03.01.2011 08:41 PM

Reformatories in majority territory

Good thing I didn’t bet anyone on that “no Spring election” prediction, eh?

44 Comments

  1. smelter rat says:

    I can only deduce that 43% of Canadians polled have their heads up their ass.

    • The Doctor says:

      I’m curious: do you think that raging at, and insulting the intelligence of, Canadians who vote Conservative is a constructive thing for a LPC supporter to do? I’ve always thought that in politics, as in many other competitive endeavours, it’s wise to respect your opponents. Personally, I think it’s counter-productive for LPC supporters to simply dismiss all CPC supporters as idiots, racists, gun nuts, whatever. I think it would be more productive for LPC supporters to look more carefully and critically at why the LPC isn’t doing better. I mean, do you honestly think that in the last decade or so, Canadians, for some strange reason, have collectively turned stupid? Is that backed up by scientific data showing an actual drop in our collective intelligence? If so, I would be fascinated to see that.

      • W.B. says:

        You obviously missed the attack ads which have successfully destroyed Ignatieff and Dion, not to mention Kerry etc. There is no place for decent people in politics anymore.

        • Paul says:

          Well, to be fair Dion did a great job of destroying himself. I’ll never forget his famous “This is unfair! Do you think it’s easy to set priorities!?!?!?” tantrum during the leadership debate.

          The attack ads were just saying out loud what we were all thinking…

          No Stephane, it is not easy to set priorities. It’s very hard in fact, since the chattering classes will rip you a new one regardless of what you do. However, you’d better damned well be up to the task and not whine about how unfair everything is if you aspire to run a country.

          • Cath says:

            Let’s also not forget the lessons of Political Strategy 101 – define your opponent before he has a chance to define you. The CPC’s got out fast and that’s still working for them. Why change what’s working. Not to mention that I think every time Michael Ignatieff tries to go for the funny-bone like yesterday when he made some cutesy comment about someone having a “Charlie Sheen moment” the eyes roll big time. Donolo I guess still can’t tame the freelancer in Ignatieff.

    • smelter rat says:

      Seriously, have either of you been paying attention for the past 6 years? Record deficit that they predicted would never happen, consolidation of power in the PMO leading to a real democratic deficit, G-20 abuses of the rights of innocent citizens, shiney new jets with no bid contracting, Bev Oda, prisons for unreported crimes…. the list is endless. And don’t assume I’m a LPC supporter. I never said Canadians were stupid (I’d make an exception in Gord’s case), I just don’t think they’re paying attention.

      • The Other Jim says:

        @smelter rat;

        “Record deficit that they predicted would never happen” – Do you honestly feel that this would have been any better under the Liberals? I’m not excusing the reckless spending, but it seems doubtful that Dion or Ignatieff would have avoided large deficits had they been in power over the same period. I suspect that a significant portion of those who would re-elect the CPC feel the same way.

        “consolidation of power in the PMO leading to a real democratic deficit” – Similar accusations have been leveled at Trudeau, Mulroney, and Chretien. Again, there’s no reason to believe that this would be any better under a Liberal regime.

        “G-20 abuses of the rights of innocent citizens” – I like pepper on my steak.

        “shiney new jets with no bid contracting” – Sponsorship scandal.

        “Bev Oda” – Jane Stewart.

        “prisons for unreported crimes?” – Gun registry.

        “the list is endless” – Yes, it is. As it is for every government, particularly those who have been in power for several years. I do not cite any of the above examples in defense of the Tories, but simply to point out that none of it is exceptional. Its all well and good to rant and rave about how terrible the government is, but it rings hollow to an electorate that has not witnessed a fundamental difference in how they are governed and/or the behaviour of the scoundrels who do the governing.

        The current government is a staggering mediocrity. Neither its accomplishments nor its failures have been extraordinary or impressive. I do not believe that they deserve re-election (and certainly not a majority mandate), however I am decidedly underwhelmed by the alternatives. Treating my opinion (and those of 43% of Canadians) as uninformed and somehow less valid than yours is a huge mistake.

        • smelter rat says:

          The other guys did it too? That’s your defence? Seriously?

          • The Other Jim says:

            @smelter rat – What part of “I do not cite any of the above examples in defense of the Tories, but simply to point out that none of it is exceptional.” wasn’t clear?

      • The Doctor says:

        The point I was trying to make — perhaps I should have expressed it better — is that I don’t think that in politics, you do yourself any favours by insulting the people who happen to support your opponent. That’s different from insulting your opponent, and it’s an important difference. Smelter Rat responds by talking about how awful this government and the CPC are. Fine, insult them. But don’t insult the people who vote for them. This is a battle for hearts and minds, and you don’t win people over by insulting them.

        A case in point is the role that moveon.org, Michael Moore et al. played in the Bush-Gore-Kerry US elections. Moveon.org and especially Michael Moore went around the country, prominently holding rallies where Moore, e.g., consistently expressed the view that anyone who would contemplate voting for Bush was an idiot. The impartial political experts who analyzed this correctly (in my view) concluded that moveon.org and Moore were actually hurting the Democrats by doing this. First of all, it energized Republican partisans to come out and vote, as they had been directly insulted, and more importantly, that kind of shrill rhetoric turned off the very kinds of moderate, centrist, swing and independent voters that you need to win elections.

    • Philip says:

      Don’t despair Smelter Rat. Polls are only as good as the questions they ask and their sample size. At best they, taken singly, are snapshots of a particular point in time.
      What is important is the larger issue of Harper systematically dismantling every Canadian value and democratic institution which has made our country great. Giving up, getting down about one particular poll, or string of polls is not an option. The stakes are far too high. The Conservative Party’s war on Canadian values is bigger than a single election cycle. We run the best election campaign we can run, fight hard and speak to power. We accept the results, extract what lessons we can and prepare for the next election. If you are not already a member of the LPC, then get a membership card. If you have donated either time or money to the LPC in the past, then step up and do so now, when the stakes are truly important. Getting our Canada, putting real Canadian values back into politics will be a process not an event, get ready for the long haul. As liberals we have to talk to family, friends and co-workers about the values that we feel passionate about, to shake up the lethargy, confront the Conservative Party lies and stand up to Harper’s bully brigade. Every single time. This is a war worth fighting and one that is worth winning.
      As someone a lot smarter than I once said: “If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. If you can’t crawl, find someone to carry you.”

  2. Pete says:

    From all appearances the Libs are not going to back down from an election…are they up to something that might be a game changer?

  3. JenS says:

    Handled properly (and by that, I mean explained simply, in a way that voters can grasp it in a 30 second sound bite), I wonder if this could be the game changer? http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/01/weston-conservative-raid.html

    To me, that has been much of the problem: failure to communicate the misbehavior of this government in a way that doesn’t cause average-Joe-voter’s eyes to glaze. Harper trots out his “nothing to see here” communications strategy and it’s lapped up. The Liberals, on the other hand, have had opportunities to capitalize, but have failed to communicate them succinctly.

  4. Dan says:

    With all the ethical walls crumbling around them these days these numbers won’t last. I can’t imagine Canadians will be in any mood to reward that kind of behaviour.

  5. eattv says:

    Iggy’s too blue for me. In my opinion, the Libs panicked when they crowned him, hoping to create a gentler alternative for Conservatives to jump to. Instead, they won over zero Tories and alienated a lot of their traditional red Liberal base. I feel like the Libs are trying to blackmail me into supporting a diet conservative alternative just because it’s got the “L” on it. No thanks.

    • H Holmes says:

      According to the polling Harper is starting to make real inroads into the centre of the liberal party.

      Left votes are moving from the NDP and Greens, but they are not making up for the massive losses on the right.

      A merged party won’t even help if this polling keeps up.

      We need an election and we need money.
      We don’t need to run more left.
      The votes we need are suburban Canadian votes. IE plans for crime, stay at home parents.
      We also need a plan to protect our resources and companies from preditory practices.
      We need a plan to address the fact that our international companies are buying Canadian resources just to shut them down.
      In Saskatchewan we had both DeBeers and BHP try this and if it wasn’t for Brad Wall they would both be here shutting down our resources.
      Ask Hamilton and Windsor how they like international companies buy resources like Steelco and shutting them down.

      Its a huge issue affecting many jobs, but no party is talking about it.

  6. Eric says:

    Come on smelter, I think that most of us expect better discourse on this site. Saying that 2/5 Canadians are idiots because they disagree with you is at best self-serving, isn’t it?

  7. JamesF says:

    Yeah it probably is a good thing you didn’t bet anyone… you’d likely be out some money. The gov’t being the entity that’s able to call an election and all.

  8. JamesF says:

    Really though I don’t think polls should be much of an indicator (or lack thereof) of a forthcoming election. The Tories have a good smear operation going (off-writ negative ads) and the money to unleash it whenever they want and that’s whats driving any shifting numbers (or so my gut tells me), so what… you just concede calling an election until it’s either mandated by law or more likely just let Harper pick the time and place? Neither is acceptable and given the choice I think I’d rather put my faith in the belief that this is an attack ad driven bump likely to subside once the writ is dropped and all parties start spending/receiving free media then let Harper pick his spot.

  9. MississaugaLibPeter says:

    Television ads work.

    Tens of $M of television ads (Conservative paid Ignatieff-bashing ads and taxpayer paid feel good about the government ads) work.

    No surprise.

    • canadiansense says:

      Yes the mass media buy is working. The MSM airing old issues as faux scandals are not registering. The MSM has lost it ability to shape what matters.

      It’s the economy, jobs, cost of living.

      Voters are cynical and don’t believe the opposition talking points. The opposition has misjudged the mood of Canadians in their failed coup 2008. They are threatening to force an election if the government refuses to raise taxes?

      The election threats by Ignatieff, Layton, Duceppe fuels the message of opportunism. Polls have 30% from their parties wanting to wait until 2012 is served. Canadians are not angry at the Federal government.

      • JenS says:

        Invariably, when I read the “MSM” acronym in someone’s writing, I just assume the author is some sort of conspiracy theorist. I’m usually right.

  10. billg says:

    Majority territory? For a small fee I can get Cheryl Gallant to make a statemtent on…well…anything, and, those numbers would get smaller.

    • Cath says:

      um….unlike Ignatieff who on any given day can dazzle us with lines about his junk, lacy lingerie and Charlie Sheen…..”YES,YES,YES, WAYYYYYYYYY!!”

      • Michel says:

        Nice try, Cath, but Iggy doesn’t say things for which he is swiftly ordered to apologize for. You may not like jokes about his junk or lingerie, but a great deal of people with a sense of humour are barely offended by his remarks.

  11. MontrealElite says:

    The best hope for a Liberal resurgence is a Harper majority.

  12. Brad says:

    ?The only thing that people know about Michael Ignatieff is what the Conservatives have told them.? That is what I don’t get, how can the Liberals let another party define them?

    Well when harper starts putting people’s teenage kids in prison for being caught with a couple of joints or shoplifting, then they’ll wish they didn’t vote for the tough on crime guy, people love the tough on crime stuff, until they are the one facing it.

  13. hugger says:

    I get invitations to join Ipsos Reid online polling community on a regular basis. They offer opportunities to WIN a grand prize of $5,000 and or to accumulate points which you MAY be able to redeem for cash. Some day.

    Another polling outfit has been calling a lot too. I don’t know who they are because the don’t identify themselves befor launching into their opening pitch which is if you complete this survey you WILL receive two free airline tickets to an exotic destination somewhere down south. Then they begin asking a bunch of questions focused on gleaning personal information.

    A wise man once said, “you get what you pay for”.

  14. hugger says:

    Couple of other things.

    A while back I read an article that discussed Stephen Harpers survival strategy, and it focused on staying in power and allowing enough time to pass for Canadians to get used to the idea of Harper and the CPC as a governing body, not just an opposition party.

    With that in mind, I am looking at the current situation, the money being spent by the CPC on advertising, attack ads, signage and now tours to promote their image and I’m thinking a lot of effort is being put into discouraging the opposition from challenging them. Scaring them off so to speak. Buying time.

    I’m thinking these recent polls fit within this strategy.

    I also think the opposition clearly have the high ground right now, and it’s solid not just some Guergis type of thing. The questions I have are do they know how to use it and do they actually want to?

    It’s not that I advocate for an election for the sake of having one, it’s the matter of credibility that is very important. If the Libs and NDP keep on with policies of appeasement and thinking that if they wait for it, it will come, they run the danger of becoming known as the Chamberlain twins.

    With some recent polls showing the Greens less than 2 points behind the NDP, it appears especially important for them that they not appear to be weak.

    IMHO, if Mr. Layton was wise, he would not back down on the Corporate tax cuts. He would show leadership and leave the Bloc as the only avenue for Harper to continue playing out his strategy.

  15. David says:

    There is the minor issue of polls being total horsecrap because of the methods used to select the sample: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/pollsters-advise-voters-to-be-wary-of-polls-ahead-of-possible-spring-vote-116112554.html

    Selecting a primarily older demographic ensures that young people are underrepresented in the sample. Hugely underrepresented. Most of these polls are telephone polls, so anyone who is tech savvy and has a voice over IP phone doesn’t tend to get polled either, and people with cell phones generally are not either. So you also miss the tech savvy demographic. What you’re left with is seniors and baby boomers — the people with land lines. That’s a great representative sample!

  16. The Doctor says:

    I think another reason for the anemic LPC numbers is that most ordinary, apolitical Canadians could not tell you what the LPC actually, concretely plans to do if elected. And in fact, even hard-core political junkies like myself are hard pressed to describe what the LPC policy platform actually is. I was thinking about this this morning in the context of the GST. The average Canadian certainly knows where the CPC stands on it — they said they would cut it, and they cut it. Presumably they will not raise it.

    But as for the Liberals, I swear it is impossible to find out what their stance on the GST actually is. I mean, they complain that the Harper government cut it, thus causing fiscal problems, but as far as I know, they refuse to say whether a Liberal government would raise the rate, or keep it the same. So given that the Liberals are essentially a blank slate on this and other important issues, it should not be surprising that their support is so low. It is not terribly logical to support a party that steadfastly refuses to tell you what exactly they plan to do if elected.

    • hugger says:

      Or they could ride on their past record of quasi fiscal responsibility. Which is clear to anyone who is paying attention, was better than the Reformatory Party which in truth reforms nothing at all, but exists to play games and collect political capital on issues of limited significance in order to advance the interests of Corporatocracy.

      Even the long gun registry, which they trot out whenever possible. They were never serious about over turning that. It plays well with their base though.

      As a blue jeans, pick up truck and hunting rifle kind of guy, I would have appreciated if they had at least been honest on that one issue.

      Instead? Why they give us the old In and Out. Shades of Mulroney, Moores, Buchanan, and the bag man from Newfoundland. The more things change

  17. Namesake says:

    Or maybe all that crowing was and shirt-rending was wrong,

    and EKOS was right, and I & A Reid & Acrapus wrong — and they just LOST two points as the public’s distrust & disgust at their obfuscation & lies starts to mount:

    acc. to H-D, in their last big (3,000) poll, in early Feb. (field dates Feb 3-13),

    “The Conservatives stand at 37%, to 27% for the Liberals, 14% for the NDP, 10% for the BQ, and 10% for the Greens.”

    http://www.harrisdecima.ca/news/releases/201102/1059-conservatives-hold-ten-point-lead

    But today, for a pretty big (2,000) new (field dates Feb. 17-27) poll, it’s only an eight-point lead:

    “The latest poll puts Tory support at 36 per cent, Liberals at 28 and the NDP at 15. …In the crucial province of Ontario, the Tories and Liberals are statistically tied with 39 and 37 per cent respectively.”

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/tories-have-eight-point-lead-new-poll-suggests-117257048.html

  18. orval says:

    I have heard Mr Ignatieff say the Liberals will vote against the Budget if it does not rescind the corporate tax cuts the Liberals supported in 2007 Budget. Back then the Liberals still controlled the Senate so they could grandstand and delay the Budget from that place. Today that no longer holds true.

    I have also heard him say he does not want an election.

    If he is wise, he will do both – Liberals vote against the Budget but not in sufficient numbers to defeat the Government.

    If the Liberal-NDP-Bloc “coalition” combines to defeat the Government on the Budget, the Liberals will be doomed to comprehensive defeat. Ignatieff is smart – he has to know this. Way better to live to fight another day. Liberals need to be patient, and stop acting as the stereotype has them as the “entitlements” party. Stop pointless electioneering (prorogation! long-form census! Fake lake! Potash! Bev Oda! blah blah blah nobody cares), stop wasting precious time and start building a real organization and policy framework in order to be competitive in the FUTURE.

    If no General Election, then there are by-elections coming this spring in BC, Alta and rural francophone Quebec. The Liberals need to start making comebacks in both French-speaking Quebec (against the Bloc) and in the West (against the Conservatives). Better to use those by-elections to craft some policies and messages that begin to attract back voters and support in those two key regions, rather than be smashed to smithereens by the Harper juggernaut that is building strength and is too strong to defeat now.

    • hugger says:

      Read your stuff Orval. Cons are terrified of an election. For good reasons. Thanks for your POV

    • The Doctor says:

      This is part of the problem, Orval: too many LPC members and supporters don’t see Alberta, or the West in general, as a “key region”. This is insanity in 2011, when the LPC can no longer rely on Quebec and Ontario alone to essentially deliver up majorities. In this sense, a lot of Liberals are living in the past, and they need to wake up to the new electoral reality. To me, this issue is a classic elephant in the room. The best thing the LPC could do is send each of its members an electoral map of Canada, colour-coded to show current seat distribution, and to implore its members to paste that map on a wall in a prominent place where they will constantly have to see it. Maybe that will wake them up to this issue.

  19. orval says:

    Thanks Doc.

    The Conservatives want an election only if the coalition makes it happen. I’m sure the “coalition” negative ads are already in the can ready to go. The Liberals have got to realize it’s a trap before it is too late. The Liberals need time (and luck) and Harper is offering it to them …no snap election, no election until late 2012. This is a gift. It gives Liberals time to prepare, and because Harper will call the election in 2012, the coalition monkey is off their back.

    Right now, forcing an election when the Liberals are nowhere in Quebec and the West, and when the Conservatives are about to burst into the GTA big time, is political folly of the first order. I simply cannot believe that Ignatieff is that dumb.

    Prediction: The opposition will vote against Budget 2011 but in insufficient numbers to defeat the Government. General Election in the Fall of 2012.

    Start small, focus on the by-elections. Remember Winnipeg North (but don’t forget Vaughan). It would be tremendous if the Nancy Charest of the Liberals could beat the Bloc in Matane by-election. Work on that.

    Hugger: thanks for your POV too.

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