Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More NB election speculation and thoughts

All three English daily papers and the CBC are on this story today.

A bit more information on the Peter Mesheau front. He has apparently accepted a job with Atlantic Industries Ltd whose only Maritime offices are in Mesheau's riding in Dorchester. If he is working 9 to 5 or anything like it it would be impossible for him to make the 2.5 hour each way commute to the legislature so I must assume he is heading to the door.

According to PoliticsNB, Bev Harrison was knocking on doors 10 days ago and the Time & Transcript reports today that Moncton MLAs are doing the same now. Both Tory John Betts and Liberal Mike Murphy are quoted about getting ready. Betts was the more definitive, and would be more likely to be in the know, explaining his door knocking by saying "To me I think the key is probably Peter Mesheau. He has another job and if he decides to go then I'm getting out and around just because I find with four weeks it's not enough time to visit everyone." That seems to me to suggest that an election is not a whole lot more than four weeks away.

Another interesting point trumpeted in the T&T is about MLA pensions. This issue has come up before. Those MLAs elected in 1999 still do not have enough time in the legislature to qualify for a pension. The T&T rightfully suggests that Lord could come back, have a throne speech (and give them their 8th and qualifying session) and then drop the writ. That said, according to the T&T, "Premier Bernard Lord has upped the ante as well, stating Monday he has no intention of coming back to the legislature in a minority situation." Very interesting. This doesn't preclude a fall throne speech as you could just go in have the speech and then drop the writ with no debate and no votes.

I really think this is the message that the Liberals need to be running with. Bernard Lord is a power hungry cry baby. When he got tight results in the 2003 election, he refused to be cooperative and recognize the situation he was in. Instead he offered Liberals cushy jobs (1, 2, 3), then tried to change the rules of the legislature (see recommendation 5 of the procedures committee report which was later voted down after Liberal, academic and media protest) and then they tried the same rule change again, they created an agency to get the NDP leader to accept an appointment and then called a snap by-election featuring a star Tory candidate two days later (and lost) notwithstanding having taken almost the full year required by law to call a by-election in a safe Liberal seat a year earlier.

Now, though Lord defiantly faced a minority in the legislature in the spring (he whined about it), he refuses to see one in the fall. Why? Perhaps because his poll numbers are up he thinks he could actually win an election and also because, time and again, it has been proved that he is a big baby.

This sort of petty, uncooperative, childish, opportunistic nonsense has to be put to the end. It is the responsibility of the Liberals to frame the ballot question through that lens.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog, clearly you research your stuff.

For those who don't check out the links, the poll which thinks its accurate 95 out of a 100 times, talked to only 807 people. That's just over three hundred people vs. two hundred and some. That's between 1 and 2% of New Brunswickers. Only 484, just over half, mention either tories or grits. Like they say, put your trust in polls and look for a new job.

Anonymous said...

Hardly objective though eh?:)

Anonymous said...

Anybody know whether the old electoral boundaries stay put if an election is called in the fall?

Cooker Boy said...

I find your blog informative but very skewed. While it is fair to label the Premier childish, the Liberals have provided some fairly good examples themselves. Graham was so thirsty for power that he crippled the legislature which stalled the NB power tax rebates and important infrastructure initiatives. He kept the Premier and Lib Mike Murphy from attending a great potential to market NB to the NY market. Speaking of Murphy, what's up with the lawsuits? How about his push to get a racino in Moncton, which is bound to fail and lose money...

Perhaps you should change the name of your blog to "Politics from a Liberal New Brunswick perspective".

I have no problem with bias, I just think you should clearly state your political view.

Anonymous said...

So long as people recognize it as such there is no reason to alter the title. When you see a liberal party link but no others thats a good clue.

Obviously if you label it as 'liberal' then a good percentage of the market will simply avoid you.

Plus, as the above shows, comments can be just as lengthy or even more lengthy covering 'the alternative'. It's not like a newspaper where a completely false story will get a retraction on page 30 that nobody sees.

Clearly if that were the case, the Times Telegraph should definitely call itself "news from the tory side", but thats not going to happen.

Although I'm no pollster, even out of people on the street I find the only commonality in politics right now is people's dissatisfaction with both parties.

What was awfully surprising was that the NDP would get 7-8%. A lesbian pro choice militant advocate should have spelt plummeting poll numbers I would have thought, but they are almost as high as ever.

Although while talking to somebody I mentioned the poll, they had heard a poll stating just the opposite numbers, which again shows that there really is no knowing.

If anybody is interested, a few people online have expressed an interest in making a riding by riding blog. In other words, for those of a political bent, if you could cover things more extensively in your own riding, a web page could be done with a riding map, then each riding could have a blogger covering the race. This actually wouldn't be bad even if there is no election, as people would learn more about their riding, as well as others.

Most of the blogs are very general to New Brunswick, if people could cover their own in at least a little more detail (you don't have to abandon your blog, just provide the info specific to your riding)

With a central name and some posters it could literally become another media centre. To those who are always pissed off at my posting anonymously, I'd even abandon that!:)

nbpolitico said...

Thanks for all of the comments folks. A few responses:

anon at 12:06...
As they say, "live by the poll, die by the poll" And thanks for the research compliment :)

anon at 12:08 and cooker boy...
Though I am a Liberal, I am usually pretty good at being objective which you'll see as I get to post more. In terms of Bernard Lord it is a little harder than me as I really, really, really hate what he has done to my province.

With respect to the Liberals being childish, I think that that is the perception which Lord very successfully portrayed (and kudos to him for that) and in politics perception is reality. However, I don't think that is the truth. The Liberals did not delay the passage of the budget motion nor really hold up the progess of the House. They voted down one departments estimates (which the government overturned taking about 20 minutes) and debated routine opposition motions. They agreed to sweeping rule changes giving the government more control over the daily agenda AND allowed a flawed gas regulation bill which, was introduced late, to pass in record time because they had agreed to pass it months before but the government did not get around to finishing it until 3 days before the House adjourned.

Anonymous at 12:08...
The new boundaries were approved in April and are in effect for any election that is called thereafter.

Anonymous at 2:35...
The idea of riding blogs is pretty cool and I would be happy to link to them.

Anonymous said...

We don't need links, we need bloggers:) Not just a dozen who are saying the same thing for the entire province (though they can do that too)

nbpolitico said...

anon at 5:04...
I might be able to hit a couple of ridings I've lived in / am familiar with. Can you link me to something?

Anonymous said...

This is still at the planning stage, but I've got the homepage drawn up, just need to design the javascript so that people can just 'mouseover' their ridings.

I'd like to get a few to do some grunt work. For example, I want to go to the statistics canada website and input the census data about the riding so people know what is going on. Then do up some form letters to send to candidates in their respective ridings. If people are familiar with more than one riding then that's great. I think the biggest problem will be up north. I'm going to check out the blogs and see if any of a personal nature are willing to go political for a bit, or else start badgering relatives who know little of the internet.

The content of each blog would be up to the individual, I'd even suggest audio blogs or podcasting as many in NB are not literate. If the local candidate is an MLA, I think a record of how they voted, what office they held, how much provincial investment they got in the riding, etc., would be invaluable. So one section would be local, then another can be the usual provincial stuff, which is probably what most people are interested in anyway since so much power is centred on the Premier and cabinet.

However, interviews with candidates would be great, or even just written replies. I'd ask the candidates because most people have a mic for their computer. But even print is great, this is done all the time for municipal elections.

I'm just getting the page done up, advertising will be another issue, I'll design posters if people will distribute them around. I doubt the traditional media will cover a new kid on the block, but perhaps something like CTV or Global would.

nbpolitico said...

I know the north fairly well I could do the Madawaska and Restigouche ridings. Sounds like fun.

As for the census data, it my be a bit of a pain in the neck because of the new ridings.

Anonymous said...

I don't think its any different, unless I misunderstand you. The census goes by communities. That would make it not perfect of course, but says a lot in general. Do you speak or write french, because that would be a help. Maybe mention this at any blogs you are at and we can get some more on board. I'll try to get the website up by monday.

JL said...

You know what New Brunswick really, really needs?

To spend $21 million on chain link fencing to keep moose off certain sections of the highways.

This beautiful chain-link fencing will increase NB's visual well as force the moose to walk several kilometers before they cross the highway in a different area, where motorists won't be expecting them.

Unless there is additional money set aside for wild moose road crossing training that the Liberals are saving to announce during the election?

nbpolitico said...

JL - I am sorry that you don't think that the moose fencing is a bad idea. You'll have to find an indepedent to vote for as the Conservatives and NDP have backed the Liberal announcement.

Anonymous said...

As for moose fencing that doesn't make ANY party look good (just like most issues actually). Notice what nice fencing lines the trans canada from Fredericton to Moncton. The highways in the north have always been neglected. That we are only hearing about it now is a testament to the threat of an election.

That way, these few measly crumbs can be thrown out to say 'hey, we did something for you guys, quit griping'.

What plan the liberals have for the issue I don't know, but typically opposition parties are more open to new suggestions and at least it can't be said "why didn't you fix this problem in the six years that you had a chance"