Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Garneau Drops Out from #LPCLdr... sigh.

Marc Garneau, the person and MP I was supporting as my first and best choice to lead the federal Liberal Party of Canada, has decided to drop out because Justin Trudeau's campaign is a "fait accompli."

I am not a happy camper today.

But, this post was originally supposed to be a bit of a rant against Garneau, and how his reasoning is a tad faulty. I still believe that. The "fait accompli" reasoning, whereby Garneau drops out because Trudeau is a shoe-in to win, is not one I want to propagate. Its not a philosophically valid one to me. I would have been glad to have stuck with Garneau's campaign through to the very end, instead of giving up and giving in to the larger movement. Maybe that isn't a popular choice when you make a political decision, as Garneau definitely has by backing out, but its one that the Liberals continue to make. Our independence as a Party - one espoused by the Trudeau camp - relies on us maintaining that no matter what the popular opinion is these days, our Party is the better one because we've got the right ideas. No need for a merger or for co-operation, right?

Many people would say in that case that co-operation or merger is "fait accompli" as well. They're wrong, but that's their argument, and it can be an effective one. Here we see why this reasoning is a problem.

However, I wanted to point out the poll Garneau referenced during his press conference, as told by Quito Maggi:
Today Liberal Leadership contender Marc Garneau withdrew and endorsed Justin Trudeau for leader. During his Press Conference he referenced a survey that was done of members and party supporters, the results he cited were as follows.
Justin Trudeau - 72%
Marc Garneau - 15%
Joyce Murray - 7%
Martha Hall Findlay - 5%
Holy crap, that's a lead. The rest of Quito's post is very interesting so give it a read, but those first numbers are very frightening. A 57-point lead is nothing to scoff at, and in my haste to call shenanigans against Garneau for dropping out, I really looked over those numbers.

As someone who constantly touts the viability of polls, I can't help but come around to the idea that Garneau had good reason to drop out. It has a margin of just above 1-2%, with 6,000 respondents out of a population of 90,000-100,000 (the amount of people who have registered so far is 95,000, according to Quito Maggi) (this isn't a poll of registered voters). While one poll does not a trend make, it can definitely make a good case as to why Garneau wouldn't bother.

So, I get it. Trudeau is pretty much unbeatable at this point, and in a race where there is only one position up for grabs and seemingly no way to become a kingmaker, your motivation for staying in is hard. I can no longer simply blame Garneau for giving up - he has a good reason to.

That doesn't mean I agree with the decision, nor am I satisfied with it. But I can see why the decision was made. If someone gave me a poll(s) showing that co-operation had the same popularity, I would say the same thing.

So, what now? Do I back another candidate or go with Trudeau?

I'll have to admit right off the bat that I'm likely going to go with Trudeau. He was my second choice long before I saw this poll, and I stick by that. He has good ideas and a great style. He's intelligent and quick on his feet, and would make a great Liberal leader. I'll be proud to follow his leadership, just as I would have followed Garneau's.

Going forward, we need to try to change the current narrative that will dominate this race, which was definitely helped by Garneau's dropping out to support Trudeau. The idea of another Liberal coronation will be the biggest handicap coming out of this race. You and I know that there was a competition, but the broader media narrative is that we Liberals are just looking for another savoir, that we're only interested in the candidate that will lead us back to power, rather than someone substantive. Honestly, that may be true for a lot of people. It'll be up to us to ensure that it doesn't stick, by ensuring that Trudeau and his future team show that, yes, they've got ideas and they've got a plan for bringing the Liberals out of the dark.


  1. I was disappointed to see Garneau drop out. Seeing the poll results, it doesn't help me understand. So he wasn't going to win and he knew that - he almost said so in an interview several days ago where he talked about being a good soldier. But does that require him to drop out? I wouldn't think so. The only reason I see for dropping out is if you are down at a few percent or if you feel the rest of the campaign will be more polarizing because of your presence. Neither is true for Garneau.

    But I know Garneau is thoughtful and dedicated to service, so I'm sure he thinks this is the best decision.

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean ch. I would have preferred to have seen him stick around as well. But, when faced with overwhelming odds, you do need to give up at some point...

      The issue is whether Trudeau will continue to handle himself properly. His feet still needs to be held to the fire to ensure mistakes are few.

  2. Lol, I was going to go watch a movie with my youngest daughter, but stopped quickly to follow that link to the FB page. I have to say, the 'statistics' there are not a useful analytical tool. Not even a bit of it. The supporters and members polled were the 90,000 in existence at the end of 2011. Zero input from the newly enrolled. In other words, not a representative sample. I was thinking 'holy cow! game over with over 70%, but I wouldn't want to draw any conclusions from it now. We shall see, but I think Joyce Murray will still surprise. She will not win now that the deadline for registration has been extended, but I will bet folding money she will do very well.

    1. Where did you see that the 90,000 was out of party members pre-2012? Because it couldn't be members and "Supporters" before then, since we didn't have the category until January 2012...

    2. My apologies, I mis-spoke myself. The 90,000 population polled was at year end 2012, not 2011. As such it will include all the actual paid up members, who will disproportionatly include those without email addresses to contact, and the supporters who signed up prior to the leadership contests kicking into high gear with electronic signups. The 200,000 supporters and members who were not included will be skewed seven ways from Sunday away from the sample. Especially for Murrays supporters. Trudeau will still almost certainly win, but I would not spend a lot of time analysing that poll. It is just too old. (also a robo-poll is not exactly the most accurate). Basically, while the sample size is huge, and despite any inaccuracies in methodology, the MOE is small for 2012 year end, the combination of 1) Registration bias (email vs. snail mail) 2) zero supporters from Leadnow & Fairvote included 3) Garneau and Takach supporters now 'homeless' yields a type II error that renders the poll problematic, since the population you would want to sample is members and supporters registered to vote

  3. But remember, "ITS NOT A CORONATION!"