Friday, October 31, 2014

Premiers Campbell and Selinger

We have written previously about the art of political exodus.  It ain't easy, that's for sure.

And with the events of the last week, we couldn't resist adding some thought bubbles to this photo.

(Darryl Dyck photo, Canadian Press)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We're All Good!

For a whole host of reasons, a lot of our readers will have thrown up in their mouths a little bit when they saw Mr. Robinson flank Mr. Selinger...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Premier's Dinner Dines on Cruel Irony

The 900 or so people attending last weekend's Premier's Dinner heard Mr. Eric Robinson unreservedly endorse Premier Selinger as a great friend and supporter of First Nations people and communities.

Does this rhetoric really align with reality?

Remember this press release from 2006?  We won't reproduce the entire thing, but have retained a key quote from former Premier Gary Doer who very rightly pointed out the travesty of northern Manitoba communities not having access to clean water and sewer systems.

The former NDP Premier made the point that modern water and sewer systems are not only critical to good health, but are also a matter of "basic human dignity".

Here's the Free Press' coverage of that news release.

Fast forward eight years.  Eight years later, who ends up getting a $45 million water treatment plant?  The people of Garden Hill?

Nope.  Stony Mountain convicts and CentrePort.

Don't get us wrong... convicts and empty industrial parks need love too.  None of us could possibly sleep at night knowing industrial parks and convicts were being denied their "basic human dignity".  Clearly, this stuff matters to Manitoba families.

Mr. Robinson does not normally mince words when it comes to sharing what's really on his mind.  Just ask the people of Osborne House.

We find it difficult to believe he supports a $45 million water treatment plant for an industrial park and convicts when many communities in his constituency struggle to attain and maintain access to clean, running water.  Which makes us wonder why Mr. Robinson would so unreservedly endorse Premier Selinger as a friend and supporter of First Nations people and communities.

Is something else going on here we don't know about?  Why the unwavering support for a Premier so soon following what should have been a drastically divisive political decision for Mr. Robinson to swallow and defend to his constituents?

As for Garden Hill - a community of 3,800 mostly without proper drinking water where elders are still forced to use outhouses in extreme winter weather - hang in there folks... we'll get to you once our industrial parks and prisoners are looked after, and Mr. Robinson and Premier Selinger find a way to align their rhetoric with reality.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Probing the Liberals

In today's Winnipeg Free Press, Dan Lett suggests the Liberal party is "soaring" with more than 20 percent public support.  He also suggests this is "rarified" air for the Liberals.

We have to admit, we had to first Google the word, "rarified".  Who other than physicists and mountaineers use this word anyway...?  In anycase, what we think Mr. Lett's trying to say is it is "rare" for the Liberal party to be in the range of 20 percent public support.

We checked the annals of Probe Research.  Over the last 57 or so quarters going back to 1999, the Liberal party has been at 20 percent or greater support 14 times.  This includes a two year stretch from September 2000 until September 2002 when the Liberals never fell below 20 percent support.  And just recently, the Liberals were at 23 percent in March 2014, and have been as high as 27 percent at times.

If we applied a margin of error of 3 percent to Mr. Lett's 20 percent threshold, the facts would even more strongly suggest how out to lunch Mr. Lett's suggestions are.

The Liberal party, Mr. Lett, despite your best wishes, is not "soaring", and it is not "rare" for them to bounce around in the 20 percent range.

We hate to say it, but the headline writer got it more right than the reporter this time.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

What's in a Trend?

Probe Research has been busy collecting and compiling data over the last couple weeks.  According to their Omnibus schedule, they were set to deliver the Fall omnibus results to clients last week.  Very soon, we can expect the Winnipeg Free Press to publish the quarterly provincial political party standings.

We know.  No politician pays attention to polls and, yes, only one poll matters.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Despite what politicians say, polls and research data do matter, and politicians do pay attention to them (well, at least most of them do...).

In preparation for the upcoming quarterly release, we have gone back and compiled almost every single quarterly Probe poll result available to illustrate what a 15 year trend looks like for the NDP and Progressive Conservatives.

Not surprisingly, the NDP is clearly on a downward trend, and recorded their lowest level of provincial support over the 15 years in December 2013.  Even though, at the moment, the NDP continues to linger in a nasty funk, the linear slope for a political party that's governed for 15 years is remarkably, well, flat.

Also not a surprise is the Progressive Conservatives are clearly on an upward trend, and recorded their highest levels of support over the 15 year period in March 2011 and December 2013.  Despite choosing a leader who appears bitter his inheritance included just a watch and hates it when people click their pens in meetings, the Progressive Conservatives continue to enjoy high levels of provincial support.

Even though the Progressive Conservatives continue to enjoy high levels of provincial support, as they illustrated in the 2011 election, their vote continues to be incredibly inefficient.  You don't have to be Paul Thomas to know that Kelvin Goertzen winning with 80% of the vote instead of 60% brings their party no closer to forming government.  They need to win seats, remember, they need to win a lot of them, and to win government they need to do in a little over a year what it took the NDP ten years to do.

Does any of this matter?  Isn't this just the natural life cycle of politics, a phenomenon no political party can reasonably be expected to resist or counteract?  Isn't it all, well, simply inevitable these two trends will intersect?

Time will certainly tell.  In the meantime, our hope is that the NDP is not assuming this particular trend is going out of style anytime soon.