Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Place Your Bets, Canadian Edition

As I have noted before, I get emails from random betting ventures about the odds of various things.  The latest one is from Bodog with a strange starting point:  When will the next election be held?  The expected date is October 21st.  Canada passed legislation a while back that would make the elections more predictable--every four years--rather than being called when the Prime Minister feels like it--on the third Monday of October.  However, the PM can still call an election early anyway.But there is no reason to call it now.  If they had to do it all over again, they would have called one last summer, pre SNC-Lavalin scandal.

More recently, this date has become somewhat controversial because it is the same date as a Jewish holiday.  Rosh Hashanah?  Nope.  Yom Kippur?  Nope.  Shavout?  Nope. Shemini Atzeret.  Huh??  Sure, I am a lousy Jew (my education stopped at 13, and I don't believe), but I never heard of this holiday (its related holiday, Simchat Torah, I have heard of, but never considered to be a very important day).  Ok, so it is respected by Orthodox Jews, who, well, have a whole lot of dates they care about.  I tend not to care what they think because I think fundamentalists fundamentally suck, but putting that aside, it is not clear how large a sect has to be to upset the apple cart or be reasonably accommodated.  For Elections Canada, other dates are problematic for other reasons, and they figure these folks can vote in other ways ahead of time.  And I am fine with that very reasonable accommodation (some might say that I am ok with the ultra-religious being disenfranchised, and, well, um, maybe so). 

Back to the wagering, Bodog has the odds as:
Yes, the election takes place on October 21st, 2019:  -1200 (you have to bet 1200 to win 100), which makes this a big favorite.
No, it does not: +650.  Which means you bet $100 and win $650. 
The status quo is a big, big favorite.

How about the election itself?  This is the fun wager and what people really care about.  Note, people vote for individual candidates in their ridings (districts), not for a particular PM, but the results produce a PM nonetheless.

Justin Trudeau -120
Andrew Scheer -110
Jagmeet Singh +1200
Elizabeth May +10,000
Maxime Bernier +50,000
Yves-Francois Blanchet +90,000

I find this to be a weenie stance by Bodog: two co-favorites--the Liberal Trudeau and the Conservative Scheer.  Duh!  Of course, one of the two will win.  While the third place party surprised last time (that would be Justin Trudeau and the Liberals), given the variety of obstacles Singh and the NDP face (he is, um, a crappy candidate; the NDP's base is in xenophobic Quebec which just passed laws against visible religious symbols and Singh is a Sikh; etc), it really is a two party race with the polls having the Conservatives ahead (thanks to bone-headed Liberal handling of a corrupt company). 

How would I bet?  I would bet on Trudeau and the Liberals.  Is this wishful thinking?  I don't think so.  Is it the same bad judgement that I had in November 2016 that has my sister telling me to stop making predictions?  Of course.  But why would I bet on the Liberals?
  • Trudeau, for all of his faults, has charisma that Scheer simply does not have.
  • Scheer has not yet demonstrated that he has decent political instincts.
  • Scheer faces the temptation to pander to the right as Bernier's xenophobic, racist, Islamophobic party might attract some Trump fans among the Conservative Party.
  • Trudeau has been most generous with spending money across Canada, and budget deficits are not going to scare people into voting for the Conservatives.
  • Doug Ford may cause some folks to wonder about the Conservative brand--cutting programs for Francophones in Ontario, generally being a bully, etc.  While Canada has a deeper disconnect between provincial and national parties, Doug Ford has a larger presence than most Premiers (governors).  
The big questions:
  • Will those NDP voters who voted for Trudeau last time remain alienated due to the broken electoral reform promise?
  • How will pipeline politics affect the Liberals?
  • Will Trump do or say something that will make the Conservatives to appear to be likely allies/toadies of the US?
The only certainties:
  • all parties will pander to the shipbuilding industries on either coast, with the Liberals also making a play for Quebec shipbuilding.
  • the ads will mostly suck
  • I will be wrong.  This is not just my sister thinking that--I am not a student of Canadian politics.  Other folks are far more expert.  But this is my blog, and I can cry if I want to.
  • Folks will raise and dismiss the possibility of coalitions even though they are perfectly legal, and they happen in the Commonwealth countries on a regular basis (UK more common now, NZ always, Aussies often enough).  
  • There is much yet to come to shake things up

 How will you bet?

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