Archive for category elxn42

Did Big Media Play A Big Role In The Liberals Big Win?

I’ve been fairly critical of the media’s role in this election.  From the consortium threatening to pull Conservative Ads on false copyright pretenses, to political favoritism in the Munk Debates, and now the situation with the former National Post editorial editor Andrew Coyne when the post refused to post his endorsement of a political candidate.

I called last nights big win for the Liberals hours prior to the election taking place.  From the looks of things, the Conservative progressive vote (which is based around civil liberties) and the anti-conservative vote went to the NDP at the very beginning of the campaign as a result of the Liberal support for Bill C-51.  I think the tipping point for the Conservative progressives was the Liberal policy on TPP and trade in which the Greens and NDP wanted to kill.  All of the poll numbers suggested to me that’s when the NDP and Conservative vote started to go down, and Liberals went up at the time of the signing of the TPP.  Last night the anti-conservative vote, voted strategically and rallied behind the Conservative progressive move to the Liberals and oust Harper.

Besides getting screamed at for hours after my call for a Liberal win from my conservative friends on Facebook (too which now owe me a bottle of rum), this was a big shocker to some.  Did big media have any pull in the election? It’s quite clear throughout this election that the consortium has been acting inappropriately.  The Globe debates were some of the most horrible debates I’ve ever seen with Conservative leaning questions, and statements from the editor of the Globe (who’s editorial board ended up supporting the Conservatives days before the election).  Not to mention the lack of coverage Elizabeth May’s responses to debate questions on social media as a result of her being left out of several debates.  I think it may be too soon to tell to see if traditional media had the impact they were hoping for.

I think traditional media’s role here really depends on the break down of voter engagement.  If the youth voted in big numbers, than traditional media and poll results had very little pull with voter intentions.  Most in this age group get their media online and through social media.  The Liberals had a strong social media presence in this campaign.  I ran into it a few times, especially with MP Wayne Easter (which I congratulated last night on his re-election) debating C-51, not to mention many other potential Liberal MPs on the bill.  The Liberals weren’t shy on social media, and came out fighting (and most without per-scripted talking points), unlike most of the NDP and Conservative hopefuls.

If the voter engagement was more balanced, than I think there needs to be questions put by Canadians on exactly how the media and/or lobby groups played a role in trying to intentionally sway voter intentions to the benefit of one or more parties.  Do you think traditional media played a big role in the Liberal election win?  Post your comments/observations below.

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Conservatives Agree to Censor Internet In Latest Trade Negotiations

The Conservatives seem to be tying to make the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement one of Harper’s legacy items.  After the election call the Conservatives moved to change “caretaker” rules in order to continue negotiating this trade agreement.  It appears now that the Conservatives are so much in a rush to get the TPP signed that they’ll pretty much agree to almost anything, even though it may mean tromping on civil liberties as a result. Michael Geist an Internet Law professor stated in his most recent blog:

For Canada, the deal on ISPs means that government has agreed to induce providers to “remove or disable” access to content upon becoming aware of a decision of a court of a copyright infringement. The broadly worded provision could force Canadian ISPs to block content on websites after being notified of a foreign court order – without first having to assess whether the site is even legal under Canadian law.

So will China now be the worlds authority on what content is viewed on the web thanks to Harper’s legacy?

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The US May Have Trump; But Canada Has An Alien

Let’s put it this way; we could have used the swagger and unexpectedness Donald Trump presented in last nights US Republican debates in the Canadian leaders debate.  Instead, the first hour the Canadian debate consisted of Conservative leader Stephen Harper doing what he does best which is misleading Canadians on facts.  Green Party leader Elizabeth May catching Harper on misleading facts (which is why she needs to be in every debate).  Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attacking the NDP leader Tom Mulcair over a non-issue regarding Quebec separatism because he’s lost a tremendous amount of support to Mulcair over the anti-terror bill.  Finally Mulcair looked like he was part of some alien race freaking people out on social media with his weird smile, and alien like black eyes peering into their living rooms when he looked directly into the camera when debating the other leaders.

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The two that had the best body language in the debate were the two national debate veterans, May and Harper.  Trudeau came across as a kid with something to prove (Liberals think his downfall is due to Harper’s attack ads, not his position on supporting the new anti-terror bill.  Liberals are still tone deaf on that because they have nothing to fear but fear itself), and Mulcair just looked nervous for the first hour.  On the other hand May seemed very well prepared, however didn’t do well in the first hour to inject her voice over the others.  Harper was calm and cool to begin with, however came across as though he got annoyed at the fact he actually had to debate the other parties and defend his record.

Those of us who follow Canadian politics closely saw relatively nothing new regarding policy positions.  Harper played the expected “steady as you go” position on the economy warning that the opposition parties would raise taxes and put the country in a horrible economic  position.  Mulcair and May made a good point that corporate taxes have remained low, and the Bank of Canada has been extremely worried in the past that these corporations are just sitting on the money they saved from tax breaks rather than creating jobs.

The environment debate which happened in the second hour, May just owned it and the other parties let her have the floor.  May called Harper to account on his environmental commitments, getting Harper to admit that emission reduction targets will not be reached by 2020, but by 2030.  May also questioned Mulcair on his support of pipelines, which Mulcair remained non-committal on, and May kept pressing him on.

On the new anti-terror bill, there are stark differences between the parties.  Harper said it was necessary;  Trudeau is for and against the bill; Mulcair starkly pledged to Canadians he would repeal the bill (looking directly into the camera with his alien like black eyes) and if new powers were needed, Mulcair consult the experts first.  Essentially Mulcair wants proof these new powers would be needed, and how to implement them in a way that doesn’t impede the rights of Canadians.  Trudeau actually did admit that he may have been naive in his support of the anti-terror bill, but continues to support it.

I think the major news from this debate that Canadians need to be aware of, is not what happened during the debates but after.  May, Trudeau and Mulcair all took questions from the press after the debate.  Harper didn’t take any questions nor did he appear before the press after which I found very bizarre and arrogant.  We’re in an election Harper.  Deal with it!

All in all, I think it was a good introduction to the party leaders to those who do not follow politics closely.  I don’t think this first debate will have that much of an impact on voters.  If your a conservative supporter, you’re likely to remain that way and same with the other party’s supporters.  Mulcair needs to bring his style of debating that he has during question period to future debates.  That’s where he shines, and Trudeau needs to stop bouncing around like a boxer and listen to Canadians more as to why he’s so low in the polls:

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Election Called, Media in Crisis, International Observers Called In

Yesterday Prime Minister Harper dropped the election writ, and Canada is now in it’s 42nd election since confederation.  There has been much speculation around the timing of the writ dropping.  This election will be one of the longest and most costliest elections in modern times, which could cost Canadian tax payers close to $1 billion+ when all is said and done at a time of economic instability, and recession.

The majority of those costs (an est. $500 million) will be dished out to Elections Canada to handle the longer election cycle for staff, offices, and supplies.  The rest will be the tax payers shouldering costs to political parties.  50% – 75% of the expenses political parties incur during this election will be reimbursed by the tax payer.  With the longer campaign parties can spend a lot more money on advertising.  When Harper was questioned on the expenses to Canadian tax payers, he replied that there will be no cost to tax payers as a result of the length of the election period.  What?

The political influence in media is becoming a very interesting side story to the debates.  I’ve posted extensively on this here, here and here.  Over this past week the NDP dropped out of the consortium debates, and issued a list of demands for future debates. The NDP demands (emphasis added) are:

  • The host organization is credible and non partisan
  • The proposed topics to be discussed are varied and relevant to a large number of Canadians; and
  • The Prime Minister and other political party leaders are invited and have agreed to participate
  • The NDP will participate in an equal number of French and English language debates

This is an interesting update.  While many in the media focused on the NDP decision not to attend the consortium debates was explicitly due to Harper’s refusal to attend; from the above demands it looks like NDP want to debate ALL parties leaders including Steven Harper.  It also looks as though the NDP are having issues with the Consortium being bias towards the Liberal party, to which I’ve discussed in great detail in other blogs.

That bias was very visible especially with the CBC coverage of the election call which pointed to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau being the most “ready” for the election, while Trudeau seemed extremely uptight, reading from cue cards, and late to his speech.  NDP leader Thomas Mulcair looked a bit rattled as well during his speech reading from a teleprompter and not answering any questions.  The leader that looked more ready out of the bunch to me was Green Party leader Elizabeth May.  May seemed rather relaxed, ready to go, and the only leader out of the opposition parties not reading from cue cards, or teleprompters.  I’m very curious as to why CBC pointed towards Trudeau as being the most ready out of the bunch, when that’s not clearly the case.

While the NDP hasn’t come out fully accusing the consortium of bias, the political messaging around their demands looks to be quite clear.  The Consortium debates are essentially dead now and other debates may fall by-the-way-side as well. From the looks of the last line of the NDP demands that might actually happen.  So far there has been only one French language debate confirmed.  That means right now the NDP will only commit to one English language debate, to which the first of those debates is scheduled for Thursday August 6th, and all political parties will be attending that debate.

On top of the media consortium having a crisis of ethics, we now have confirmation that the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be monitoring our federal election. The OSCE is an international body that specializes in monitoring elections, and their presence in this election is to ensure that the election laws recently passed by the Conservatives allow for a free and fair election, and to ensure that these laws are consistent in ensuring democracy can take place.  The OSCE will release it’s final report to the Canadian public eight weeks after the election.

The Fair Elections Act which was passed by the Conservatives will not allow Canadians living abroad to vote in the next election.  Actor Donald Sutherland recently posted an op-ed in the Globe and Mail in which he blasted the Conservatives in taking away his right to vote.  Sutherland stated:

It’s very sad. And this new “Canada,” this Canadian government that has taken the true Canada’s place, has furiously promoted a law that denies its citizens around the world the right to vote. Why? Is it because they’re afraid we’ll vote to return to a government that will once again represent the values that the rest of the world looked up to us for? Maybe.

There was also a court challenge on the fair elections act.  The courts decided not to strike down the law so close to an election, stating that it might appear the courts would be influencing the vote if they did.  The courts determined that the issues with the fair elections act were extremely serious, and likely to be dealt with after the election.  This means that if there are any court challenges on the election (look to that also coming from Canadians living abroad), this will be one of the most costliest elections in Canadian history to Canadian tax payers.

While the Conservatives shoulder a lot of the blame for this, the media shoulders the other half.  If in fact we have media being influenced by any political party and not fully educating Canadians on the facts due to political influences and favors, than we’ve already lost our democracy, and I think that will play out with the OSCE report and substantive court challenges that are sure to follow as a result.

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