11 Comments
Aug 20, 2021Liked by Line Editor

Another excellent analysis, but I think there’s more to it than just a badly run campaign. I’ve been saying for awhile that Canada is not immune to the populous forces opened in politics around the world. It may not play at the same way as in the US but there’s no question this is a very different country for one Harper was PM.

The second unappreciated issue is the Millennials are now voting block, and I’m very unhappy angry one as well, one that the NDP have tapped into very nicely. Normally the threat of an NDP government would scare people into voting Conservative or even liberal but the way governments have gorged on debt has made this a complete non-argument. Not a central bankers around the world are printing hundreds of trillions of dollars can you really say the duff assets and issue?

My original production was a little naughty but I’m starting to wonder if it’s gonna be something completely different. I personally plan to vote PPC But I don’t know if that’s just gonna be a wasted vote or not

Expand full comment
(Banned)
Aug 20, 2021Liked by Line Editor

Horgan not only had no excuse for an election, he specifically broke a public promise by calling it; got a majority anyway.

It's a bit insulting, for many voters, to imply that Leader gaffes on TV have greater weight than policy. Most people don't think a lot about policy, of course, but they do think "I got my CERB, and it came fast when I needed it", and they think "child care coming". CERB was pretty huge for the 20-30 age group, some will come out as first-time voters.

I think a lot of people who don't obsess over dashboards (like I do) still do get that while South Korea, New Zealand/Australia may have done better at the pandemic, we did better than all of Western Europe and America. Three times better than America and UK, both of which were afflicted by excessive conservatism.

Afghanistan, not thought about, and when people do, it's an OLD thought...the blame is just going to be spread, mentally, pretty thin. I hear comments like 'They had 20 years to leave; Canada left in 2014, after a year of warning, our staff had eight years, since Harper was in". Not fair, maybe, but it's a thing.

Oh, and the top policy issue in polls: BC and California burned down, and O'Toole is still struggling to get his party to admit it might be global warming.

Don't get me wrong, I would rather see Trudeau with another minority, and Singh on his choke-chain. But the stars are lining up pretty well for Trudeau just now.

Expand full comment

I think you've seriously underestimated Trudeau's error on the abortion issue. Most Canadians believe that a woman should have the right to choose. But most Canadians are also live and let live. If women have access to abortion, who cares who provides it? Luckily, we live in a country where the government can't force individuals to act against their conscience, especially on matters they consider murder. That Trudeau clearly believes (wrongly) that we live in such a country, and that this sort of country is his ideal, is an eye popper. Because that kind of country horrifies people across the political spectrum.

Worse, Trudeau's willingness to needlessly force all doctors to perform abortions, without benefit to anyone, reinforces the worst fears people have about the left in general and Trudeau in particular (I speak as someone on the left): That we can't take yes for an answer and are only happy when stuffing our victory up everyone else's nose.

Trudeau's error also plays to Canadians' fear of his core character flaws: arrogance, hypocrisy, virtue-signalling, and a divisive disregard for others.

The second backfire on these core vulnerabilities was when he tried to weaponize vaccination, only to discover he couldn't mandate vaccinating the civil service after all, and that the Conservative rule-of-law position had to be his as well. His showboating has been tragically apparent in another issue you highlight: Canada's inability to evacuate our Afghan allies after Trudeau's empty boasts of airlifting 20,000; Trudeau did nothing despite months of media and other pressure on their behalf.

As an aside, it's amusing to see Trudeau use "transphobic" language: Under the Liberal doctrine of inclusive language "a woman's right to choose" is "a pregnant person's right to choose". It's amazing how "pregnant people" become "women" when it's convenient.)

I voted for Trudeau in the last two elections. But as someone sickened by his treatment of Vice Admiral Norman and so many others, I sincerely hope he keeps up his excellent self-sabotage.

Expand full comment

The polling companies have a great gig going. Who pays them to do such a bad job, and why do people (in the media) still listen to them during election campaigns?

If anyone is listening, my issue of concern is how the governments of the land are dealing with the COVID unvaccinated. I am seeing very bad signs in the policy decisions being made across the country in the private and public sectors. They reflect a willingness to demonize a group that has every right to make a choice that is not the one made by the tyranny of the majority. To mangle a quote attributed to Voltaire, I might not agree with one's choice to not be vaccinated, but I will defend that choice.

Expand full comment

Terrific analysis as always, particularly in wondering just why the hell we're having this campaign in the first place. The funny thing about the "hidden agenda" card is that it didn't really work for the Liberals 15 years ago, and it's unlikely to work any better now. Five years of playing it led to Harper getting a majority government 10 years ago.

History suggests that if Trudeau Junior wanted an election to get a majority, he probably should have engineered his defeat in a confidence vote. Lester Pearson requested an election after two years heading a minority government, which got him all of three seats. Harper got an election after two years in office and he still couldn't get a majority against Stéphane Dion and the latter's weak English skills.

Meanwhile, Trudeau Senior got a minority in 1972, goaded the Opposition into voting non-confidence and won a majority in 1974. Harper goaded the Opposition into voting him down in 2011 and won a majority.

"The Constitution made me do it" would be a great justification for an election.

Expand full comment

With respect to the mandatory vaccination for federal employees, here's my response:

https://adnausica.substack.com/p/a-canadian-behavioral-study-of-obedience

A Canadian Behavioral Study of Obedience

A lesson in how to learn nothing about risk management, ever.

Thalidomide was first marketed in the late 1950s and used to treat nausea in pregnant women. It led to 10,000 children with birth defects. This tragedy was averted in the United States because approval was withheld by Dr. Frances Kelsey of the Food and Drug Administration. She was concerned about the potential effects a biologically active drug could have on pregnant women for which no long term test data existed. Her concerns were dismissed by experts because testing on rats showed no harms. Dr. Kelsey was ultimately awarded as a hero. Her commitment to rigor and data over expert opinion saved many children and is credited with bringing about modern systematic long-term testing protocols.

COVID-19 vaccines have not yet completed such testing. They were approved in Canada under an Interim Order, not because they have proven long-term safety but “predicated on the Minister's determination that the evidence provided supports the conclusion that the benefits outweigh the risks associated with the drug, taking into account the uncertainties related to the benefits and risks, as well as the urgent public health need caused by COVID-19.”

According to the regulatory decisions, “One limitation of the data at this time is the lack of information on the long-term safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The identified limitations are managed through labelling and the Risk Management Plan. The Phase 3 Study is ongoing and will continue to collect information on the long-term safety and efficacy of the vaccine.”

Labelling means the risk is managed by informed consent of the patient who takes responsibility for the risks. The Risk Management Plan merely describes how the outcomes on the public will be monitored, reported, and updated in the product monograph, after the fact. The monographs currently report, “The safety and efficacy of [the vaccine] in pregnant women have not yet been established; It is unknown whether [the vaccine] is excreted in human milk. A risk to the newborns/infants cannot be excluded.”

Risk mitigation by informed consent allows us to diversify risk, recognizing that the risk-benefit varies with individual age, gender, local case frequency, and natural immunity from prior COVID-19 infection. However, this risk mitigation plan is changing. The Prime Minister has declared all federal employees must get vaccinated. For them, the government has decided the risk-benefits are all the same and it will take on risk responsibility. Risk information has not yet been shared but perhaps being informed is moot without consent.

I've seen this style of risk management before. In 1986 NASA Shuttle Program Manager Lawrence Malloy overruled Thiokol engineers worried about O-rings in cold temperature on the Space Shuttle Challenger. “My God, Thiokol,” he said in the pre-launch call, “when do you want me to launch, next April?” Malloy's objections: not enough data to demonstrate the risk, and a schedule to keep.

In 2003 NASA Mission Management Team Chair Linda Ham cancelled a request from the Debris Assessment Team to the Department of Defense for on-orbit imaging of Columbia's left wing. They were worried about damage from a high velocity fuel tank foam impact. Ham's objections: foam impacts had been deemed an “accepted risk” and imagery would unduly delay the mission schedule. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board noted ongoing confusion between generic “accepted risk” and case-specific “not a safety-of-flight problem”, much like an interim overall drug-approval “benefits outweigh the risks” might be confused with case-specific risk-benefit calculations.

Certainly there are objections to a vaccine mandate. We are often reminded that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but they do sound similar. Charter Section 7 precedence includes rights on bodily autonomy, choice of medical treatment, and limitations on government imposition. Section 15 addresses identical yet inequitable treatment. But I have no standing. I am not a secluded young female with prior COVID-19 immunity. I am middle-aged in a major city. I have been double-vaxxed for months. I recommend it for most people. I also recognize the risk-mitigation value, and rights, of individuals deciding their own medical treatment.

Despite my vaccination status, I've found myself wondering about the unknown long-term risks, the underlying ethics, and game theory calculations suggesting this is a bad idea. I've even considered the 1960s Milgram experiments simulating public obedience to authorities and experts. I've wondered if we might need a Frances Kelsey.

Then I realized that Canada doesn't have a Frances Kelsey. We never did. Thalidomide was approved in Canada in 1961. We are a nation of Malloys and Hams. We dismiss and mock those who don't fall in line and fail to get with the program. We have a schedule to keep, an election to win, and no evidence of long-term harms. Our highest authority has decreed that all we have to do for a successful mission is to merely follow orders.

Expand full comment

This election is going to be a disaster for the Liberals. Is there anyone in Canada who isn't tired of Justin Trudeau?

Expand full comment