NDP solidifies lead in latest seat projections

Published on Aug. 25, 2015, in the Global News Toronto.

The NDP is solidifying its lead over the governing Conservatives according to the latest seat projections showing the party with an 18-seat lead.

Harper’s Conservatives have suffered a net loss of five seats over the last two weeks – one in Quebec, three in Ontario, and two in British Columbia (while picking up one in the prairies).

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Wynne defends campaigning for Trudeau

Published on Aug. 19, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has frequently waded into federal politics through clashes with Stephen Harper, but in the midst of a federal election campaign she isn’t easing off — she has jumped in with both feet.

“I’ve also been clear that I support Justin Trudeau, and I will continue to look for a partner at the federal level that is bringing forward polices that will make sense for the people of Ontario.”

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Ontario’s Wynne jumps into federal campaign

Published on Aug. 19, 2015, in The Chronicle Herald. 

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has frequently waded into federal politics through clashes with Stephen Harper, but in the midst of a federal election campaign she isn’t easing off — she has jumped in with both feet.

Wynne has been actively campaigning for federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, but nearly as often as she promotes her federal counterpart she slams the prime minister, which could be seen as payback for Stephen Harper’s attacks against her in last year’s provincial election.

“She certainly wants to score points with the federal Liberal party and have Justin Trudeau owe her, and he will (if the Liberals win).”

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Federal Election 2015: Kathleen Wynne Wading Into Campaign

Published on Aug. 20, 2015, in the Huffington Post Canada.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has frequently waded into federal politics through clashes with Stephen Harper, but in the midst of a federal election campaign she isn’t easing off — she has jumped in with both feet.

“Maybe the personal animosity between Wynne and Harper — whatever triggered it — is governing both their behaviours,” Kay said in an interview.

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Harper needs to change campaign narrative

Published on Aug.19, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record.

One of the surprises emerging from the federal election campaign’s early days has been Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s reluctance to shake up the status quo and introduce new ideas and themes to the electorate.

It is still early days in the election, of course, and the current period might be likened to “spring training” in this 11-week campaign where new approaches are being tried and test-marketed on a limited basis, to see what might work when the citizenry really starts paying attention later next month.

Still, so far the Conservatives seem to have been caught flat-footed, thinking they could successfully run again on the themes of fiscal competence and ethical accountability as they have in the past.

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The Conservative tide turns and the election gets interesting

Published on Aug. 18, 2015 in the Waterloo Region Record.

Summer is no time for an election campaign.

People are busy doing more important things, like picnicking in the park. But while most of us are tuning politics out, a fascinating three-way race is shaping up across the country. The Liberals, New Democrats and Conservatives are in an unprecedented dead heat.

That’s what the latest polls show, and they haven’t changed much for the past two months, says Barry Kay, professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University and one of Canada’s most widely respected election analysts.

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Harper not the only one eager to criticize Wynne and Ontario’s pension plan as a ‘payroll tax hike’

Published on Aug. 11, 2015 in the National Post.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was so eager to lambaste Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s pension plan announcement Tuesday, he asked himself the question.

Opposition parties and interest groups were as quick as Harper to criticize Wynne’s plans, but Barry Kay, a professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University, isn’t so sure the ORPP will matter much on election day.

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Élections fédérales: les conservateurs pourraient perdre des plumes au N.-B

Published on Aug. 14, 2015, in the Acadie Nouvelle

Si les élections fédérales avaient lieu aujourd’hui, le Parti conservateur du Canada au Nouveau-Brunswick en prendrait probablement pour son rhume, selon la projection de sièges du Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy.

Les conservateurs de Stephen Harper ont presque tout raflé au Nouveau-Brunswick en 2011 en ne laissant au Parti libéral et au Nouveau Parti démocratique qu’une circonscription chacun parmi les dix que compte la province.

Même s’il fera probablement mieux au Nouveau-Brunswcik qu’ailleurs en Atlantique, le parti du gouvernement sortant risque de perdre une partie de ses sièges lors du scrutin du 19 octobre.

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The polls are bad – their accuracy, that is

Published on Aug. 13, 2015 in the University Affairs

Barry Kay, a member of the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, or LISPOP, has been doing seat projections for upcoming elections for the past 35 years. But, he warns, “People should understand I do not have a crystal ball. The fact is the model is only as good as the polls it is based on. If the polls are off, it will be off.” And, the bad news is that the polls are getting worse, he says.

Seat projections, as opposed to party popularity, were a novelty when Dr. Kay first started out but have attracted greater interest over the past decade or so. An associate professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University, where LISPOP resides, Dr. Kay says his model has been accurate to within four seats per party over the past 15 federal elections.

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Canada election 2015: Strategic voting campaign targets Kitchener Centre riding

Published on Aug. 12, 2015, in CBC News Kitchener-Waterloo.

A group called Vote Together has started a strategic voting campaign in the Kitchener Centre riding, which the group says is an important battleground in the upcoming election.

Vote Together is targeting Kitchener Centre to ask people to vote against incumbent Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, because they say the area is a swing riding that saw a close result in the last federal election.

“Generally in voting we tend to think people should vote for the candidate or the party they like the best. Strategic voting sort of turns that on its head, and suggests that you vote against the party you least want to see win,” said Barry Kay, a political science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, in an interview with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Wednesday.

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Canada 2015 election: Riding boundaries shift in Waterloo Region

Published on Aug. 5, 2015 in the CBC News KW

This federal election Waterloo Region has a new riding called Kitchener South-Hespeler, with the boundaries of Kitchener-Centre, Waterloo, Kitchener-Conestoga and Cambridge shifting to accommodate.

“What they’ve done is create a whole lot more competitive seats, whose determination on election day will be influenced by the trends at the moment,” said Kay in an interview with CBC News.

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P.T. Barnum would delight in Trump’s White House run

Published on July 31, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record.

The metaphor most frequently applied to Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential candidacy is that it sucks up all the oxygen, denying other candidates media attention for their own campaigns.

The media obsession with the self-promoting billionaire and reality show host seems to be having an enormous impact upon the Republican contest, despite hardly anyone taking Trump’s prospects seriously as the eventual winner.

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Days of reckoning arrive in Greece, Iran

Published July 3, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record.

As June ended, negotiation deadlines in two different parts of the globe lapsed without resolution.

Although the timetable facing Greece’s loan default problems and the Iranian nuclear program are very different concerns, each demonstrates that resolute negotiators extend the process to the final moment — and beyond — to gain maximum bargaining leverage.

The game of “chicken” has frequently been cited to illustrate the practice. Even though the bargaining has effectively been transpiring for more than three years, each side has acted as if it could exact the greatest advantage by extending its rival to the final possible minute, and then some. They can’t all be successful in pursuing this strategy.

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Will it be Hillary, Jeb, Marco or Rand?

Published June 15, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record

Observers of the American political scene might wonder why the 2016 U.S. presidential contest is drawing some 20 prospective contestants, most of whom have engaged in a peek-a-boo exercise of “exploring” their candidacies, while evidently running flat out.

The motivation for exploratory campaigns relates to the regulation of campaign fundraising, which is more flexible before an official declaration is made. The reason for the massive number of candidates — many of whom have little prospect of winning — pertains to ego, a desire for attention in the media spotlight, and alternate agendas.

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Political success not usually tied to ideology

Published May 23, 2015, in the Waterloo Region Record.

For those who have difficulty understanding how a longtime conservative province like Alberta can elect an NDP government, the most obvious conclusion is that it wasn’t about ideology.

Appearances frequently to the contrary, elections usually aren’t about ideology. The reason that such a contrary illusion so often persists is that the elite opinion leaders who most actively participate in partisan political campaigns, and those who write about or otherwise cover them, are among the minority who see politics through an ideological prism. They want to think that others interpret politics as they do.

The evolution of the Alberta campaign suggests that the result had more to do with the perception of a hidebound Conservative party, and the entitled insensitivity and manipulative cynicism of its leader Jim Prentice, than any specific policy proposals of the New Democrats.

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