Not one of our Prime Minister's finer moments and those suckered by the Trudeau name are now paying the price.

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

brookmere wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:
If the Liberals do not contend the riding then there is a good chance that the Conservatives will win because the federal NDP in Burnaby needs three way races with the Libs and Cons.

The numbers don't support this contention. In Burnaby-New West the NDP won quite handily in 2008 and 2011 in what were essentially two way races with the Conservatives. In Burnaby-Douglas the NDP won in 2011 in another two way race with the Conservatives. Also the same riding in 2008 with the Liberals in a poor third place.

You and I don't seem to read numbers the same way. In 2011 Julian got 49% of the vote and the Greens got 4%. The Conservatives got 35 and the Liberals got 10. Compared to the 2008 election that was an increase of 3% by Julian and a decrease of 3% by the Greens. The Liberals decreased 5% and the Conservatives increased 5%.  Peter Julian could not poll 50% despite being a respected incumbent.

If you look at the history from Burnaby Douglas the Conservatives and Liberals changed positions but strangely enough the total % of the vote for the two parties remained very similar. We won elections but never in two way races. the NDP got 43% in 1997 (Reform 2nd), 37% in 2000 (Alliance 2nd), 35% in 2004 (Liberals 2nd), 35% in 2006 (Liberals 2nd), 38% in 2008 (Cons 2nd) and 43% in 2011 (Cons 2nd). 

In 2008 in Burnaby Douglas when the Liberals dropped 13.6% the NDP only gained 2.4%.

In BC politics there have to be three way splits. This is where both Conservatives and Liberals vote for the same party provincially, specifically to keep the NDP out of power.

brookmere

kropotkin1951 wrote:
In BC politics there have to be three way splits. This is where both Conservatives and Liberals vote for the same party provincially, specifically to keep the NDP out of power.

The combined PC/Reform/Conservative/Fed Liberal vote in BC has always significantly exceeded the BC Liberal vote. Even in 2001, when the BC Liberals got a historic high of 58% of the vote, it was much less than the combined 84% the abovementioned federal parties got in 2000. Likewise the BC NDP has always done better than the federal NDP. Most recently the BC NDP got 40% in 2017 versus 26% for the federal NDP in 2015.

The obvious conclusion is that many BC voters support the Liberals federally and the NDP provincially. This may not align with the views of NDP partisans, but it's reality.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I actually fought in every federal campaign in Burnaby from '94 to 2011. During the minority government years we held regular election planning meetings in my office.  Given our teams poor understanding of the political dynamics I can't figure out how we won every election in that period. We were even stupid enough to not use the central campaign literature but again we got lucky and won anyway.

NorthReport

Tick, tock! Tick, tock!

Are the Liberals starting to sweat! 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-no-games-in-singh-by-election-just-politics/

NorthReport

If Singh is no threat to the Liberals as the Liberal mainstream media full court press tries to spin it, why is Trudeau afraid to call the by-election in Burnaby South? Just askin’

Mighty Middle

NorthReport wrote:
If Singh is no threat to the Liberals as the Liberal mainstream media full court press tries to spin it, why is Trudeau afraid to call the by-election in Burnaby South? Just askin’

Because Trudeau doesn't want to give the NDP time to switch leaders, like they did in Ontario with the Brown-Ford switch. By delaying the byelection as long as possible, it will guarantee Jagmeet leading the NDP in the 2019 election.

Sean in Ottawa

NorthReport wrote:
If Singh is no threat to the Liberals as the Liberal mainstream media full court press tries to spin it, why is Trudeau afraid to call the by-election in Burnaby South? Just askin’

I think the Liberals will either delay so long that it gets folded into the general or will call it with other byelections they are almost certain to win. Both would mean waiting. The NDP main not be a significant threat in their view but every vote counts - it is possible that the longer they keep Singh out of the House the better for them.

They could also hold a byelection close to the general and not run a candidate so that they do not have to spend money on it whereas the NDP and Conservatives would and the benefit of Singh being in the House is minimized as it may only have a few days if any sitting before the general. Or they could run a candidate which would force the NDP out of caution to spend more.

I think that politically the best calculation is the last one whether they run a candidate or not. Given that the NDP is cash poor it forces the NDP to spend on an election where the winner will only have perhaps a few days if any in the House and then have to do it again.

People here have often claimed that the Liberals are afraid of running in the seat. I think that is silly as it is more an NDP than Liberal seat so there is no shame in them losing that seat to a leader. I think the calculation is more along the lines of timing for Singh to enter the House, if they can avoid him entering at all before a general election, and money.

Governments can choose the timing of byelections and have wide lattitude to use it for partisan purposes. The calling of byelections should be a function of Elections Canada with clear rules.

From the NDP point of view Singh may be a weak leader but the Liberals are not so presumptious that they presume that he cannot do them damage -- including damage that can make the difference in a close election. Suggestions to the contrary from Liberals are just posturing.

It is also possible that Singh may be a poor strategist and manager for the NDP but a great campaigner. During the election, once it starts, he might deliver what New Democrats are hoping for in that regard. It is possible that the answer for the NDP will be to place better people behind the scenes to manage some of the things Singh may not be good at, provide better advice on some issues he has not done well at, and let him do what he does best only. I think politically it is far to soon to declare Singh a failure. He may have dissapointed so far but an election could offer him a chance to make that up. Don't believe any Liberal strategists who do not understand this reality.

Liberals won't admit it but they are scared of the next election becuase as strategists they are not stupid they are scared becuase:

- the economy is not predictable and the deficit is high and increasingly becoming a political issue. The economy is going to hurt either way -- either there will be a downturn or interest rates will rise creating hardship for many

- many people have noticed broken promises, including impressions where the Liberals could not possibly reconcile promises that were impossible or contradictory

- Trudeau has image problems -- while he is an asset to them for sure, he has stumbled in ways that threaten to revive the "arrogant" and "elitist" Liberal storyline. This is the storyline that has been behind most of their electoral losses in the last couple generations.

- Electoral interference is a threat due to technology. In fact I think it is a certainty at least to some degree. I am sure none of the experts imagine this to be "just a Russian thing." This can happen internally and from the US without a lot of money. It is likely going to be against the Liberals and in favour of the Conservatives and if the Russians wanted to play they would have to get in line.

- Singh is an unknown quantity who has impressed at times. You cannot count him out and in some races it would not take much impact to make the difference.

- The Liberals won last time becuase of a movement of previous non-voters. The Liberals have not found any way to keep them. In fact they are more likely to be jaded and not vote than to vote for them. Same is true for Indigenous poeple who came out strongly for the Liberals.

- The type of right-wing populist wave that elected Trump and Ford is a concern and could be taken advantage of by Conservatives who now fully understand that you can say anything and it won't have to be even remotely true. Conservatives are certain to go with some kind of "for the people" message even as they screw the people.

- A carbon price will be a carbon tax and it is hard to say where that will go politically -- not clear that this time it won't get support from the people but it might also get a big thumbs down as well.

In their favour the Liberals have a few advantages.

- The election will not be before the fall (unless some huge advantage presents itself). This allows the Conservatives in Ontario and CAQ in Quebec to bring in enough policies that prove that they are not as for the people as they suggested.

- If Ford wants to become federal leader and PM then he will want the Federal Conservatives to lose the next election. This fits in with a normal plan to deliver pain upfront and allow time to heal. This pain may doom the federal Conservatives and allow Ford to replace their leader. Ford and Trudeau's interests might be more aligned than we think if he does not want to defeat Trudeau now but wants to replace the Conservative leader a couple of years from now.

- Trudeau can blame some economic issues on Trump

- carbon pricing is likely to become more and more popular, despite Conservative opposition, as the evidence for climate change becomes harder to ignore by the public

- Probably Trudeau is a better campaigner than Scheer by far. He is likely a way better campaigner in terms of skills than he was in 2015. I think Scheer is not likeable at all and is more likely to be painted as an incompetent boy wanna-be than Trudeau

- Trudeau cannot be said to be not able to do a job that he has been doing.

- The Liberals have been fairly free of major personal scandals and apart from his trip to India not much hay has been made (even about things we have heard of). People may be sick of the India trip story and it may not play a factor.

- sympathy for Trudeau is significant with respect to Trump attacks. His calm response is in keeping with most Canadians.

- the Conservatives miuscalculated on NAFTA even though they have not yet been called on it, people have noticed. They pushed Trudeau to take any deal before he made a deal and then said it was not good enough. It is a major contradiction. To say that they would have signed a better deal is pretty weak when they are on record saying Trudeau should sign any deal before one was signed. You can be absolutely certain that this will come up when they try to bring up NAFTA

****

So on balance the Liberals will be as they should be -- both adequately concerned and hopeful. Everything else you see is BS.

***

Not saying this is what they will aim for but.. Best scenario for Trudeau if it worked would be a minority. This way he could bring in some measures that might be popular without taking any risk for them (blame it on the NDP).  Also he could keep his people in line and run the following election on fear of the Conservatives. Best chance for Trudeau to win in 2023 is to have a minority in 2019. If he is forced into PR, he might govern longer than his father - albeit with minorities half the time instead of just once.

cco

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Governments can choose the timing of byelections and have wide lattitude to use it for partisan purposes. The calling of byelections should be a function of Elections Canada with clear rules.

In the UK byelections are scheduled, by convention, by the whip of the party that held the seat before the vacancy. This would reduce, but not eliminate, shenanigans.

Pondering

Amazing post Sean. It shows how complex the political landscape is. Things that we haven't even considered could be a factor. I do think Ford is a Trump wannabe and would love to run in 2023 so you are right that he may want Scheer to lose. 

Singh maybe a terrible choice but I agree that we can't know that until after the election. I believe the signs are good that he is going to hit the right note by focusing on the environment and the economy. It may or may not bear fruit this election but I believe longterm, if this is what he is focusing on, it is the answer to right-wing populism. 

Pollsters split voters into arbitrary age groups for convenience but it is not so simple as that. It is true that youth is the most concerned about climate change but it isn't like baby boomers haven't been. Just not in numbers high enough to make up for the rest of our generation and our parents. We weren't strong enough to defeat the powers that be. 

Every four years the population has shifted. Apparently baby boomers are no longer the largest block, youth is and they are beginning to flex their power.  This generation was raised by boomers. They have little respect for authority and need a good reason to vote. 

This is a no BS generation. They know what Trudeau has to offer now. He bought a pipeline. Focus on the environment could bring them out in droves larger than those seen for Trudeau if Singh is percieved as authentic. 

Mighty Middle

Pondering wrote:

Amazing post Sean.

Yeah I agree, Sean hit the nail on the head with many many excellent points.

Mighty Middle

Jagmeet Singhhas just tweeted his reaction to Justin Trudeau calling a by-election in Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. But NOT in Burnaby-South where Jagmeet Singh wants to run and get in the house. 

Singh tweeting

Prime Minister Trudeau just decided that over 300,000 Canadians in , & don’t deserve a voice in Parliament. Why?

https://twitter.com/theJagmeetSingh/status/1056656159971643394

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor Tweeting

Why is acting with such malice to the voters of Burnaby-South? Why not get the by-election going so that our leader can have the opportunity to present his true progressive vision in House of Commons?

https://twitter.com/AMacGregor4CML/status/1056664354760736768

Nonetheless the NDP still proceeded with launching its campaign (Today) on Sunday to elect Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP party to the riding.

Because of commitments in Toronto, however, the NDP leader himself won’t be at the launch in Burnaby. Peter Julian substituted for Jagmeet to rally the troops at the campaign launch.

https://www.burnabynow.com/news/singh-launches-campaign-as-by-election-c...

brookmere

Mighty Middle wrote:
Because of commitments in Toronto, however, the NDP leader himself won’t be at the launch in Burnaby.

What commitments? What candidate, never mind a party leader, and especially one parachuted in from elsewhere, would fail to show up at his own campaign launch?

Mighty Middle

Nathan Cullen has taken the gloves off and BLASTS Trudeau by tweeting

What a selfish and cynical act. With no justification (other than the obvious, cheap political calculation) Trudeau denies byelections b/c one of them included This is beneath the dignity of the office of Prime Minister. Canadians expect better

https://twitter.com/nathancullen/status/1056706706376286208

In a choice between the democratic rights of thousands of Canadians without an MP & cheap, partisan politics Trudeau chose the latter. It’s petty to not call by-elections just to deny a chance to represent Burnaby in Parliament .

https://twitter.com/nathancullen/status/1056698330548301825

NorthReport

 

I just read all the election procedures and must have missed the part that says the candidate has to do what you infer he should be doing. Strange dat! Must be more nonsensical Liberal talking points which confirm the title of this thread By the way we BCers are quite excited about our upcoming opportunity to vote for PR a much fairer voting system than FPTP It a a doggone shame the Trudeau Liberals sold all Canadians a bill of goods by reneging on PR for federal elections

brookmere wrote:

Mighty Middle wrote:
Because of commitments in Toronto, however, the NDP leader himself won’t be at the launch in Burnaby.

What commitments? What candidate, never mind a party leader, and especially one parachuted in from elsewhere, would fail to show up at his own campaign launch?

Mighty Middle

New Democrat MP Peter Julian says Trudeau's decision not to call the other byelections today is "petty and manipulative," and he accused the prime minister of playing around with elections.

"For him to pick and choose which riding gets democratic representation is outrageous," Julian said.

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor weighs in again tweeting

Liberal twitterers very active tonight trying to justify ’s decision not to call Burnaby-South by-election. Nice try, but declared for the riding in early August - it’s not news that he’s running. This was simple, petty politics by PMO.

https://twitter.com/AMacGregor4CML/status/1056783779153362944

UPDATE: NDP used their second, third & fourth question today in QP to hold Trudeau to task for NOT calling a by-election in Burnaby-South

Meanwhile former political reporter Greg Weston tells CTV Power Play that he is hearing that the by-election for this riding will be called in January.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Pondering wrote:

Every four years the population has shifted. Apparently baby boomers are no longer the largest block, youth is and they are beginning to flex their power.  This generation was raised by boomers. They have little respect for authority and need a good reason to vote. 

GenX'ers raised most millenials of course their boomer parents might have been influential as grandparents.

NorthReport
Pondering

NorthReport wrote:

 the Trudeau Liberals sold all Canadians a bill of goods by reneging on PR for federal elections

On that one the NDP is equally guilty because the only system they would consider was MMP. We could have had STV which is not FPTP. 

Pondering

NorthReport wrote:

 the Trudeau Liberals sold all Canadians a bill of goods by reneging on PR for federal elections

On that one the NDP is equally guilty because the only system they would consider was MMP. We could have had STV which is not FPTP. 

pietro_bcc

The NDP is not to blame for the Liberals ignoring the recommendations of the electoral reform committee they convened. That was the Liberals' doing.

Mighty Middle

Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May and Mario Beaulieu (leader of the Bloc) have bandied together and written an open letter DEMANDING Justin Trudeau call a byelection in all vacant ridings NOW!

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

This past Sunday, you decided to call only one of four pending by-elections to fill vacancies in the House of Commons, even though Elections Canada has provided a notice for each riding indicating all of them are in the proper position to hold elections.

Your decision to delay the other three by-elections denies hundreds of thousands of Canadians their simple democratic right to be represented in Parliament and have their voices heard.

The longstanding tradition in Canada is to call the by-elections for all vacant seats at the same time. However, you have offered no clear explanation as to why you only called a byelection date in Leeds-Grenville while the 334,000 Canadians in Burnaby-South, York-Simcoe, and Outremont should continue to go without federal representation.

While the parties we lead disagree on what solutions are best for the challenges facing Canadians, we are in complete agreement that Canadians deserve to have elected representation as soon as possible.

We urge you to do what’s best for Canadians in these ridings and immediately call the by-elections for all vacant seats in the House of Commons.

Sincerely,

Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada

Mario Beaulieu, Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada

Sean in Ottawa

Please stop blaming those who disagree with STV for PR failing. STV can be combined with PR but it is itself not PR. PR is exactly what is suggests --- a system whereby the result reflects the proportions of the votes cast. The version of STV Liberals wanted would not lead to a proportional representation.

As we discussed many times- for a single position like a leader, president etc. STV is extremely effective as it ranks the choices of each person and depolys them until a single consensus candidate is selected. With an assembly, the objective is not a single result but a representative body. In this case a form of PR that preserves first choices rather than rounding up second, thrid and fourth choices is more effective. With a legislative body, there is room for the proportions of people's first choice. With a single canddiate this is not possible.

This is not to say STV is a bad tool. It is the very best way to synthesize an electoral to a single office-holder. It is also an extremely shitty way to select a legislative body, where the goal is a more representative result. It may or may not be more representative than FPTP. It is not intended to preserve first choices of voters but to obliterate them. Real PR counts the first choices and creates a legislative body to reflect that. There are different models including list canddiates and local representatives or multiple representative in super constituencies and the various MM voting. STV does not try to get a proportional vote -- instead it attempts to make a person's second third or fourth votes still count for something which is not the same thing.

There are good reasons not to take something marginally better and stick with what you have until you can get the right change. Once you make a change, you risk closing off change for longer  than if you made no change and kept things as they are and advocated for the right change.

JKR

I think people here are confusing STV with AV/IRV. STV and AV/IRV are both ranked voting systems but STV is proportional while AV/IRV is not proportional because STV uses ranked voting in multi-memeber districts while AV/IRV uses ranked voting in single-member districts. STV is proportional because it is used in multi-memeber districts, while AV/IRV is not proportional because it is used in single-member districts. Justin Trudeau supports AV/IRV because like FPTP it tends to create majority governments, and he opposes STV because it tends to create coalition governments. Both AV/IRV and STV solve the problem of FPTP vote-splitting.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:
I think people here are confusing STV with AV/IRV. STV and AV/IRV are both ranked voting systems but STV is proportional while AV/IRV is not proportional because STV uses ranked voting in multi-memeber districts while AV/IRV uses ranked voting in single-member districts. STV is proportional because it is used in multi-memeber districts, while AV/IRV is not proportional because it is used in single-member districts. Justin Trudeau supports AV/IRV because like FPTP it tends to create majority governments, and he opposes STV because it tends to create coalition governments. Both AV/IRV and STV solve the problem of FPTP vote-splitting.

sorry for issue with the language -- however my point remains that Trudeau did not ever support a system that allowed for a proportional result. He supported only a transfer from first choice to lower choices in producing a result that may be even less proportional than the system we have now. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I voted for STV in BC when it won with over 58% but needed a phony super majority to pass. I think if the majority of urban ridings are 5 to 7 members it results in room for smaller parties and allows voters to vote for more than one party if they actually like candidates from more than one party. For instance I could see myself voting for select Green and NDP candidates and a new party on the left, all on the same ballot.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i voted for it as well. stv was recommended by citizen's assembly set up to study electoral reform and hold consultations. there was a member from that assembly who posted on babble a few years ago and continued to support stv. i remember him pointing out the pros and cons of the various pr options and the reasoning behind the assembly's choice. i don't do well with babble searches or i would dig that up.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I voted for STV in BC when it won with over 58% but needed a phony super majority to pass. I think if the majority of urban ridings are 5 to 7 members it results in room for smaller parties and allows voters to vote for more than one party if they actually like candidates from more than one party. For instance I could see myself voting for select Green and NDP candidates and a new party on the left, all on the same ballot.

I like the idea of having multiple people from different parties having a mandate over a single larger riding. The importance of representation is often touted by proponents of FPTP but on issues where the parties take opposing positions, being able to choose a representative that is more likely to be sympathetic is critical to democracy. It is not unreasonable to want to call a representative who believes in the program or initiative you are calling about. Practically, we already have this on a wink and a nudge basis. There are many who call not their MP or MPP but the closest NDP MP when when it comes to issues they do not trust a Conservtaive or a Liberal with. this has led to some of those offices serving much bigger communities than intended or financed to serve. (An example I am familiar with is Ottawa centre which when represented by the NDP effectively serves all of Ottawa on a number of issues.) I think that you should be able to call someone local but also have a designated person from each of the parties dealing with your geographic area. This, along with a more proportional result is a much better system. It is how I understand the system you voted for works.

The idea that smaller parties being represented leads to violence or division has always been false: parties represented in legislative bodies have always been less likely to cause instability than those excluded. The problem with extremism is that it exists, not that it be represented or engaged with where it does. Of course a legislature is a hall of advocacy, when a lone member of a fringe party is able to convince others to go along, you have access to more ideas. The presence of small parties both extends and moderates both the whole and the parties themselves.

The objective is not to keep parties out of the system where they exist but to engage with them and due to proortional representation ensure that a fringe cannot obtain majority control. The debate about FPTP keeping fringe ideas out of legislatures should mature to the point where it is recognized that PR can keep these ideas from gaining power with a false majority.

We are now in a time when fringe, even extreme ideas increasingly can obtain a very high vote due to manipulation and money. This is actually the point of fear over fascism which is the ideology where political power and corporations merge. The panic over interference in elections has focused on a presumption of a unique Russian threat. The threat of interference is real and it is a lot closer. While we have safeguards in Canada regarding the amount of money a person may donate to a political party, technology exists that can allow those without some money to distort the system by playing a reality game with voters. Instead of the emphasis on a foreign threat, this potential has to be seen for how it permits those inside a country from defrauding each other and distorting the process - and permits those in a close by country with a lot of economic power and motivation to distort the politics (in Canada we are speaking of the USA). The growth of this threat, should be seen in the context of the inferior FPTP system that can exaggerate the product of distortion. 

I am extremely fearful of Canada's electoral system being overwhelmed by outside interference as I have said before. I think in the debate over Russia as a threat people have missed the fact that the greatest external threat lies with those with the greater means (money) and motive in the US. Without safeguards the Canadian electoral system may be overwhelmed by a small number of wealthy and extreme US power-brokers with significant profit motivations to compromise Canadian elections.

Once power is achieved, we have seen a process of attacking the process so that it can be retained -- in the US they call this gerrymandering. PR makes district gerrymandering impossible.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..good post sean

NorthReport

Concern over pipeline plans likely reason why by-election in Burnaby South is not being called

Karl Nerenberg

October 29, 2018

RABBLE NEWS

ENVIRONMENT

POLITICS IN CANADA

Jagmeet Signh

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has decided to call a by-election for early December in a vacant eastern Ontario riding, but has made a point of not calling by-elections for three other vacant seats, including, most notably, Burnaby South, where NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has declared his candidacy.

The eastern Ontario riding in question, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, became vacant when its MP, Conservative Gordon Brown, died last May. The other vacant seats are York-Simcoe in Ontario, from which Conservative Peter Van Loan resigned at the end of September, and Outremont in Montreal, which former NDP leader Tom Mulcair officially vacated in August.

According to the law, a prime minister can delay up to 180 days (about six months) before calling a by-election. That six-month window gives heads of government a lot of latitude, but there is an unwritten expectation that they will not abuse it for partisan purposes.

The NDP is outraged that Trudeau appears to be quite capriciously delaying the three by-elections.

Burnaby South became officially vacant on September 17, which means Trudeau could delay the announcement of a by-election until March 18.  In the case of Outremont, the vote must be called no later than January 30.

Neither the PM nor his office have offered any explanation for these delays. Instead, they say the 180-day cut-off date for the eastern Ontario seat is imminent. It is, in fact, this Tuesday, October 30, while the dates for the others are further off in the future. That hardly qualifies as justification or rationale for a decision. It merely tells us what we already know.

And so, since the government refuses to provide its own explanation, we’ll try to do so here.

The Burnaby South seat was recently vacated by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who is now the mayor-elect of Vancouver. Of late, the riding has been looking like a very unlikely win for the Liberals. Indeed, the Liberals are so concerned about doing badly in Burnaby South that they have openly mused about the idea of not even running a candidate against NDP leader Singh. Such a gesture would, they say, be a courtesy to a party leader who does not have a seat in the House.

The reason for the downturn in Liberal fortunes in that part of British Columbia does not have much to do with the NDP leader. What hurts the Liberals is the fact that the voters of Burnaby South are, by and large, deeply unhappy with the Trans Mountain pipeline project. That twinned pipeline carrying toxic bitumen is slated to cut right through their community.

A by-election in Burnaby South could turn into something of a referendum on the $4.5-billion pipeline, which the Canadian people now own. Such a de facto plebiscite is something the Liberals want to avoid at all costs, because the pipeline project is at a highly delicate phase right now.

On orders of the federal court, the government has reopened the consultation process on the pipeline. It is studying how to mitigate the threats shipping bitumen poses to the fragile coastal environment, something it forgot to do on the first go-round. Talks have reopened with a number of Indigenous communities who have expressed profound concerns about potential impacts on their environment and way of life. The court was brutal in its assessment of the federal government’s original Indigenous consultations. It described them as the worst kind of patronizing tokenism.

Chastened by the judges’ decision, the Liberals hope they can make it all work this time.

Their game plan is for this new process to gain them at least increased, if not unanimous, buy-in. And they want to wrap it all up early in the new year, allowing them to re-start construction long before the next federal campaign. The background noise of a by-election campaign in the riding that is, in effect, ground zero for resistance to the pipeline would not be helpful.

As for Tom Mulcair’s former seat in Outremont, it is unlikely the Liberals are particularly nervous about that one.

Until Mulcair won the seat in a 2007 by-election, Outremont was about the safest Liberal seat in the country.  The Liberals had only lost it once previously, in 1988 when the Mulroney Conservatives swept Quebec in the free-trade election. 

The NDP has found itself a strong candidate for the Outremont race in Julia Sanchez, who most recently headed the Canadian Council for International Cooperation. She is articulate in both official languages and has many years of public policy experience. But in the coming by-election, she will be a distinct underdog. Her party is not polling well in Quebec and did poorly in recent by-elections there.

The Liberals would probably be quite happy to throw the dice in Outremont, and as soon as possible. Doing so would be awkward, though, because their refusal to fire the starting pistol for Burnaby South would then really stand out like a sore thumb.

And so, the citizens of a riding in Quebec and another in Ontario will have to do without representation in Parliament for a few months more, because the governing Liberals want to avoid an awkward and embarrassing political fight in British Columbia.

 

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/10/concern-over-pipeline-plans-likely-reason-...

NorthReport

Federal leaders slam Trudeau’s refusal to call by-elections

 

Karl Nerenberg

November 1, 2018

RABBLE NEWS

POLITICS IN CANADA

House of Commons

Federal opposition leaders are joining forces to denounce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refusal to call by-elections in three of four vacant seats in the House of Commons.

On Tuesday, the four opposition party leaders signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to “do what’s best for Canadians” and immediately call the three other by-elections.

Earlier this week, Trudeau called a by-election to fill the vacancy in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, which has been vacant since last May, when Conservative MP Gordon Brown died.

But, without explanation, Trudeau did not call by-elections in three other vacant ridings: Burnaby South in British Columbia, York-Simcoe in Ontario and Outremont in Quebec.

The opposition party leaders’ letter states:

“Your decision … denies hundreds of thousands of Canadians their simple democratic right to be represented in Parliament. The longstanding tradition in Canada is to call the by-elections for all vacant seats at the same time … you have offered no clear explanation as to why you only called (one) by-election … while 334,000 Canadians … continue to go without federal representation.”

The letter is signed by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Québecois leader Mario Beaulieu.

“While the parties we lead disagree on what solutions are best for the challenges facing Canadians,” the four leaders say, “we are in complete agreement that Canadians deserve to have elected representation as soon as possible.”

A number of observers have noted that the current prime minister is defying precedent by balking at promptly calling the three by-elections. For one, it is general practice to call by-elections for all vacant seats on the same day. Secondly, in the case of one of the vacant seats, Burnaby South, where Singh is a declared candidate, the ruling party generally promptly calls by-elections to allow party leaders take a seat in the House.

In the past, when other seat-less party leaders indicated their intentions to run in by-elections, the prime ministers of the day called those votes promptly and without delay. Stephen Harper, Jean Chrétien and Brian Mulroney all benefited from that prime ministerial courtesy. In the case of Mulroney, the man who extended him that courtesy, allowing him to quickly take his place on the opposition benches, was the current prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau.

According to the law, however, a prime minister can delay up to 180 days before calling a by-election. 

Photo: House of Commons

Karl Nerenberg has been a journalist and filmmaker for more than 25 years. He is rabble's politics reporter.

 

http://rabble.ca/news/2018/11/federal-leaders-slam-trudeau%E2%80%99s-ref...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

brookmere wrote:

There doesn't have to be just one reason. By declining to run a candidate the Liberals can:

  • Support the political lifetime of Singh, whom the Liberals and many in the NDP itself consider a drag on his party.
  • Eliminate the possibility of finishing behind the Conservatives.
  • Make the Conservatives look churlish if they run a candidate themselves, which is likely.
  • Put the focus on humiliating the NDP in Outremont, which is key to their Quebec strategy.

...er, could the NDP neutralize that last bullet point by not running in Outremont?  I can see them getting all "oh?-well two can play THAT game" about it.

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Sean in Ottawa

This is not clear. Voters are pretty bad at holding government to account for things like this.

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