Tagged: @notfordontario

“This may be counter-intuitive, but would you believe Premier Horwath?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new June 5, 2018, column brings some last-minute Ontario provincial election insight.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I commend it to you and share it here:

This may be counter-intuitive, but would you believe Premier Horwath?

(published June 4, 2018 in Waterloo Region Record)

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“By throwing in the towel on Saturday, did Kathleen Wynne tip Thursday’s election to the NDP and make Andrea Horwath the next premier of Ontario?

“I think she did – and I think that was her intention.

“Wynne was close to tears when she announced that she knew she would not be premier after the election. Her declared intentions were to save as many endangered Liberal candidates as possible – by removing her personal unpopularity as an impediment – and to help elect enough Liberals to block either the Progressive Conservatives or the New Democrats from forming a majority government.

“Her real target, of course, was not the NDP – most of their platform could have been written by a Liberal committee. It was Conservative leader Doug Ford, whose bombastic manner, ignorance of government and simplistic policies she finds deeply offensive.

“Although most opinion polls show the NDP tied with the Tories or a percentage point or two ahead, conventional wisdom has it that the Conservatives could form a government, even a majority one, with fewer popular votes than the NDP.

“That’s because the Conservative vote, spread fairly evenly across the province, is considered more ‘efficient’ than the NDP vote, and because the over-45 crowd are deemed more likely to turn out to vote (for the Tories) on Thursday than are the millennials on whose support the NDP depends.

“That’s the conventional perspective. As of Sunday afternoon, the CBC Poll Tracker had the Conservatives one point behind in popular vote but with a 77 per cent ‘probability’ of a majority government.

“That could be the way it unfolds. However, there is another way of looking at it.

“All of the polls in the CBC tracker were completed before Wynne threw in the towel. The most recent one was from Abacus Data, which was in the field from May 29 (last Tuesday) to June 2 (Saturday morning).

“Abacus put the NDP ahead of the Conservatives by 37 per cent to 33 (with the Liberals at 23).

“The firm also asked respondents which party they would prefer to form a government. Sixty per cent said they would prefer the NDP to 40 per cent who said PC.

“Interestingly, 26 per cent of those who said they would prefer an NDP government also said they intended to vote Liberal. Whether that intention will change with Wynne’s capitulation is anyone’s guess.

In an analysis of their poll, David Coletto and Bruce Anderson of Abacus wrote:

‘Given Ms. Wynne’s admission Saturday that she won’t win the election, these voters represent a large potential pool of swing voters. Here’s what we know about them: six in ten are open to voting NDP, only 25 per cent are open to voting PC, and only one in four (26 per cent) of them would be dismayed if the NDP won the election.

‘Looking at this another way, among current Liberal supporters, almost eight in ten would prefer an NDP win over a PC win. And this holds across the province from as high as 90 per cent of Liberals in eastern Ontario to 74 per cent for those living in the GTHA.’

“At this late stage, the NDP has the largest pool of ‘accessible voters.’ But how motivated are NDP supporters? Will they turn out to vote in large numbers?

“The folks at Abacus believe they will – ‘Thirty-four per cent (of province-wide respondents) say they are certain to or likely to vote NDP compared with 29 per cent saying the same for the PCs … NDP supporters are as motivated, if not more motivated, than PC supporters.’

“So, what is going happen on Thursday? It looks as though it is going to be desperately close. I’m inclined to give the edge to Horwath, but as Coletto and Anderson observe: ‘Events over the weekend show anything can (happen), so this election is not over and predicting the outcome at this point seems like a fool’s errand to us.’ “

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

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“Momentum lost, Doug Ford is reduced to promising Ontario One-Buck Beer”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new May 28 column is another good one.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I share his current column, right here:

Momentum lost, Doug Ford is reduced to promising Ontario One-Buck Beer

(published May 28, 2018 in Waterloo Region Record)

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“If desire for change is the most potent force in politics these days, momentum is the most unpredictable one.

“No one can predict when momentum will begin to build, how far it will go, or when it will end.

“Heading into Sunday night’s leaders’ debate, it was clear that momentum in the Ontario election had shifted, dramatically, from the Progressive Conservatives to the New Democrats. But no one could predict whether the momentum would be enough to carry Andrea Horwath into office, or whether it would stall or even shift again before June 7.

“Horwath did not need to ‘win’ the debate, the most meaningful three-way encounter of the campaign. But she did need to withstand the double-barrelled attack of Doug Ford and Kathleen Wynne. She needed to avoid making a ghastly mistake, and to emerge still standing as an attractive alternative.

“Although recent opinion polls show a clear trend toward the NDP and away from the PCs, most of the results are close. Conceivably, the NDP could win the popular vote, yet finish behind the Tories in seats. That’s largely because party support is unevenly distributed across the province. And if the Liberals retain enough of their strength in the GTA and southwestern Ontario – as they may – the result could be the election of Conservatives in places that would otherwise go NDP. 

“To backtrack, the PCs are experts in losing momentum, having made blunders that cost them the election in 2007 under John Tory and again in 2014 under Tim Hudak.

“They are poised to three-peat in 2018.

“For months, all of the momentum was with the Tories. It gathered force under the flawed leadership of Patrick Brown, who moved the party to the left. It survived Brown’s self-immolation. It survived a defective leadership process in which Christine Elliott, the members’ choice, was denied in favour of newcomer Doug Ford, a pseudo populist, who yanked the party to the right.

“Despite a blustering campaign that betrayed the new leader’s inability to grasp provincial issues, the PCs continued to dominate the opinion polls, rising so high that a few reckless pundits predicted they would enjoy the greatest landslide since the days of Leslie Frost.

“That’s not going to happen now. The choice of Ford shapes up as the ghastly mistake that has derailed the Tory campaign.

“I think what happened about two weeks ago was that voters, initially obsessed by a desire to get rid of the Wynne government and to end 15 years of Liberal rule at Queen’s Park, started to notice the alternatives.

“Horwath appeared calm and reasonable. In Ford, they saw a leader who did not look or sound like a premier. He was too belligerent, too in-your-face, too contemptuous, too slow to reveal his agenda yet too quick to create policy on the fly. For a professed ‘man of the people,’ he displayed remarkably few people skills.

“Setting aside the issue of corruption in the nomination of party candidates – some of it Ford’s responsibility, some his predecessor’s – Ford did not present himself as a potential premier who could be trusted to govern wisely, with a steady hand and in best interest of all Ontarians, especially those who do not hail from ‘Ford Nation.’

“Speaking of that nation, while Ford may not know how to manage the province’s finances, he is sure he knows how to satisfy his base. He promised at the weekend that, as premier, he would mandate a reduction in the retail price of beer to $1 a bottle.

 “If he thinks ‘One-Buck Beer’ is the path to power in Ontario in 2018, he is either desperate or out of touch with reality. Worse, he is insulting the intelligence of the voters. They know that what Ontario needs is affordable housing, an end to ‘hallway medicine,’ decent incomes for all, and equal access to opportunity in education and employment. Life is complicated. Issues are real.

“Cheap beer for all is just a cheap election bribe.”

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

 

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“Does Andrea Horwath Have Enough Momentum to Stop Doug Ford?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS writes a weekly column which he circulates to his personal distribution list and publishes each Monday in the Waterloo Region Record. His new May 22 (after the long weekend) 2018, column is, once again, particularly timely.

With thanks to Geoffrey, I commend it to you and share it here:

“Does Andrea Horwath have enough momentum to stop Doug Ford?”

BY GEOFFREY STEVENS

“The majority government that Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives expect – and think they deserve – is slipping away as the June 7 Ontario election campaign enters its final leg.

“With the Victoria Day milestone behind them, all three parties will be campaigning frantically – the Tories to win the majority they were confident they had safely locked up; the New Democrats to grab the balance of power; the Liberals to survive.

“Three new polls report a shift in momentum from ‘desire for change’ to ‘anyone but Ford.’ The benefit goes straight to Andrea Horwath’s NDP, which is capturing virtually all of the support bleeding from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals.

“If the trend continues, the NDP would win enough seats to hold the PCs to a minority – an NDP government being a possibility, albeit remote. The Liberals, meanwhile, are sinking ever deeper into third place.

“Earlier, most polls reported a comfortable PC lead in the range of 10 percentage points. But the lead has been cut roughly in half in the past 10 days.

“The first of new polls, by Innovative Research Group (taken May 9-12) put the PC lead over the NDP at four percentage points (35-31); a poll a few days earlier (May 7-9) by the same firm had given the Tories a 38-28 margin.

“Next, a new Ipsos/Global News poll (May 11-14) showed the PCs leading the New Democrats by five points (40-35), down from 11 points (40-29) in its previous poll one week earlier.

“Third, at the weekend, Abacus Data reported its new poll (taken May 16-18). It had the PCs (at 35 per cent) in a statistical tie with the NDP (34 per cent). The previous Abacus poll (April 30-May 6) had given the Tories a lead of six points (35-29).

“Not all polling firms agree. Mainstreet Research, which has consistently reported higher Conservative numbers than other pollsters, still had them 13 points ahead in its May 15-18 survey.

“Looking at the new polls as a group, two striking features emerge. First, so far Ford and his party have weathered the battering that the controversial new leader has taken from his opponents; the PC numbers have barely moved since the campaign began. Second, virtually all the movement has occurred between the other two parties with ‘soft’ Liberals moving to the NDP; there is no significant movement from NDP to Liberal.

“The Abacus survey, which uses a combination of random interviews plus a panel of representative voters (the panel being refreshed for each poll), offers some interesting insights. For example, the desire for change remains intense with 83 per cent of respondents seeking change after 15 years of Liberal government; that’s up three points from earlier.

“The desire for change may be the bedrock of Conservative support, but it is offset by fear of putting change in the hands of Ford, whose agenda, beyond cutting spending and reducing taxes, remains a mystery to many voters. The NDP is the beneficiary of this dichotomy.

“As David Coletto of Abacus puts it, .Only the NDP can appeal to voters who want change and those afraid of Doug Ford at the same time. Voting NDP kills two birds with one stone: you get change and stop Ford.’

“Even if popular support is evenly split, as Abacus suggests, the odds will favour the Conservatives. Their support is spread more evenly across the province than the NDP’s and they have a higher proportion of supporters aged 45-plus, who are more likely to vote than younger Ontarians.

“On the other hand, the NDP has the advantage of the largest pool of ‘accessible voters.’ Sixty-seven per cent of respondents told Abacus they were prepared to consider voting NDP, compared to 54 per cent for the PCs and 42 per cent for the Liberals.

“In Horwath, the New Democrats have the best-liked leader and her positives are growing while Ford’s are shrinking.

“At the moment, she has momentum. How far will it carry her and the NDP?”

GEOFFREY STEVENS, author, former Ottawa columnist and managing editor the Globe and Mail, resides in Cambridge, Ontario, and teaches political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. He welcomes comments at geoffstevens@sympatico.ca.

 

 

 

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Is the Worm Turning?

The last couple of days I have spent learning about Twitter. It’s an amazing world out there which I did not understand until this week, when I became highly motivated.

When I started my blog in 2013, I registered on Twitter to promote my posts. My website settings routinely “tweeted’ to the Twittersphere every post I put on effervescentbubble.ca. Mine was a passive attachment to Twitter which allowed me to pass the time on the streetcar or waiting for the bus scrolling through the latest tweets to see what was going on in the world.

Now, I am very anxious to master the medium… to defeat Doug Ford. Nothing scares me more than the idea that Doug Ford might be the future premier of Ontario.

And the problem is that my husband and I are leaving for our first trip to China tomorrow. For eighteen days. I will be far out of the country for most of the campaign. We return to Toronto just in time to vote on June 7th.

I hope you have read the posts I have written on the election in recent weeks, and the very fine column by Geoffrey Stevens entitled “Does Doug Ford know about Walkerton?” which we published on Tuesday. Over the next few weeks, Geoff will likely write more columns about the election which we will publish on effervescentbubble.ca in my absence.

I have installed a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on my laptop, iPad, and cellphone, in hopes that I can follow the election campaign while I am away. I hope that it will work.

When my daughter-in-law, who served with the Canadian forces in Ukraine for eight months this winter, suggested last September that I put a VPN on my computer so we could email securely while she was away, I totally failed in my effort to install it. When we did exchange a few emails in February, all the porn sites, prostitution rings, and bitcoin dealers in Ukraine and Russia flocked to my insecure email address. Ever since, the spam filter on my Gmail account has been filled daily with their wares. To get rid of them, I will eventually have to change my email address.

A long digression. To get back to the point, if the VPN works and I have access to reliable WiFi (which may be more problematic), I will be able to use Google from China and will be able to carry on with effervescentbubble.ca, as usual. If not, Geoff, my blog editor Lori Myers, and other friends are committed to publishing his election columns on effervescentbubble.ca themselves, and to get them out on the broader social media of Facebook and Twitter.

Now we come to the crunch. Social media will be definitive in this election. If we want to stop Doug Ford, we have to use Facebook and Twitter.

We have to work with all those people out there who are coming out of the woodwork against electing Doug Ford. They are doing so on a variety of Twitter sites which I have just learned about: @NeverDoug @NeverFord @VoteABC @NotDougFord @FordBeGone @NotFord4Ontario. They include lifelong Conservatives who are alarmed at how their party has been hijacked by Doug Ford and his cronies.

Individuals with a large number of followers are throwing their social media resources into the anti-Ford movement. See Nickie @MuskokaMoneybag. She’s got 6,155 followers and introduces last week’s Toronto Star story about Walkerton with the comment: “Want to see what a PC Ontario looks like!” She has 6,155 followers on Twitter.

Also Carmel @CaramelCatsby. She has more than 800 followers and a “STOP FORD” icon on her Twitter page. When I searched for “StopFord” on Twitter, I expected to find more of Carmel’s very relevant tweets. Not so. The @stopford page said “This account’s tweets are protected. Only confirmed followers have access to @stopford’s Tweets and complete profile.”

This sounded familiar.

When I was looking for a title for my post “Not Doug Ford (@NotFordOntario),” last week, a friend and I found the @AnybodyButFord site. It had a note saying, “@AnybodyButFord hasn’t tweeted. When they do, their tweets will show up here.” Really? I guessed that the PCs had blocked the obvious Twitter handle as soon as Ford became leader.

Today, two of my more recent tweets appear there. Twitter says that @AnybodyButFord has 0 tweets, 0 Following and 0 Followers. I don’t know who did what to this site, but I just pressed the “Following” button, and 1 “Follower” appeared on the site. If this site is now open, I wonder how many will join. And whether we can turn this election around.

(Caveat: I don’t know who is behind the @AnybodyButFord Twitter handle. Maybe it’s a trap which will divert people from the other grass roots movements already well underway. If you are going to use the @AnybodyButFord Twitter handle, don’t forget to tweet to the others as well).

All this in addition to the LeadNow campaign which focuses on the extreme right candidates running with Ford. A retired family doctor I know sent me their ad by Messenger this morning. I hardly know how to use Messenger. My friend is so encouraging. A couple of weeks ago she didn’t know what to do in this election. Her note this morning applauded our posts on EB and attached the LeadNow ad. I put it up on my Facebook page. I love it.

Watch to see if strategic voting against Ford doesn’t become big in the campaign. If it does, who can possibly guess the result?

 

 

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Not Ford Ontario (@NotFordOntario)

Why let the polls dictate the results of the election? Convince everyone that a PC majority is inevitable, people won’t bother to vote and, with a low “progressive” turnout, the Tories will come up the middle, probably with a majority government, and Doug Ford will be the next premier of Ontario. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Less than nine short weeks ago, the PCs held the most embarrassing leadership convention in national history. Then everyone was asking, “If they can’t run a leadership convention, how can they run the province?” The Interim PC Leader was talking about “the rot” in his own party. Thanks to the extreme social conservatives led by Tanya Granic Allen, Doug Ford was elected leader. Ford courted her at the leadership convention; last weekend he disavowed her. “Flipflop Ford” he should be called.

Ever since the PC convention, we’ve heard about nothing but “the polls.”

The amorphous “public desire for change,” and the early polls, are all that the PCs have going for them. They have nothing else. They have no platform. They seek a blank cheque to use for whatever they want. Their leader is a populist “outsider” with no experience in provincial politics. As was clear in the first leaders’ debate, he has no knowledge of the details needed for an intelligent discussion of provincial policy issues.

His only political experience is as a City of Toronto municipal councillor for one term. In that political gambit, he showed beyond any doubt that he lacks the personal traits needed for the second most important political office in the country.

Rob Ford had a ten-year track record of questionable competence, and still was elected mayor of Toronto. Not by his “Ford nation” base, but by many “swing” voters who were part of what Doug Ford derides as “the elites.” These included business and professional people who wouldn’t vote for Joe Pantalone (because he was NDP) and were turned off by George Smitherman (the Liberal). Many lived and/or worked downtown. They thought that Rob Ford couldn’t do any real harm and that “stopping the gravy train” was a sufficient basis to vote for him. We learned differently. We know the part Doug Ford played in that debacle. If we don’t, we’d better learn about it.

Doug Ford is quite fairly compared with Donald Trump. He may not share all Trump’s characteristics, but he is exactly the same type of politician, using the same style and the same techniques.

There are, however, two differences noted by Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star today.

1) He is more popular than Trump: “An EKOS poll… shows Ford and his PCs scoring highest among almost every category of voter… [and] The Ford Tories led their rivals in every area of the province except Toronto (where the Liberals did best). … this means… that the Ford phenomenon is not just based on the resentment of a Trumpian working class that feels hard done by… it is far broader.”

2) “But it is also shallower…. Trump’s appeal was based… on who he was…. By contrast, Ford’s appeal is based on who he is not: He is not Kathleen Wynne. Many voters know little more about him than that. And so he is more careful than Trump. In Monday’s televised debate, he avoided saying anything unduly outrageous…. So too was he careful in his flip-flop on the green belt… for a party leader anxious to avoid being labelled an environmental troglodyte, it was politically wise.” Ditto for the contradictions within his own party. “He was happy to accept the help of outspoken social conservatives… to win the PC leadership. But, like other Tory leaders before him, he balked at the idea of allowing such social conservatives to define the party…. In short, Ford–unlike Trump–is pitching to the centre.”

THIS ELECTION IS LIKELY THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN MODERN ONTARIO HISTORY. The Liberals, to their credit, enacted the Ontario Election Financing Law, effective January 1, 2017. This is the strictest election financing law in Canada. It reduces the limit on individual financial donations and bans contributions from unions and corporations. It also provides that the major political parties (PCs, Liberals, NDP, and Greens) would receive quarterly allowances based on their vote in the previous election. The initial rate was set at $0.678 per vote. This is the first Ontario election under these new rules. Can you imagine if the election results on June 7th are as predicted today by the CBC Poll Tracker: PC 86 seats, NDP 25 seats, Liberal 13 seats, Green 0? That would mean that the PCs would have a permanent stranglehold on all the public financing for the NEXT provincial election, and maybe the NEXT. Of course, Ford says that he opposes public financing for political parties, and will abolish the practice when he becomes premier. Oh yeah? Once he tallies the bucks that accrue to his party if he gets a majority, you can be sure he will change his mind. Flipflop Ford changes his mind all the time.

The time has come for people like me, retired, passionate about politics but not politically active, to get off our duffs. We need to stop being depressed and start working. I don’t want to have to tell my grandchildren that I did nothing to oppose Doug Ford in the 2018 Ontario political election. I have to become engaged. Not going door to door, but using whatever social media access I have… against Doug Ford. And talking about the election with everyone I meet.

That the PCs have offered us Doug Ford as “the next premier of Ontario” has totally changed this election. The “90.3% probability” (CBC Poll Tracker, May 08, 2018) that he will secure a majority government has become the most important issue facing voters in the province today.

THIS IS NOT A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. Ours is a parliamentary democracy. We have many more subtle tools at our disposal to express our concerns with the existing government than by giving a majority to a political party that does not deserve it.

If we want change, we need to work for a MINORITY GOVERNMENT (less than 63 seats). Of whatever stripe.

A PC minority would reflect badly on Doug Ford, he couldn’t run amok in office, and we would likely have another election in the not too distant future. That would not be a bad thing. The next time, the PCs may choose a leader who is appropriate for the role of premier. If the Libs got a minority, they would be chastened, and likely could work with the NDP for at least a couple of years, just as they did in the mid-’80s and prior to 2014. Ditto for a NDP plurality supported by the Liberals.

Historically, election polls have often been wrong, and the broadly based polls we hear about in the press may well be misleading. A riding-by-riding analysis indicates that redistribution of the electoral districts has created many new ridings, many seats are too close to call, and even Doug Ford may have difficulties in his own riding.

Voters who do not want Ford as the next Premier must educate themselves on their local candidates and vote strategically. In traditional Liberal ridings, voting Liberal may be necessary. In ridings where the NDP has the best chance of electing their candidate, all “progressives” ought to vote NDP. If the Greens have a chance of gaining a seat, then vote for the Greens. Where there is any chance that the PC candidate can come up the middle between two equally divided “progressive” parties, defeating Ford means voting for the party that has the best chance of beating the PCs. If this produces a minority government, so be it. Minority governments keep all parties honest.

Take heart. The election is one month away. We don’t have to wait for Ford to commit a gaffe. But we all must work for his demise in whatever way we can.

Follow my other posts on the 2018 Ontario election @marionelane and at: 

https://effervescentbubble.ca/2018/04/30/so-what-is-the-tory-platform/

https://effervescentbubble.ca/2018/05/03/the-inside-dope-on-the-2018-ontario-election-riding-by-riding/

https://effervescentbubble.ca/2018/05/06/first-televised-ontario-election-leaders-debate-monday-night/

 

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