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Ontario Election

Baden  Guy said:
Oct. 6 election is too close to call

The Ontario election is too close to call after Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s rocky campaign start has enabled Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty to close the gap, a new Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll suggests.

The Conservatives, who held a 20-point lead in an Angus Reid survey in May, now sits at 36 per cent with the Liberals at 32 per cent.

The New Democrats had 26 per cent and the Green Party trailed at 6 per cent.

“I wouldn’t say (the Tories) have plateaued, but they’ve stalled a little bit,” Jaideep Mukerji, managing director at Angus Reid, said Friday.

More at link:

I think any polls about the Ontario election should be taken with a grain of salt. Here is an open letter from the head of Ipso Reid and his Managing Director saying that some of polls on the Ontario election cannot be trusted and that in fact, some media agencies are using bad polls because the results fits in with their editorial policy. Re-printed under S29 of the Copyright Act.

Evaluating the Polls: an Open Letter to Ontario’s Journalists

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Toronto, ON – We’ve all seen over the last few days a confusing cacophony of polls on the Ontario election. Depending on what poll you read, McGuinty's Liberals are on a roll, Hudak and the Tories are comfortably ahead, or the Grits and Tories are neck and neck. How can this be? It is because all polls are NOT created equally. And, in spite of what you may assume, pollsters are never held to account for their indiscretions, incompetence and mistakes (there is no “polling police”). Some marginal pollsters count on your ignorance and hunger to make the news to peddle an inferior product. Others are using your coverage to "prove" that their untried methodology is the way forward for market research in Canada. Instead of being their own biggest sceptics (which is what our training tells us to be), they've become hucksters selling methodological snake oil. Remember, the term "pollster" is derived from the term "huckster".

Journalists are no mere dupes in this process. We've also seen a disturbing trend of late in which questionable polls find their way into an outlet’s coverage because they appear to match an editorial line, or present a counter-intuitive perspective. After all, if a poll is wrong it’s easy to throw the pollster under the bus and walk away with clean hands.

All of this MUST stop. We are distorting our democracy, confusing voters, and destroying what should be a source of truth in election campaigns - the unbiased, truly scientific public opinion poll.

To be clear, this is not about banning media polls during election campaigns. That would just take us back to the old days of backroom boys leaking false polling, and to the practices we see in less stable democracies around the world. What we need is better, more informed reporting of polls. Here are six easy rules to get us started.

1. IVR polls (robo-calling) are NOT telephone polls. They are tremendously biased in terms of sample coverage. In the last federal election IVR polls were MASSIVELY off on the final vote. Why? Because they systematically under-represented the Tory vote. But, these same pollsters have picked up again in this election without skipping a beat. Here's the question you should be asking them - show us your UNWEIGHTED results. That's prior to adjusting for both demographics and political support. You'll be surprised by what you see.

2. The same question should be asked of pollsters using on-line methodologies to predict vote. Ask to see their results prior to all weighting. You will find that some heavy thumbs are being applied to adjust for under-represented voting groups. While the weighting can produce very good results, it really amounts to no more than an educated guess. And, if that's the case, the results should be reported as such.

3. Disclosing margin of error and the questions asked doesn't represent meaningful disclosure: a rogue poll, a bad poll, and a good poll all look the same on these points. Be honest when something looks dodgy - either don't publish it, or publish it with an editorial disclaimer. Huge shifts in public opinion, even in an election, are the exception, not the rule and should be treated as dubious until confirmed by other polls.

4. A moratorium should be placed on all "new" polling techniques until the pollster has tested them in parallel with more traditional polling methods with a record of success. This should have absolutely been the case with IVR in the federal election. It's a pretty minimum standard to be right at least once with a new methodology before you get to lead a newscast or get the front page headline in a newspaper.

5. The conventional election scenario that's tested in a vote question is - if you had to vote tomorrow, how would you vote? If your pollster asked something different, even if the poll was properly done, it should NOT be reported as "current vote". It is misleading to do so.

6. Spend some time with pollsters. Not just the one you know or use, but with the ones you're hearing about. They are NOT all created equal. Find out about their business. Is this a one person show that subcontracts all of their data collection, and only shows up at election time? What research are they doing on research? What resources do they have available - is it one way for everything, or do they have the resources to adjust depending on what's needed? What are their motives? Are they just publicity hounds trying to promote their business, or are they serious researchers with both the desire and capabilities to perform at the highest level? Shouldn’t you do at least this minimal background check on whomever you are trusting with your lead story?

These six rules require journalists to do two things - kick the tires before publishing a poll, and make it harder for bad or misleading polls to get published. That's the way it's done in jurisdictions that take polling seriously. It's sad that this isn't the case in Ontario today.

Darrell Bricker and John Wright lead all of Ipsos Reid’s political polling for the media in Canada. They have done polls in every major election in Canada since 1988. Ipsos Reid is Canada’s largest market research firm, and is owned by Ipsos, the world’s third largest market research firm.
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, is, in my opinion a pretty fair analysis of Ontario's situation - pre and post election:

In Ontario, a refusal to face the fiscal facts

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Monday, Sep. 26, 2011

As Ontario’s election campaign enters its final 10 days, hurtling toward an unwieldy minority legislature, the elephant in the room is becoming impossible to ignore.

The next government faces dramatic restructuring of public services to cope with a stubborn deficit at a time of major economic turbulence. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals and Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives are running neck-and-neck while Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats are a competitive third, but none of the three seem able to budge their numbers. The final week-and-a-half, kicked into higher gear by Tuesday’s leaders debate, will be their last chance to determine which party – or combination of parties – is best suited to the task.

Through a sort of conspiracy of silence, all three leaders have thus far pretended that challenge doesn’t exist. “I would think I’ve fulfilled my quota of asking Ontarians to do difficult things,” Mr. McGuinty said in an interview Sunday, citing his imposition of a harmonized sales tax and pursuit of expensive energy policies. The other leaders heartily endorse that analysis, both promising a combination of pocketbook relief and improved services – which Ms. Horwath justified on Sunday, as she released the optimistic costing for her platform, on the basis that “everyday families are under more pressure in Ontario than ever before.”

Instead of levelling with voters about their own intentions, the parties have spent much of the campaign making up secret agendas on each other’s behalf – the Liberals accusing Mr. Hudak of planning cuts to core services, the Tories claiming Mr. McGuinty is champing at the bit to raise taxes.

In fact, this campaign is less about secret agendas than non-existent ones – all sides transparently believing that campaigning and governing are two separate things, and the latter can be figured out once the former is over with.

The Liberals and the Tories, possibly even the NDP, are secure in this belief largely because they’re banking on a public-services review headed by former bank economist Don Drummond to point them in the right direction. Mr. Drummond’s commission is expected to propose controversial reforms – including ones required to flatten growth in health spending. Even recommendations in less sensitive areas would probably require considerable upheaval of the public service.

Mr. Hudak expressed interest Sunday in what Mr. Drummond proposes, provided it’s not tax increases (which Mr. McGuinty also insists he has ruled out).

It will require a strong-stomached premier to implement such reforms – or conversely, to create new sources of revenue. And it would need an incredibly deft one (not to mention an unusually pragmatic and responsible Opposition leader) to get that done in the event of a minority government. If instead those decisions were punted down the road, it could potentially plunge the province into a full-fledged crisis.

Among the challenges for the leaders in the next 10 days will be to prove to voters – those who pay close attention, at least – that they have what it takes to get the job done.

In Mr. McGuinty’s case, that will involve positioning himself as the only adult in the conversation – a “steady hand on the tiller,” as he put it Sunday. It’s much the same case Stephen Harper made in last spring’s federal election, but with a stronger expressed faith in the power of government.

For Mr. Hudak, it will be about positioning himself as the only leader with a real respect for taxpayers’ dollars – potentially a winning argument as voters worry about how much value they’re getting for their money. And he will continue trying to present himself as young and hungry, relative to Mr. McGuinty’s allegedly out-of-gas Liberals.

Ms. Horwath, meanwhile, will try to present herself as a different sort of politician, more positive and in touch with the needs of everyday people – a pitch the NDP hopes will convert the goodwill toward the late Jack Layton into support for her. She’s pinning many of her hopes on her ability to strike a different tone from the other leaders in Tuesday’s debate, although her tentative performance alongside Mr. Hudak in a Northern-issues debate last Friday did not go unnoticed, even by some New Democrats.

“Our responsibility is to turn to Ontarians, consult them, listen to them,” Mr. McGuinty said in the interview. He was referring to tough decisions that will be made by the government down the road. But the next 10 days are voters’ chance to shape those decisions, even if the leaders would prefer to pretend otherwise.

Dalton McGuinty is, sadly, on the right track even as he is, philosophically wrong:" it is, indeed, politicians' "responsibility .. to consult" the people, but the consultation must be honest and responsible. All three 'leaders' (as they style themselves) offer bromides not consultations, they listen only to what they want to hear.

Ontario's (population 13+ million) GDP is about $575 Billion - it ranks somewhere between Switzerland (population 7.8 million, GDP $525+ Billion) and Indonesia (population 238 million, GDP $706 Billion); it is, in other words, a pretty important place, on a par, in both population and GDP, with Pennsylvania in the USA. If Pennsylvania was in a deep financial hole and digging itself in deeper there would be deep concern. In fact, Pennsylvania is about in the middle of the (weak) US pack. But Ontario is not in the middle of the Canadian pack: it is a "have not" province and it is sinking deeper and deeper in debt.

There are legitimate arguments for and against a range of socio-economic policies. I have a pretty firm opinion of my own which is, socially and economically, far from Tim Hudak - I'm well to the "left" of him socially and well "right" of him economically, much farther from McGuinty (in all areas) and nowhere near Andrea Horwath (in any area). But that doesn't mean I'm right, it just means that I pay attention when there is no election.

Like the party leaders, I have considerable faith in Don Drummond's ability to chart a correct course. But I have no faith in any so called 'leader' - not Hudak, not McGuinty and certainly not Horwath - to follow a sensible, economically sound plan. Why not? Because Horwath is, doctrinally, unable to do it and Hudak and McGuyinty - Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber - lack both the brains and guts to do it.

Well, here is one reason to vote for the Freedom Party (heh)

More on McGuinty's record. It is astounding that he isn't being crushed in the polls:


David Frum: Who’s won and who’s lost in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario

J.P. Moczulski/Reuters
Watch you don't get run over by McGuinty's bus.
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David Frum  Oct 1, 2011 – 9:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Sep 30, 2011 5:15 PM ET

Politics is about who gets what, when, and how.

Let’s apply that famous definition to Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario: Who has been getting what?

Thanks to the Ottawa Citizen, we know that Liberal-held provincial ridings have been getting almost 80% of provincial job-creation funds. “The Eastern Ontario Development Fund — a program designed to attract new business investment — has granted Liberal ridings on average $4 million since it was created in 2008, more than twice the $1.7 million averaged by Conservative-held ridings,” the Citizen reports. “In total, the fund has dispensed $40.5 million, according to figures released by the province. Nearly four-fifths of that money, or 78.4 per cent, has gone to Liberal ridings. The two highest-granted ridings belong to Liberal cabinet ministers. Consumer Services Minister John Gerretsen’s riding of Kingston and the Islands received the most, $7.7 million in provincial handouts, or 19.1 per cent of the total. The next highest-funded riding was Prince Edward-Hastings, which belongs to Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky. Her riding received $6 million, or 14.8 per cent of the program funding.”

David Frum: McGuinty doubles down on the green-jobs money pit
Lorne Gunter: The McGuinty fiberals and their green energy lies
That’s quite a payola system the Libs are operating in eastern Ontario! They are now planning a similar scheme for southwestern Ontario. And no wonder: The scheme works for them, if for nobody else.

Yet in fairness, you don’t have to be a Liberal candidate minister to collect money from Dalton McGuinty. There’s money galore for producers of boutique electricity, who are paid up to 10 times – 1000% ! – the market price for electricity.

The Ontario Energy Board permits a price to consumers of 6.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 600 kilowatt hours and 7.9 cents thereafter. However, (some) owners of roof-mounted solar panel can get contracts to sell power at 80 cents a kilowatt hour. Quite a windfall.

This selective overpayment is touted as a way to reduce greenhouse emissions and create new jobs. Yet there are much cheaper ways to reduce emissions. Taxing greenhouse gases encourages people to reduce emissions in the cheapest way: through conservation. The feed-in tariff encourages people to reduce emissions in the most expensive way: by substituting ruinously costly solar production for cheap coal production.

Of course if you truly want to know “who got what” you have to focus on Ontario’s most powerful “who”: the public service unions and their amazing pay deals with the McGuinty government.

The most notorious deal benefited 33,700 Ontario Public Service Employees Union workers. Back in 2008, these OPSEU members gained a publicly acknowledged 2% pay increase over four years, accompanied by a secret side letter promising an additional 1% after the 2012 election.

From the Canada Press: “Government lawyers tried to keep the accord under wraps, but were compelled to disclose documents at [a labor relations board] hearing …”

Altogether, government workers have gained pay increases estimated at almost $127-million over the past two years, despite Ontario’s ominous budget deficits, and despite the McGuinty government’s promises of public wage freezes.

So that’s who got. Now the other side of the hill: Who in Ontario didn’t get?

Ontario’s unemployment rate has exceeded the Canadian average for 56 months. Those unemployed didn’t get.

The McGuinty Liberal government has offered a $10,000 tax credit to firms that employ recently arrived immigrants. Under that plan, the native-born unemployed won’t get.

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation projects an average tax increase of 4.3% for Ontarians in 2011 over 2010, the highest in Canada. Taxpayers don’t get.

A study by the Toronto Board of Trade ranked the GTA’s traffic gridlock the worst of 19 major metropolises in North America, including Los Angeles and New York City. Yet even as Ontario overspends on solar power, road improvements are being frozen and cancelled. Commuters don’t get.

Dalton McGuinty has twice broken promises not to raise taxes. In his most recent term in office, McGuinty has imposed a range of new taxes including taxes on electronics, tires, and tourist destinations. In May, the Ontario Liberal caucus voted down a Conservative motion to preclude further new taxes in future. Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals are visibly preparing to raise taxes again to close the budget deficit they won’t close on the spending side. So maybe the ultimate conclusion of this political science class is very personal: It’s Dalton McGuinty who doesn’t get it.
Thucydides said:
More on McGuinty's record. It is astounding that he isn't being crushed in the polls:


He's not being "crushed in the polls" because we, Conservatives, shot ourselves in the foot a couple of years ago when we selected Hudak, who I suspect cannot win a majority, over the moderate Elliott who, almost certainly, in my opinion, could.
I see the Toronto Star is chirping up for the Libs.....

Liberals best choice for Ontario’s future
Published On Fri Sep 30 2011
Article Link

It’s entirely understandable that after two terms of Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government, many Ontario voters are looking around for other options. That’s the nature of politics — particularly in difficult times. McGuinty is the voice of experience and has a solid record of improving public services, but no leader emerges after eight years in office without his share of mistakes and a chorus of critics shooting holes in what he’s done and how he’s done it.

Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats both claim to offer the “change” they feel voters want. While they have worked hard to relate to voters’ insecurities and fears about jobs and rising costs, neither has put forward credible plans that would address those concerns.
More on link
GAP said:
I see the Toronto Star is chirping up for the Libs.....

Liberals best choice for Ontario’s future
Published On Fri Sep 30 2011
Article Link

It’s entirely understandable that after two terms of Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government, many Ontario voters are looking around for other options. That’s the nature of politics — particularly in difficult times. McGuinty is the voice of experience and has a solid record of improving public services, but no leader emerges after eight years in office without his share of mistakes and a chorus of critics shooting holes in what he’s done and how he’s done it.

Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats both claim to offer the “change” they feel voters want. While they have worked hard to relate to voters’ insecurities and fears about jobs and rising costs, neither has put forward credible plans that would address those concerns.
More on link

Not surprising, given the Atkinson Principles, which are a little more than just "the intellectual foundation on which the Star has operated." See: http://www.atkinsonfoundation.ca/about/founder

On his death, Atkinson was so determined these principles be maintained that he bequeathed all his shares to the charitable foundation that bears his name. He wanted to be certain that the Star would be run by those "familiar with the doctrines and beliefs which I have promoted in the past" and that publication of The Star would "be conducted for the benefit of the public in the continued frank and full dissemination of news and opinions" and in such a manner as to preserve its role as a great "metropolitan newspaper."

Faced with a provincial statute which prevented the foundation from holding the shares in the newspaper, Mr. Atkinson’s son, Joseph S. Atkinson, and four other senior managers of the newspaper (Messrs. Campbell, Hindmarsh, Honderich and Thall) formed Torstar Corporation to purchase the assets of the Toronto Star and formed the Voting Trust to hold their controlling interest. They undertook to observe and promote in the newspaper the values and beliefs that J. E. Atkinson promoted in his lifetime. Torstar and the Voting Trust continue to do so with pride and conviction.
I still refuse to believe the polls. They are all slanted and partisan. If anything, the liberal, left wing slanted polls that we are being bombarded with, only show the desperation in the McGuinty camp. The grey Globe and the Red Star are simply not to believed by anyone that's serious about politics.

The same things were being said and published prior to, and right up until the polls closed, in May. They were out to lunch, as we well know now.

Ontario will roll the bones on Oct 6, the shaman will read the result, and the majority of the province will be surprised at how wrong things were reported........again.

Personally, I'm thinking a slim majority, but more likely a minority for Hudak. McGuinty will feel cheated, opt for a coalition with the NDP and topple Hudak.

Ontario voters will be pissed at him for wasting our time with another election and give the Tories (maybe with a new leader) a majority.

However my opinion has about as much science and academics behind it as the newspapers and the polls.

YMMV.  :salute:
Well, I am off to vote tomorrow after a truly uninspiring election campaign.  :boring:  I have a credible candidate representing my party so that isn't a problem. But, as I pointed out earlier, in a few weeks, after a new cabinet is sworn, we will have a new premier and a new "first man" in Toronto: Don Drummond.


Don Drummond

Drummond is one of the best financial minds in Canada and he will, I am certain, provide the next government with a workable, but doubtless, painful plan. The most senior civil servants, those advising the premier and all ministers, will line up solidly behind Drummond's plan; some of the media, many politicians and all of the social activists will be equally solidly opposed - that's how we will know it is a good plan.

So I'm happy to vote, knowing that Don Drummond (his plan, anyway) will be running Ontario for the next few years.
Glad I am not a rate payer in Ontario.


Only $200k per greenie job.

What a deal.
I do wish Ontario well ER.....may it not repeat it's errors as Manitoba has done......
You really can't imagine how angry I am.

My standard of living has visibly fallen in the past eight years, as has my neighbours. Ontario has racked up $100 billion of new debt in the past eight years, unemployment is rising, GDP is falling and it is a tight race?, or even possible for McGuinty to win this election?

The Ontario PC party leadership shoudl be taken out of their comfortable offices and tossed onto the street for running such an insipid campaign and being so mealy mouthed about the issues.

If McGuinty wins I am giving serious consideration to selling the house and moving my family out west; my children don't need the lifelong burden of being slaves to the Ontario Public Service Unions, and neither do I. Staying in Ontario under these conditions is either stupid or insane, and voters who have allowed this to happen can find someone else to pay their taxes and hydro....</rant>
Thucydides said:
You really can't imagine how angry I am.

Ya, but you are Green, so you can feel really good about yourself . . .  you are making Al Gore rich, David Suzuki happy and a dog named Kyoto satisfied  ;D
You really need to look up my posts on politics again. I realize my views are well hidden, but still......
1 Brigade is always recruiting....
Thucydides said:
My standard of living has visibly fallen in the past eight years, as has my neighbours.

We're barely making by as is. We were considered slightly above middle class when we moved here from the US 14 years ago, and now we live pay cheque to pay cheque. Food and gas is becoming a serious problem.

I've already discussed it with my family, if McTax wins we may very well be moving west or even back to the States.
Global is saying a Liberal government - it remains to see whether majority or minority.
Retired AF Guy said:
CBC is also saying Liberal government - time to cry in my beer.

City News Toronto is saying the same...