asserting her right to submit to Allah if she wishes, as is her constitutional right, and that this is irrelevant to our lives other than seeing the Charter upheld. The majority of Canadians will NOT let this affect their vote. What remains to be seen is if a fearful minority is motivated enough by this to let it affect their vote.

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        The Observer says:

        – the reference to “a minority” does not reflect fact (as three recent polls put support for Harper’s position on this it at an astounding 65-80 percent support, cohesiveness rarely seen on any issue), but more likely reflects a desire of opponents of the position to marginalize that which is mainstream Canadian belief;
        – radicalism among Muslim’s vary, however the belief to submit to Allah’s will is mainstream in the Mideast, particularly among those who believe a woman cannot expose herself to anyone but her man, a belief that could not be further from the expression of a woman’s individuality as suggested

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        Michael Bluth says:

        I love the ‘rational Canadians’ line.

        It’s as if no one is allowed to disagree with you. The only time disagreement can be imagined is due to irrationality.

        I really don’t think that upwards of 80% of the Canadian population is irrational.

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      Terry Brown says:

      Same reason why I refuse to drink Guinness (bloody IRA) or drive a German car (Nazis). We should definitely tie the actions of criminal assholes in far away lands to the rights of innocent people in Canada when those innocent people happen to share certain characteristics with the criminal assholes. And if their skin happens to be brown and they talk with funny accents, well, that’s not bigotry, we just have different “values” you see. Your logic is unassailable.

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        The Observer says:

        – Skin color has nothing to do with the belief system espoused in Islam (see the number of Muslims in the Caucuses – the origin of the term Caucasian)
        – the above fact is avoided so as to convert a genuine disagreement about beliefs/values to illegitimating a topic which cannot be discussed
        – 80 percent of Canadians are not racist, but in agreement with what they see as un Canadian beliefs

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          Bluegreenblogger says:

          I see… So as long as you hate muslims, but do not notice they have a different skin colour then you are not a racist? , cause, you know there are literally hundreds of white muslims out there. So what are those 80% of Canadians then, just garden variety bigots?

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      Brammer says:

      So, selling 15B in arms to a regime that beheads, flogs, and crucifies it’s detractors is a fundamental Canadian value?

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        Ridiculosity says:


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        cassandra says:

        zingER….nice one!!!

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        lance mclean says:

        Don’t know, seems like alot of people who seem to think they know whats best for the world, think it is better to buy our oil from them than produce it at home?

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        Richard says:

        “Notwithstanding its human rights violations, which are significant, this is a contract with a country that is an ally…” – Stephen Harper, defending his arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

        I hope that this quote gets widely distributed and is brought up repeatedly by every political party, human rights organization, and Canadian citizen over the coming weeks. Every aspect of that quote is stomach-churning to me, as is Harper’s further elaboration that from time to time they do maybe ask the Saudis to briefly consider not torturing people.

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    Scott says:

    My Mom would have passed on voting to watch the Jays before I would have. Not sure of James theory on older voters. Seems to me the oldies are more excited about the Jays than the younger ones are.

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      Seventh Time Commenter says:

      A few comments already on here suggesting baseball demographics, so I’m posting a main reply. EVERYONE is watching these games.


      and most relevant: http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/tor/corporate_partners/fan_profile.jsp
      The 18-44 demographic makes up 64% of the Jays demographic, versus 56.2% of Canada (using Wikipedia’s demographics of Canada page). The baseball demographic in Toronto/Canada skews young, both geographically and within baseball itself. (It is being noticed within the game as well, but this isn’t a business of baseball discussion.)

      And this demographic is spending big – I’m at $5,000 on playoff tickets thus far, and I’d make it all back and more on the resale market…if I wasn’t planning on going to most of the games myself.

      It’s definitely a factor, and there will be an opportunity to capitalize on it. (Bob Rae: “No speech today, Hooray for the Jays!”)

      If young people are staying home, it’s the usual indifference/action through other means rationale. This remains a very, very, very quiet campaign.

      (There’s my taxpayer value delivered for the day.)

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        Christian Giles says:

        Thanks for sharing some hard numbers. I was also finding all the comments regarding the demographics for the Jays being restricted to the 50+ age group. If you’ve actually been to a game (especially recently) you’d see that certainly isn’t the case. Lots of young people everywhere. You don’t even have to be at a game to notice it. Just watch next time the TV cameras pan across the Westjet Deck over the outfield (it’s my favourite spot to watch games at the Rogers Centre – lots of youthful energy).

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          Christian Giles says:

          Sorry. The word ‘strange’ should come after the words ’50+ age group.’ Typing too fast!

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    billg says:

    Interesting theory. I don’t think anyone can say for sure, but, my guess is that a Blue Jay run can only help the incumbent, part of that “feel good” vote. Its just another “event” that has swung the Conservatives way. The first 6 weeks everything swung against the Conservatives, now, the Blue Jays are in the playoffs, there is a surplus, the Niqab somehow became an issue, and, its been a sunny and warm September. In a 3 party system where 2% of voters can decide an election these things can add up.

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    Brent Crofts says:

    Change was in the air in 1993. For me, at least, moving from the Mulroney Tories (well, Campbell Tories after Mulroney bailed and pooped the bed) to the Liberals was a no-brainer. Chretien was as competent and stable a leader as you could find. This time around? Change seems less and less in the air than it did just a few weeks ago, especially if the polls are to be believed, and while the NDP and Trudeau-Libs have their appeal to certain segments, I don’t think they are generally viewed as competent and stable alternatives. The Conservatives will show up to vote with intensity as they have done for a decade. The hardcore Dippers and Liberals will, too. But the young, the disengaged, and the people who don’t pay too much attention to politics etc. may have another excuse to just take a pass. All in all, perhaps a slight advantage for Harper?

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    Alex says:

    Let’s play devil’s advocate: Who is more likely to watch a baseball game today on TV, a person 50+ or someone between the ages of 20-40? Viewership is changing in sports, with older folks liking baseball, and younger people turning to basketball and soccer.

    I used to be a huge baseball fan — I clearly remember cheering on in 1993 when I was young — but today? I can’t watch it anymore on TV, as it’s like seeing paint dry for me now. (Though I still enjoy playing ball and going to a live game). All this to say that I wouldn’t assume that young folks are going to stay home to watch baseball. If young people don’t vote it is not because of the Jays, but because they don’t vote in general. If there will be an impact, and I am not convinced there will be, then I can see a lot of men who are 50+ staying home with a beer and remote. This group tends to vote Tory more than the norm.

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      Rich says:

      My take on this is different…Tory voters tend to be the ones who would crawl over broken glass to vote Tory.

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    DougM says:

    I don’t think too many people will stay away from the polls to watch the Jays that would not already stay away due to apathy. But there is definitely an overall feeling of “election? meh. Jays? Yeah!” in the country right now.

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    doconnor says:

    Just like in baseball getting close to a majority doesn’t count as a majority.

    Winning the pennant in the regular season or the most seats in an election only gives you a modest advantage when going for the big prize.

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    The Observer says:

    Meanwhile, “South China Post” reporting on Chinese corruption figure’s ties to Trudeau. Reported on one side of the ocean but not on the side where an election is being held and one is a candidate who is supposed to be scrutinized.

    Another issue our counsel in the media are telling is not to concern ourselves about?

    Mr. Paul Wells tweeted, but will they actually report it to Canadians?

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    Derek Pearce says:

    What I’m also curious about is what kind of October surprise really may still come along, because the window is closing for that by about the end of next week. I’m waiting for an absolute bombshell to be dropped about the Harper government after 10 years in power, but admittedly this is mostly wishful thinking.

    Anyhow I think the Jays playing game 3 on the 19th won’t have as much of an affect on turnout as televised games would have 22 years ago. People can track the score on their phones while they pop over to vote before watching the game, if not vote and get home before the game starts.

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    Terry Brown says:

    If you believe the pollsters, which perhaps we should not, they posit that Harper’s bump seems to be tied to the niqab debate. That plus his “old stock Canadians” line has me searching for that dog whistle. Good ole liberal, broad-minded Canada. And speaking of “liberals”, how’s about Cool Pope Francis meeting with human rights criminal Kim Davis? Doesn’t the Pope realize he’s modern and open-minded? Meet the new Pope / Same as the old Pope, as our friends The Who might have said.

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      Jason says:

      Yup.. remember when the Tory campaign was falling apart, a month ago (felt like forever ago…) and they brought in the “Wizard of Oz” to save the day? Known from the UK and down under for using “race baiting” wedge tactics?

      Looks like the strategy is delivering.

      I’m so frustrated, and resigned to a conservative majority.

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        doconnor says:

        It’s a risky strategy. If they push it too far to could cause a collapse of support. Australia is more conservative then Canada.

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    Ron Waller says:

    The Conservatives being at 34% in the polls has nothing to do with Liberals and NDP being critical of one another (which is supposed to happen during an election campaign.) It is entirely related to the fact that 40% of the electorate is conservative!

    Historically (since 1953), the low end of the vote given to conservative parties has been 36%. Three outliers: 34% in 1980 (reaction to Joe Clark’s bungled 9-month government); 35% in 1993 (reaction to 9 years of Mulroney which was rewarded with 13 more); 30% in 2006 (moderate conservatives voted for their own: Paul Martin.)

    Although moderate conservatives may dislike Harper, they are more likely to say they will vote for another party when polled (a form of protest) than actually do it. This is why 30% in the polls can turn to 34% in an instant in an election campaign. (Note that Tim Hudak’s terrible campaign in Ontario still yielded 35% of the vote.)

    If Canada was a democracy (i.e., government represents a majority of voters: something that only requires explanation in Canada and the UK) we wouldn’t have to depend on conservatives not voting for a conservative party to not get a conservative government.

    (Of course, Canada was founded on the idea that democracy was a bad idea that needed oversight from an upper house of upper class aristocrats: “sober second thought.” Although this turned into a dumping ground for partisan cronies in the post-war era, it seems we need to retain a vestige of our anti-democracy heritage by clinging to a caveman voting system that yields arbitrary election outcomes because political parties arbitrarily divide the vote.)

    The best thing that can happen for democracy in Canada is a Harper plurality. That will force the Liberals and NDP to form an accord to oust him (a la Peterson and Rae in 1985 ON) and demonstrate to Canadians the truth about democracy: that “majority” means a majority of votes; the leading minority party means absolutely nothing when determining the will of the people.

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      Scott says:

      A 40% vote actually amounts to about 25% of the electorate Ron. 60% vote and 40% of 60% is about 25%.

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        Scott says:

        Okay, I think I missed the gist of your comment. Taking into account the Conservatives who don’t vote would raise the percentage of the electorate. Still think 40 might be a wee bit high.

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          Ron Waller says:

          One analysis of the 2011 election from the G&M said Harper won a 40% “majority” by putting together a conservative coalition that included hard-core conservatives (30%) + Red Tories (8%) + Blue Liberals (2%.)

          Last time we had a united conservative party (after the demise of Social Credit,) Mulroney won two elections: 50% & 43%. He was not only able to get conservatives to vote for him, but was able to venture outside of the conservative tent. (The PCs were reduced to 2 seats because of right-wing vote-splitting. They actually got 16% of the vote, greater than the 13.5% the Bloc got which made them the OO. Of course the idiots in the media say voters destroyed the PC party. Insane analysis of an insane election outcome.)

          A united conservative party is very dangerous if it gets a competent leader. Which is why Canada needs to dump its caveman voting system NOW rather than keep rolling the dice.

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    Maps Onburt says:

    I just hope that all the leaders stay away from the games and don’t continue the jinx into the World Series! I doubt it will have much an impact one way or the other. Chrétien didn’t win so so much as the PC’s imploded. Half of us left for Reform or the Bloc and Chrétien got the rest. The PC’s were left with two seats because they tried to be all things to all people. That never works out well.

    On the polls, even though my Conservatives seem to be ahead, I still say it is dangerous to read anything into a specific poll except for a general trend. Warren, you say that Nanos has the Conservatives and Liberals in a tie… That’s true but if you look at their nightly numbers (because he runs a rolling three night average) the trend since the last debate has been NDP flat, Conservatives up, Liberals down. Not saying this can’t change but i will lay good money that tomorrow’s Nanos will show the gap opening up. If Trudeau gets anywhere near Mulclair’s numbers he’s toast because he won’t get Mulclair’s seat count with his vote distribution and maybe the Astronaut will get another chance.

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      Vancouverois says:

      Garneau is too old He’s already over retirement age; by the time of the next election he may already be in his seventies.

      Anyway, there’s no guarantee that Trudeau will resign. If he improves the Liberal standing even marginally, he can claim victory and stay on. And if he does worse, the leadership won’t matter: the Liberal party will no longer be a significant factor in Canadian politics.

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      Bluegreenblogger says:

      you will get more out of a poll if you read the poll, and ignore the headline. A great many people are undecided. And the headlines reflect the DECIDED voters. What I get from the polls is that the CPC voters have made up their minds, but the floaters are mostly giving the CPC a pass this time. Three way tie still.

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    John from Saskatoon says:

    Close also counts in shit fights.

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    Rob W says:

    Most recent example I can think of is the Alberta election of 2015. Flames had a second round playoff game on voting night. The local campaign I was working with used that as a reason to really push the Advance Polls and a reason to add urgency into our GOTV efforts and messaging.

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      Matt says:

      You can vote right now at any Elections Canada office. There are something like 400 across Canada. Every riding should have one.

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    Scotian says:

    There is another option for the voting baseball fan that seems to have eluded folks here, that being watching it on their phone or other online device while waiting in said line to vote. Just a thought…

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    RogerX says:

    What’s got 4 balls and 3 strikes?

    A Trudeau-Mulcair coalition government ….. YER OUT !!!

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    fan590 says:

    I miss Jean Chretien as PM.

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    BillBC says:

    Grumpy Old Guy weighs in. I couldn’t care less about a baseball game. I can’t be the only one. And if I did care I’d vote before it started. But I’ve already voted…yesterday I went up to the Elections Canada office in my constituency. What a joy…polite efficient people, no ancient person writing my name out s-l-o-w-ly, and long lines shuffling to the poll. Highly recommended.

    OK. back to the analysis: ” my guy is going to win because I feel he should, and no reasonable person would think otherwise…”

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    Well, as far as the polls go, I just read through the Angus Reid poll. t seemed credible enough. Look at the undecided voters. There are a LARGE number of them, and a substantial majority of those undecideds are leaning Liberal or NDP. SO the headlines, as usual are full of crap. What that particular poll tells me is that harper is dead meat. A plurality of the electorate is in the process of deciding whether we get a Liberal, or NDP minority. Even an even split of those voters will see us with a three way tie, which pretty well finishes the CPC for some years to come. And really, it does not matter if there are swings this way or that. In the absence of a majority, the CPC will lose the confidence of the house.
    Now for the baseball question. I do not know. I guess if there is a game on e-day, that will suppress turnout inversely proportional to distance from Toronto. Also, with all of Canada cheering for Toronto… I do not know how that would play out. I have never heard anything but moaning about Toronto from the rest of Canada, so I do not know what the implications may be.

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