Tag Archives: Dwain Lingenfelter

NDP Leadership Race Polls

While the LeaderPost published a poll of voter intentions in the province for the provincial NDP leader, I was curious when I heard about some internal polling done by the candidates themselves.  Over the last couple of weeks the Broten, Meili, and Wotherspoon campaigns have all done some polling.  Interestingly enough, the buzz is that both the Wotherspoon campaign has commissioned two polls right after the other.  If you don’t like the results of the first poll, maybe you just keep polling?

The Broten campaign has been the only one talking about the results which if accurate, makes sense.  It is bad news for both Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon.  I know Nate Silver says to not believe campaign polling but it’s all we have.  Until the Wotherspoon and Meili camps post their numbers, I only have the Broten numbers to go on and here they are.  

When I looked at the poll, it was done by Public Polling Inc which is a polling company out of Toronto (there is a Saskatchewan Party attack ad in there someplace).  It was a large poll with a margin of error is only +/- 2.2%.   The poll asked two basic questions — (1) “If you were to vote for the new NDP leader today, who would be your first choice?” and (2) “Who would be your second choice for the new NDP Leader?”  The results of the poll show the following breakdown of first ballot support among decided voters throughout the entire province:

If the poll is correct, it looks like a 3rd ballot victory for Cam Broten and he would become the next leader of the opposition.  Trent Wotherspoon has either lost his support or pundits have really overestimated his support in the first place.  Maybe that is why he is polling so much.  According to the poll, Broten is the second choice of most of the people surveyed.  With the NDP at about 11,000 members and with the vast majority of them casting a ballot; I can’t see the convention floor delegates having enough votes to change the outcome but I have been wrong many times before.

The end result is that a) it’s going to be a boring convention b) Cam Broten will become the next leader of the opposition c) the Saskatchewan Party is probably already cutting the attack ads on Broten as I post this.

It also means that 2015 is going to be an interesting election. 

Update: I immediately was emailed as asked if who I was voting for.  I am not a member of any political party and therefore won’t be casting a ballot in this race.  I am just looking at it from the outside.

Really? Is that all you got?

I was just surfing the National Newswatch and I noticed a Google Ad.

NDP ad on National Newswatch

Here is the larger version.

NDP ad on National Newswatch

That’s the best the NDP could come up with?  Vote NDP and that’s it?  Nothing witty?  Nothing profound?  Nothing at all expect Vote NDP.  It’s like they aren’t even trying anymore.  Off the top of my head I can think of “A fair deal for Saskatchewan families”, “Affordable rent for families”, a couple of old Grant Devine references, “We didn’t screw up the Carlton Trail College merger”, or even “Look at the profits PCS made today” as better options than Vote NDP.

Who could be down there in the Tommy Douglas House and think, “We’ll spend some money on Google Adsense and all that the ads will say is, Vote NDP” and have other people think that this was a good use of money.  I even clicked on the ad and sure enough, it went to a NDP that tracks the success of the campaign.

What’s even weirder is that the NDP were one of the first parties to use online advertising and I am sure it had some role in their building their support amongst younger Canadian voters but it looked a lot better than this.  It would be better to do nothing than this.

I know the NDP have produced some other ads that, were, umm, borrowed from the Ontario Liberal Party.  I am starting to wonder if the problem for the NDP central campaign is that they don’t have the right creative people lined up.  There are campaigns that win and then there are those that lose but you still want to run the best campaign you can because even if lose, you want to give your faithful something to be proud of as they head into opposition (or whatever you are facing).  I am not sure that ads like this motivate anyone to do anything and it wastes some money that could be spent elsewhere.

What went wrong for the Saskatchewan NDP?

The view from Calgary (and the Toronto Star)

“The NDP grassroots won’t even go door knocking anymore . . . the party only appeals to the mushy middle,” says Mitch Diamantopoulos, head of the journalism school at the University of Regina, a longtime activist and observer of Saskatchewan politics.

For Diamantopoulos, the problems began in the 1990s when then premier Roy Romanow swung the party to the right. “Saskatchewan shifted away from a cooperative, public enterprise approach and as a result a lot of longtime NDPers lost their enthusiasm for the party.”

At the same time, farmers were giving up on agriculture and moving to Saskatoon or Regina. As the province became urbanized, the NDP lost its traditional rural base.

In many ways, 62-year-old Lingenfelter personifies the confusion about what the party really stands for. He grew up in southwestern Saskatchewan on a large family farm. First elected as an NDP MLA in 1978, Lingenfelter managed to survive the near sweep by the Progressive Conservatives in 1982 and served as opposition house leader.

When the NDP was returned to power, he became a cabinet minister and eventually deputy premier and was seen as a likely successor to Romanow.

But in 2000 Lingenfelter abruptly resigned and accepted a senior position with an oilpatch heavyweight, Calgary-based Nexen Inc.

Not surprisingly, Lingenfelter became something of a trophy head in corporate Calgary — the former NDP cabinet minister who had joined the fold. So much so that in 2002 when a group of Calgary businessmen and politicians organized a fundraiser for the Saskatchewan Party at the Petroleum Club, Lingenfelter attended on behalf of Nexen and when introduced was given a special round of applause.

There are four things that I see going on in this election.  I am not an NDP insider or supporter although I have a good working relationship with many of them.  The first is Brad Wall.  He just hasn’t screwed up that many things.  If the old line is true that governments are so much elected but rather defeat themselves, the Saskatchewan Party haven’t made that many mistakes which makes it really hard to gain any traction against them.  Along with that is that I think the NDP elected Lingenfelter because they thought Wall would be a one term wonder and they would be back in power this election.  The choice of Lingenfelter as leader was an odd one because it was a return to the past, a past that Saskatchewan voters had just soundly rejected in 2007.

Next up is that I don’t think the NDP are any good in raising money.  NDP candidates are sharing campaign offices in ridings they should be competitive in the cities.  During the drive out to Arlington Beach, we drive through Watrous, Nokomis, and then from there we went to Regina through Craven and Lumsden.  We only saw one NDP sign the entire three hour drive.  One sign.  Even if they were not getting any traction with voters, you would have expected to see signs in the ditches and other public spaces.  There were none.  Meanwhile there was a lot of Saskatchewan Party signs (all on public land) but even in traditional NDP ridings in Regina.  What does it mean?  Signs cost money and I don’t see any of that in rural ridings.  I am assuming that the reason that Judy Junor is using office space downtown rather than in our her (hotly contested) riding is money as well.  This isn’t a couple of blocks outside her riding but is across the river from her riding.  C’mon.

You can blame that on the leader but raising money is also backend process that involves cultivating thousands of relationships and then understanding what buttons to push to get them to cough up $20 or $100 when you need it.  The federal Conservatives are masters of this and have been going back to the PC Canada Fund.  Whether it is direct mail or email, the NDP need to find a better way to cultivate, understand, and benefit from those relationships because the Saskatchewan Party can outspend them anytime in the election cycle.

Thirdly, the NDP are terrible users of new media.  Look at the video the Saskatchewan Party has produced versus the media the NDP are putting out.  Look at how Brad Wall is using Twitter vs. how Dwain Lingenfelter uses Twitter.  Why do I care how Link uses Twitter?  Social media allows voters to connect to a leader and if you are just posting links to some photos posted to Facebook and never send an @ reply, you aren’t connecting.  Wall understands that, Link doesn’t.  Not connecting to voters isn’t always fatal (like Stephen Harper) but it normally is (Elwin Hermanson, Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion).  Link didn’t connect to anyone online.

Finally, as much as Ryan Bater needs to win his seat in North Battleford, the NDP need him to win even more.  The NDP don’t do well against the unified right in Saskatchewan, they never have.  Brad Wall, Grant Devine, Ross Thatcher… when a third party (whether it be the PCs or the Libs) get 15% of the vote, the NDP win.  When they don’t, the NDP lose.  Their votes doesn’t grow enough to beat back the centre right challenger (for a contemporary example see Frank Quennel who is about to lose to Roger Parent in Saskatoon Meewasin).  It is why I was so surprised that the NDP didn’t want Ryan Bater in the debate.  A collapse in the Liberal vote benefits the Saskatchewan Party and no one else.  If I am the NDP I am hoping and praying that Bater wins, even at the expense of their own seat for the long term prospects of the party.

I don’t believe that the NDP are staying home and off the doorsteps because of what Roy Romanow did, I think there are elections that you win and some that you lose and this is one that the NDP are going to lose.   Wall’s performance is out of their control but if they don’t get the other three things solved, they are facing an uphill battle no matter what happens and no matter who the leader is.

Where have I seen this advertisement before?

I would have liked this NDP ad a lot better…

…if I hadn’t seen it somewhere before.

You know, considering that most of us have cable which means that we get Ontario television stations and probably saw the McGuinty ad, it seems to be a dumb decision to rip off the ad only weeks after it was on the air down east.   Plus, the white balance (or lighting) on the NDP ad is off which drives me crazy in more ways than you can imagine.

Column: Act to mitigate income gaps

My latest in The StarPhoenix

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is running a campaign currently that says we are On Track as a province.

It’s absolutely correct in many ways. Saskatoon is booming and, for many, life has never been better. Even the Riders are winning again.

Yet for some, things aren’t on track. It can be seen in a really busy Saskatoon Food Bank, in a Friendship Inn that’s had to double its size, in the more than 100,000 meals served annually at the Salvation Army, and at a YWCA that’s perpetually full with homeless women.

There are the people Saskatchewan’s boom has left behind.

The concept is known as income inequality. It has always been around and likely will be around forever. But it starts to become a problem when the increasingly wealthy drive up the cost of living for those on the bottom end of the income scale. When it reaches the point where the cost of rent and living is seen as impossible, some people start to make bad decisions.

Identifying the problem is easy; coming up with solutions is hard.

With income inequality growing, I was curious to see what ideas some Saskatchewan political leaders had on the subject. I had a chance to talk separately with both Liberal Leader Ryan Bater and NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter over the past two weeks.

Batter spoke passionately about education funding, with more community resources such as nurses, social workers and other community sources in schools.

It is something that is being tried with the new St. Mary’s School in Saskatoon. The idea is that by providing more resources for students, the school would step into the gaps being left by some family situations, while at the same time the additional resources would free up teachers to teach. A better foundation in education, it is hoped, will keep at-risk students in school longer and give them better prospects for the future.

Lingenfelter talked about bringing back more targeted job training programs, important in ensuring that someone would be able to take advantage the opportunities of tomorrow even if they weren’t able to do so today. Lingenfelter’s educational approach targets the problem later in life than does Bater’s, but both see the solution to lifting people out of poverty as giving them the skills required to make more money.

Lingenfelter also made reference to rent control. It’s a notion that’s controversial here, but has worked quite well in many other Canadian and U.S. cities. While the NDP hasn’t released details of its rent control policy, properly implemented, such an approach has benefited both developers and renters elsewhere.

Ward 2 Coun. Pat Lorje took both a short-and a long-term approach to the problem. She called for additional short-stay detox beds outside the urban core where people can find a safe place to sleep off and start getting help for their addictions.

She also advocated for a wet shelter in Saskatoon. These have been used successfully to help alcoholics to break their physical addiction to liquor and to control their relapses and put them in a position for successful rehab.

Lorje noted the concentration of poverty in some core neighbourhoods needs to be addressed. Not all poverty in those neighbourhoods is naturally occurring. Some of it is caused by the rental supplement being given out based on proximity to support services. With many of the addiction and mental health services being administrated at St. Paul’s Hospital, it forces many to live near the hospital to get the rental supplement.

Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill sees the city’s role in supporting and pushing both the provincial and federal government for action on the issue. While the city is often held responsible for many of issues affecting local neighbourhoods, it’s provincial and federal policies that need to change.

Coun. Hill also mentioned the importance of the local neighbourhood plans. Urban theorist and author Richard Florida recently spoke of the economic revival in Pittsburgh and said a key to its success was turning over local decisions to the neighbourhoods. It’s something that Saskatoon has emulated. Many of the positive things that have happened in some neighbourhoods are based on local input.

We have many options. I had some quick conversations with four politicians and could have written a series of columns on each of their ideas. The ideas are out there, so I hope the will to act on them is there, too.

jordon@jordoncooper.com

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