Muttart responds to Peladeau’s “Iggy’s War” essay in Sun papers

Patrick Muttart

The already surreal public spat between QMI boss Pierre Karl Peladeau and former PMO wunderkind Patrick Muttart took another strange twist Wednesday night, as Muttart’s PR firm responded to PKP’s essay accusing him (Muttart) of pushing a fake Michael Ignatieff photo.

But first, the backstory…

Readers of the Sun papers woke up to an essay Wednesday by Pierre Karl Peladeau, president Sun Media Corporation, denouncing a former aide to Stephen Harper for campaign dirty tricks at his company’s expense.

Peladeau accused Patrick Muttart, once Harper’s deputy chief of staff, of trying to peddle the Sun a bogus photo of Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff dressed in combat gear.

The picture shows a group of soldiers in front of a military helicopter, holding automatic rifles, purportedly in Kuwait prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. One of them, supposedly, was Michael Ignatieff, who was then an academic at Harvard.

Pierre Karl Peladeau

Peladeau says Muttart passed the picture onto the Sun’s Kory Teneycke, who is also ex of Harper’s PMO.  Only when Teneycke pressed for a higher-resolution copy of the photo did it become clear that Ignatieff wasn’t actually in the photo, Peladeau wrote.

“[I]t is the ultimate source of this material that is profoundly troubling to me, my colleagues and, I think, should be of concern to all Canadians,” Peladeau wrote.

The Tories claimed that it had warned the Sun it had tried but couldn’t verify the identity of the subject of the photo.  The campaign also denied that Muttart was working in the party’s war room.

“He has however done some paid consulting work for the campaign. Patrick has no further role in the campaign,” the party said in a prepared statement.

UPDATE: On Wednesday night, Muttart’s PR firm, Mercury, issued a press release in response to Sun TV. It’s worth reading in full, but here are some of the salient bits:

Initially, Patrick Muttart provided Sun Media with multi-point verbal overviews concerning Michael Ignatieff and the War in Iraq. Later, he provided additional material at Sun Media’s request. Sun Media used much of the information he provided. At no point did Muttart tell Sun Media that he had positively identified Ignatieff in the photo in question. And at no time did Muttart mislead, or intend to mislead Sun Media, in his provision of information to them.

The most disappointing assertion in Mr. Peladeau’s column is his “belief” that Muttart sought to “damage the integrity and credibility of Sun Media and, more pointedly, that of our new television operation, Sun News.”

This assertion is false and downright bizarre.

Here’s the part that knocked me off my chair. In the same release, Muttart’s firm claims to have been actively involved in the creative development of Sun TV”

For the record, Mercury was hired by Quebecor to assist Sun News with its pre-license branding and positioning. Muttart worked with a creative agency to develop the network’s original logo (a modified version is currently in use). And he was the original source for the network’s “hard news” and “straight talk” framing language. Even after Mercury’s engagement with Sun News came to an end, Muttart was asked for and provided pro bono feedback on the network’s graphics and on-air promotional spots. Muttart was so committed to the success of Sun News he proactively reached out to a number of current, former and prospective clients about advertising on Sun News and facilitated a number of introductions. Again, he did this pro bono as a supporter of Sun News.

So, Muttart, or his firm, are hired to brand and position the new Sun News Network. Then, sometime later, we presume, Muttart is hired on contract — possibly through Mercury, though that’s not clear — to work for the Conservative campaign. It is in this capacity that he passes on the photograph and other information about Ignatieff’s alleged Iraq war planning to Kory Teneycke.

The entire thing is beginning to look like a Max Escher print. And it appears to weaken Peladeau’s claim of independence from the CPC campaign, when the same consultant who crafted his new network’s branding is also doing similar work the Conservatives and passing his work product back to Sun TV.

BONUS POINTS:  What Peladeau did not address in his essay was that his papers and new TV channel continued to report that Ignatieff was on the “front lines” of planning the Iraq invasion, nevertheless.

The evidence?  Ignatieff had in 2002 attended conferences at Harvard on limiting civilian casualties.

The U.S. military participated in these conferences, as the Sun noted, but so too did numerous humanitarian non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. That exculpatory detail was omitted from the Sun report.

The Peladeau editorial did, however, shine a light on the cozy relationship between campaign war rooms and journalists who, always looking for a story during an election, can be a receptive audience for nuggets dug up by party researchers.

One other interesting fact to emerge from the entire imbroglio was that Muttart, once considered a strategic genius in PMO, was being paid as consultant.  Muttart is on the masthead of Chicago branch of Mercury Public Affairs (per above).

Opposition parties have long suspected that the Tories use U.S.-based and (likely) Republican Party-affiliated political consultants to develop campaign strategy. But determining which consultants are on the payroll is difficult. Filings with Elections Canada list total amounts for “professional services” and do not detail who was paid from the campaign accounts or how much.

The data do show the Tories spent considerable more on these professional services than other parties in the 2008 election campaign: $1.8 million to the Liberals’ 350,000 and the NDP’s $53,000.

Meanwhile, at the Ottawa Sun…

The imbroglio over Patrick Muttart’s alleged attempts to swiftboat Michael Ignatieff via Sun Media has brought even more scrutiny to bear on the news agency’s relationship with the Prime Minister’s Office. One thread suddenly relevant is the recent departure from the Ottawa Sun of Michael Harris.

An award-winning journalist and novelist, Harris says he was told his column was dropped to make room for other voices.

He suspects, however, that a column he wrote on the eve of the election, titled  “Harper no longer on high moral ground,” might have lubricated his exit.

“After writing in that space for nine years, I drew the conclusion. I was simply told by the editor in chief I was being dropped to accommodate new writers.  Sun TV started up a few days later.”

Over to you, Rick Gibbons, Ottawa Sun publisher:

Hi Glen
No, absolutely not! I’m not even sure I know to which column  you are referring. And I’m surprised and disappointed Michael would say that. That was never conveyed to him and he certainly never conveyed such an impression to me.

We ran Michael’s columns for many years and never had issue with his content.  We had an excellent relationship. The decision to end his column (fired is an entirely inappropriate use of the term here, I believe) was difficult but necessary due to other factors, which were explained to Michael at the time. These include the arrival of a number of new columnists of late, including Ezra Levant, John Robson, Brian Lilley, David Akin, Anthony Furey, etc. As I know you can appreciate, it became increasingly difficult to find space for all of these new columns in a two-age daily Op-Ed section.

We didn’t want to bounce Michael’s column around and frankly, based on an earlier conversation I had with him, neither did he. He stated very clearly he wanted to be anchored in a specific spot on a specific day or not run at all. A second issue was the allocation of limited local Op-Ed resources to ensuring we have local voices dealing with local issues in our paper. Michael’s traditional frame of reference has always been national – which is fine, but in the local context, we now have more national content in our Op-Ed pages than ever before and it was crowding out local opinions. I hope we will soon introduce more local content in our Op-Ed pages as a result.

I know we conveyed to Michael our hope that our relationship could resume at another time when circumstances allowed. I still hope that’s the case.

He also adds….

[T]he decision was not taken quickly or lightly. We discussed this internally for a couple of months as we tried to come to grips with the arrival of new writers and the competition for space.

Advance poll turnouts, 2008 vs 2011

Elections Canada today published estimates of the turnout at advance polls held over the Easter weekend. The agency said the numbers are up 34 per cent over 2008 actual numbers. In fact, if you look at the changes between the 2008 estimates and 2011, the increase is sharper — up 41 per cent, or 596,000 extra votes.

I’ve ranked them by percentage change in advance vote between the 2008 estimates (not actual vote totals) and 2011 estimates.

The top of the list, Edmonton Centre, is currently held by Conservative Laurie Hawn, a former fighter pilot and the party’s front-man on the defence of the government’s proposed purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Other notables in the top of the list: in Ottawa – Orleans, Conservative Royal Galipeau is believed to be in a close fight with a Liberal challenger, as is Liberal Mark Holland in Ajax-Pickering.

I have no idea why Leeds – Grenville, safely held by Conservative Gord Brown, ranks #2 on the list.

(Note: the riding at bottom of the list, Thornhill, saw a larger-than-normal advance turnout in 2008 because election day that  fell on a Jewish holiday. Thornhill has the largest Jewish population of any riding.)

PROVINCE RIDING ELECTORS 2008 ELECTORS 2011 CHANGE %CHANGE
Alberta Edmonton Centre 1,222 7,214 5,992 490
Ontario Leeds–Grenville 2,095 8,808 6,713 320
Ontario Ottawa–Orléans 3,408 13,645 10,237 300
British Columbia West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country 2,800 9,754 6,954 248
Ontario Oak Ridges–Markham 4,844 15,003 10,159 210
Ontario Ajax–Pickering 2,770 8,313 5,543 200
British Columbia Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca 3,507 10,097 6,590 188
Alberta Peace River 1,527 3,952 2,425 159
Ontario Halton 4,931 12,710 7,779 158
British Columbia Vancouver South 2,962 7,623 4,661 157
Saskatchewan Regina–Qu’Appelle 864 2,221 1,357 157
British Columbia British Columbia Southern Interior 1,622 4,142 2,520 155
Quebec Jeanne-Le Ber 3,296 8,410 5,114 155
Newfoundland and Labrador Labrador 398 982 584 147
Alberta Yellowhead 1,976 4,870 2,894 146
Quebec Verchères–Les Patriotes 3,669 8,985 5,316 145
Manitoba Winnipeg North 1,480 3,527 2,047 138
Ontario Vaughan 3,208 7,600 4,392 137
Ontario Hamilton East–Stoney Creek 4,723 11,166 6,443 136
Quebec Outremont 2,232 5,240 3,008 135
Ontario Bramalea–Gore–Malton 4,676 10,843 6,167 132
Nova Scotia Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley 3,725 8,634 4,909 132
British Columbia Prince George–Peace River 2,212 4,962 2,750 124
Manitoba Winnipeg South 3,388 7,307 3,919 116
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John’s South–Mount Pearl 1,727 3,697 1,970 114
British Columbia Nanaimo–Cowichan 4,284 9,048 4,764 111
Alberta Wetaskiwin 2,299 4,850 2,551 111
New Brunswick Saint John 2,877 5,778 2,901 101
Nova Scotia Halifax 3,575 7,048 3,473 97
Ontario Brampton West 5,053 9,775 4,722 93
British Columbia Kamloops–Thompson–Cariboo 3,381 6,505 3,124 92
Ontario Davenport 2,287 4,369 2,082 91
Ontario Huron–Bruce 4,109 7,824 3,715 90
Nova Scotia Halifax West 3,930 7,447 3,517 89
Ontario Mississauga–Erindale 6,874 12,810 5,936 86
Ontario Markham–Unionville 4,072 7,351 3,279 81
Nova Scotia Sydney–Victoria 3,820 6,864 3,044 80
British Columbia Vancouver Kingsway 3,217 5,768 2,551 79
Manitoba Winnipeg South Centre 3,445 6,136 2,691 78
Nova Scotia Dartmouth–Cole Harbour 4,099 7,155 3,056 75
Ontario Simcoe–Grey 8,591 14,977 6,386 74
Ontario Brampton–Springdale 5,496 9,551 4,055 74
Alberta Calgary Northeast 3,541 6,136 2,595 73
Nova Scotia Kings–Hants 3,025 5,233 2,208 73
British Columbia Abbotsford 3,315 5,713 2,398 72
Nova Scotia Sackville–Eastern Shore 3,359 5,780 2,421 72
Alberta Calgary–Nose Hill 4,580 7,872 3,292 72
Newfoundland and Labrador Avalon 1,707 2,922 1,215 71
Ontario Mississauga–Brampton South 5,533 9,466 3,933 71
Alberta Edmonton–Sherwood Park 3,753 6,323 2,570 68
Ontario Lambton–Kent–Middlesex 5,147 8,631 3,484 68
Manitoba Saint Boniface 3,435 5,749 2,314 67
Ontario Kitchener Centre 4,067 6,769 2,702 66
Ontario Mississauga–Streetsville 4,885 8,119 3,234 66
Ontario Toronto–Danforth 4,197 6,949 2,752 66
Ontario Mississauga East–Cooksville 3,802 6,263 2,461 65
Ontario Nepean–Carleton 10,337 16,988 6,651 64
Ontario Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke 5,717 9,246 3,529 62
Newfoundland and Labrador St. John’s East 2,784 4,474 1,690 61
British Columbia Fleetwood–Port Kells 4,868 7,808 2,940 60
British Columbia Vancouver Centre 6,065 9,679 3,614 60
Ontario Kingston and the Islands 8,214 13,102 4,888 60
Nova Scotia South Shore–St. Margaret’s 2,774 4,424 1,650 59
Manitoba Selkirk–Interlake 2,822 4,493 1,671 59
Alberta Calgary Centre 4,084 6,483 2,399 59
Ontario Barrie 7,853 12,446 4,593 58
British Columbia New Westminster–Coquitlam 4,435 7,024 2,589 58
Ontario Kitchener–Waterloo 5,811 9,100 3,289 57
Ontario Dufferin–Caledon 5,124 7,996 2,872 56
Newfoundland and Labrador Humber–St. Barbe–Baie Verte 1,090 1,697 607 56
British Columbia Richmond 3,717 5,784 2,067 56
Ontario Mississauga South 5,372 8,332 2,960 55
Manitoba Elmwood–Transcona 2,626 4,068 1,442 55
Ontario Etobicoke North 2,864 4,401 1,537 54
Ontario Kitchener–Conestoga 4,449 6,802 2,353 53
Saskatchewan Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar 2,556 3,904 1,348 53
Ontario Beaches–East York 4,355 6,644 2,289 53
British Columbia Burnaby–New Westminster 4,038 6,153 2,115 52
British Columbia Vancouver East 3,342 5,087 1,745 52
Manitoba Churchill 1,184 1,800 616 52
Ontario Richmond Hill 4,900 7,446 2,546 52
British Columbia South Surrey–White Rock–Cloverdale 5,033 7,635 2,602 52
Ontario Durham 5,362 8,133 2,771 52
Ontario Oshawa 4,449 6,714 2,265 51
Quebec Chambly–Borduas 7,300 10,997 3,697 51
British Columbia Saanich–Gulf Islands 7,537 11,330 3,793 50
Alberta Calgary West 6,035 9,065 3,030 50
British Columbia Nanaimo–Alberni 6,446 9,644 3,198 50
British Columbia North Vancouver 5,543 8,287 2,744 50
New Brunswick Fundy Royal 4,327 6,457 2,130 49
Quebec Gatineau 6,713 10,013 3,300 49
Quebec Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie 5,390 8,022 2,632 49
Prince Edward Island Cardigan 2,478 3,685 1,207 49
Saskatchewan Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River 1,138 1,686 548 48
Alberta Calgary Southwest 4,102 6,073 1,971 48
New Brunswick New Brunswick Southwest 3,413 5,050 1,637 48
Ontario Cambridge 5,429 8,027 2,598 48
Quebec Alfred-Pellan 5,431 8,024 2,593 48
Ontario Ottawa Centre 8,180 12,054 3,874 47
Ontario Peterborough 7,457 10,979 3,522 47
Ontario York–Simcoe 5,779 8,505 2,726 47
Saskatchewan Saskatoon–Wanuskewin 3,477 5,109 1,632 47
Ontario Eglinton–Lawrence 5,166 7,577 2,411 47
Alberta Edmonton–Mill Woods–Beaumont 3,221 4,724 1,503 47
Ontario Niagara Falls 5,519 8,071 2,552 46
Ontario Scarborough–Agincourt 3,506 5,127 1,621 46
New Brunswick Miramichi 3,538 5,172 1,634 46
British Columbia Delta–Richmond East 3,641 5,314 1,673 46
Ontario Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock 6,870 10,011 3,141 46
Quebec Montmagny–L’Islet–Kamouraska– 3,913 5,690 1,777 45
Ontario Niagara West–Glanbrook 5,952 8,651 2,699 45
New Brunswick Fredericton 5,848 8,493 2,645 45
Quebec Beauce 5,493 7,946 2,453 45
Newfoundland and Labrador Bonavista–Gander–Grand Falls–Windsor 1,500 2,168 668 45
British Columbia Kelowna–Lake Country 5,560 8,026 2,466 44
Quebec Joliette 6,639 9,570 2,931 44
Ontario Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale 7,473 10,746 3,273 44
Nova Scotia Central Nova 3,345 4,810 1,465 44
Nova Scotia Cape Breton–Canso 2,542 3,646 1,104 43
Ontario Don Valley East 3,489 4,999 1,510 43
Alberta Edmonton–St. Albert 4,853 6,952 2,099 43
Quebec Montcalm 5,820 8,321 2,501 43
New Brunswick Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe 6,492 9,245 2,753 42
Ontario Wellington–Halton Hills 6,025 8,578 2,553 42
Nova Scotia West Nova 3,521 5,012 1,491 42
Alberta Edmonton–Strathcona 4,185 5,955 1,770 42
British Columbia Burnaby–Douglas 3,723 5,291 1,568 42
New Brunswick Acadie–Bathurst 6,144 8,721 2,577 42
Alberta Westlock–St. Paul 2,859 4,057 1,198 42
British Columbia Cariboo–Prince George 3,529 4,986 1,457 41
Ontario Don Valley West 6,039 8,511 2,472 41
Ontario Perth–Wellington 4,690 6,603 1,913 41
Ontario Toronto Centre 5,318 7,481 2,163 41
Quebec Rimouski-Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques 3,773 5,307 1,534 41
Ontario Scarborough Centre 2,985 4,194 1,209 41
Quebec Haute-Gaspésie–La Mitis–Matane–Matapédia 4,295 6,034 1,739 40
British Columbia Victoria 7,028 9,865 2,837 40
Quebec Saint-Laurent–Cartierville 4,004 5,617 1,613 40
British Columbia Kootenay–Columbia 5,168 7,237 2,069 40
Ontario Pickering–Scarborough East 4,654 6,494 1,840 40
Ontario Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry 7,098 9,890 2,792 39
Quebec Westmount–Ville-Marie 5,362 7,463 2,101 39
Manitoba Provencher 2,262 3,148 886 39
Alberta Medicine Hat 2,913 4,043 1,130 39
Alberta Edmonton–Spruce Grove 4,686 6,502 1,816 39
Ontario Burlington 6,516 9,037 2,521 39
Quebec Portneuf–Jacques-Cartier 6,507 9,018 2,511 39
Ontario Trinity–Spadina 5,335 7,383 2,048 38
Quebec Hull–Aylmer 6,589 9,107 2,518 38
Alberta Calgary Southeast 4,877 6,732 1,855 38
Ontario Oakville 6,200 8,553 2,353 38
Ontario Scarborough Southwest 2,989 4,117 1,128 38
Quebec Louis-Saint-Laurent 8,274 11,393 3,119 38
Ontario York South–Weston 2,046 2,817 771 38
Ontario Whitby–Oshawa 5,919 8,147 2,228 38
Newfoundland and Labrador Random–Burin–St. George’s 972 1,337 365 38
Quebec Chicoutimi–Le Fjord 4,028 5,537 1,509 37
Manitoba Kildonan–St. Paul 3,443 4,731 1,288 37
Ontario Ottawa–Vanier 6,184 8,494 2,310 37
Quebec Saint-Lambert 6,372 8,743 2,371 37
Quebec Laurier–Sainte-Marie 4,715 6,457 1,742 37
Ontario Simcoe North 6,914 9,455 2,541 37
Ontario Guelph 6,576 8,975 2,399 36
Quebec Brome–Missisquoi 7,336 10,008 2,672 36
Quebec Lotbinière–Chutes-de-la-Chaudière 6,729 9,114 2,385 35
Quebec Longueuil–Pierre-Boucher 6,844 9,261 2,417 35
Quebec Sherbrooke 6,445 8,710 2,265 35
British Columbia Langley 3,769 5,082 1,313 35
New Brunswick Tobique–Mactaquac 4,348 5,857 1,509 35
Ontario Windsor–Tecumseh 4,351 5,861 1,510 35
Alberta Calgary East 2,021 2,719 698 35
British Columbia Okanagan–Coquihalla 6,018 8,095 2,077 35
Prince Edward Island Egmont 2,847 3,828 981 34
New Brunswick Beauséjour 6,851 9,191 2,340 34
Ontario Scarborough–Guildwood 3,513 4,707 1,194 34
Prince Edward Island Malpeque 2,406 3,214 808 34
Ontario Glengarry–Prescott–Russell 7,311 9,766 2,455 34
British Columbia Skeena–Bulkley Valley 3,386 4,508 1,122 33
Alberta Calgary Centre-North 4,227 5,627 1,400 33
Ontario London–Fanshawe 3,383 4,502 1,119 33
Quebec LaSalle–Émard 4,613 6,131 1,518 33
Ontario Newmarket–Aurora 5,718 7,599 1,881 33
Ontario York West 1,815 2,410 595 33
British Columbia Port Moody–Westwood–Port Coquitlam 2,627 3,484 857 33
Quebec Lac-Saint-Louis 6,160 8,164 2,004 33
Quebec Marc-Aurèle-Fortin 6,305 8,354 2,049 32
Manitoba Charleswood–St. James–Assiniboia 3,508 4,646 1,138 32
Ontario Oxford 4,499 5,955 1,456 32
Quebec Drummond 4,278 5,650 1,372 32
Ontario Etobicoke Centre 5,341 7,053 1,712 32
British Columbia Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge–Mission 4,732 6,247 1,515 32
Alberta Fort McMurray–Athabasca 2,558 3,375 817 32
Alberta Edmonton East 3,247 4,284 1,037 32
Alberta Macleod 4,578 6,037 1,459 32
Quebec La Pointe-de-l’Île 4,653 6,135 1,482 32
Quebec Shefford 5,402 7,104 1,702 32
Ontario Welland 5,901 7,730 1,829 31
Manitoba Brandon–Souris 2,075 2,713 638 31
Ontario Elgin–Middlesex–London 5,323 6,952 1,629 31
Quebec Lévis–Bellechasse 7,010 9,136 2,126 30
Ontario Windsor West 3,690 4,805 1,115 30
Quebec Montmorency–Charlevoix–Haute-Côte-Nord 6,322 8,210 1,888 30
Manitoba Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette 2,162 2,803 641 30
Ontario Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington 8,717 11,278 2,561 29
Alberta Edmonton–Leduc 5,465 7,067 1,602 29
Ontario Ottawa South 8,106 10,469 2,363 29
Ontario St. Paul’s 6,676 8,607 1,931 29
British Columbia Okanagan–Shuswap 6,414 8,265 1,851 29
Saskatchewan Wascana 3,119 4,008 889 29
Quebec Berthier–Maskinongé 7,187 9,231 2,044 28
Quebec Rivière-des-Mille-Îles 5,764 7,396 1,632 28
Quebec Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean 4,501 5,754 1,253 28
Quebec Pontiac 6,334 8,091 1,757 28
Quebec Saint-Bruno–Saint-Hubert 7,523 9,604 2,081 28
Quebec Mégantic–L’Érable 5,224 6,668 1,444 28
Ontario Hamilton Mountain 4,980 6,342 1,362 27
Ontario London North Centre 4,964 6,308 1,344 27
Quebec Honoré-Mercier 5,438 6,879 1,441 26
Manitoba Winnipeg Centre 1,486 1,879 393 26
British Columbia Vancouver Quadra 6,621 8,371 1,750 26
Ontario Chatham-Kent–Essex 4,800 6,065 1,265 26
Ontario Haldimand–Norfolk 6,432 8,127 1,695 26
Quebec Richmond–Arthabaska 5,738 7,221 1,483 26
Quebec Beauharnois–Salaberry 7,426 9,333 1,907 26
Manitoba Portage–Lisgar 2,291 2,871 580 25
British Columbia Newton–North Delta 4,618 5,781 1,163 25
Quebec Repentigny 6,309 7,888 1,579 25
Ontario Willowdale 4,700 5,875 1,175 25
Quebec Compton–Stanstead 7,282 9,055 1,773 24
Quebec Saint-Jean 6,121 7,608 1,487 24
Ontario Scarborough–Rouge River 3,561 4,420 859 24
Quebec Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot 4,515 5,603 1,088 24
Quebec Rivière-du-Nord 6,591 8,157 1,566 24
Quebec Hochelaga 4,259 5,267 1,008 24
Quebec Saint-Léonard–Saint-Michel 2,584 3,179 595 23
Quebec Vaudreuil-Soulanges 8,512 10,418 1,906 22
Ontario Sudbury 5,362 6,549 1,187 22
Saskatchewan Palliser 3,070 3,749 679 22
Ontario St. Catharines 5,173 6,312 1,139 22
Quebec Notre-Dame-de-Grâce–Lachine 5,479 6,670 1,191 22
Ontario Ottawa West–Nepean 7,658 9,316 1,658 22
Quebec Ahuntsic 5,123 6,207 1,084 21
Ontario Brant 5,448 6,583 1,135 21
Quebec Québec 8,088 9,733 1,645 20
Quebec Châteauguay–Saint-Constant 6,772 8,149 1,377 20
Quebec Bas-Richelieu–Nicolet–Bécancour 5,493 6,603 1,110 20
Alberta Lethbridge 4,426 5,306 880 20
Quebec Argenteuil–Papineau–Mirabel 6,196 7,420 1,224 20
Quebec Charlesbourg–Haute-Saint-Charles 8,107 9,617 1,510 19
Quebec Terrebonne–Blainville 4,870 5,760 890 18
Ontario Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound 7,431 8,718 1,287 17
Quebec Brossard–La Prairie 8,338 9,781 1,443 17
Saskatchewan Battlefords–Lloydminster 2,144 2,508 364 17
Ontario Essex 6,399 7,479 1,080 17
Quebec Jonquière–Alma 4,322 5,031 709 16
Ontario Northumberland–Quinte West 7,667 8,913 1,246 16
Quebec Beauport–Limoilou 8,400 9,761 1,361 16
Ontario Nickel Belt 6,537 7,573 1,036 16
Quebec Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou 2,714 3,144 430 16
Saskatchewan Regina–Lumsden–Lake Centre 2,464 2,854 390 16
Saskatchewan Prince Albert 2,885 3,338 453 16
Quebec Papineau 5,076 5,869 793 16
Quebec Pierrefonds–Dollard 5,555 6,422 867 16
Quebec Laurentides–Labelle 8,592 9,901 1,309 15
Northwest Territories Western Arctic 1,118 1,288 170 15
Ontario London West 7,075 8,148 1,073 15
Quebec Saint-Maurice–Champlain 7,169 8,225 1,056 15
Quebec Abitibi–Témiscamingue 2,884 3,300 416 14
Quebec Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine 4,035 4,593 558 14
Quebec Bourassa 3,872 4,398 526 14
Quebec Louis-Hébert 11,239 12,686 1,447 13
Quebec Laval 6,195 6,991 796 13
Saskatchewan Yorkton–Melville 2,895 3,231 336 12
Quebec Manicouagan 3,371 3,761 390 12
Quebec Laval–Les Îles 6,615 7,342 727 11
Ontario Kenora 2,589 2,865 276 11
Ontario Sarnia–Lambton 5,637 6,230 593 11
Ontario Parry Sound–Muskoka 7,681 8,473 792 10
Saskatchewan Souris–Moose Mountain 1,883 2,074 191 10
New Brunswick Madawaska–Restigouche 5,846 6,397 551 9
Ontario Algoma–Manitoulin–Kapuskasing 4,461 4,820 359 8
Saskatchewan Cypress Hills–Grasslands 2,196 2,345 149 7
Ontario Etobicoke–Lakeshore 5,930 6,313 383 6
Yukon Yukon 1,492 1,560 68 5
Ontario Prince Edward–Hastings 8,380 8,729 349 4
Quebec Trois-Rivières 8,700 9,057 357 4
Ontario York Centre 5,010 5,153 143 3
Ontario Parkdale–High Park 4,191 4,288 97 2
Ontario Timmins–James Bay 5,596 5,680 84 2
Ontario Thunder Bay–Rainy River 4,798 4,846 48 1
Saskatchewan Blackstrap 4,944 4,968 24 0
Ontario Hamilton Centre 3,357 3,295 -62 -2
Ontario Thunder Bay–Superior North 4,822 4,639 -183 -4
Alberta Wild Rose 5,207 4,969 -238 -5
Prince Edward Island Charlottetown 2,671 2,481 -190 -7
Ontario Nipissing–Timiskaming 6,834 6,316 -518 -8
British Columbia Surrey North 2,256 2,073 -183 -8
Ontario Sault Ste. Marie 3,972 3,585 -387 -10
Ontario Carleton–Mississippi Mills 10,493 9,388 -1,105 -11
British Columbia Chilliwack–Fraser Canyon 4,497 3,808 -689 -15
Alberta Crowfoot 4,041 3,420 -621 -15
Quebec Mount Royal 7,466 6,253 -1,213 -16
Alberta Red Deer 3,355 2,611 -744 -22
Nunavut Nunavut 209 158 -51 -24
Alberta Vegreville–Wainwright 3,047 2,189 -858 -28
British Columbia Vancouver Island North 6,802 4,771 -2,031 -30
Saskatchewan Saskatoon–Humboldt 4,119 2,784 -1,335 -32
Ontario Thornhill 9,440 6,085 -3,355 -36

Candidates for Election 41: What’s in name?

The only candidate named Trifon. Haitas runs for the Greens in Oak Ridges - Markham.

Of confirmed candidates in Election 41, here are the most common first names. The overwhelming majority are Biblical, of course. And, yes, there are no women’s names in the Top 20 (although Claude is technically gender-neutral).

John 34
David 26
Pierre 21
Mike 18
Mark 17
Peter 17
Robert 17
Andrew 16
Paul 16
Jim 14
Michael 14
Brian 12
Bob 10
Claude 10
François 10
Joe 10
Kevin 10
Matthew 10
Richard 10
Scott 10

And the one-offs:

abraham 1
Adrian 1
Adriana 1
Adriane 1
Adrianne 1
Agop 1
Aijaz 1
Akil 1
Alberteen 1
Alexandra 1
Alexandre 1
Alexandrine 1
Alicia 1
Alishia 1
Alon 1
Alonzo 1
Alyssa 1
Ana 1
Anastasia 1
Andrea 1
Angelo 1
Ann 1
AnnaMaria 1
Annick 1
Annie 1
Antoni 1
Ard 1
Artem 1
Attila 1
Avtaar 1
Bahman 1
Baird 1
Bal 1
Barbara 1
Benjamin 1
Berend 1
Bertin 1
Betsy 1
Betty 1
Billy 1
Blaine 1
Blaize 1
Blake 1
Bobbi 1
Borys 1
Brennan 1
Bruno 1
Bryon 1
Byron 1
Cailin 1
Caitlin 1
Cam 1
Cameron 1
Candice 1
Carey 1
Carmen 1
Caroline 1
Carolyn 1
Carrie 1
Cecil 1
Chang-Tao 1
Charles-Olivier 1
Charmaine 1
Chester 1
Christa 1
Christelle 1
Christian-Simon 1
Christiane 1
Christophe 1
Chungsen 1
Clara 1
Claudia 1
Claudine 1
Clay 1
Clément 1
Clive 1
Clyde 1
Colette 1
Collin 1
Connie 1
Constantin 1
Cora 1
Corina 1
Corneliu 1
Costas 1
Crédible 1
Cynthia 1
Dagmar 1
Dale 1
Damian 1
Danielle 1
Danielle-Maude 1
Danny 1
Dany 1
Darcy 1
Darien 1
Darrell 1
Darryl 1
Daryl 1
Deepak 1
Denali 1
Derek 1
Derrick 1
Devinder 1
Dick 1
Dietrich 1
Dimitri 1
Dimitris 1
Dino 1
Djaouida 1
Dominic 1
Dona 1
Dorian 1
Dorothy-Jean 1
Drew 1
Duncan 1
Dylan 1
Earl 1
Edith 1
Eduard 1
Eduardo 1
Eileen 1
Élaine 1
Eli 1
Elie 1
Élise 1
Eliza 1
Ella 1
Emma 1
Enver 1
Erich 1
Erin 1
Etienne 1
Eva 1
Eve 1
Ève 1
Ève-Mary 1
Evelyne 1
Fabian 1
Farah 1
Félix 1
Fernand 1
Fin 1
Francois 1
Françoise 1
Frans 1
G.J. 1
Gabe 1
Gabriel 1
Gabrielle 1
Gaëtan 1
Garnet 1
Garry 1
Garth 1
Gaston 1
Gavan 1
Gayle 1
Geneviève 1
Geoff 1
Geoffrey 1
Georgina 1
Germain 1
German 1
Gilbert 1
Gin 1
Ginette 1
Giulio 1
Gregor 1
Greig 1
Guillaume 1
Gurbax 1
Gwen 1
Hardy 1
Harry 1
Hec 1
Hedy 1
Heidi 1
Helena 1
Helmi 1
Henry 1
Henryk 1
Hilary 1
Hoang 1
Holly 1
Hugo 1
Ilona 1
Irek 1
Irma 1
Irwin 1
J. 1
Jace 1
Jackie 1
Jacqueline 1
Jacquie 1
Jagmeet 1
Jagtar 1
Jamilé 1
Janna 1
Jared 1
Jasbir 1
Jay 1
Jaymini 1
Jean-Claude 1
Jean-Guy 1
Jean-Luc 1
Jean-Marc 1
Jean-Maurice 1
Jean-Olivier 1
Jean-Patrick 1
Jean-Paul 1
Jean-Pierre 1
Jean-Serge 1
Jeffrey 1
Jen 1
Jeremy 1
Jerome 1
Jerry 1
Jessica 1
Jilian 1
Jinny 1
Joanie 1
Joanne 1
Jocelyne 1
Johan 1
Johany 1
John Andrew 1
John C. 1
John R.A. 1
Johnny 1
José 1
Josh 1
Josipa 1
Joy 1
Jule 1
Jules 1
Julien 1
Karine 1
Kash 1
Kassandra 1
Kate 1
Kathy 1
Katy 1
Kellie 1
Kelvin 1
Kennedy 1
Kerry-Lynne 1
Kettly 1
Kevan 1
Kévan 1
Kim 1
Kimball 1
Kimberley 1
Kirk 1
Kirsty 1
Konrad 1
Kornelis 1
Krista 1
Larissa 1
Larry R. 1
Laura-Leah 1
Laurie 1
Laurin 1
LaVar 1
Léandre 1
Leanna 1
Leon 1
Leona 1
Léonie 1
Lewis 1
Lewis Clarke 1
Libby 1
Lillian 1
Lloyd 1
Louis James 1
Louis-Philippe 1
Loyola 1
Lucie 1
Lui 1
Luke 1
Lyn 1
Lyndon 1
Lyndsey 1
Lyne 1
Lynette 1
Lynn 1
Lysane 1
M.J. 1
Madeleine 1
Maggie 1
Malcolm 1
Mandeep 1
Mani 1
Manjit 1
Manon 1
Manuel 1
Marcos 1
Marie-France 1
Marie-Josée 1
Marielle 1
Marilyn 1
Marjolaine 1
Marjory 1
Marney Jeanne 1
Martha 1
Marty 1
Mason 1
Massimo 1
Matthew Martin 1
Maude 1
Maureen 1
Mauril 1
Max 1
Maxime 1
Meena 1
Megan 1
Mehdi 1
Meili 1
Melanie 1
Mélisa 1
Melissa 1
Merv 1
Michael David 1
Michel-Eric 1
Mick 1
Miguel 1
Mikaël 1
Mikkel 1
Moe 1
Mohamed 1
Mohamedali 1
Monica 1
Monika 1
Monique 1
Murray 1
Myk 1
Mylène 1
Myrna 1
Myron 1
Nao 1
Naomi 1
Nathan 1
Navdeep 1
Neil 1
Nelson 1
Nettie 1
Nic 1
Nicholas 1
Niki 1
Nikki 1
Nina 1
Noah 1
Nolan 1
Nora 1
Norm 1
Norris 1
Noushig 1
Nycole 1
Olivia 1
Pablo 1
Pam 1
Parm 1
Pascal-Pierre 1
Patricia 1
Paule 1
Paulina 1
Pauline 1
Peter G. 1
Phil 1
Pier-Luc 1
Pierre-Luc 1
Piotr 1
Polyvios 1
Priti 1
Qais 1
Rachelle 1
Rana 1
Randall 1
Rathika 1
Ravi 1
Rem 1
Rémi 1
Rhéal 1
Riccardo 1
Rish 1
Rita 1
Roberta 1
Robyn 1
Rodger 1
Rodney 1
Rodolphe 1
Rodrigo 1
Roland 1
Roma 1
Ronna-Rae 1
Rosane 1
Roseanne 1
Rosemary 1
Ross 1
Roxane 1
Roxanne 1
Royal 1
Ruby 1
Ruth 1
Sacha 1
Sadia 1
Saleh 1
Sameer 1
Samuel Frank 1
Sana 1
Sandra 1
Sandrine 1
Sandy 1
Sangeeta 1
Saulie 1
Scot 1
Sébastien 1
Shafik 1
Shama 1
Shan 1
Sharon 1
Shaunna 1
Shelley 1
Shelly 1
Shinder 1
Sid 1
Siobhan 1
Sonny 1
Stan 1
Steeve 1
Stephanie 1
Stewart 1
Sue 1
Sukh 1
Susanne 1
Suzie 1
Svetlana 1
Sydney 1
Sylvia 1
Sylvio 1
Taleeb 1
Tammy 1
Tania 1
Taras 1
Tarik 1
Taylor 1
Terence 1
Theodore 1
Theresa 1
Thierry 1
Tilly 1
Tisha 1
Tiziana 1
Todd 1
Tommy 1
Tomy 1
Trang 1
Travis 1
Trey 1
Trifon 1
Trish 1
Troy 1
Tunya 1
Tyler 1
Tyrone 1
Ujjal 1
Unblind 1
Valérie 1
Valery 1
Vanessa 1
Véronique 1
Vic 1
Victoria 1
Vivian 1
Wai 1
Wally 1
Wanda 1
Waseem 1
Wendell 1
Wes 1
Widler 1
Wladyslaw 1
Yaneisy 1
Yasmin 1
Yvonne 1
Zack 1
Zaki 1
Zenaida 1

Leaders casting out-of-riding votes

It is inevitable that on May 2, the media will be invited to see the party leaders cast ballots at their local polling stations.

The ballot-box photo-op, with thumbs-up and Jack-o-lantern grins, is a long-standing trope of election day coverage.

This election is unusual, however, in that the leaders of two of the largest parties do not actually live in the ridings in which they’ll cast  ballots.

While in Ottawa, both Conservative leader Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff enjoy the hospitality of Canadian taxpayers in the official residences of 24 Sussex and Stornoway, respectively.

And both do maintain residences in their hometowns. True to the demographic stereotypes of each, Harper lives in a new bedroom community in suburban Calgary while Ignatieff maintains a pied-a-terre in swish Yorkville.

According to financial contribution records published by Elections Canada, Harper’s home is in an area around Tuscany Park, which falls within the riding of Calgary West and is represented by fellow Conservative Rob Anders. It is not even adjacent to the Calgary Southwest riding Harper holds in the House of Commons.  (Harper was MP for Calgary West from 1993 to 1997, before he went to work for the National Citizens Coalition.)

Neighbours says Harper, his wife Laureen and kids still frequent the recently-developed area. One reports seeing him stroll down to the Mac’s store with his son to grab a slushy.

Similarly, Ignatieff’s condo near the Hazleton Lanes boutiques falls within Toronto Centre, a riding represented by Liberal Bob Rae.  Property records show he and his wife Zsuzanna Zsohar paid $537,290 for the unit on January 31, 2006 – a week after he was first elected in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. The riding is on the other side of the city, a three or four day drive away, depending on Toronto traffic.

Now, there is no requirement under the Elections Act that a candidate must live in a riding in which he or she runs. But mere mortals cannot vote in a riding unless they can produce proof of residency in one of its polling divisions.

There is, however, a little-known exemption in residency requirements that allow members of parliament and their co-habitants to cast a vote in their ridings.  The catch is that that they must already represent the riding in the House of Commons on the day before the government falls and an election is triggered.

That means that, unless they had secured an address within their respective ridings, neither Harper nor Ignatieff could have voted for themselves when they were first elected in their current ridings (Harper in 2002, after a hiatus from politics, and Ignatieff in 2006, after a hiatus from, well, living in Canada).

But once elected, they can vote in their ridings, or, if the choose, in the ridings where they really live, or in the ridings of their homes in the Ottawa area.

The rule serves three purposes: It allows MPs to continue to vote for themselves if the boundaries of their ridings are redrawn to exclude their homes. It also lets them avoid the cost of owning two homes, should they decided to settle down closer to work in Ottawa.

And, of course, it allows them to avoid the embarrassment of posing for a photo on election day while casting a ballot for someone else.

The unusual provision creates some interesting possibilities.  Instead of voting for himself, Harper could cast one for Rob Anders, whose election is only slightly less certain. Or he could put it behind Conservative long shot Rem Westland, who runs in Ottawa – Vanier, the riding that surrounds 24 Sussex and is, historically, the safest Liberal seat in the country.

With a Rockcliffe address, Ignatieff could also mark his ballot in Ottawa – Vanier for Liberal incumbent Mauril Belanger. Or he could help out his former university roommate and one-time leadership rival Bob Rae.

Or, as expected, he could just vote for himself and smile for the cameras.

Abortion hawks and doves

A speech by Conservative incumbent and candidate Brad Trost to a anti-abortion has thrust reproductive rights back onto the agenda.

Trost’s leader, Stephen Harper, was forced this morning to again re-state that he would not open the issue again. Harper was asked about his own views on a woman’s right to choose an abortion, but did not directly answer. He did, however, refer to a vote he cast against a private members’ bill on abortion last year.

That bill, C-510, was introduced by Manitoba Conservative Rod Bruinooge. It would have criminalized coercing someone to have an abortion, although not abortion itself.

On a vote on second reading in December, all New Democrats and Bloc MPs who voted were opposed to the bill.

Harper was among a group of 49 Conservatives voting against the bill, so it is probably not a true litmus test on how they’d vote on a bill directly impacting abortion rights. Also among them, cabinet ministers John Baird, Rob Nicholson, Peter MacKay and Bev Oda.

Also interesting, a smaller group of Liberal MPs voted against their party on the bill. Almost all represent suburban Toronto ridings with large ethnic communities who are believed to be less socially liberal.

The Liberals voting in favour of C-510: Ruby Dhalla, Albina Guarnieri, Jim Karygiannis, Kevin Lamoureux, Lawrence MacAulay, Gurbax Malhi, John McKay, Dan McTeague, Paul Szabo, and Alan Tonks.

H/T to howdtheyvote.ca for vote totals.