21 May 2013

Political Grab-Bag #nlpoli

For the first day back after a long weekend, here are some short snappers on some issues swirling around these days at the national scene.

Polling Inaccuracy

For those who are following the ongoing controversy around polling, Susan Delacourt had a typically thoughtful piece in the Friday Star about polls in the recent British Columbia election.

Here’s a taste:

At the heart of many of those conversations [about polls and elections] is a recognition that neither pollsters nor journalists have done a very good job of moving their relationship into the 21st century. Many of us in the media are still covering polls and politics as though nothing has changed since the 1970s — either within the population or with regard to polling techniques.

Start, for instance, with the idea that citizens are loyal or attached to any political party. That may have been true a few decades ago, but nowadays voters are more like shoppers. (Full disclosure: I have a book coming out later this year on this very subject.)

“Behaviour related to politics is increasingly mimicking consumer behaviour,” says pollster Nik Nanos. “In the past, those most politically engaged were born into their political tribe, which meant a certain level of stability but also easier predictability for pollsters.”

Duffy and the PMO

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, Senator George Baker wants all expense claims by senators subject to public review.

Okay, that’s a fine idea, but before we get to that, there’s the still the huge issue of a cheque from the prime minister’s chief of staff to Senator Mike Duffy to cover a $90,000 bill Duffy had to pay to the Red Chamber to cover some improper expenses.  Susan Delacourt (again) has a neat little summary of some of the issues involved for those who want to catch up on the senate controversy now that it has taken a huge new turn.

Provincial Conservatives and Private E-mails

The provincial Liberals got the story wrong during the last session when they revealed a couple of e-mails showed that Conservative political staffers are using personal e-mail accounts (Hotmail) for political business.  The specific example was an e-mail from the Premier’s Office to a backbencher’s constituency assistant dictating the resolution for the government backbencher’s private member’s resolution.

Dictating from the top and controlling the back benchers complained Liberal leader Dwight Ball in his first question on May 14.


Old news, sunshine.

Much bigger story:  the use of a highly hack-able private e-mail account to talk business.  Did they limit it to just partisan stuff or do Conservative political staffers use private e-mails for government business too? 

The only reason to use private e-mail would be to avoid the access to information process. 

While we are at it, let’s recall that in the middle of the Gerry Rodgers lynching, Premier Kathy Dunderdale revealed that she has ditched her government-issued Blackberry and now handles all her business outside office hours on a private cell phone.  Leaders set the example, as Lathy herself said in a scrum in late April.  Dunderdale isn;t setting a very good one.

Maybe when CBC is through chasing hookers, they can investigate this one.

It’s too serious an issue not to talk about.


Oh yeah.

That’s a reminder of the old Conservative dead-give-away phrases.

With the Old Man it was “nothing could be further from the truth.”  That’s when you knew you were on an issue that he didn’t want to talk about.  As soon as the words left Dan-O’s lips, you knew that whatever he was talking about couldn’t be any closer to the truth.

Well, for Kathy,  these sorts of things are “too foolish to talk about.” 

The whole thing is a variation of Not (X)  = X or the Rule of Opposites.

Kathy said that the use of private e-mails was too foolish to talk about.