Thursday, October 29, 2015

Worth Reading - October 29, 2015

Apologies for the shorter list this week, it has been a busy one. 

Now that the election is over one of the questions is whether or not political parties will avail themselves of the powers given to them by the Reform Act

David Akin breaks down some of the numbers from the election in Alberta. He has been doing analysis on his blog over the last few days on the results.

To the great frustration of many Bramptonians City Council voted against the downtown section of the Hurontario-Main LRT, which I suppose could just be called the Hurontario LRT now. 

I linked this in Tuesday's post, but if you missed it, and have a lot of time, here is Paul Well's exhaustive piece on the events of the 2015 federal election campaign

One of the interesting aspects of the 2015 election is the huge number of rookie MPs who have been elected. 

From the Hill Times, there are many reasons that the NDP lost on October 19th, but don't blame Tom Mulcair

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Federal Election Reflection

Now that eight days has past (has it only been eight days?), let's talk about the election.

For anyone who follows me on social media it will have been clear that I was very disappointed in the result. I am a member of the New Democratic Party and volunteered for Amarjit Sangha, the candidate for Brampton South. New Democrats were on the verge of forming government, but support peaked on August 27th at 37%.

There is a lot to write about in the election, I'll do my best to keep this succinct. If you want a great overview of the campaign I would strongly recommend Paul Well's very long piece about the campaign here

I was pleased to see turnout went up. Before the election I developed a infographic for a friend that suggested that when turnout went up dramatic shifts in power could happen, such as in the Alberta provincial election. I am confident that many of the new voters were drawn to the Liberals, but all three parties were motivated to get their vote out. However, it is important for those supporters to remember that Trudeau's majority is in fact arguably less legitimate than Harper's. Harper won a majority in 2011 with 39.6% and Trudeau won with 39.5%. Though with a larger overall turnout the sense of legitimacy from the country as a whole is stronger. Regardless the distortions of First-Past-the-Post continue.

The victory of the Liberals can be attributed to three things. First was the exhaustion of the electorate with the Conservatives. There was a strong case made by Tom Mulcair in the House of Commons and a long list of scandals drained enthusiasm and support from Harper which was only compounded by a bitter, angry, and Islamophobic campaign. In this environment the struggle was over who would be the best option to defeat the Conservatives. At the start it was the NDP, but as the NDP vote sank the Liberals gained momentum. Finally, the tremendously low expectations for Trudeau played into his hands. No serious gaffe or misstep marred his campaign. Meaning that as it went on the "He's not ready" meme worked less and less effectively as it rang hollow.

Trudeau's majority was built by sweeping Atlantic Canada, vote splitting in Quebec and a strong win in Ontario that mirrors Kathleen Wynne's provincial win in 2014.

I was hoping to offer some insight in the aftermath about the specific vote in Brampton. Sadly, looking at all five ridings (Brampton East, Brampton North, Brampton Centre, Brampton South, and Brampton West) they were swept up in a Liberal wave that gave the Liberals almost every single seat in the GTA. The peculiars of each campaign in this environment are almost meaningless.

And what of the vanquished Harper? The near-decade long premiership of Harper has come to an end. He announced his intent to resign as PM and leader of the Conservative Party. Now the Conservatives will turn inward and must fight the urge to eat their young. First the party must find an appropriate interim leader and other Conservatives must debate whether or not they want to lead the 99 member Conservative caucus as the Official Opposition. The Conservatives should take heart though. They had 99 seats with a smaller share of the vote in 2004. It is fair to say the Conservatives had something of a fresh breakthrough in Quebec.

And what of the NDP? Upon reflection I think the NDP made the very common mistake of fighting the last war. If this election was the conclusion to the 2011 election, or a replay of it I think that Tom Mulcair could be the one picking cabinet members now. But this was not a replay of 2011 and the dynamic was very different. An interesting observation I heard from a journalist is that the NDP coalition simply became too unwieldy. It was a complex composition of voters with divergent opinions and interests. It forced the NDP to take positions that would alienate parts of its coalition. This was embodied in the niqab debate.

In my opinion Tom Mulcair should continue as the NDP leader. With the Conservatives wandering off into the wilderness the Trudeau government will need an effective opposition. Mulcair has proven more than capable at holding a government to account. The NDP managed to hold on in Quebec, which suggests the Orange Wave may have some lasting permanence. A number of 'safe' NDP seats were lost, that should be recoverable in the next election and 2015 was the second best result for the NDP in number of seats.

While Stephen Harper exits Canadian political life it is important to remember that Harperism will not leave with him. I doubt this is the last time we'll see an aggressively centralizing, media-controlling prime minister. The Liberal Party embraced many positions of the Conservatives over the last four years and heading into the election. Prime Minister-Designate Trudeau may have a challenging four years ahead of him. His caucus is large, but his majority is somewhat thin. It is heavily rooted in Eastern and Central Canada. With the growing size of Canada's House of Commons he will have a larger group of backbenchers, over 150 of whom are rookies, to manage. Expectations will be high for the Liberals and undoubtedly the Canadian public and opposition parties will be watching carefully. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The End of the Track: Hurontario-Main LRT

Since the controversial marathon meeting in July Bramptonians have been impatiently watching City Council for a final decision on the Hurontario-Main LRT. After months of debate the council appears poised to make a final decision on the question of the LRT. Despite facilitation talks with experts council remains divided.

At the last vote the council took on this question there were five members opposed, five members in favour and one, Michael Palleschi, who seemed undecided but comments at the July meeting suggested he was opposed if a delay was not allowed to allow a facilitator to come in. Or if council could not come to consensus.

Since the July meeting a number of community groups have stepped forward to advocate for the Hurontario-Main LRT, such as One Brampton have popped up. The principle form of opposition in the community has come from members of Citizens for a Better Brampton and local notables such as former councillor John Sanderson and members of council. I won't bother revisiting the arguments between both sides in detail as a) they can speak for themselves and b) I have spoken in favour of the LRT previously. Any search on Twitter under the #HMLRT hastag will reveal an active debate.

The conflict between pro- and anti-LRT groups/individuals seems largely cultural. Watching deputations at council in July it was very easy to say that age played a significant role in people's perspectives. Younger speakers were generally pro-LRT and older ones tended to argue against. There is division among the downtown businesspeople, though this is harder to gauge. I think it's safe to say that many are concerned about the potential short-term impact, but young professionals, or those more involved in the new economy were inclined to support the LRT.

The real divide is about where your preferences lay. If you like cities, if you like transit, if you want Brampton to resemble more of an urban environment then you support the LRT. If you have lived in Brampton for decades and remember its days as a more sleepy suburb where auto-dependency still remains your preference then you see the LRT as an impediment to your personal travels.

One of the positives of the LRT debate has been a tremendous invigoration of local citizen advocacy/activism. New organizations and networks have developed to respond to these issues. Hopefully once the LRT debate is over they will not simply dissolve. Brampton has a budget coming up, and land-use planning has just as much with transit as anything else.

Even if council votes down the downtown route for the LRT it will be built to Hurontario and Steeles. The transformative impact on Brampton will be far more limited, but might acclimatize Bramptonians to the idea and make it less controversial when the time comes. Council, sadly, seems ready to reject the downtown section of the Hurontario-Main LRT, despite public pressure. There is no doubt to my mind that downtown is a difficult space and skepticism is natural. In my opinion Metrolinx made a mistake by trying to appeal to both sides. the Hurontario-Main LRT would be far more effective if they went with one of their proposals for a LRT-bike-pedestrian only area on a stretch of Main Street. It would simply planning significantly, but in auto-oriented Brampton it is a mental leap too far.

On October 27th council will hopefully hold the final vote, and not delay, then we'll see what our leaders intend for the future of Brampton and we can continue to the next city-building debate.

Tomorrow I will be posting my regular Tuesday post on the aftermath of the federal election. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Worth Reading - October 22, 2015

Well, it's over. After nearly 3 months of campaigning and politicking the election and over, and with it nearly 10 years of Stephen Harper's rule. On Tuesday I will write my reflections on the result, but this week I was still far too wound up to write anything valuable.

One of the biggest downsides of the election this week was the defeat of many impressive, valuable MPs. On Monday I watched great men and women be forced out of public life in Canada, and we are poorer for it. The Toronto Star came up with a short list of these defeated MPs

CBC has some analysis on how the election turned out and how the Liberals won

Luke Savage at Jacobin Magazine writes a critical piece on the celebration of the Trudeau victory and the faux-progressive nature of the current Liberal Party. 

One of the few things that give me hope is that this might be the last election under the First-Past-the-Post system. I am doubtful, but it might be...

Eric Grenier has been recording podcasts during the campaign. Here is his final pollcast on the final results

Adam Radwanski helps to explain what happened to the NDP

Chantal Hebert writes that Trudeau's selection of a cabinet, to be announced in November, will be critical in setting the tone for his government

A group of students at the University of Toronto put together a graphic about what happens after we vote

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Canadian Federal Election Prediction

Well reader, tomorrow is the day. Across the country hundreds of campaigns are scrambling to complete the last bit of work before millions of Canadians cast their ballots. If polls are to be trusted (which they should not be) the election night will be a big disappointment to my fellow New Democrats and we will likely be in a minority parliament for the next couple of years. Many websites this time around have presented models and projections for what the outcome will be for each seat. It will be interesting to see how much egg ends up on their collective faces. I will be spending election day working for my local NDP candidate after I cast my ballot. Then I will be going through my long-standing tradition of watching the results with a drink and some popcorn.

General Thoughts

I think this election will be very tricky to predict on a seat-by-seat level. The strength of the NDP coming into the election, the resilience of the Conservatives and the growth of the Liberal and Bloc vote makes the likelihood of strange splits more likely.

My prediction is not based on sophisticated polling or modeling. It reflects a synthesis of the information I have looked at and my own gut instinct.

The North

I think it is fair to say that the Conservatives face an uphill battle in the North. The question is whether or not the splits will be severe enough to allow their election. At this point I'd say the NDP will be returned in the Northwest Territories and the Liberals have a good shot at picking up Yukon and Nunavut. They are likely to be close though, so keep an eye on them. If the Liberals or NDP could bring down Leona Aglukkaq in Nunavut it would be a big loss for the Tories.

Ridings to Watch: Nunavut

CPC - 0
LPC - 2
NDP - 1
GPC - 0
Atlantic Canada

The Conservatives seem doomed in Atlantic Canada. Their changes to Employment Insurance has disproportionately hurt this region. The opposition parties have both been buoyed as the Conservatives have slipped. The Conservatives have almost no hope to pick up new seats in Atlantic Canada, the question is how much they will lose. In Newfoundland it will be a sea of red, five of the seven seats should safely go Liberal. The NDP should be able to hold on to St. John's East, but it will be a fight between them and the Liberals to hold on to St. John's South-Mount Pearl.

The rise of the Liberals in Nova Scotia has put a number of NDP seats at risk. Popular MP Meagan Leslie could even lose her seat in Halifax, but I believe she'll hold on. The rest of the province will probably go to the Liberals.

New Brunswick is the Conservatives best hope in Atlantic Canada. They should hold on to three or four seats in that province. The NDP should continue to hold Acadie-Bathurst. More urban ridings in New Brunswick will be likely to flip to the Liberals such as Fredericton, and Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe.

PEI should return to a Liberal stronghold.

Ridings to Watch: St. John's South-Mount Pearl, Halifax, Saint John-Rothesay, Miramichi-Grand Lake.

Atlantic Canada

CPC - 3
LPC - 20
NDP - 3
GPC - 0


The biggest story of the last election, the Orange Wave, is being challenged in Quebec. At the start of the campaign it looked like the NDP might expand their advantage in the province. However the race broke apart with Conservative, Liberal and Bloc support growing. This is by far the hardest prediction/projection to make. With four competitive parties it is possible to win with a very small number of votes, comparatively speaking. I suspect that the Conservatives may enjoy a significant advantage from these divides.

Ridings to Watch: Trois-Rivieres, Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Quebec City, Marc-Aurele-Fortin, Louis-Herbert, Laurentides-Labelle, Beauport-Limoilou.

CPC - 15
LPC - 24
NDP - 35
GPC - 0
BQ - 4


If any party wins a majority it will from a breakthrough in Ontario. There are three regions in particular to look at in this election: Toronto, 905, and Southwestern Ontario. Toronto should see the Conservative get rolled up by a Liberal wave. The Liberal strength has put NDP seats in jeopardy in the downtown. The Conservatives built their majority with seats in the 905. Both the Liberals and NDP are poised to make gains against the Conservatives. Halton Region, Peel Region, York Region and Durham Region are real battlegrounds. Southwestern Ontario is a different beast. The NDP have been hopeful for years that their appeal could work in Southwestern Ontario. With Conservative support slipping there are real opportunities in places like Sarnia, Brantford and Essex.

Ridings to Watch: University-Rosedale, Oshawa, Oakville, Kenora, Eglinton-Lawrence, Brantford-Brant Brampton East.

CPC - 45
LPC - 59
NDP - 17
GPC - 0

The Prairies

Support in the Conservative heartland is waning which gives fresh opportunities to the NDP and the Liberals. However, the deeply unpopular NDP government in Manitoba is hurting that parties' chances. Therefore we're likely to see Liberal gains in Manitoba and NDP gains in Saskatchewan. The new urban ridings in Saskatchewan offer a real opportunity to the NDP to re-establish a presence in that province.

Ridings to Watch: Saskatoon-Grasswood, Regina-Lewvan, Elmwood-Transcona, Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, Churchill-Keewatinook Aski.

CPC - 16
LPC - 5
NDP - 6
GPC - 0


The idea of solid Conservative Alberta will likely take another beating on Monday night. With Conservative support down and a larger number of urban ridings the Liberals and NDP are ready to pick up seats in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton are the most likely to yield results, but the NDP has been targeting Lethbridge as a potential area for pick-up.

Ridings to Watch:
Calgary Confederation, Edmonton Centre, Edmonton Griesbach, Lethbridge, St. Albert-Edmonton

CPC - 28
LPC - 4
NDP - 2
GPC - 0

British Columbia

This province might give the NDP the best news of the evening. BC has been more of a Conservative-NDP battleground than anywhere else. If NDP strength holds out a lot of seats could fall their way. The wildcard is Green support. The Greens early on showed a great deal of popular support on Vancouver Island, at times enough to win a second seat. The question is whether or not it will pan out.

Ridings to Watch: Burnaby North-Seymour, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge, Surrey Centre, Victoria.

CPC - 15
LPC - 10
NDP - 16
GPC - 1


CPC - 122
LPC - 124
NDP - 80
GPC - 1
BQ - 4

My gut tells me the Conservatives will win more seats than the models currently suggest, and perhaps even the most seats after tomorrow night. The NDP will make gains in parts of the country but their weakened position in Quebec will cause them to lose ground overall in the House of Commons. This outcome is very uncertain though. It is possible that the Conservatives may win the most seats with fewer votes than the Liberals, or that the splits result in incredible surprises, much like what we saw in 2011. Or, perhaps the Liberals have enough momentum to start their own Red Wave and form a majority. We'll know the general shape of the result around midnight Tuesday. Fingers crossed for no voting problems, everyone have a good E-Day! 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Worth Reading - October 15, 2015

This is the last Worth Reading before the vote. I plan on at least one last blog post before the election. The one planned is an election prediction.

A piece in Maclean's asks whether or not we would be better off removing candidates' parties from the ballot. There's some easy criticism here, it would hurt candidates with low name recognition and make voting more difficult.

Eric Grenier takes a look at battleground Toronto, it will be critical ground for both the Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives even have a few seats in the city that they badly want to hold on to.

Andrew Coyne's take on the "Muslim question" in recent Canadian elections. 

Paul Wells explores the question of what happens if the Conservatives win the most seats, but not a majority

Brent Rathgeber is fighting an independent campaign in St. Albert-Edmonton. Here is a profile piece from iPolitics. 

Andray Domise, former municipal candidate and co-host of Canadaland Commons, writes that he believes the black community should not vote Liberal in this election

Kelly McParcland has harsh words for Trudeau's deceptive campaign

Normally I wouldn't put an article about a political ad here, but Hazel McCallion cut a video in support of the Liberals and it is pretty great. You got to love Hazel.

Royson James writes that Mississauga City Council should be applauded for its decision on a mosque proposal. I am inclined to agree. Perhaps there is some hope for the political class afterall.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Case Against Strategic Voting

The first thing I should say before I go forward is that there is no wrong way to vote. Strategic voting is an entirely fair way for citizens to make up their mind. If that's how you want to make your voting selection then that is totally fine. In my opinion though it is a flawed method to use. I'll also say that I may be too late for many of you as advanced polling closed yesterday at 8 P.M.

Strategic voting has taken hold much more strongly in this campaign than in previous elections. It has always been a part of the political calculation of the politically engaged in a first-past-the-post system. They have taken on a more formal role with websites dedicated to promoting strategic voting and advising voters to go a certain way.

Strategic voters rely heavily on accurate, timely information but in no way can guarantee that. Some of the organizations have been conducting riding-based polls, whose accuracy has been suspect in the past. Most rely on historic results and models based on provincial/regional polling. How does that work? Models work by determining how 30% support translates on the local level. It is at best an educated guess and rarely takes into account the local campaign and candidates.

The example I point to is Bramalea-Gore-Malton. In the 2011 federal election Jagmeet Singh (NDP) challenged Bal Gosal (Conservative) for the seat. If you asked anyone the smart strategic vote would be for the Liberal candidate, Gubrax Mahli. The NDP had never won in Brampton before, and the Liberals had controlled Brampton very recently. So off the strategic voters marched to the Liberal camp. Jagmeet Singh lost the seat by 600 votes and months later would be elected in the provincial election. This is clearly a sign that strategic voting failed. Now, despite an NDP MP, the previous results, strategic voting websites are still advocating voting Liberal in Brampton East, the successor of Bramalea-Gore-Malton. 

The power of strategic voting is only evident in the hypothetical math in the aftermath of any election. How many times have we heard, "If 5000 voters switched from the NDP to the Liberals they would have won Ottawa-Orleans," or substitute any number of other ridings. It presumes that all parties on the left are interchangeable. The Liberals have moved to the right during the Harper years in an effort to win back Blue Liberals/Red Tories. If you're on the hard left of the NDP there isn't a great deal of space between the Liberals and Conservatives. What of the Greens? Are their values interchangeable with the NDP? They tend to be more centrist.

This is my problem with strategic voting philosophically. Strategic voting masks the true opinion and intent of the voter. Often parties have very different philosophies and approaches to politics. Even if the votes do not translate to seats the parties and politicians take heed of where support is in their ridings. Parties can identify growing bases of support and build on them for the future.

I have met more than a few "Anyone But Conservative" voters, or Anti-Harper voters. To them they don't care who they vote for as long as they defeat the local Conservative candidate. It becomes more complicated if you're a voter who has objections to your alternative, or what if you want to stop the Liberals?

Another problem with strategic voting is that is often a simple ploy to buttress the traditional two main parties and suppress the vote of alternatives. People have the right to vote for the parties they like and strategic voting offers an intellectual fig leaf to marginalize them.

No one can tell you with any accuracy how people will vote on October 19th. Models and predictions can only tell you so much. The reality is though that a single vote rarely decides an election. With that being the case why not vote for the party/candidate you believe in? That's how democracy is supposed to work.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worth Reading - October 8, 2015

Only 11 days left until the election and advance voting begins tomorrow! 

Toronto City Council has betrayed their initial move towards ranked-ballots

Scott Gilmore writes that Canadians should be ashamed of the small, petty issues that grab attention while serious crises and problems face Canada, such as our relationship with Indigenous peoples. This sums up much of my feelings on modern campaigns.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi came out strongly for the disgusting politicking around the niqab

A couple of weeks ago a NDP candidate in Saskatchewan resigned because of the strain on her finances. This will have to be kept in mind if longer campaigns become the norm.

A Mississauga Conservative candidate endorsed conversion therapies to "cure" gay people

Eric Grenier writes about the electoral transformation of Alberta. With polls shifting this analysis may be incorrect. We'll see on October 19th.

Justin Trudeau arrived in Brampton to hold a rally. As the Toronto Star reported, they bussed in supporters from across the province in a show of strength. This rally did not indicate strength in Brampton, but a clear interest in Brampton as a target set of ridings.

Jon Ivison continues his cross-country tour. Here are three of his stories: Brampton, Waterloo, and Downtown Toronto

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Review: The Longer I'm Prime Minister by Paul Wells

The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006- examines how Stephen Harper gained and maintained power and the philosophy behind his leadership. Stephen Harper has been the prime minister for nearly ten years now. His doom has been foretold by many. Several pundits, academics and political rivals saw the 2015 election as his Waterloo and it would be the end for him, but now we see in the polls that he has eked out a lead and seems in very little danger of total implosion.

Paul Wells, and others he cites in his book, describe Harper as an incrementalist. He has studied successful and failed prime ministers and come away with some conclusions. The first being that prime ministers who tackle big projects often destroy their own legacy, see Brian Mulroney and his constitutional gambits. Instead the longer one's party is in power and can hold it and make incremental changes towards their goals the safer the legacy is and the more assured a long hold on power is. Revolution isn't the goal, the goal is to progressively erode the state as defined by the Liberals.

This strategy has been part of the reason that Harper's detractors have gone nowhere. The allegations of a hidden agenda have never born fruit because he doesn't want to break his coalition with a bold, sweeping policy. This is an example Wells uses in the book: the Insite program came up for review, which is the clean needle exchange in Vancouver. Harper moved to shut down this pilot program. Under a Liberal or New Democratic prime minister it may have been made permanent, or the project expanded to Toronto and Montreal. The day-to-day decisions may matter more in the long run than the big sweeping agendas that can be undone with a few pieces of legislation.

Wells also dives into some of the intellectual and academic roots of Harperism. He suggests, for example, that Peter Brimelow's The Patriot Game: National Dreams and Political Realities have played a big role in shaping the ideas that move Stephen Harper and his allies. It's an interesting notion and Wells manages to successful support these intellectual threads with tangible evidence.

It is important to note, as Wells does, that among a segment of the population Stephen Harper is very popular. I certainly do not fit within that camp, nor do many of the people in my circle, but we're not supposed to. For many years we watched Harper build a coalition of voters to bring him a majority government, one step at a time. Incompetence by his opponents has helped make him the success he has today. Wells spends a great deal of time looking at the politics during the Harper years. The campaign missteps of his opponents has as much to do with his success as his own strategies.

The book concludes in 2013 with the 2015 election looming and already things look tricky. Wells suggests that if Harper looses power it will be because of his own missteps, as evidenced in the past. But for the first time he faces competent opposition, in the form of Thomas Mulcair and a popular Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau. Wells also comes to this point, Harper's vision for the future of Canada is limited. Incrementalism often means no grand strategy but it is not entirely clear what Mr. Harper would do with a second majority. Wells provides amble evidence that Harper will pursue policy goals, such as pipelines, wooing Quebec, or trade with China until obstacles become too numerous and he quits. If he wins a majority it is hard to know what Canada will look like in 2019 because it seems Harper doesn't have a vision for it despite what his critics and supporters say.

I really enjoyed this book. I believe it to be a fair analysis of the Harper's years in office and how he has exercised and held power. The prose is often witty, snarky and clever and weaves together the last ten years into a narrative that fits and frames them within context that is hard to see in the day-to-day coverage. If you're curious how Stephen Harper has held on to power over the last ten years and the philosophy behind his actions I would strongly recommend this book. I believe it also made an excellent companion to Susan Delacourt's Shopping for Votes, which I read at the same time.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Worth Reading - October 1, 2015

What happens when schools overlook introverts

I'm a big fan of Giant Bomb, a video game website. Vice did a profile on them and how their adjusting after the death of their main host, Ryan Davis

The scandal around the Sudbury by-election continues to unfold including charges being laid on a Liberal fundraiser. 

This is an article that I am loathe to share. Evidence is mounting that the NDP is losing support in Quebec. The party still leads, but by far less than just a couple weeks ago

The Liberals released their budget plans. According to reports I have read it is full of holes. For example, it has $3 billion of unexplained cuts. Andrew Coyne concurs

Though I missed it, I heard that the debate on foreign policy went quite well. I also think Paul Wells might have a point that breaking the old debate format was for the good.

It is the common assessment of the chattering classes that the decline of NDP fortunes in Quebec is tied to Mulcair's position on the niqab. Richard Gwyn argues that Mulcair's position was an important stand on principle

The Huffington Post takes a look at what role vote splitting might have on the 2015 election. 

John Ivison is crossing the country and reporting on what he observes at a more local level. Here is his take on Atlantic Canada and Quebec

A Conservative activist came out against Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.