Christmas is over and there’s just four days (and counting) till the fiscal quarter closes for every political party at midnight eastern on Dec. 31. And that means those, like me, who are on e-mail fundraising lists for our major political parties can expect a steady stream of pitches for the next 96 hours. Let’s start with the one, above, from Liberal Party HQ, issued in the name of Christina Topp, the party’s senior director of fundraising. She says the party has already raised $4 million this quarter but she wants at least $1.4 million in the next four days to match what the Liberals estimate the Conseratives will take in. Mark Jarvis, on Twitter notes: Continue reading Liberals race to match Conservatives on fundraising with hours to go
On Saturday, in the western Prince Edward Island riding of Egmont, 1,500 local Liberals showed up to vote in a four-way nomination race. For those not in politics, let me assure that 1,500 at just about any nomination anywhere is a helluva good turnout but this is a rding where, in 2011, there were just 5,997 who voted Liberal. So when you’ve got one in four of voters in a general election showing up for a nomination meeting, that’s pretty incredible.
In Digby, N.S. that same afternoon, local reporters figured that there was about 1,000 — including Nova Scotia Premier Stephen MacNeil and Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine — who attended the Liberal nomination in West Nova. Again: That’s a heckuva turnout.
But if you asked political organizers from most parties, those kinds of barn-burner turnouts are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to party nomination meetings. They’re usually much more subdued, though no less important affairs.
For a good sense of the typical nomination meeting, click on the video link above and listen to Andrew Cash, the NDP MP from the downtown Toronto riding of Davenport, speak at the nomination meeting over the weekend of Fayaz Karim, who won, by acclamation, the NDP nomination in the suburban Toronto riding of Mississauga East-Cooksville.
The NDP should have no hope in this part of the world. The riding was held by a solid right-of-centre Liberal, Albina Guarneri, from 2004 until her retirement in 2011. Her successor is Conservative Wladyslaw Lizon. Since 2004, the NDP has finished third with usually around 5,000 votes. The Orange Wave of 2011 helped boost that to about 8,000 votes — but they still finished third.
To which Cash, in a speech to this riding association now girding up for battle in 2015 says: Forget about all that. “We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us,” Cash says in this video above put up on YouTube by the local NDP riding association. “Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.”
Here’s some other excerpts from Cash’s speech on Saturday:
“What we need to do .. on a fundamental level is we need to elect more New Democrats. For a lot of the time, for us in the movement, we like to talk about values. But while we’re talking about that stuff other people are organizing to win seats and to form government. And so what we need to do is win more seats. If we’re not building support in places like here (Mississauga), then we’re not going to form government.
And we can form government.
We have never been closer.
Right now we need about 60 seats. If we hold what we’ve got, we need about 60 more.
The Liberals on the other hand,need about 130 more.
This is something people don’t realize.
Never in the history of Canada has a third party with 37 seats won the next election and formed the government.
So if the choice is — we’ve really got to get rid of Harper, we have to change the direction of this country, then there is only one choice right now.
I know there’s polling numbers out there that suggest otherwise.
[Cash then reflects on his own experience, in Davenport, before the 2011 election]
Davenport has been a Liberal riding since God rested on the seventh day … [with, as Cash notes, a couple of Progressive Conservative blips in the 1960s)
When I got the nomination, we had 30 seats in the House of Commons. And our poll numbers were around 12 per cent. But I didn’t care about that. ….
I knew that the representative of the riding I wanted to win was lazy. [Liberal Mario Silva was MP from 2004 until he was defeated by Cash in 2011] I knew that that person took his seat for granted. I knew that that person took the voters he represented for granted and consequently didn’t do the work, didn’t show up, didn’t find the issues his constituents cared about and didn’t push those issues in the House of Commons. So I knew there was a possibility there.
I can’t tell how many people told me I would not win. Just about every day someone told me that. And not just our opponents. Members of our dear party told me that as well. This just underlines what we’re up against.
We’re not just up against poll numbers, from perceived momentum from the Liberals. We’re not just up against a Conservative party that can out-fundraise us. Fundamentally, we’re up against our own belief in the ability to get this done.
What we’re trying to do here is essentially steal a seat here. We can do it.
We in this room believe that our values are Canada’s values, that our ideas are the best way forward for Canada.
Last week, the economists at TD Bank put out a helpful paper in which they tried to calculate a) how much extra money the federal government is likely to have between now and March 31, 2020 and b) how much it will cost the federal treasury to do the things Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to do during the 2011 election once the budget was in balance.
The result of their number-crunching? From the 2014 fiscal year through to the 2020 fiscal year, Ottawa should post a combined surplus of $71.1 billion. (Reminder: Ottawa’s fiscal year ends on March 31 so “fiscal year 2015 or FY15” is the current fiscal year which began on April 1, 2014 and ends on March 31, 2015. By convention, fiscal years are denominated in the year they end.)
TD Bank says the cost of the 2011 campaign promises — which the Conservatives have already started to implement — will be a cumulative $19.9 billion through to FY20.
A New Democrat talking about slashing deficits? Balancing budgets? Cutting government waste? That would be New Brunswick NDP Leader Dominic Cardy.
We all know about the soi-disant “high-profile” New Democrats who complained in the middle of the recently concluded Ontario election that NDP leader Andrea Horwath had abandoned core NDP principles and, as a result was risking core NDP votes in a crucial election. They “leaked” a letter on May 23 in which they scolded Horwath, saying “you are abandoning those values and constituencies that the party has always championed.” My Parliamentary Press Gallery colleague Tim Harper pithily described this as “a manifesto that reads like it was written at an Annex dinner party that went one bottle of red over the line.” In other words, this was the whining of your downtown Toronto NDP, a certain species of New Democrat that has, at times, been more trouble than it’s worth to a party that was born of Prairie populism and sober down-home common-sense 50 years ago. Continue reading In Ontario and New Brunswick, the NDP go back to populist roots — with much moaning and whining
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for the riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla, a riding in the south, central part of the province that is a long, long way from where Enbridge Inc. proposes to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline that will carry as much as 500,000 barrels of Alberta bitumen across the Rockies to the northern B.C. port of Kitimat. Kitimat, incidentally, is in the riding of New Democrat Nathan Cullen, while the pipeline runs through Cullen’s riding and then the ridings of BC Conservative Bob Zimmer (Prince George-Peace River) and Alberta Conservative MPs Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead) and Brian Storseth (Westlock-St. Paul)
Though Albas and his constituents live a long way from the Northern Gateway’s route or port — as do most who live in B.C. — this is a big issue for them. The federal NDP believe that, so far as votes in B.C. go in the 2015 general election, campaigning against the pipeline is electoral gold. Continue reading A Conservative MP from B.C. opens up on Northern Gateway: A highly conditional approval
Two new ads out this afternoon for consideration by those eligible to cast a ballot in the June 12 Ontario election. One is from the Liberals and a week after economists first raised questions about the math in Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s “Million Jobs Plan” hits Hudak about his math. The other ad (below) is from the Ontario NDP. The NDP takes shots at both the Liberals and the PCs and encourages voters to “switch” to Andrea: Continue reading New Ontario election ads: Hudak's math and Andrea's switchers
Nathan Rotman, pictured above at last year’s Toronto Centre NDP nomination meeting, announced this morning he is leaving his job as executive director of the federal NDP to return to Toronto and join the team trying to help make Olivia Chow the mayor of Toronto. Continue reading NDP loses top party boss to Chow campaign
Joe Cressy hopes to make it into the House of Commons this year as the new MP for Trinity-Spadina, replacing Olivia Chow who resigned her seat to run for mayor in Toronto. I first met Cressy in 2009 in that very same chamber but on that day, he was part of a group of about 120 protesters who, in the middle of Question Period stood up and started hollering questions at the government from the public gallery. That’s a very big no-no House-of-Commons-procedure-wise and an army of security guards ended up dragging the protesters out. I was sitting in the House of Commons press gallery that day and Continue reading Flashback: Cressy storms the House of Commons
The decision by Olivia Chow last week to quit her seat in the House of Commons to take a run at the Mayor’s chair in Toronto has already started a broad ripple effect in federal politics that stretches from the oil sands in northern Alberta to downtown Toronto and could even influence the way the 2015 federal election is fought.
Chow represented the downtown Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, a riding which Chow won by 20,000 votes in 2011. But that race had been much closer in 2008, when she won by 3,500 and in 2006 when she won by 3,000. In 2004, Chow ran and lost Trinity-Spadina to Liberal Tony Ianno, who would be a junior minister in Paul Martin’s cabinet. Ianno had held the riding for the Liberals since 1993.
Now the Liberals want it back. Standing in their way (aside from some potential Liberal infighting) will likely be Joe Cressy, Continue reading From Fort Mac to Fort York: The ripples of Chow's resignation on federal politics