Friday, June 18, 2010

Air Canada smashes priceless lute*

I've had my share of baggage trouble of late, including a bag lost for a month, and a bottle of wine stolen from my luggage. But, if I was travelling with the equivalent of a suitcase full of $300,000, you can be sure I'd be taking up Air Canada on it's offer to buy the suitcase a seat and to carry it on board. 

The story is here

*Despite the headline, the lute does in fact have a price. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ignatieff's new foreign policy

Michael Ignatieff has released a new policy paper outlining his party's foreign policy. Among it's recommendations is keeping Canadian troops in Afghanistan after 2011, though in a training capacity. The merits or faults of this aside, it's an immensely important policy. 

So, what happens when Canada's largest paper writes an editorial about this? First, it buries this proposal in the last paragraph. And then it tells us that such details matter less than how bold the paper is. Really? What matters more than what a country does is how boldly and loudly it proclaims what it wants to do? Isn't that sort of the problem with our foreign policy in the first place? 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

War deaths increase local Conservative support

Daniel Rubenson and I presented the latest version of our paper on war deaths and Conservative candidate support. The basic story is that in 2008, Conservative candidates did better in constituencies that had experienced a war death. The abstract is here: 

War comes with terrible costs both in terms of money and lives. Do voters punish incumbents for theses costs? Much of the existing literature on the effects of war deaths on public opinion toward incumbents and their war efforts suggests that the answer is yes. We test this proposition on data from a non-US case: Canada's war in Afghanistan. We estimate models of the effect of local war deaths on government candidate support using both individual level panel data from the 2006 and 2008 Canadian Election Study and aggregate district level data. In none of our models do we find support for the conclusion that war deaths decrease support for candidates of the governing party. Instead we find strong evidence at both the individual and district levels that support for Conservative Party candidates is higher in districts that experienced war deaths.

The paper is here. And a nice article about it in the Toronto Star is here!