Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« "Right" or institution? | Main | Let the healing begin! »

Monday, January 30, 2006

Breaking Down The Atlantic Vote

On October 11th I posted this article identifying eight vulnerable Liberal seats in the east. The Liberals ended up holding seven of those seats, with Avalon going to Fabian Manning and the CPC. Like many Canadians I was disappointed to see the Liberals do so well in Atlantic Canada, ending up with 20 seats to the CPC's 9 and the NDP's 3. The popular vote was fairly close, though, with the Liberals at 39.94% and the CPC at 34.49%. I think the voters in Atlantic Canada gambled on a Liberal victory - and lost. Next election they'll be looking for someone in government who can bring home the bacon.

If Harper can be effective in this mandate there is no good reason why the CPC can't pick up another half-dozen or more seats here next election. Personally, I don't think the CPC's Atlantic Canada policy went far enough; with all of the university graduates in the Halifax area it is remarkable that it isn't a hub of the knowledege based economy. I'd like to see a nice juicy tax cut and/or other incentives for high tech firms to set up shop in Halifax, or Montreal for that matter. Anyhoo, here is a closer look at what happened in the eight key ridings I identified:

Avalon: Liberal incumbent John Efford won this by a mile but is despised locally, not in good health, and likely will not run again. CPC candidate is undeclared but if the they can run a good candidate here then the Tories have a chance.

Fabian Manning, who appears to be a bit of a maverick, took over 50% of the popular vote in winning Brian Tobin's old riding:

Fabian Manning CON 18996 51.57%  X
Bill Morrow LIB 14193 38.53% 
Eugene Conway NDP 3349 9.09%

Charlottetown: The CPC are running a strong local candidate here, but the Liberal incumbent Shawn Murphy won nearly 50% of the vote. A longshot for the Tories.

Cripes, Murphy actually increased his percentage of the vote against a a strong Conservative candidate.

Shawn Murphy LIB 9586 50.16%  X
Tom DeBlois CON 6524 34.14% 
Brian Pollard NDP 2126 11.12%

Cardigan: Shady Liberal Cabmin Lawrence MacAulay's seat is far from safe.

Ooops, heh. It appears that MacAulay, who resigned from cabinet after being the subject of inquiry concerning allegations of conflict of interest, has one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. The last Tory to win here was Pat Binns in 1984, for what it's worth. This riding is a good example of what I mean when I say that eastern voters gambled on a Liberal win - and lost.

Lawrence MacAulay LIB 11542 56.21%  X
Don Gillis CON 6923 33.72% 
Edith Perry NDP 1535 7.48%

Dartmouth-Cole Harbour:
  Liberal incumbent Michael Savage is up against a traditionally strong NDP base and a strong CPC candidate. A good opportunity for the NDP.

In hindsight I'm not sure running retired RCMP officer Robert Campbell in Trailer Park Boys territory was such a good idea:

Michael Savage LIB 18659 42.3%  X
Peter Mancini NDP 14396 32.64% 
Robert A. Campbell CON 9998 22.67%

West Nova:
The CPC is running a strong candidate (Former Nova Scotia Finance Minister Greg Kerr) versus Liberal incumbent Robert Thibault and has a good chance.

This loss was disappointing because it was so close:

Robert Thibault LIB 17734 39.24%  X
Greg Kerr CON 17223 38.11% 
Arthur Bull NDP 8511 18.83%

Fredricton: This riding historically has a strong Tory base and Andy Scott could be swept out by anti-Liberal sentiment.

Watch how Andy Scott's popularity fades with the electorate now that he can't bring home the bacon. This riding was blue for decades and I can't help but conclude that Scott was re-elected on his ability to bring home the pork.

Andy Scott LIB 19652 41.8%  X
Pat Lynch CON 16294 34.66% 
John Carty NDP 9988 21.24% 

Madawaska-Restigouche: Former provincial cabmin Jean-Pierre Ouellet is running for the CPC and is considered a strong candidate.

Another very close race.  This is an interesting riding: "Of the 65,877 residents counted in the 2001 census, more than 80 per cent are francophone; just two per cent are immigrants.

The economy here is diverse, and depends mainly on manufacturing, retail, health and social services. The pulp and paper industry is also important. Unemployment is 14.4 per cent and the average family income is $47,326."

Jean-Claude J.C D'Amours LIB 13943 38.34%  X
Jean-Pierre Ouellet CON 12877 35.41% 
Rodolphe Martin NDP 8333 22.91% 

Saint John: The CPC are running star candidate John Wallace in Elsie's old riding and have a good shot at knocking off Paul Zed.

John Wallace is an exceptional candidate, which makes this all the more disappointing.

Paul Zed LIB 17189 42.9%  X
John Wallace CON 15753 39.32% 
Terry Albright NDP 6267 15.64% 

It bears repeating: In the final analysis Atlantic Canadians gambled on a Liberal government - and lost. The good news is that Conservative support is reasonably broad and deep here, and should Harper do a good job in his first mandate an opportunity exists for an additional 6-12 seat gain in the east next election, which may be enough to give the CPC a majority.

Posted by Anonalogue on January 30, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Breaking Down The Atlantic Vote:


"On October 11th I posted this article identifying eight vulnerable Liberal seats in the east. The Liberals ended up holding seven of those seats."

So you're as skillful a pundit as you are a theologian. My, my. Such gifts.

Posted by: balbulican | 2006-01-30 7:15:33 AM

A rather catty nihilist with demonstrably poor reasoning skills sneered: "So you're as skillful a pundit as you are a theologian. My, my. Such gifts."

Suggesting a riding is vulnerable is compeletely different from predicting an outcome. See how your logic breaks down, old chap? ;-)

Actually, I am quantifiably and demonstrably one of the very best political prognosticators around; pay particular attention to how I positively smoked the pollsters, the pundits, and the opposition in James Bow's electoral pool:


I made that mindblowing outside-of-standard-deviation prediction back when the Tories were allegedly ten points back, I might add. Scary, I know...

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-30 7:37:51 AM

Why be surprised about Maritime Canada results?
The region is well and truly indoctrinated and sold on the ideology of the nurse-nanny state.

The Maritimes has the highest audience for CBC and this shows a predisposition for the the self re-inforcing blabber of the statist Liberal loving mindset.

How could any maritimer not find the "Scary" conservatives too "Risky"?
Of course they opted for the imagined safety of the well known ( who cares if they're crooked? )libs!

Posted by: PGP | 2006-01-30 8:12:34 AM

It's rumored Dartmouth-coal harbor is the B&E and car prowing captial of Canada? I can see the folly of running a cop in an area populated by petty criminals but do they really stop off to vote on the way to fence their stolen goods? ;-)

What I see demonstrated throughout the Atalntic results is a depsparate wishful thinking that the subsidy-for-patronage way of political life is sustainable and linear with legitimate federal-provincial relations.

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2006-01-30 8:56:37 AM

My partners and I come from long established Liberal families in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I have participated in many campaigns and all of us have served in positions in the Liberal executive process. All of us were convinced that
Halifax West and Dartmouth Cole Harbour NS would
be lost to the Liberal incumbents, as well as
Saint John and Fredericton NB. These Liberal MP's
are not what one might call the brightest lights
in the Party, however our projections were wrong.
I must point out however what Hon. Shiela Copps
has pointed out in the Toronto Sun - many, many
traditional Liberal workers opted out of this election, primarily because former PM Martin is
disliked in the Party, and his PMO and Executive
flunkies detested. Jack MacLeod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-01-30 10:28:34 AM

I know New-Brunswick, some people from Nova-Scotia, a bit of PEI (the bridge and gift shops nearby). I know many Acadians and a few other people. I like the atmosphere in the Maritimes. If you allow me to make a joke, I would suggest they join in with Québec if it separates!

In my opinion, we have to start reeducation in a smooth and nice way. The State is not our God. Socialism is not going to make you better.

On the moral side, I suggest that Maritimers do a thourough examination of their consciousness. Why in the world would you vote for a thoroughly corrupted party with suspected ties with the Mafia?

Posted by: Rémi houle | 2006-01-30 11:55:06 AM

Like many Liberano kow towers in the Maritime provinces, the Yukon 'transplants' hedged their bet (er vote) on a Liberal win, also. This coddled luxury welfare state in the north would make any Maritime trough dipper blush with shame. The govenment paper shufflers in the Yukon are pampered with unbelievable (from a Southern perspective) 'perks' and paychecks via Larry Bagnel of the Privy Council property of the former overlords in the Liberano party. The Liberano/Dipper crowd squeezed all the entrepreneurs OUT of the Yukon by importing far left wackos to populate the place (when there are 29,000 people - about 15,000 voters- it takes very few 'transplants' to change the ballot outcome). The Yukon is in a state of 'shock' right now - can Larry still bring home the larded pork? I laugh at their fate since I am a Conservative and I never viewed the 'entitled' mind-set of the 'new Yukon resident' as fair to the 'host' (all Southern taxpayers or as deserving to the parisites (the imports who supposidly left their homes to serve their masters (Liberano/Dipper outfits) in a wild and unfriendly hinterland FAR from the comforts of civilization. All the Newbies live in Whitehorse where there are state of the art recreational facilities, a Walmart and a Great Canadian Stupidstore- Superstore - Cnadian Tire, new airport....downtown Trorana in a bubble!!! - no smoking anywhere - all the stiffling rules and regs so cheriished by the politically correct....LOTS of drugs, poor Native Indian people , RICH lawyers coddled up to rich Native Indian Chiefs.... Sooner or later the Southern taxpayers were going to find out about this huge WASTE of their money. The time has come for a change. Liberal lapdogs lost the bet!!

Posted by: jema54j | 2006-01-30 12:50:10 PM

Why do Catholics vote liberal?

"In Ontario and Atlantic Canada since 1965 Liberals have averaged 43 per cent of the vote, compared to 33 or 34 per cent for the next most popular party. Subtract the Catholic vote from those totals and the Liberals would find themselves on the opposition benches more often."

The Blais analysis for Atlantic Canada is skewed, IMO, by the meltdown of the PCs in 1993. From 1965 to 1988 the Maritime vote averaged 43.9% Libs and 45.5% Cons. In Nova Scotia, majority Protestant, over the same period, 40% Libs and 45.7 Cons. In majority Catholic New Brunswick, 43.7% Libs and 42.6% Cons. And in majority Catholic PEI, the Conservatives registered, according to Wikipedia, 48.39% of the popular vote over the same period. Following '88 the PCs picked up a few seats and Reform none in Atlantic Canada.

The difference in the east is marginal if the great PC meltdown from 1993 forward is excluded. The ethnic demographic in Atlantic Canada is largely founding peoples; English, French, Scots, Irish, and Acadian. Immigrant population by place of birth in the Maritimes is largely European and mostly northern European. Contrast that with Ontario, where Immigrant population by place of birth, (2001 Census) shows total European immigration as 1,336,015 with 772,790 (58%)are of southern and eastern European (presumably majority Catholic) origin. Where as Scots (17% single reponses (SR)in 2001 census), Irish and English are highly integrated, Italian (72% SR), Greek (73% SR) Poles (50% SR) and even Ukrainians, (39% SR) may still hold loyalty to a Liberal Party that allowed them to immigrate.

Posted by: DJ | 2006-01-30 2:26:52 PM

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have placed all their faith in their elected officials where they once placed it in each other and God. They have set themselves up for failure since their elected members are, afterall, only human and bound to make mistakes. The province lives and breathes politics, mostly on an emotional level.

The radio and tv hosts/newscasters have been in the same positions for the past 15 years or so, same left wing, socialists, verbal diarrhea. The province wide radio station has 3 talk shows a day 5 days a week! Mostly used by local politicians to bash each other over meaningless issues and for the nanny-state lovers to come on and whine/bitch/complain.

I followed the local media closely, leading up to the past federal election, and the message was plain as day. Harper and the Conservatives are, in no particular order: scary, intolerant, rednecks, ACOA haters, EI slashers, American-style Health Care wanna-be providers, fish to foreigners for prairie wheat dealers,anti-gay,anti-abortion, he hates Atlantic Canadians and their "defeatist"attitude, Iraqi war mongers,American like ultra/neo/extremist/Religious far right conservative view, devil you know, be careful what you wish for. It was sick.

I talked to many educated friends that I went to school with and was flabbergasted by their total belief in the above. At first I kinda just laughed as I thought they were saying it to make fun of the media and the sheep until I realized they were fanatical in their beliefs. I found myself having very few colleagues to debate issues with. Within the first 15 seconds the word Hitler/Bush would be muttered.

I am very disappointed in my brothers and sisters. The way it is there now is not the way I remember it.

Posted by: BRKH2O | 2006-01-30 10:02:38 PM


Yet despite that perception the CPC garnered 42.67% of the popular vote vs 42.82% for the Libs. Compared to 2004, CPC 32.3% and Libs 48%, it is a significant gain for the CPC even though it only resulted in one additional seat. Compare that to 1949 when the Libs took 72% of the vote and the PCs still won 2 seats.

Posted by: DJ | 2006-01-30 11:15:00 PM

The reasons given above for Liberal strength in Atlantic Canada seem sound enough: some of us *think* that we're doing well in our dependency; others (those CBC listeners referred to), are terrified that we might be out of step with Michael Enright and thought, therefore, to be "provincial"; and all those "university graduates" mentioned have seldom encountered in the years of their higher education an idea that runs counter to the left-liberal consensus.

Some results, however, are rooted in the local stature of candidates. Halifax will be a safe NDP seat as long as Alexa McDonough holds it; many people who don't share a single political idea with Alexa like her and respect her. Also, in PEI, Lawrence Macauley is not regarded as an intellectual giant by even his most fervent supporters, but most people like him. Despite having to toe the line as a Liberal cabinet minister, pro-life, anti-SSM voters believe that Lawrence shares their views and they supported him.

Posted by: Roseberry | 2006-01-31 5:53:09 AM

Oops! "Despite *his* having to toe the line...."

Posted by: Roseberry | 2006-01-31 5:55:31 AM

Roseberry is right - that is how elections are
won or lost in the Atlantic region. Campaigning
against Saint Alexa is a compelling experience -
her Party and volunteer logistical support is
possibly the best in Canada. Never watch CBC television except when absolutely necessary, and
dropped CBC Radio One years ago (pointed out to them that they had introduced a new concept in
radio braodcasting; boredom) Radio II, well on Radio II one finds Mr. Mozart, Gershwin, Brahms
etc., hard to pass on - MacLeod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-01-31 12:48:52 PM

BRKH2O, I can confirm your thoughts. I spent an evening with a bunch of well-educated business types in St John’s just before the election and the biggest concern was ACOA.

Actually I can understand that ACOA helps with R&D expenses and that the cost of capital is higher in Newfoundland and harder to get. But you’d think we could talk about why the costs are higher? How can we get out of the hole? Nope, let’s carry on digging the hole deeper.

Actually Scott Brison once had a good idea, cut funding to the patronage hole of ACOA and use the savings to cut business taxes and attract permanent investment. Not a bad idea, funny he never raised it again eh?

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-01-31 1:20:38 PM

Would that investment be the same kind that helps small business. Would those tax cuts benefit small or large business? I think something helpful would be a look at how disinterested the banks are in small business without gov't guarantees.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-31 1:39:38 PM

Iwestin, that would be business across the board, otherwise you’re deciding what size you want to favour and no government bureaucrat is smart enough to pick winners from losers.

As to banks, the biggest problem with small business is not getting debt it’s getting equity. If companies or small business people have equity they can easily get debt to match it, provided they have a good credit rating. If you don’t think it’s easy enough, tell your MP to let the American banks buy the Canadian banks (it won’t make any difference, because lending principals are the same the world over, but my bank stocks will go up).

Retaining equity within the company that it’s earned is hard for small business people because they have to take money out of the company to feed the kids. When they do that they lose half of it to the government. So they have to take more out. Soon there’s no equity retained ( in many cases) .

Also since Liberals have brainwashed us into thinking it’s a sin to get rich, there isn’t a lot of capital sloshing around to fund start-ups. This start-up shortage of capital is the usual complaint of small business and by the way they must be started with equity not debt (I hope we don’t have to debate why). Canada does not have a large enough investment class to fund start-up equity; it’s even scarce in the USA, because less than 10% of start-ups make it. Therefore the investor has to be prepared to lose a lot before they win. This game isn’t for sissies and it isn’t for banks or for RRSP’s. It’s for rich people to play. We need a lot more rich people to play this game. Hopefully the CPC will be in power long enough to create more rich people.

Canadians aren’t risk averse. They’re rich averse. We have to get over being “rich averse”.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-01-31 2:21:52 PM

ACOA must be subject to a forensic audit by the
Auditor General; it is and has been out of control
for some time. NS Government is going to provide
Michelin Tire with some $10 million, in the form of a "loan"
predicated on about $9.6 million from ACOA. But
ACOA's own regulations define the maximum in a
non-recoverable or recoverable loan at $500,000.
Where did the some nine million plus come from?
Harper's decision will be to approve this ACOA
infusion, or cancel it out. He can eliminate
the ACOA "deal" by a due diligence resulting in
a thorough and defining audit. Way to deal with
Michelin? - tell them that the threat to close down is acceptable, but pay Canada and NS the
cash shown on accounts payable (eventually)list,
They will back down, no question.

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-01-31 2:26:26 PM

Exactly Jack, that’s an excellent example of why tax cuts across the board make more sense. It’s nothing but a sham for ACOA or anyone else to say they are “lending” to Michelin. Michelin is like a secret society; you would not “lend” your hard earned money to a secret society.

We need to get a lot smarter about this stuff fast. Because we have fine young Canadian entrepreneurs unfairly taxed up the wazoo to pay for this taxpayer “gift” to Michelin. Cut business taxes across the baord, fund the cuts by stopping the patronage, it’s the only logical way to go forward.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-01-31 2:44:32 PM

Thanks guys, that was clear and informative.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-31 5:09:05 PM

Your belief that Atlantic Canadians gambled on a Liberal win is completely wrong.

The Liberal attacks ads were effective here, and Atlantic Canadadians decided they were better off watching the new Conservative government from the outside, especially since it was going to be a minority.

I'm sure seeing the Tories in action will assuage lingering fears in the region.

Posted by: Completely Wrong | 2006-02-01 8:26:41 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.