04.22.2010 08:05 AM

It ain’t tacking Left

…it’s occupying the centre, which is where all the votes are.

Very, very good news.


  1. jon evan says:

    “It is odd, very odd, when across the border an example of a winning progressive way stares right at them.”

    Really, we’ll have to wait for the mid term elections to see how “winning” indeed.

    Gee, I thought MI was about what unites Canadians? Provoking a culture war will really unite us?? Especially a culture war to see where indeed is the “centre” in Canada. This fluid place is shifting methinks!

  2. Robert says:

    ‘In his advice, Mr. Graves could hardly have been more blunt. “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.’

    I hope the Liberals have the spine not to take this ignominious advice, which would trade possible short-term gain for long-term pain. We see precisely how productive the culture war has been south of the border.

  3. Reality.Bites says:

    It’s really pretty simple. There’s a large number of people in this country who hate the Liberals and will never, ever vote Liberal no matter what they say or do. There’s an equally large number who hate the Conservatives and will never, ever vote Conservative, even if they make Bill Shatner the G-G.

    There’s no point in trying to please people who will never, ever support you when it also ends up displeasing those people who do support you. To win the election, the Liberals need to maintain and build their support in Ontario, Quebec, BC and the Atlantic provinces, not pour resources into trying to come second instead of third in a few more Alberta ridings.

  4. kelso says:

    If Ignatieff is looking for a culture war and a way to deal with that pesky crime issue, the issue that screams for his attention is cannabis (aka, supporting something like Keith Martin’s decrim + two plants bill). It out-polls the gun registry and could follow with that issue very well by slicing back into disaffected non-social conservative tories who polling shows a MAJOR segment of them support decrim. In addition, it also generates a ton of excitement among the progressive left, western voters (BC of course (60% want legalization)… but even Alberta polls higher than normal on this issue) and younger voters–all demographics that Ignatieff, for different political reasons (and often on contradictory issues), he is having a hell of a hard time appealing to.

    Indeed the counter-issues this hits on to the benefit of the Liberals is perfect: Fighting big drug kingpins, etc. Our current stance of wallowing in support of C-15 analogues that Nicholson throws at us is electoral suicide: We take the morale hit to our own party morale and electoral support while doing little-to-nothing to increase our own support.

    If we were smart, we would raise the stakes on this bill by offering decrim with the legal two plants provision Keith is advocating for–because you get a great (new) talking point about how fighting big crime syndicates by allowing users to grow their own, etc.

    Yeah, yeah, you can say, but the death penalty polls a slight majority all the time, and you don’t see parties jumping to support that right?… Wrong. Another thing to consider with pot politics is that those who support it… support it strongly. Go back and look at the voting behaviour of people supporting the Marijuana Party of Canada before Chretien announced decriminalization… it was massive for a fringe party, and all of those have shifted to the dippers, Greens and our party. Due to our lagging on the issue, even less so now for our party.

    Also, the polls are undeniable that this is a smart longterm electoral “investment” in terms of who’s support we are getting:

    “The pro-legalization position may have some generational momentum as well. According to an AARP poll conducted several years ago, while just 8 percent of Americans aged 70 or older had ever tried pot, lifetime usage rates grow to 58 percent among 45-49 year olds.”


    The polling is undeniably clear that it’s a smart wedge issue for the Liberals: http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/info_statistics.html

    In my canvassing work for the Federal party, you would not BELIEVE the number of times of our decriminalization position came up to people I talk to. Our declining support can be partly attributed to the fact that everyone we pleased with the 2003 announcement has long lost faith that we were ever serious on the issue.

    You can ridicule claims that it’s a winning issue, but marijuana decriminalization, at the bare minimum (without even making reference to the polling strengths of outright legalization) can’t be any worse than having our party leader say that kids need to be “digging ditches” to stay away from drugs. I don’t know a single person who didn’t cringe at that quote. And you know it.

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