03.14.2011 12:53 PM

23 per cent

Interesting piece. I think the writer was trying to be kind to some people who are about to have an unkind time between the end of this month and May 9. Fair enough.

Two comments: one, when credible polling firms start to watermark you at or near 23 per cent, you shouldn’t be listened to anymore for your brilliant strategic insight.

Two, “self-abnegation.” Calling your own leader “an egghead”? Ensuring the piece has more to say about staff than caucus? May as well have agreed to attribution with those, big guy.


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    Riley Hennessey says:


    Why do you think so few senior Liberal strategists are keeping quiet about these numbers? I’ve looked around, and I don’t see too many serious-minded Liberals cautioning against an election. Instead, I see a rampage right off a cliff.

    What’s in the water that is making everyone so damned crazy? Are there senior Liberals who actually want a Conservative majority? Forget the blind partisan commenters, I am wondering why more seasoned veteran’s aren’t standing up like you are?

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      The Doctor says:

      I honestly think that too many influential Liberals are trapped in the Ottawa-Toronto beltway bubble. They spend way too much time hanging around with, and talking with, people just like themselves who loathe Harper and the Conservatives with every fibre of their being. Thus they see ridding the world of Harper as the most important issue facing humankind.

      Although I’m not a fan of Harper myself, I think the problem is, this mindset of the LPC elite and hardcore partisans is not the prevailing mindset in main street Canada these days. The average Canadian doesn’t have the warm fuzzies over Harper — far from it — but neither does the average Canadian see Harper as the Antichrist the way LPC insiders and partisans do.

      In contrast, I think that when Chretien was leader, the LPC braintrust was more in touch with what Joe and Jane Average were thinking and concerned about.

      It seems to me that the LPC campaign strategy, as outlined in Wells’ article, is to convince Canadians at large that they should loathe Harper as much as LPC insiders and partisans do. I just don’t get a good feeling about that. It seems to me that, for one thing, it’s entirely an election about The Other Guys (campaign narrative is “the Conservatives Suck”). It’s not an election based on any terribly compelling narrative about what a Liberal government would do or look like. It’s ok to run an election about how awful the other guys are when there’s as huge, gripping scandal out there (e.g., Adscam, Watergate) or when the economy is absolutely in the crapper (Jimmy Carter circa 1980, Mulroney-Campbell 1993). But neither is the case right now.

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        Riley Hennessey says:

        Bang on Doctor. I agree 100%. When you’ve got your hate-blinders on, not much else picks up on the radarscreen.

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          Cath says:

          ditto from me Doc. Well written.

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          Brammer says:

          …which has been both Harper’s reason for success and his achilles heel (his own personal hate-blinders).

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        Pete says:

        the Tories ran on Liberal sins and won;why can’t the libs do the same?

        The scandals keep on coming and I beleive there are dandys coming just around the corner that the Lib braintrust seems to know about

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          The Doctor says:

          Pete, my answer to your question is: there is a time for running on the other party’s sins, and there are times when you run on a positive program of your own. But by and large, politics is like hockey — you have to be prepared to play both ways, offence and defence, and often within the same campaign. Personally, I see the LPC focus as being too much in one direction, i.e., all about how horrible Harper and the Cons are, with not nearly enough focus on what precisely the LPC proposes to do differently.

          As other wise people have pointed out, when the CPC won in 2006, two things were going on that are not present today:

          1. The LPC had been in power for 13 years. In contrast, the CPC has been in power for 5.

          2. The CPC had some specific, punchy, easily digestible (and, as it turns out, politically popular) policy planks. Most notably, the GST cut and the child care payment. Right now, if you stick a microphone in front of most Canadians, and ask them what the LPC plans to do if elected, I swear you would get mostly shrugs and blank stares.

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            Cath says:

            again Doc. well said

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        hugger says:

        by happenstance;

        Now that’s funny.

        Palin is a great asset to the Democrats in the US and can be counted on to set herself up for scorn and ridicule. No outside effort necessary really. It’s good fun poking at her though, especially considering not only does she takes offense, people like you do to.

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          hugger says:

          No not you E, I was commenting on Gord catching a CPC ad by “happenstance”.

          Happenstance seems to occurring quite regularly these days in respect to those ads.

          I find this layout confusing at times too.

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    Riley Hennessey says:

    Here’s another question to discuss. I think we can all agree that the media in the last two to three weeks has been relentless against the Conservatives. I’d also argue that the Cons really haven’t launched much of a counter-offensive. So for argument’s sake, let’s agree that the Liberals have won the spin-war for the past three weeks. Despite this, the numbers haven’t improved for the Libs at all.

    So imagine now a scenario where the Conservatives actually grow some balls and launch a significant counter-offensive. Do Liberals think A.) that they’ll still be able to retain the upper hand in media-play and B.) that they can improve their numbers against an emboldened assault?

    For those like Namesake who will say “oh you’re just a ConBot Troll”… ask yourself why I’d argue against a campaign if I really believed all of the above was true.

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      Namesake says:

      “..and launch a significant counter-offensive” — what, have you been living in an underground bunker in a media blackout?

      The Cons have spent about $35-M in carpet-bombing — and -bagging — ads over the past three months, incl. both the Harper Gov’t & the Harper Party series.

      And they and their spokes-thingies have been hitting all the talking heads shows, playing down the scandals, resurrecting the ghost of Adscam, talking up the jets, and down the PBO, and are doing their second dog & pony EAP blitz tomorrow, etc etc. They’ve hardly been sitting on their hands.

      And if you didn’t spend so much time talking amiably with the Blogging Tories over the years saying things like, “I think Harper has been more progressive than Chretien or Martin ever were,” http://urlm.in/hhln

      or describing one of its caucus, a former Cabinet Minister, as a “joke” and an “alcoholic,” http://urlm.in/hhlm

      then maybe I wouldn’t be so inclined to regard you as a troll.

      As for why the Libs might still be willing to risk an election despite the public polls, has it not occurred to you that they might have done some fairly extensive PRIVATE polls of their own in the key ridings, and might believe that the larger EKOS polls showing just a 5-7 pt., striking distance gap are probably far more accurate, or that they’ve probably got a bunch of focus-group tested ads ready that they believe will close that gap as soon as they’re run for a week or two?

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        Namesake says:

        oops, “its caucus” was too ambiguous: it was a Liberal MP Riley was maligning that way.

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        Namesake says:

        Is that why you keep haunting these halls? Because you think WK’s still running — or even connected — to the LPC war room? Still with the finger on the pulse there, eh, Gord?

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        Namesake says:

        So you’ve already forgotten the big (n of 6,000) internal LPC poll by Pollara that everyone was talking about in January, re: the ‘only 15% are paying attention meme’?

        Which had the identical 7-pt. CPC / LPC gap as the Ekos of half its size, thereby validating the latter’s future runs of nearly 3,000 completions?

        ‘Cuz I haven’t. And I doubt the CPC war room has, either.


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    TDotRome says:

    It does seem like there is a lot more focus in the party. Thank goodness. Because, at least, all they have to deal with is an image of fumbling & bumbling, instead of actual fumbling & bumbling. They’ve got a big wall to break down, it’s good to see that the picks are in hand. Now, we’ll have to see how well they swing them.

    Iggy is going to have to start embracing the “egghead” a little more, imo. Frankly, that’s what he is, and he shouldn’t shy away from that. Voters want you to be genuine, and if you aren’t, you’ll be punished at the polling station. Rob Ford is an ass, but he’s a genuine ass. Same for Harper (or he comes off as that, at least).

    If Iggy could learn to show himself as proud of his “intellectual” past, he’d poll better. Be international, be smart. Nobody actually has a problem with these things. They will have a problem if you act like you’re ashamed of them. And, it looks like you’re giving in to the Tory attack ads. Instead they should attack back.

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    Brian says:

    I hate to say it, but the other day, I stopped and thought about a coming election. And I thought about the dozens of really outrageous things the “Harper Government” has done to piss me off in the last few years.

    But then, I thought about the alternative.

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      Pete says:

      Conversely I had dinner with a former president of the tories and he said there was no way he would ever vote for Harper the “little prick” who he thinks will ruin the party a la mulroney who this guy distrusted as well. He said that if the Libs could get some Chretien cojones they would clean up.

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        Brian says:

        Small problem with your point: no Chretien cojones on the horizon.

        Yet an election *is* on the horizon.

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        Cath says:

        big deal Pete. I had a chance to attend a mulroney event once in Toronto and chose to go to Top Dogs instead.

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      Cameron Prymak says:

      As an example do you mean an alternative to Mr. Harper taking credit for the Canadian banking system he inherited? I think the Liberals kept that structure in place and resisted lobbying to loosen regulations that would have had Canada create more of a more US-style system.

      You’ll recall Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty were in denial in 2008 about the impending global financial crisis. They actually forecasted a $100M surplus and through that mismanagement brought on the first prorogation fiasco. How long was the House of Commons not in session while the global economy collapsed?

      So when Conservatives point to their great ‘management’ of the Canadian economy and simultaneously launch attack ads against the opposition I have to scratch my head.

      I also noted with some concern that Mr. Harper’s pronouncements to have G8 countries shut down stimulus funding were met with polite but deafening silence from world leaders this past summer – not exactly a ringing endorsement. Then there’s our failed attempt to secure a seat on the U.N. Security Council. I am pretty sure others can add a few more examples but it doesn’t really matter.

      So what exactly are concerns you about the alternative? That the guy was a successful professor at one of the world’s best universities?? That’s something to be ashamed of in your books?

      And the more I think about this it’s sort of like saying the NHL shouldn’t have expanded to the US. Or maybe you want to ask a bunch of Canadian actors and musicians to just give it up and come home. People should be free to pursue their dreams, not penalized for it.

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    Philip says:

    As quoted in the article “even paralysis has a cost”. Pretty true with the LPC party now. I just can’t imagine the cost if we had to devour ourselves whole by supporting Harper’s budget through the three or four votes in the House. I just don’t see how that could even benefit us. I guess the question I have for those who are in favour of voting for the budget, is what will change substantially in the next 12 to 18 months? Vote non-confidence now, if an election is triggered, so be it. Campaign tough and let the Canadian voter decide if they want a Conservative Party majority.

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    Cath says:

    It gets better Warren. I just heard on CTV that Ignatieff, if elected PM would build arenas in Quebec and across Canada.
    How be the Liberals just wrap Ignatieff up, stick a bow on him and deliver him to the PM’s Sussex door.

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      Namesake says:

      Aw, what’s the matter, catheter, sulky about getting outflanked on an issue for a change?

      The Cons. have been playing footsie on this for months, before they started taking too much heat from their own base (even foot servant Stephen Taylor felt obliged to speak out, given his new paying job, for, er, his Master’s old paying job’s org., the tax-hating NCC). And they STILL are, really… holding out the possibility of building roads or something TO the building (but just not the building itself).

      And MI already said a month or two ago that he’d support what the CPC was talking about, of entering a 4-way partnership with the 3 levels of gov’t and private investors IF it wasn’t just a pro-sports but instead was a multipurpose facility.

      And, as when he agreed with extending the Afghan mission for training, he was, as is his impolitic wont, speaking honestly about what he believes he actually would and should do if he were PM (rather than in a Machiavellian way, about what it might be most advantageous to say as an Opposition leader regardless of his own views). And he expended political capital on that, in several quarters (who thought, “D’oh! He did it again! Why didn’t he just stay silent and hope it hurts them with their base! Or savage it, even if he’d do it in their place?” Answer: because he’s got… say it with me, now… Integrity.)

      But whereas you lot cut & ran (or as Taylor said on P&P today, just deflated the trial balloon) from the stadium deal, he’s stayed, er, consistent.

      Only this time, instead of it just costing him votes, as on the Afghan issue, he may actually pick up a few seats on it, in QC, since your photo-op gang more or less promised you’d build it & they (the Nordiques) would come back home, and then reneged.

      So: n’yah, n’yah.

      And the beauty of it is, it even puts QMI in a bit of a pickle as to whether to continue to dedicate itself to crushing MI & the Liberals, being as its owner is also, er, a major owner of the now jilted stadium.

      So, good for him for not retreating and for managing to score some political points of his own, for a change (even if it was despite himself).

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        Cath says:

        Ignatieff can promise all he wants in Quebec it will not change his fortunes (or misfortunes) in Quebec or Canada for that matter.

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      Derek Pearce says:

      Bingo. By standing pat it, looking like your acquiescing to the government, your *are* acquiescing. It’s time to go head-to-head. Really, what’s going to happen between now and the fall, or next spring or next fall– other than some manna-from-heaven major scandal which can’t be counted on– that would change the poll numbers? Ignatieff has nowhere to go but up from the dismal performance of the party in the ’08 election. Bring it.

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    Herta says:

    I’m one of those ordinary “Jane & Joe” types. I also fit into the C.A.R.P. demographic and frankly, I am deeply disturbed by the current Conservatives. In fact, many of my friends are too. I honestly don’t know how well the Liberals will do in an upcoming election but at this point, I think it’s better to put the cards on the table and clear the air. Just hoping we won’t end up with a worse scenario than before.

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      Brammer says:

      Reg Alcock suggested that we should not worry about a con majority as there are checks and balances in place to prevent rampant abuse. However, the way Harper has pissed on parliamentary conventions, I do worry. If it is not spelled out in law (and most parliamentary conventions are not), then it is fair game for the Cons. Hell, even if it is law, I would still not relax too much, given the Cons disdain for “activist” judges who do not see things their way.

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    Francesco says:

    The same poll has the conservatives at 36%, which is at or near where the were in the last election. Thus, despite all the “relentless” advertising via the Economic Action Plan commercials and the attack ads and with no counterpunch from the Liberals – Harper is still stuck. These are not great numbers for the Liberals, no denying that point. We need attack ads concentrated in Ontario, which would move the numbers for us.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    The simple question is:

    Should the government go further into debt to pay:

    1. $29B+ war planes
    2. $9B+ super prisons
    3. $6B+ corporate tax cuts

    while the population is aging and real focus needs to be on healthcare and social services that have made Canada what it is today.

    This is serious stuff, and Canadians deserve an opportunity to decide if this is the direction we want our Canada headed. If it results in a Harper/Ignatieff majority/minority should not be the barometer. Canadians deserve an opportunity to decide what direction the country should be headed.

    These are serious issues. Liberals may not have such serious issues to ask the Canadian people to decide on if the election is postponed until October 2012.

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    hugger says:

    I see concern for the fortunes of the Liberal party coming from CPC supporters is ongoing. That must be heartwarming for LPC backers.

    Among the significant things being discussed, the ramifications of supporting current CPC initiatives include listening to the harping that will follow forever. Yeah, but the Liberals voted for it….

    That could be likened to a bully kicking sand on a nerd at the beach, then offering the nerd salt water to wash the sand from his eyes.

    Another that has been pointed to is the amount of money the CPC has lavished on self promotion, and the amount of return to date. I expect that has a bearing on the amount of concern for the future of the LPC they have been offering.

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