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    September 2008
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First Election Prediction

Taking a cue from Mustafa, I submitted my prediction to the James Bow Federal Election Pool.
I will probably revise it in a week or two, but for now my gut says this:

We’re Better Off With Harper and His Sweater Vests: 142
The Green Shift: 100
The Socialist Sovereigntists: 34
Jack Layton, of the NEW Democrats: 29
Without Party Affiliation: 2
The Liberal Candidate for Central Nova: 1

Voter Turnout: 56%

By early October, the Conservatives will flirt with majority territory, but in the end the Bloc will hold enough of their support in Quebec. Add in the Liberals continued strength in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, and Harper will get closer, but not quite there.

The Liberals and NDP tread water, which is probably the worst case scenario for them. Well, not the worst case, and certainly better than being decimated, but it leaves them in limbo. Dion and Layton both hold the fort, more or less (Dion up 5 seats, Layton down 2), so it’s not a ringing endorsement of their leadership, but it’s not a defeat, so they won’t be compelled to resign.

The outlook will probably change, but through 3 1/2 days I see a pretty similar landscape to the one that was just dissolved. Nobody’s had a really good first week, except for Elizabeth May, and as Andrew Steele of The Globe has pointed out, getting into the debate is actually a mixed blessing for the Greens.


On Debates…

In light of the decision to exclude Elizabeth May of the Green Party from the national leaders debate, I think there are a few issues here:

Who’s to Blame?
If you oppose the decision, I think there are three groups at blame here:

1. The media outlets for not calling the bluff of the Conservatives and the NDP. Were they really going to skip the debates? I find that hard to believe.

2. Messrs Harper and Layton, while entirely within their right to oppose Mrs May’s inclusion, should have a real good reason for doing so.

3. The electoral system is at fault, since there is no regulation regarding the debates.

What Should Happen This Election?
In the short term, if the networks want Elizabeth May there, I think they should call Harper and Layton’s bluff. And if they decide to sit out, it’s their loss.

What Should Happen in the Future?
There should be an amendment to the Canada Election Act which provides for sanctioned debates.

Participation should be open to the leader of any registered political party who has achieved any of the following benchmarks:

1. Election of a Member of Parliament (under that party’s banner) in the previous general election, or a by-election since.
2. Official party status in the House of Commons.
3. Earned 5% of the vote in the previous general election (or other vote benchmark that would demonstrate support).
4. Having candidates in a specific number of ridings, say 75%.

To me, any of those would demonstrate a national presence, and merit inclusion in a debate.

Hopefully someone will run with this concept so we don’t have these issues in the future.