NL Election 2011, continued

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Newfoundlander_...

Robo wrote:

Newfoundlander_Labradorian wrote:

It won't matter once the Liberals become the Official Opposition they can't lose it, so they will be the Official Opposition for the next four years.

Where on earth does that idea come from?  If 5 of the 6 members of the Liberal caucus in the House of Assembly quit tomorrow, would anyone think that the lone member remaining would be Leader of the Official Opposition?  The Speaker almost certainly would not.

As seat counts change, official designations can change.  In a parliamentary democracy, the Speaker would be asked to rule on whether or not Facts A and B changing are enough to have him declare that the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly has changed -- and a ruiling would be made on those facts.  Nothing is automatically fixed in place for a day regardless of the facts, let alone for an entire term of government.  Stuff happens. 

The former speaker stated it and I heard it mentioned elsewhere. The incumbent Official Opposition party would remain.

Stockholm

I'm quite certain you are wrong about that. There have been several cases in Canadians provinces where because of byelections or defections one opposition party overtook another - invariably that meant that the "official opposition" changed.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Newfoundlander...why do you assume that Lorraine Michael will resign?  It's not as if she was a failure in this campaign..The NDP did finish second in the popular vote and did end up with its best provincial seat count of all time in NFLD, even if they were one seat behind the Liberals.

 

Stockholm

I think we should take Newfoundlander's comments with a boulder of salt. If you look back at all his pedictions in the previous thread about the NL election, he was 100% wrong about almost everything. Its particularly amusing to see how he thought that the PC candidate was going to give Lorraine Michael a run for her money in her own riding - she wound up getting 70% of the vote!

bekayne

Ken Burch wrote:

Newfoundlander...why do you assume that Lorraine Michael will resign?  It's not as if she was a failure in this campaign..The NDP did finish second in the popular vote and did end up with its best provincial seat count of all time in NFLD, even if they were one seat behind the Liberals.

 

Well, there is the fact she will be 72 at the time of the next election

Stockholm

I suppose she would "retire" as opposed to "resign".

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Indeed.  A retirement for reasons of age(which would probably lead to her being elected provincial party president or something like that) is very different from having to "resign", an act which implies failure or some sort of disgrace.

Newfoundlander_...

Stockholm wrote:

I think we should take Newfoundlander's comments with a boulder of salt. If you look back at all his pedictions in the previous thread about the NL election, he was 100% wrong about almost everything. Its particularly amusing to see how he thought that the PC candidate was going to give Lorraine Michael a run for her money in her own riding - she wound up getting 70% of the vote!

I thought he would first when we only had one poll showing the NDP rising. I thought when he was nominated that he had a chance of beating her but it was quite evident by the time we got into the campaign that she would easily win. I also was correct in saying that the NDP would win both St. John's Centre and St. John's North, and that they could win St. John's East. 

What were you so correct about? You were the one who said the NDP could win 8 seats and then you said they would have a "mini-Quebec style surge and sweep St. John's". You were 100% wrong and obviously don't know what you are talking about and everyone should find it amusing just how little you know.

bekayne wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

Newfoundlander...why do you assume that Lorraine Michael will resign?  It's not as if she was a failure in this campaign..The NDP did finish second in the popular vote and did end up with its best provincial seat count of all time in NFLD, even if they were one seat behind the Liberals.

 

Well, there is the fact she will be 72 at the time of the next election

That's exactly what I was getting at, retire is a better word then resign.

newfenian

I think someone already linked to the Canadian Parliamentary Review article that gave a brief synopsis of past experiences where multiple opposition parties were tied in seat count. There is some precendent that could have favoured either the Liberals or the NDP had both parties won an equal number of seats. The Liberals could have counted on the "continuity" argument, and the NDP could have made a claim for official opposition status based on it having quite a bit more of the popular vote.

Actually, because of the peculiarities of what actually happened in the provincial election, had both the Liberals and NDP won the same number of seats, it seems like it would have been a first in Canada. (Previous cases of equal #'s of seats for multiple opposition parties involved gains and losses in between elections rather than immediately after them).

If the Liberal caucus was to hypothetically sink below the NDP's caucus in seat totals due to resignations and/or unfavourable by-elections, the only chance that the NDP would NOT become the official opposition is if they didn't ask the Speaker to grant it.  [ETA: the article linked above cites two examples where the opposite was true, but notes the reasons were typically if the newly third place party became a third party late in the life of the legislature - that is to say, as a result of a resignation or defection, or, if it the downsizing of the official opposition party was only by one member rather than multiple members]

In any case, I wouldn't give too much credence to anything uttered by the previous Speaker of the House of Assembly, whose record was abysmal.

newfenian

http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-11-09/article-2800028/NDP-challenges-special-ballot-process/1

The long awaited constitutional challenge to the special ballot provisions of Newfoundland and Labrador's Elections Act is finally here, thanks to the NDP.

Newfoundlander_...

newfenian wrote:

http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-11-09/article-2800028/NDP-challenges-special-ballot-process/1

The long awaited constitutional challenge to the special ballot provisions of Newfoundland and Labrador's Elections Act is finally here, thanks to the NDP.

From what I've heard it's very unlikely this will pan out, if it were the results of the who election could almost be overthrown. There were Liberals who bet PCs because of the special ballots. 

Slumberjack

I fondly recall the days when I used to vote Liberal in the NL elections, because the beer was liberal...and free. We had Captain Canada and then Jolly Roger...and a ride to and from after a solid evening of 'politicking.' Yes me laddies...and I'm not the least bit ashamed of it either. You really have to experience cronyism from within to fully apprehend its many delights.

Unionist

Laughing

Thanks for that glimpse of democracy from the land of fog and cod, SJ!

 

Newfoundlander_...

NDP bid for Burin recount dismissed

A New Democrat's attempt to force a recount was dismissed Thursday at Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Julie Mitchell, who lost the race in Burin-Placentia West by 40 votes to Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Clyde Jackman, had wanted the court to order a new count of the ballots.

Justice David Orsborn dismissed the application during a proceeding Thursday in St. John's.

In the application, Mitchell had claimed some ballots weren't scrutinized as they were counted.

Her application also claimed that in three cases, people who did not live in the district voted there by special ballot.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/11/10/nl-ndp-burin-recount-1110.html

 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

newfenian wrote:

I think someone already linked to the Canadian Parliamentary Review article that gave a brief synopsis of past experiences where multiple opposition parties were tied in seat count. There is some precendent that could have favoured either the Liberals or the NDP had both parties won an equal number of seats. The Liberals could have counted on the "continuity" argument, and the NDP could have made a claim for official opposition status based on it having quite a bit more of the popular vote.

Actually, because of the peculiarities of what actually happened in the provincial election, had both the Liberals and NDP won the same number of seats, it seems like it would have been a first in Canada. (Previous cases of equal #'s of seats for multiple opposition parties involved gains and losses in between elections rather than immediately after them).

It's not totally unprecidented in Canada for two parties to tie for the second number of seats - although the closest example isn't a perfect fit. The link above makes only passing reference to it, but in the 1982 Alberta election, the NDP won two seats, and two independents (former Social Credit MLAs who left their party before the election) were also elected. The two independents chose to caucus together as the Representative Party, and petitioned the Speaker for Official Opposition Status.  The Speaker ruled that the NDP become the Off Opp based largely on the fact that the NDP had recieved 19% of the vote and the two other MLAs had recieved much less.

newfenian

Lou Arab wrote:

It's not totally unprecidented in Canada for two parties to tie for the second number of seats - although the closest example isn't a perfect fit. The link above makes only passing reference to it, but in the 1982 Alberta election, the NDP won two seats, and two independents (former Social Credit MLAs who left their party before the election) were also elected...

That's what I cryptically edited-to-add. But thanks.

newfenian

If anyone is still following the NDP's constitutional challenge to Newfoundland and Labrador's elections laws, THAT case is still ongoing and before the courts.

The CBC item linked above doesn't really give a full explanation as to what happened in court on November 10th. Julie Mitchell's application to review the vote in Burin-Placentia West was dismissed, but the other claim of hers to challenge some the very provisions of the Elections Act itself which led to the spurious outcomes in Burin-Placentia West is still ongoing:

NDP challenges special ballot process (November 9th)

Court rules no need for recount in Burin-Placentia West (November 10th)

NDP election recount denied (November 11th)

Newfoundlander_...

The results in that district still won't change because of this challenge. The rules around the special ballots may need to change before 2015 but nothing will happen with the 2011 results. 

Stockholm

First post election poll in Nl was just released:

CRA numbers: PCs at 60 per cent, NDP 26 per cent, Liberals down at 13 per cent.

 

Newfoundlander_...

Stockholm wrote:

First post election poll in Nl was just released:

CRA numbers: PCs at 60 per cent, NDP 26 per cent, Liberals down at 13 per cent.

Here's the CBC story.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/12/06/nl-poll-cra-liberals-plummet-1206.html

Newfoundlander_...

On another note, it was mentioned on On Point with David Cochrane this weekend that it is thought that Lorraine Michael will not remain leader for much longer, which was really no surprise. Also not surprising is that Dale Kirby is considered the person who will be their next leader.

Newfoundlander_...

The NDP are proceeding with a lawsuit over the results of the Burin Placentia West election. They're arguing thst special ballots are unconstitutional but now Lorriane Michael is facing a bit of criticism for not only supporting special ballots in 2007, but wanting them expanded. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/12/07/nl-...

newfenian

The logic a few years ago was that this would help enfranchise large numbers of the province's voters who frequently go back and forth to other provinces like Alberta for work and might miss an election. So it looked good on paper.

Now that the law has actually manifested itself, my question is: why aren't the PCs and Libs sending their lawyers to help the NDP, as intervenors?

Newfoundlander_...

newfenian wrote:
Now that the law has actually manifested itself, my question is: why aren't the PCs and Libs sending their lawyers to help the NDP, as intervenors?

I don't understand what you mean?

newfenian

The NL NDP has come to the conclusion that the special ballots legislation that they once supported is now wrong and in fact unconstitutional. Why don't the NL Liberals and PCs agree?

It seems like the NDP is getting more flack for "flip-flopping". The bigger issue is that neither the Liberals or Tories seem to care that the special ballots are unconstitutional.

The Libs and Tories should get their act together, come out against the special ballots provisions as well, and apply to act as intervenors in the court action on the side of the NDP, which, I gather from the CBC, is something the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is trying to do.

Newfoundlander_...

I don't see what proof there is that they are unconstitutional. The NDP only want the results of this particular district to be overthrown too. 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

I'd like to hear a quick explanation as to why they might be unconstitutional. Can anyone provide it?

newfenian

The reasons why this is undemocratic and potentially unconstitutional are too numerous to do this swiftly, Lou, but they are all fairly self-evident. The legislation allows people to vote four weeks prior to the writ being dropped. This means that people will be voting in an election in which they actually don't know who the candidates or even the parties will ultimately be. In the case of by-elections in the past four years, the Chief Electoral Office has encouraged people to vote when no one, including even the Chief Electoral Officer or the government has announced a date for the by-election; in other words, well before the 4-week period prior to the writ.

This actually happened in Humber West in the February by-election earlier this year. The Chief Electoral Office was encouraging voters to vote as of November 2010.

Voters are encouraged by the Chief Electoral Office to just guess. Literally. While voters may enter the name of a candidate they suspect will run in the election, NL Elections officials themselves, perhaps recognizing the ridiculous and precarious situation this puts voters in, have instead encouraged voters in the past to write in the name of a political party in case there is a last minute change in who is actually running. (Source: the Western Star)

The constitutional implications of the Chief Electoral Officer telling voters to vote for parties (obviously benefitting incumbents, but also benefitting parties generally and adversely impacting independent candidates) would be more obvious if we didn't live in such partisan times.

Therefore there are the inevitable issues in any system where there are write-in candidates, but in this case, the issue is that people will be writing in names of people who are not yet legally "candidates" under the same Act.

In 2007, the same year these special balloting changes were passed, not every party ran a candidate in every district. In 2007's General, a voter could have voted NDP in: the Torngat Mountains; Cartwright-L'Anse Au Clair; Carbonear-Harbour Grace; Grand Bank; the Isles of Notre Dame; Gander; Exploits; Port Au Port; or St. George's Stephenville East; and such a voter would have had their vote rejected, since no NDP candidate ran in those ridings that year. That's something a fully informed voter would have had more awareness of if voters were permitted to vote only after , rather than BEFORE or after, the election campaign officially begins.

If your vote is rejected for a reason like the above, it's because you voted in a situation where you were not fully informed as a voter. That is a violation by the NL Elections Act in contravention of s.3 of the Charter according to this local Liberal blogger, who also cites Libman v. Quebec, Figueroa v. Canada and Haig v. Canada as important cases.

Newfoundlander_...

The NDP didn't see any issue with it after the 2007 election though. 

Stockholm

After the 2007 the NDP had only on seat and no official party status and no money...they had other issues to worry about - like survival.

Newfoundlander_...

Stockholm wrote:

After the 2007 the NDP had only on seat and no official party status and no money...they had other issues to worry about - like survival.

So she couldn't bring it up in the House of Assembly, or during the election? Why does she only want the results of only one electoral district overthrown? 

If the NDP want to fight this in the House of Assembly and get special ballots changed for 2015, all the power to them, but this is just blatant opportunism now. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Newfoundlander, with these last few posts, you've pretty much outed yourself as a hardcore Liberal Party supporter.  Did you mean to do that?

Slumberjack

Mean to's got nothing to do with it.  A cannonade sire?

Newfoundlander_...

Ken Burch wrote:

Newfoundlander, with these last few posts, you've pretty much outed yourself as a hardcore Liberal Party supporter.  Did you mean to do that?

I could respond by being an idiot like you, but I won't.  

I don't agree with the party's position on this issue, does that mean I can't support NDP policies?

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, the "opportunism" thing doesn't sound like something someone who "supports NDP policies" would say. 

It was also the fact that you seem to be offended by the NDP doing something that challenges the Newfoundland Liberals' status as Official Opposition in the House of Assembly.

Nonetheless, you have the right to hold whatever views you hold and to support whoever  you choose to support.

 

Newfoundlander_...

Ken Burch wrote:

Well, the "opportunism" thing doesn't sound like something someone who "supports NDP policies" would say. 

It was also the fact that you seem to be offended by the NDP doing something that challenges the Newfoundland Liberals' status as Official Opposition in the House of Assembly.

Nonetheless, you have the right to hold whatever views you hold and to support whoever  you choose to support.

 

I've been hoping that the Liberals would disappear in Newfoundland and Labrador because they are completely useless here. Unlike at the federal level our Progressive Conservatives represent the centre so there's no need to have a Liberal Party. I was hoping the NDP would become the Official Opposition, and they should have with their vote share, but they never and I think it's time to move on. There are more important issues in Newfoundland and Labrador then who the Official Opposition is, and just because they have one less seat doesn't mean the NDP cannot look like the Official Opposition.

There were at least two seats that were decided by special ballot, and every district had people vote by special ballot, but the NDP only want the results of one distict overthrown. Like I've stated fight to get the rules changed for 2015, but it's ridiculous to try and tell people who voted that their votes were useless and that they should vote again.

newfenian

Newfoundlander_Labradorian wrote:

... but the NDP only want the results of one distict overthrown, but the NDP only want the results of one distict overthrown...

N_L, what is your evidence that the NDP still want the results of that district "overthrown"?

You are aware that the court has already dismissed Julie Mitchell's application for a recount, right?

Unless I'm missing something from scattered tweets and a media in Newfoundland and Labrador that never fails to underimpress, the issue of the results in Burin-Placentia West has been resolved.

Newfoundlander_Labradorian wrote:

... Like I've stated fight to get the rules changed for 2015, but it's ridiculous to try and tell people who voted that their votes were useless and that they should vote again.

"Fighting to get the rules changed for 2015" is exactly what the NDP is trying to do.

It would help if the PCs or Liberals got on board, but apprently they are too busy reaping what little political capital they can from catching Lorraine Michael in a "gotcha" moment.

As for telling people their votes are potentially useless, that is apparently a role already filled by Elections NL.

Newfoundlander_...

It says in this article that "The NDP has taken court action to have the election results for the District of Burin-Placentia West declared void. The NDP and Julie Mitchell are presenting the argument that the use of special ballots violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

 

http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-12-08/article-2828860/Tories-say-Micheal%26rsquos-%26lsquoflip-flop%26rsquo-over-special-ballots-disturbing/1

newfenian

Thanks N_L. In any case, there appear to be multiple issues, the most major of which is that the NDP is seeking a decision on the constitutionality of the special ballots, and I agree with them.

If the argument is also that -if- special ballots are unconstitutional, then the BPW results should be thrown out, that would necessarily have to be a separate issue for the court to deal with.

In other words, it's possible that the court could rule that the special ballots laws are unconstitutional, but that the BPW results still stay.

As it stands, CBC NL and all the other outlets do not seem to have posted a copy of the court application testing the constitutionality of the special ballots like they did with the first petition. So we can't see for ourselves what exactly the legal argument is that the NDP is making.

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