| ||11 04 30
|Something unusual is happening in this riding. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. I was working Saturday at the Bayfield Home and Garden Show. Grant Robertson dropped in for a visit. He was treated like a visiting rock star or something. (You could tell he was a little overwhelmed at first clearly not expecting it). It was the strangest damn thing I have seen in this riding for an NDP candidate. People who I know have worked on Liberal and Conservative campaigns before even were actually going up to him to offer their support and best wishes and saying how they think he will win. He got stopped a few feet down from my booth and I watched and listened as they came up to him. I am at the point now where I think all bets are off in this riding. Which just stuns me.|
| ||11 04 29
|Back home this week and Ben Lobb is being well received by people who have voted Liberal Since the Mike Pearson era. He is not taking anything for granted and is going to be rewarded for it. One long time Liberal told me Lobb reminded him of Murray Gaunt for being willing to listen and show compassion for their concenrs. That is a huge compliment to anyone who knew Murray as their MPP as I did.|
Bagnatto is managing to alienate all but the most commited Liberal voters and they have surely all bought clothespins to hold their nose for the occasion. He has behaved bizarely as others note and was a bitter loser in the Walkerton Mayoral race - his real centre of â€˜powerâ€™ He's toast and the Dipps just aren't strong here never have been, never will be.
| ||11 04 27
|The Liberal vote here is collapsing and fast. |
Charlie Bagnato's irrational and bizarre twitter rants and personal attacks on Grant Robertson's integrity is proof of a Liberal campaign going down the tubes. And given Bagnato's answering the same question different ways in different all-candidates meetings (something Eric Shelley pointed out) and his divisive, failed time as mayor makes him a fine one to talk. To stoop to attacking the character of someone like Robertson, or even a good, if ineffective, person like Lobb shows Bagnato was never ready for prime time.
This riding is getting very, very interesting. Still leaning Conservative I would think, but it may be a very long night on May 2nd.
By the way Shelley is a revelation. Young man has quite a future ahead of him. If elections were about merit he would be placing well ahead of Charlie Bagnato and be vying for top spot- as it is the Greens will be lucy to break 5%.
| ||11 04 26
|Guess Jack Layton is making history now! He's a very sharp man, however I don't think Grant Robertson can compare. Ben Lobb wouldn't say crap if his mouth was full of it. Harper doesn't allow his people to give their opinions on anything. Iggy is extremely intelligent... But not appreciated enough by the masses. Charlie Bagnato lost his position as mayor in the last Brockton election. He won 2/3 times which is good odds. Politics is a gamble... No one stays in one position forever unless your name is Fidel ;-) That election has nothing to do with this one. There have been many more famous politicians in Canada lose an election, only to come back and win in the future. |
Within Canada as a whole I think the NDP are finally going to be a national party. That's a great achievement for them.
Harper will definitely not get his majority... Wouldn't surprise me he'll even be down in numbers for his minority. He should have tried to get along with the other Kid's on the playground.
All this will probably mean heads are going to roll in the Conservative & Liberal party. Too many people do not like the top representatives of both these parties.
| ||11 04 22
|Seriously MH how can you suggest a failed and unpopular mayor that was defeated by a 3-1 vote will raise Liberal numbers over the popular and respected Greg McClinchy? That is just fantasy, especially with what is happening in the polls. If this was some past NDP candidates in a different election I might agree, but Robertson is front bench material (and probably one of the top 5 or 10 strongest non-incumbent NDP candidates in Ontario) and the dynamic is in major flux in this election. So predicting a Bagnato increase is based on nothing but wishful thinking.|
If you attend the debates, Bagnato is a non-factor (and is kind of embarrassing to watch) and Ben Lobb spends all of his time concentrating on Grant Robertson. Lobb knows who his real competition is.
I still expect Lobb to win, maybe a little less handily than I thought at the start of the campaign, but it is becoming clearer and clear that it is Robertson who is going to push the envelope in this riding.
| ||11 04 21
|Should be an easy hold for Ben Lobb, though Charlie Bagnato should raise the Liberal numbers somewhat. Some commentators seem to think that the NDP will take second place. I know the area, and I find the prediction puzzling. The NDP has never polled higher than 16-17% in H-B, and there's no convincing reason for thinking Grant Robertson, strong a candidate as he may be, will do significantly better than that on May 2.|
| ||11 04 18
|OMG Grant Robertson just handed Charlie Bagnato his rear on live radio in the only debate that matters. Bagnato came off confused and reeling through out the whole thing but especially after a question came up about his failure as a mayor. And Robertson drove it home. Some really good body shots on the Conservatives too. Robertson clear winner of the debate. And this was on the very popular Bryan Allan show with real voters listening, not the usual all candidates debate hall which is just filled with party supporters.|
The question is will it be enough and will it make a difference? Doubt he will touch Lobb still, but as Jeff says if Robertson was running for either other party he would have a lock on a clear majority of votes I expect.
| ||11 04 14
|An otherwise boring race is made interesting as the NDP's great Ontarian agrarian hope Grant Robertson is an absolute standout candidate; head and shoulders above his competition, even his opponents have grudgingly agreed that he'd likely be elected under any other banner. And he's giving it a third kick at the can. Can he inspire other rural NDP ridings by placing a strong second? Can he use this as a launch into the upcoming provincial election? Or will it be another above-average-but-not-great 15 percent vote-share result?|
| ||11 04 06
|I work in this riding and have driven around a significant portion of it. What I am surprised at is the prevalence of Liberal signs and the relative absence of Conservative and NDP signs in many regions. Its still early but there are signs (pardon the pun) that the Liberal campaign is more well organized here than the Conservatives. This could end up being an election day surprise if the Conservatives aren't careful.|
| ||11 04 06
|I spend a lot of time in this riding much of my family is still living there. The Liberal support in Huron was more Steckle then Liberal. Paul is long gone and Bagnato is not likely to bring them back into the Liberal fold. Liberals in the Bruce end of the riding (I was born into this so I know) could not vote for someone else if the devil himself was running for the Liberals and the local priests spoke out against him in the pulpit. Huron is much bigger portion and carries the day. Oh and Ben Lobb has not been so ineffective as those who have axes to grind seem to think|
| ||11 04 05
|Actually this is not a 'conservative' riding as much as a populist riding. Politicians who have had success here, with the exception of Ben Lobb (an Ottawa man if there ever was one) have all fit that mould regardless of party.|
With the national scene this looks still like a safe Conservative win. Expect the NDP to come a strong second. That will be the interesting race. Bagnato, the former mayor of Brockton was crushed in the municipal election by those who know him best. He was at best an incompetent mayor from what I hear, and people were happy to see the back of him. A lot of Bruce Liberals say they are voting NDP simply because they don't like Bagnato and really like Grant Robertson. Most of the Liberal vote will likely come from Huron, where no one knows Bagnato- so they are just voting for the brand.
Robertson is on the right side of the wind issue, on the right side of risk management and well known. Bagnato, when mayor, blamed farmers for the high taxes in Brockton- rather than his poor record and no one knows who he is.
So in the real race in the riding Robertson beats Bagnato- but without some kind of big bump from the national NDP campaign (which doesn't seem on the horizon) doesn't touch Lobb. I see it coming out something like Lobb 42, Robertson 30, Bagnato 25, Others including Green 3. Shame really as Lobb has not been an effective MP, is very arrogant (based on personal interaction) and someone like Grant Robertson would be a good constituency MP, rattle some cages in Ottawa and add some needed humour to local politics. (sort of like a federal Bill Murdoch)
By the way - more than a week into the election and still no Green candidate from what I can tell.
| ||11 03 28
|This was not a Liberal riding, it was a Paul Steckle riding who was pretty right wing on a whole host of issues. This is every bit as Conservative as the neighbouring ridings and with Paul Steckle gone, that means an easy Conservative win.|
| ||11 03 28
|Of all the Tory gains in Ontario in 2008, this is probably their surest hold; they did better share-wise in a few other seats, but they were all suburban, and this doesn't strike me as the kind of riding the Liberals will be going after this time around.|
| ||10 09 21
|Well it's official Robertson is in. The NDP seems to have their sights set on the riding. They sent no fewer than 3 MPs into the riding, including Jack Layton for the nomination. Robertson brings instant credibility to the NDP and is a far stronger candidate, even than in the past having served as the Ontario head of the National Farmers Union and been a weekly regular in local papers and on radio with his NFU commentaries. Charlie Bagnato must be having a hissy fit. |
Today what was billed as a short interview with Robertson on CKNX radio's Bryan Allen show, which is wildly popular, turned into an hour and half lovefest (on the gun registry no less) with Robertson clearly the master of the subject and handing the Conservatives and Liberals their rear ends on a platter on the issue. No idea how he did that even as it should have been dangerous ground for him.
Lobb wins, I expect fairly handily, but Robertson vaults into 2nd with a good shot at the 2011 provincial depending on when we have the federal.
| ||10 03 05
|Given the current circumstances Lobb is likely the safest bet, but I think it is interesting that Grant Robertson, current Ontario President of the National Farmers Union has announced he is not seeking re-election at their upcoming convention. It has been over 3 years serving at a pretty high level with little financial compensation so maybe it is just time. Or maybe he has other plans?|
You might not get the importance of farming or of the voice this guy has built up if you are not from here, but it seems like the stars might be aligning for a pretty interesting race. Then again maybe he is going after Bagnato's job as Mayor as they both live in Brockton. Or maybe it is nothing and he just wants to hang out at home more. Doesn't seem like the kind of guy to take up whittling as a past time though.
| ||10 01 30
|Maybe it's a vestige of Liberal incumbency, but it's interesting how little, relative to the rest of Ontario, 2008's end result differed from what might have transpired had Steckle run again--the Grits were still above 30%, Ben Lobb was held below 45%, etc. But I agree that it'd take a heroic effort for the Liberals to recover this now, unless they strike a note of maverick rural populism (and btw/Bagnato and the Steckle legacy, who knows--and hey, as '88's free trade election and even, in certain spots, '99's provincial McGuinty debut proved, it isn't out of the question) Then again, Huron-Bruce has historically been an EPP obsession point for the *NDP* as a latent rural-populist parking spot--though as I've stated before, it'll only happen if/when Jack Layton makes good on his running-for-PM nominal-opposition claims...|
| ||09 10 20
|The conservatives are more than likely going to hold this one now that Ben Lobb is the mp and its former liberal history is becoming well history. it was never that liberal of a riding to begin with and Paul Steckle held it more because of his personal popularity than the liberal brand. and in ontario at the moment the conservatives are the dominate party outside of toronto and hold the most seats and lead in the polls. Ben Lobb also has the advantage of being able to fund projects in the riding and deliver some results from ottawa. and the liberals seem to have a hard time keeping candidates in these ridings as Greg McClinchey who ran last time isn't coming back and was recently replaced with a new candidate Charlie Bagnato. now the liberals still have supporters in these ridings but not nearly enough to win them back when considering the current political realities.|
| ||09 09 29
|I was raised in this riding and still spend a ton of time here with work and family. I come from that Bruce part of the riding referred to by others.|
If Charlie Bagnatto is the answer to any question it was ?who is the least of two horrible choices? coming out of the water fiasco. People who I know personally to have had red lawn signs for decades are not smitten with him in his heart area of support.
Ben Lobb is no dynamo but he also isn't arrogant and is definitely not a liability in the riding.
Huron won't cotton to the mayor of some Bruce County town as their MP if they have a home grown choice and Huron has been far more Tory than that Bruce Liberal enclave.
This riding went red when all of Ontario did but it was only Paul Steckle the local man that kept it red till last election. Until another PS comes around during a liberal rout this is CPC territory. I think you could be safe to say that rout is not coming this election. As Prof Bear and Ape said below until the Libs become attractive to rural voters you could this to be Blue. I'm as sure of that as the likely hood of a massive blue majority of Mulroney proportions being needed to wrest more than two or three Toronto seats away from the Libs
| ||09 09 17
|M - Charlie Bagnato is not a farmer. Far from it. He is a former Liquor Store Manager who has only ever lived in cities and towns. He has lots going for him, but lets not make things up.|
And cathy, Ben Lobb has done nothing more than any other MP would do. Do not make it sound like Lobb had anything to do with it. By your logic then every currently sitting MP, regardless of party should be re-elected. And the dismissal of someone who worked as hard for his riding, agree with him or not, as Paul Steckle shows how arrogant and foolish this brand of Conservative really is.
Still believe that if Bagnato and Robertson (who would be the only real farmer- along with a nationally recognized leader on farm issues) enter the race Lobb is in serious trouble under current circumstances, but hard to say how long those will last, or whether one of both of them will be challenging Lobb.
| ||09 09 15
|I agree that the mayor of Brockton will indeed be a very strong candidate should the liberals nominate him, which by the way, I would fully expect. He is also a farmer and hence, will resonate with the rural population as well. I have to completely agree with the other poster that stated that Lobb has done nothing and is turning into an arrogant backbencher. I would take this one step further: Lobb says that he abhors the extreme partisanship but engages fully in it by mailing out the 10 percenter flyers attacking the liberals, hence being an arrogant, hypocritical partisan backbencher. Furthermore, Lobb has done nothing in terms of getting appropriate federal agricultural programs in place to help the farmers. No Risk Management Program at all, and the recent pork announcement was taken as a serious insult that would add to pork farmers debt loads and not actually give them the help that they need. All these issues will come up during the election and will help seal the demise of Ben Lobb's political career.|
| ||09 09 15
|Farmer Fred: Not sure what you have been up to in the last year but Lobb has delivered 60 million dollars in Federal dollars to the riding-likely more than his predecesor did in his 15 year career. No way this riding will change hands! Who could dispute those kind of results!|
| ||09 09 12
|I live in this riding.|
If any riding in the area will slip out of the conservative column it is this one. Ben Lobb has been a very poor MP doing nothing to distinguish himself and turning into a very arrogant invisible backbencher in the process.
Charlie Bagnato the Mayor of Brockton (it includes Walkerton) is running for the Liberal nomination. He will have a solid base of support to draw on. He is well know in the Bruce part of the riding, although profile to the south in Huron is probably very low. Still this is one of the people who emerged out of the Walkerton water scandal smelling like a rose.
Rumour is that the current Ontario President of the National Farmers Union is being courted to run for the NDP. If Robertson does run, this becomes a three way race on day one. CKNX radio broadcasts his very popular commentaries every week - three of four times a day and he is a regular in a number of area newspapers. Not your typical dipper.
Greens are not a factor in this riding.
So if Bagnato and Robertson challenge Lobb this should immediately become a too close to call race as local factors will play heavily outside the national contest. If neither does, it will be a cake walk for Lobb.
| ||09 08 22
||Dr Bear & Prof Ape|
|This was a Paul Steckle riding, now it has joined it's neighbours in shunning the Liberals. This will stay conservative blue until the Liberals become competitive again in rural Canada.|