Sunday, September 20, 2009

Green riding selection, free to choose?

I can figure out why Saanich was chosen as May's next battleground without doing any independent polling. In terms of simple probability theory, if you assume that she is still recognizing some level of the armistice she signed with Dion and will only run in a Tory riding, then you first have to look at the Tory seats. Of the Tory seats, if you calculate how far behind the Green candidate was behind the winning Tory in percentage of popular vote and rank from smallest to largest, then Saanich shows up at 13th on the list. She might have had a better shot at Central Nova, but if the Liberals run a candidate that erases any possible 1 in 15 long shot to virtually zero.

Would Ignatieff run a similar tactic to Dion, embracing May and signing a tactical armistice in exchange for her trying to unseat a Tory cabinet minister? The problem with the Dion strategy from the Liberal perspective is that they elevated the Green's status such as to bleed votes to them in Ontario. Its not easy bleeding green. Ignatieff has to win back voters that they lost to the Greens, not continue to hemorrhage. Raise the profile of May, pull a Liberal candidate to attempt to unseat a Tory cabinet minister, and if successful elevating her status to an even higher level? It would appear by the 2006 to 2008 trends that Liberal voters are more easily seduced by the Greens than Tory voters. If the Liberals pull their candidate in Saanich, she would have a shot at beating Lunn. I don’t see why the Liberals would forfeit Saanich to the Greens because the Grits should want to win that seat.

As a Tory voter with some Greenish leanings, I like all that clean water, clean air, reduce pollution, reduce waste, recycle, recycle waste, and clean cheap abundant energy agendas. I see carbon more as plant food than some evil form of "Agent Purple". The Greens have jumped a little too on board with the Kyoto Accords for my comfort. Some of these environmental activists have become exceptionally loony. Also, since when did socialism become part of the Green agenda? It just seems like since May came to power, she slipped that little caveat in under the radar. Minimum Guaranteed Incomes? It blows my mind how anyone running for elected office could not see the moral hazard in guaranteeing everyone 30 grand a year no matter what. In economics moral hazard is defined as when an insurance policy actually increases the probability of incurring a loss. People at the margins get sucked into the dark side reducing their ambition to succeed. It is just an idea that sounds enlightening in a class room that is not sustainable when applied to reality.

That's where the Green Party lost me. If the Greens are being honest and want to run in the riding where they have the best chance of winning a Tory seat where the Liberals field a candidate, then she should be running in Owen Sound against Larry Miller. Dick Hibma is the answer to the trivia question which Green party candidate earned the most votes in the 2008 election. Nunavut and Pontiac have smaller gaps between Tories and Greens than Saanich, but for tactical reasons she would have a hard time winning either of those seats.

Even my riding of West Vancouver has a higher probability of Greens winning than Saanich. Former Liberal MP turned Green Blair Wilson scored a respectable 8644 votes in the green sympathetic sea to sky country. The NDP even got 9000 in West Van after their candidate was on YouTube smoking weed talking about something crazy like how much fun it is to drive a car while high on acid. Poor NDP vetting in both Saanich and West Van have opened up a window in the left wing of these two ridings. The difference being that Gary Lunn sits in cabinet and John Weston does not. It’s not just about the best chance of winning, because she had a better shot of winning my riding, but rather it is about defeating a big name. It is more difficult to unseat a cabinet minister than a guy who is never on TV. They are lying that it is their best chance, because it is not.

Granted if the Liberals agreed to pull their candidate wherever she runs, that changes the math. Assuming that deal is not in place, Owen Sound and West Vancouver are the best shots against Tory MPs. Central Nova and Saanich are her best shots at a Tory cabinet minister. But other pundits have been correct to point out that she unquestionably had a better shot of beating the Liberal MP in Guelph than beating any Tory anywhere else. As it happens I am a U of G alumnist, where I earned this little piece of paper that says you have fulfilled the requirements for an honours degree in Mathematical Economics. Most of the economics professors there are cut from the Libertarian cloth, but some really pump that Keynesian model. Ironic how I revile Elizabeth May, and yet graduated from University in the riding she has the best chance to win, and currently live in one of the ridings where she would have the best shot at beating a Tory.

If she ever knocked on my door asking for my vote, she would not get a receptive audience. Please Ms May, do not take this blog posting as an invitation to run in West Vancouver. I don’t want to ever see you on TV again, let alone in person.


  1. The voter subsidy has destroyed the Green Party. I feel for the guy she steam-rolled to get there. In the old days, a quality candidate acrive in the community had a shot at attracting funds, volunteers and influence in the party. Now they merely serve as cardboard cuttouts to collect protest votes at a $1.95 a pirce. The only people that matter are those controlling the purse strings and this is concentrated in the hands of a very few people. The politics is settled. Is anyone really surprised?

  2. It is nice and green in Sannich and more affordable than West Van. Nice place to hang out while waiting for the election next spring.