03.31.2011 06:46 AM

KCCCC Day 6: Grits up, Tories not

  • Holy canoly, was that a wacky day or what? NDP candidates become Liberal supporters.  Former Liberal candidates become Conservatives.  Conservatives continue to break the rules they put in place.  Debate threats issued on Twitter, just like in junior high.  Like Mayor Lastman would say: it’s craaaaaazy! Anyway – it was a nutty campaign day, yesterday.  But one thing I am hearing all over: Ignatieff  and his Liberals are doing better than expected.  And Harper and his Reformatories are doing worse than expected.
  • Liberals surging! Swear to God, hook me up to a lie detector, I wrote the above bullet before someone in the Lib war room tipped me to the new Nanos numbers – Conservatives 39, Liberals 32, NDP 15. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race!  Why’s it happening?  Four reasons, previously canvassed exhaustively in this space in recent weeks: (a) the Conservative ads went too far, and lowered expectations about Ignatieff – and he’s exceeding those expectations, now that he’s got and ad-and-news-coverage parity; (b) Iggy is turning in pretty good campaign effort; (c) Harper is phoning it in – he’s looking washed out and listless (for instance, he looked awful at that in-the-round, no-podium rally yesterday, like a chartered accountant in the middle of an airport line-up), and he clearly had started to believe his own propaganda about his main opponent; (d) Jenni Byrne ain’t Doug Finlay.  Big time. It’s still early, early days – but the Libs feel like they have the winning campaign.  And they do.
  • The Bermuda Triangle of Politicos: The Dippers lose one to the Grits, and the Grits lose one to the Reformatories, here – while the Reformatories lose staffers to scandal on a daily basis, here.  I can say that in the case of Genco, he was in my office just a couple of weeks ago, asking my advice about what to do.  I asked him if OLO wanted him back.  He said Pat Sorbara did, but Peter Donolo didn’t.  Donolo won the debate, I guess, and Genco lost the nomination.  Genco thereupon threw a hissy fit, and decided to hurt the party that has helped him out  so many times.  What do I think?  Like Rocco Rossi, I think Tony looks like a bloody fool.  Liberals – without whom he wouldn’t have had bus fare – will go out of their way to hurt him; principled Conservatives will never fully trust him.  He, like Rossi, have become one of the political undead.
  • Worst writing of the campaign so far: Earl McRae – who, seven years ago, mocked my father’s death to make a political point, and which I will never forgive – is someone who should have retired long ago.  His latest column about Ignatieff, which I won’t even link to, is a damned disgrace.  We may ultimately write for the same company, but I won’t hesitate to say when I think a writer has embarrassed himself.  This is one of those times.
  • Elizabeth May, Professional Complainer: As I opined yesterday, and as others seemingly agree, she has no place in the debates.  If the broadcast consortium flip-flops like they did in 2008, I hope lawyers for the Marijuana Party, the Marxists-Leninists and the Yogic Flyers all start suing for a place at the table, too.  None of them have seats in Parliament, like May, and all of them get votes right across the country, like May.  If she gets in, they should too.
  • Lobbyists and campaigns: Speaking as someone who is proud to lobby on behalf of those who fight for the environment, small business, animal protection, the poor, farmers and a tobacco-free Canada, I think this “no lobbyists on campaigns” rule is stupid.  STUPID. Advocating on behalf of others is part of democracy – and who else is going to be most enthusiastically involved in democratic contests, but those selfsame advocates?  This whiter-than-white piety is just going to push people underground, and make voters more cynical about political parties.  It’s idiotic.
  • Masticate about fate of debate: Look, if Messrs. Harper and Ignatieff really want to have a one-on-one debate, I have no authority whatsoever from Sun TV to offer them a platform.  But I rather suspect Kory and Luc will think it’s a great way to kick off the network’s debut, a couple weeks from now.  Meanwhile, as I twittered last night from the Raps-Bucks game (we lost, again), inflatable Raptor – who is a big crowd favourite, with thousands of fans, me included – doesn’t have a seat in Parliament, either.  On his behalf, I hereby demand a spot in the debates!  Seriously, though, the debate is a big deal – and a possibility for a real game-changer for Ignatieff.  Moreover, the timing of the debates gives Harper precious little time to recover from a winning Grit performance.  Tune in!
  • Pic of the day: Well, it isn’t actually a pic – it’sa vid, and it captures Harper neatly summarizing the kind of campaign he’s been having so far: one “miscue” after another.


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    Cat says:

    Can we say “EWWWWWW” – this is actually pretty funny.

    The word I’m hearing around here has nothing to do with polls or debates, or coalitions. Bottom-line I’m afraid is that the folks who forced this election are going to be the ones who pay at the only poll that counts – election day. If we come out of this looking pretty much as we did when parliament fell people will be even more pissed.

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      Lance says:

      A catch-22: “we like the composition of Parliament the way it is, and we don’t want an election”. Given the way everyting is shaking down, we’d probably end up with a similar Parliament. Where the catch-22 comes in is what happens to the parties that forced the issue, and what happens to the party that agrees with them, having said numerous times that they never wanted an election? How do you punish politicans that piss you off?

      Yes, they’d be pissed, and it isn’t unreasonable to believe that those people would punish the parties responsible for taking us here. Four elections in seven years; if people are this annoyed, I seriously doubt they would again put us in the same kind of position for there to be five elections in eight or nine years. I’m getting to the point where I want a majority either way. But when people asked who is much more likely to form that majority, who do you think people see as being the ones who can do that?

      Ignatieff is not going to win the election in any (majority or minority) case, that much is clear. So one of these things is going to happen – 1)Harper gets a majority and Ignatieff is gone; 2) a) Harper gets a minority and is either allowed to govern piecemeal (in which case Ignatieff is still gone) or b) Ignatieff takes over with a coalition or co-operation or whatever BS gobbledygook term they want to call it. And if how pissed off people were the last time this was tried is any indication, how pissed off do you think they are going to be when it happens AGAIN? Which means Ignatieff’s only way to become PM for ANY length of time is to piss people off.

      (By the way, I still haven’t been paid yet for my last comment. Anyone know a good lawyer? ;))

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        scanner says:

        lawyers are not “good” they are competent or not. Good implies morals.

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          Ted says:

          Have you ever heard of a dictionary?

          It’s a big book that provides lots and lots of definitions – a fancy word for “the meaning of words” – of ordinary English words.

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        reformatory says:

        Harper is going to punished for orchestrating this election- and for not cooperating in the last parliament. Canadians want and deserve a parliament that cooperates. What is the problem with Harper and his entourage and his lack of vision and inability to lead and govern? All of this is coming back on him like an avalanche.

        Canadians want and deserve better than this.

        Let’s end the loss of hope and lets elect leaders who are willing to cooperate and elevate Canada to it’s rightful place.

        It’s time for change Canada- it’s been 5 cold long years and the negativity of Harper is wearing thin.

        Mighael Ignatieff and the Liberal team are here and ready to change all of this.

        In a month– on May 2, the bad 5 year dream can come to an end.

        Choose your Canada. and show Harper that he is not part of it. Punish him at the polls and send him to the “penanlty box”. Besides he needs more time to write his book on hockey.

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    Lance says:

    But one thing I am hearing all over: Ignatieff and his Liberals are doing better than expected.

    Really, how could he have been doing any worse?

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      Cat says:

      caught some of Iggy’s speech from Winnipeg. He forgot the title of one of his promise planks and had to check with his prompter guy to get it right. He’s also channeling Obama’s message of HOPE….and he should comb his hair.

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    James Curran says:

    Nope. NDP is only 15, not 19

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    Leo Fleming says:

    Wow, the NDP is just hemorrhaging support. They’re all going Liberal. And in a rolling poll at that – they must have absolutely tanked in the past 2 days.

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    Leo Fleming says:

    And those Nanos numbers are 16 for the NDP, not 19. A 4 point drop in a day.

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    Sean Cummings says:

    I think it’s less of Ignatieff doing better than expected and more of lousy Tory campaign that appears stuck in the mud they themselves created. The gap has narrowed to six points with Ignatieff not even having broken a sweat yet – imagine what will happen if/when he does? The “reckless coalition” strategy has blown up in the Tories face and most striking to me at least, (someone else share your thoughts) is that Harper truly looks like he’d rather be someplace else.

    Barring some unforeseen calamity from within Liberal ranks, I can’t see how the Tories will come anywhere close to a majority.

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      JStanton says:

      Mr. Harper has pretty much dealt all of his cards, and being essentially empty vessels, they are about to sink him. (add more metaphors here).

      That leaves him with only the defense of a scoundrel. Expect him to ratchet up the “war-on-terror” discourse. Expect heightened operations by the Canadian military in both Afghanistan and Libya. Expect military personnel to be “volunteered” for anything and everything that Mr. Harper can use on the 6 o’clock news.

      Expect him, in other words, to use Canada’s fighting forces as campaign props, so that fence-sitters are made to feel that a vote against Mr. Harper is a vote against Canadian troops.


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      reformatory says:

      WRONG – Campaigns matter and Ignatieff is well frankly campaigning more effectively– that’s why the upswimg. Looks like the CONS were wrong about him. As for a lousy Conservtaive campaign.. well can anybody tell me when they have ever had a great campaign. They have only won in 2006 because of RCMP intervention ( A gift for them ), then they got by with a minority again in 2008 mostly because of a hapless Dion. So can anybody remind me how and why anybody would think they are good campaigners?

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    Martin Cooke says:

    Yeah- people are pretty astute and can see that it was the Tories who really wanted to go to the polls.
    Looks good on ’em.

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    Chris says:

    I’ll leave this here: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/516980/2009.gif

    Which campaign will end up mirroring the fall pictured above?

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    Cat says:

    Kind of feel sorry for this guy


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    Ted says:

    Harper chickening out on a one-on-one debate and using the broadcaster as his excuse???

    Harper chickening out on a one-on-one debate and using the broadcaster as his excuse???

    Oh I sooooo called that. And it’s even in writing (this time) in yesterday’s posts.

    You sooooo should hire me while I’m still relatively cheap!

    A a 6% gap is an astonishing closing of the gap from what some polls pegged at 14% within the last couple of weeks. Early early days, but that’s what momentum looks like.

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    MontrealElite says:

    Harper, that angry look of yours is beautiful….keep it up!

    Harper from last night…beware the hot mics dufus.


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      W.B. says:

      Laureen looks a little tense as well. Leading a bad kid around the supermarket by the hand.

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    Namesake says:

    Yeah, the latest (rolling 3-day average, last day collected Mar 30) Nanos no’s are:

    39.1% / 32.7% / 15.9% / 8.7% / 3.2%, for just a 6.4 gap for all of Canada. (down 6.7 to half of what it was last month. Campaigns matter!)

    And following Mark in Ontario’s homemade rejigging method, it’s exactly a 10 point gap for the Rest of Canada (excl QC):

    45.0% / 35.0% / 16.7% / 0.0% / 3.2% (down 9.4 to about half of what it was last month, when, ahem, certain people lost their calm and carried on. Campaigns matter!)

    with pretty much identical no’s when the Prairies are removed from that, as well.

    Let’s see; gap cut in half, less than one week in; other pollsters like Abacus declaring before that, that has CPC hit its ceiling and has nowhere to go but down… conbots better start refreshing their resumes…. it’s back to the telemarketing boiler rooms you go, swindling seniors into crappy magazine subscriptions, furnace & duct cleanings, and phony cruises.

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      Namesake says:

      sigh. “For those new to Nanos tracking polls,” they report their methodology here:


      A national random telephone survey is conducted nightly by Nanos Research throughout the campaign. Each evening a new group of 400 eligible voters are interviewed. The daily tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling sample comprised of 1,200 interviews. To update the tracking a new day of interviewing is added and the oldest day dropped. The margin of error for a survey of 1,200 respondents is ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20.”

      (and since they report the rolling results ending on march 29 as well as march 30 and only do 400 interviews a night, that means they’ve been polling continuously since at least march 27, genius)

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    MontrealElite says:

    So far Harper seems to be channeling his inner “John McCain”.

    How’s that working for ya Steve-O?

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      Namesake says:

      actually he’s looking — and sounding — a lot like Glenn Beck, these days.

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        Ted says:

        I don’t think that is it.

        While the whole whacko conspiracy theories and “ignore what I said in support of Bush now that I’m flip flopping on that to attack Obama” stuff is definitely parallel, Beck has energy and bounce. Harper has been flat and doesn’t seem to want to be here.

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          Namesake says:

          except when he gets all hot and bothered about the reckless, evil coalition just waiting to steal his precious.

          Now that the press gallery have found they actually still have their, er, reproductive organs, I wish somebody would ask the hanging by a thread PM why the three leaders didn’t just go the the GG and do that last week, if they were really so intent on doing it next month, as he claims;

          after all, they still CAN do it now, since they have enough seats b/w them (including, significantly, their own); and since the GG signalled back in Dec. that he’d e open to that; and since there’s 18 months left in the mandate (enough to get voters used to the idea and demonstrate it’s not so harmful); and since they might as well be hung for a lamb as a sheep, if they’re going to be punished for it in the polls on just the possibility of their doing it.

          But they didn’t, which makes this going down with his ship Captain Queeg look like what he is: a raving paranoiac.

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            Ted says:

            He’s definitely more Gollum than Beck. I like that.

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        james curran says:

        Actually, he’s looking like Orson Wells from the profile pictures.

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    Dave Roberts says:

    I always find these dramatic shifts one way or the other suspect. If polls show little change day to day then reporters have nothing to write about.

    My skepticism aside, the leadership index numbers are quite striking. Layton down 17%, Ignatieff up 3% and Harper up 5%, I’m not sure there was much of a game changer yesterday to cause that kind of shift.

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    MIchael Behiels says:

    Finally, a wide open race to the finish line.

    Canadians have had enough of Stevie’s contempt and lies. They are fed up with a minority government and most certainly do not want a majority Harper government that will break the taxpayers with ‘jets and jails’ and more ludicrous tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations. Corporations, to be recognized as good corporate citizens, have to start pulling their weight in terms of revenues.

    Australia’s prestigious Airforce thinktank just advised the Australian government to defer indefinitely the purchase of any F-35s.

    If the Liberal Party and its ‘on fire’ leader, Mr. Ignatieff, can get some sustainable momentum they just may be able to make considerable gains in seats. It is still too early to say but at least the Liberals are having a much better start than the last election and the Harperites are having bad days back to back.

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      The Other Jim says:

      “Canadians have had enough…”

      You base that on, what, overall numbers getting back to the same levels they have been hovering at for the past five years? Or on the fact that 45% of Canadians outside of Quebec intend to vote Conservative? Or perhaps that CPC numbers are up in Ontario, Quebec, and BC?

      The Liberals are off to a good start, and the Conservatives aren’t. It has certainly made things interesting, and if the trend continues a lot of votes will be in play (to the Liberal’s favour, I think). Reading any more into a modest (but statistically significant) swing in a daily poll is just silly. There certainly appears to be a cross-country surge in Grit numbers, though, and the jump in their support out West is fascinating.

      *This post and others like it were made possible through the generosity of the Newman Free Speech Legal Defense Fund, CPC Campaign Headquarters, and the number 5.

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    James says:

    Hello Libs, hope to remind all of you that when Ford and Smitherman were candidates in last November’s mayoral election in Toronto, it was supposedly “too close to call” and a “horserace” but Ford blew Smitherman (the Liberal darling) out of the water with 47% of the popular vote. Some contest. And this, remember, occurred in “Liberal fortress” Toronto!

    Okay, I’d like to bring in a new dimension to this election. A Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition government led by Iggy would be a disaster for Canada from a national unity perspective. Why? Well, there will be a provincial election in Quebec within two years and Charest’s deeply unpopular Liberals are certain to be defeated by the Parti Quebecois (especially since the Libs have governed for three terms).

    So, we will have separatists running Quebec and separatists as part of the federal government! Talk about a nightmare scenario! PET would turn in his grave.

    And how will Professor Iggy deal with the separatists since they are also propping him up?? Be careful what you wish for, right??!!

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      Ted says:

      Who claimed it was a horserace, James?

      Ford was way ahead early and never lost the lead. It narrowed a fair bit in the last weeks of the campaign but there was never any real doubt about who was going to win it.

      Here we have a similar huge lead that is very quickly disappearing right in front of our eyes.

      Ford had a focused campaign with a clear message and loads of energy and connecting with Torontonians. Harper’s campaign has been flatfooted from day 1 and has isolated him away from Canadians.

      I can think of another good example of how the two are very different. Ford joined the other candidates in dozens of public debates while Harper is already chickening out from his “anywhere anyplace” proposal to debate Iggy.

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        Ted says:

        Also, Ford was very open. You could call him directly on the phone. He would stop and talk and take your questions. In press conferences he didn’t limit questions. He went to all the news organizations and took questions. Eventually he decided to boycott the Toronto Star because they went over the line in not just attacking him and promoting Smitherman, but he was very accessible to media and to ordinary Torontonians.

        Contrast that with Harper. No more than 4 questions a day. No follow-up questions. No more than one local question. No questions about local campaigns. No access by ordinary Canadians at all. Teleprompters wherever he goes.

        No wonder his campaign is off to such an awful start.

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        James says:

        Ted, the gains of the Liberals are coming entirely from the NDP; the Liberals haven’t put a dent into Conservative support. And now that the Liberals are moving left with all their wild spending promises (it’s an open strategy that they want to devour NDP support), centrist and right-of-centre Liberals will drift to the Conservatives.

        As for the mayoral race, the polls two days before the election put Ford at 32% and Smitherman at 31%, so the polls were either very badly conducted or everyone was lying!

        BTW, Libs, a lot of Conservative supporters are “closet supporters”, i.e. they won’t admit to pollsters they’re voting Conservative.

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          Ted says:

          I remember that poll. Almost no one took it seriously because it conflicted with all of the other polls from the same time period. The race did tighten up a tiny bit as candidates dropped out. But again there is nothing in the Ford victory that can translate into any other municipal election, let alone a national one, except the effectiveness of a well run campaign, the importance of a leader who is genuine (trumps all warts) and an general anti-incumbent sentiment.

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      The Other Jim says:


      What part of “We categorically rule out a coalition or formal arrangement with the Bloc Quebecois.” isn’t clear to you, James?

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        James says:

        Well, according to polls provided by “Namesake” in an earlier discussion on this blog, two-thirds of Liberals support a coalition with the NDP and Bloc. Look, if power’s closely within your grasp, all the old promises can suddenly dissipate. But I think the Liberals would be playing with fire, and the country’s future, if they remotely entertain any sort of arrangement with Bloc just so Iggy can be prime minister, especially if the Parti Quebecois returns to power.

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          Namesake says:

          what, you mean THE poll that YOU first cited, w/o reading it, and then doubted existed when I cited it: you’re now citing as definitive proof of something else and dragging me into it?

          Look, again, this isn’t about what hypothetical q’s that a few hundred online panelists may or may not find acceptable, but on what the actual Party Leaders and MPs are actually going to do in a month or so.

          And if MI lusted for power for its own sake, regardless of which Parties he had to bargain with or what it did to his own or to his country, well, he’d: BE PM RIGHT NOW, THIS MINUTE, because he could’ve just gone to the GG last week and said: We’re going to vote non-confidence, but please don’t dissolve Parliament, because I think I can form a government. But he didn’t.

          And if being willing to enter into agreements with QC based parties is enough to “burn” one, then stop voting for Harper, because he HAS demonstrated that he finds that both reasonable and indeed laudable: repeatedly — not only in 2004 (no matter how much he disavows and backpedals from that now), but also in 1997: see:


          and most of these, because almost everything coming out of the CPC’s mouths & infoalerts about coalitions are bald-faced lies:

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      Namesake says:

      It was only “too close to call” because there were some might crappy polls being done, and because the media got so caught up in hearing themselves talk about the supposedly tight race that they ignored the one decent pollster telling them otherwise.

      Frank Graves wrote an(other) essay about this, the other day:

      The Great Canadian Poll-Off,

      at http://www.ekos.com/media/default.asp (where that pdf takes forever to pop up at the first link, there: better to right click & save it from here: http://www.ekos.com/admin/articles/FG-2011-03-29.pdf

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    W.B. says:

    The Harper instinct, if things start to slip a bit, would be to crank up the negative anti Ignatieff fear campaign on TV. Whoops. You’ve pretty much played that one out, nowhere much to go after the pre writ barrage. War analogy needed here.

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      Ted says:

      Already started: they launched a new round of attack ads today, almost entirely focused on the coalition.

      Even more bizarrely, Harper has started talking about Ignatieff as not someone who is lying to us and will form a coalition, but as the “leader of the coaltion” as though it is already there and in place.

      I’d say he’s already jumped the shark on this if the phrase “jumped the shark” hadn’t jumped the shark long ago.

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    MontrealElite says:

    In either debates, Harper is going to be peppered on the contempt issue.

    I cannot wait!

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    fritz says:

    I agree with Gord we can’t make too much of a one day sample in a daily tracking poll. Lets see where we are this time next week. The number that does jump out for me from this poll is the 21% undecided. Now thats interesting.
    So Harper is bailing on the one on one debate with Ignatieff. Not surprising but the whole one on one thing was a big gaffe, for the Tories, none the less. We can now expect his bubble reporters to be asking why he chickened out; especially when someone legitimate offers to sponsor the debate, as is sure to happen. I don’t think Sun TV will be be the one to host the debate although I think WK would be a great moderator. 😉
    At the least it will give the Harper bubble reporters something to ask about besides ‘Why did he want to form a coalition in 2004?’.

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      Warren says:

      Yeah – all of the leaders would object to me equally!

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      Namesake says:

      again, that’s a three-day sample being reported, there, not 1

      and, yes, there’s still a lot of room to move, with about one-in-five respondents still undecided, but that hasn’t really changed that much: 18.8% were Undecided in the Nanos completed on February 14



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      Ted says:

      And thereby using up one or two of their 4 questions today on Harper and his conduct, instead of Harper and his “policies”.

      Seriously. Who needs a war room with the way these guys keep bouncing their own talking points off the front page.

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        James says:

        Most undecideds end up voting for the frontrunner. That’s what happened in Toronto mayoral race of 2010.

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          Namesake says:

          That’s pretty dubious. Not only is it a hasty generalization from a single case, and a municipal one, at that, but it’s also likely a major misreading of what happened in that case (likely basing it on the crappy polls).

          Again, Ekos found that Ford was clearly ahead, in their poll released on Oct. 22, three days before the election (w. field dates of Oct. 13-21);

          Rob Ford 43.9% (actual: 47.1)
          George Smitherman 35.6% (actual: 35.6)
          Joe Pantalone 15.0% (actual: 11.7)
          All others 5.5% (actual: 5.6)

          They also found only about 15% of undecideds; taking, say, 60% of them and adding them to Ford’s total and recalculating it only boosted him a bit, to under 45%… not a bandwagon game changer, at all.

          And I can’t find it straight off, but I recall seeing something from the recurring Canadian Elections Study this summer showing that the pre- and post-election studies of the previously undecideds showed them to have voted in roughly the same distribution as the general results (i.e., in nearly the same proportions, across the spectrum, as the entire popular vote).

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          Ted says:

          Actually, data shows that to be wrong.

          Most undecideds either stay home or vote in the same proportion as the rest of us. Which keeps the frontrunner the frontrunner.

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    Michael S says:

    This little graph from the indispensable Three Hundred Eight tells the tail of the tape: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-I7WMGA1jcw4/TZN9M2kzCVI/AAAAAAAAEes/2x99NbIxPVc/s1600/Canada+Polls.PNG

    The trendlines are interesting. Stephen Harper’s big mistake was to make Michael Ignatieff his equal, not a member of a gang of (including May) four. The polls will soon agree with him.

    Remember, a lot of those losses in the last election were not so much for Stephen Harper as not for Stephane Dion.

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    MontrealElite says:

    Chicken$hit Harper not interested in multiple debates…wants to get message out to country instead.

    Silly me…I thought debates were televised nationally.

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    Namesake says:

    thar she blows…..

    no. of decided voters in the infamous Nanos poll completed between February 11th and 14th, 2011 showing a 13.1% national gap and a 19.4 gap in the ROC: 826 and 606 (for MOEs of 3.4 & 4.0), respectively.

    no. of decided voters for the latest Nanos results for the 3 days completed between March 27 and 30, 2011 showing a 6.4% national gap and a 9.4 gap in the ROC: 936 and 712 (for MOEs of 3.2 & 3.7), respectively.


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      Namesake says:

      oops: small correction, as I pointed out below, the new ROC gap is 10 (for a 9.4 change from mid-Feb; I’m copying & pasting from diff tabs of a spreadsheet); the rest is right.

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    The Other Jim says:

    Curious as to what everyone thinks of the Liberal’s daycare commitment:


    I like it, primarily because it is feasible and avoids wasting money on a huge new bureaucracy. Thoughts?

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      Namesake says:

      It’s both clever and right.

      First, it certainly takes the indignant, er, “pro-choice” wind out of the sails out of the self-righteous Cons by:

      leaving the token (and taxable!) $100 monthly child benefit they’re so proud of for its “flexibility” — exactly like it is.

      Second, it not only adds money to an important social program which can greatly help increase people’s ability to employ themselves and decrease their need for social assistance and enhance the tax base…

      but is also only does so to the degree that the gov’t can afford, at this point (adding half a billion a year to the provinces in targeted transfer payments, at first; gradually increasing to a billion, over the same four years the Cons. said it will take them to eliminate the deficit).

      And with no increase in bureaucracy: just the strokes of an auto-pen (which, channeling Kady now, has been feeling a wee bit neglected, now that there’s no more Ado about Oda).

      And the best that the NDP’s Olivia Chow could do in objection to it on P&P was to sputter that maybe aren’t there some provinces that don’t have a licensed nonprofit ECE care program to utilize these funds? (Which Ken Dryden easily gloved, with something like, “Um, no, there aren’t — they all have one; which is how and why I completed the agreement with all of them back in ’05,” and so he ended it with a shut-out. Go Canadiens!)

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    Bill Templeman says:

    Warren, if we take out visitors to this and other political blogs, the vast majority of the voting populace is not watching Twitter feeds, or the attack ads or the YouTube clips of glitchy presentations. Why? Because they are otherwise occupied, most often with earning a living, shuttling kids to school, prepping meals, the whole domestic catastrophe. These people vote on issues and policies, not the spin of the day. They tend to not live in media bubbles. I’m not trying to ‘diss the work of your War Room Troopers and I know you have written a book on this topic (which I have not yet read) , but does anyone anywhere have any research data on the impact of what War Rooms do on election results, particularly with undecided voters? I am not doubting your analysis of Day 6, but, forgive me if I offend the gods here, how much of it really matters when the votes are counted?

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      Warren says:

      Beats me. Seems to have an impact.

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        W.B. says:

        Re War Rooms: I wonder if the Conservative War Room could lose it under the real pressure they are getting this time. Harper seems a little shaky. Maybe the goon mentality might assert itself leading to disastrous results. Are these war rooms disciplined or could loose cannons start making some blunders? The media seems to getting more aggressive in questioning; that’s pressure. Ignatieff on the attack seems confident and very competent.

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      Windsurfer says:

      Nothing to see here, move along. I was not paid to say that.

      Bumped into local Lib candidate today on main street of XXX. Said response good so far and (s)he’s pumped.

      One never knows…. this could go down to the wire.

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    Bill Templeman says:

    W.B., re War Rooms. This is Warren’s turf, but my hunch is the Conservative War Room is in greater danger of being ignored by Lord Bleak and his Inner Circle, rather than unleashing a loose cannon. Another hunch is that while War Room discipline is important, it is even more important for the Leader to listen to his/her War Room’s intelligence reports. I dunno how often War Rooms get ignored by leaders. WK?

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