03.09.2011 12:24 PM

To campaign or to not campaign, that is the question

Quite a few of you regulars – Lala, Namesake, et al. – have suggested to me that the Libs are smart to make the election frame about ethics, and not economy. They’ve accordingly told me I’m wrong to be worried about what’ll happen to my party if a campaign happens in the Spring.

Fair enough. Maybe they’re right, maybe I’m wrong. Here’s my three-point rationale:

1. The top of mind issue for Canadians, by a long shot, is the economy. It usually is. I consequently don’t see how we can ignore the economy in a 36-day campaign. I understand the desire to avoid talking about an issue that is a Conservative strength. I get it. But the economy? Get serious. That’s the 600-pound gorilla in the room. Ignore it at your peril.

2. I like the ethics theme as a ballot question. I do. I mean, it is clear that the ruling party was engaged in a widespread conspiracy to defraud taxpayers, and that they cheated in the election. It’s not conjecture: Conservatives have been charged with breaking the law. But here’s the problem: voters are pretty skeptical about “scandal” stuff – they’ve heard too many baseless allegations get thrown around too many times. That’s not all: it takes weeks and months to publicize and explain something like the “in and out” conspiracy – Hell, it took Harper more than a year to capitalize on the sponsorship stuff. It’ll take too much time to tell the story right.

3. Look at the polls, folks. If you take Quebec out of the picture (where the Bloc utterly dominates, anyway), the Reformatories have A TWENTY POINT LEAD in English Canada. Twenty points! That’s massacre time.

I understand the grim assessment made by some Libs – “let’s just get it over with, nothing is going to change.” I also have heard some senior staff in OLO have simply given up.

But that’s emotion – that’s not a strategy, folks. It’s also a formula for disaster.

I don’t want us reduced to third party status. I think going now, and going on the ethics theme, will lead to a majority Harper Government.

That’s what I think, anyway. What’s your view? Comments are open.


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    Cath says:

    You make sense and I agree with your summary – “emotion” kills campaigns. You should write a book:-)

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    fritz says:

    The economy may be the top issue for Canadians, but the Canadian economy is doing pretty well by most standards. Whether or not you think this is because the Tories did a great job during the recession or it was just that the Canadian economy was in better shape to start; which is my opinion; the Liberals can’t take credit for it being good now. They haven’t been in power for years and their current policies on the economy are really not very clear; at least to me. If it were bad shape, like the US economy, you could attack the CPC for doing a bad job; but not now.
    That’s why the Liberals need another issue to go after the CPC and loss of democracy and corruption are as good as any.

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      The Doctor says:

      “. . . and their current policies on the economy are really not very clear; at least to me.”

      You get the prize for understatement of the day.

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    Jane says:

    Absolutely agree with you, Mr. Kinsella. I would prefer to focus on the Ontario Provincial election and not let the Federal issues muddy the waters as they often do. Harper and McGuinty are afterall both running on the economy and McGuinty has been great for Ontario. If the fedlibs go after Harper on the economy, they may in effect by helping Mr. Hudak. I brought that up with Pollster Dan Arnold on the weekend about the apparent conflict in what the Fed libs are polling for with what we are tying to push to secure McGuinty’s 3peat. ie. they are asking if we are better off. The fedlibs want us to say no and the provincial libs want us to say yes.

    The Federal Liberals would be much better off if we go to the polls in the spring of 2012. Perhaps they will profit on the strength of the Ontario provincial campaign.

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    gretschfan says:

    I’m warming up to the idea that this is posturing on the part of the Liberals and that they’re counting on the NDP to prop up the government. This of course makes the unpleasant assumption that their leader’s health has them in a corner. If it works, it would put the Liberals in a better position where they can vote against the government and point to their better ways of doing things…the way a government-in-waiting ought to. But it’s a huge, huge risk. If it blows up in their faces, I think you’re right about what could be in store for the Liberals and more certainly the NDP in a Spring election.

    If that does happen, ethics is not going to get traction. People are too jaded now by all parties and more to the point, principles don’t put food on the table.

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    Dan says:

    You’re sounding like a nervous nellie Warren. hahaha, just kidding.

    But seriously this isn’t an either or situation here. The Liberals are going to use the Tories silly purchase of Jets and the endless corporate tax giveaways to pound away at the Tories throughout the election. When you’re facing a party that has such huge advantages in finances there is never going to be a time outside of the writ period that looks good for an election.

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      nic coivert says:

      This is a very good point.

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        Namesake says:


        The LPC never agreed to purchase the F-35s, only to participate in the JSF program to be eligible for contracts & to be able to use the technology in our comparatively much larger domestic aircraft industry: it’s a lie to say otherwise. And now that there’s been a Speaker’s Ruling agreeing that the CPC has been concealing the costs of it, and a brand new PBO report which puts the total costs as being $29, not $16, B, there’s bound to be a lot less enthusiasm for them among all but the Harper cultists. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/10/pol-pbo-page-fighterjet.html

        Similarly, the Libs only supported the corporate tax cuts when the country was in surplus and had some head room to gamble on whether that might create more investment & jobs; that head room is gone thanks both to the global recession & your gov’t’s non-stimulus-related profligate spending.

        And, sorry, but the latest indication is that: 59% of the populace now agrees, that continuing the corporate tax cuts is a BAD idea & they should be raised back up to 18%


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          nic coivert says:

          Gord, show us where the LPC agreed to a 29 Billion dollar purchase of those jets since you seem so certain that it happened.

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          Namesake says:

          “apparently you think the lpc should make tax policy based on public opinion”

          um, no: the usual ham-fisted Con attempt at misconstrual

          the LPC has been opposing these tax corporate cuts for at least a year, now, well in advance of any polling;

          I just cited this new poll to dampen your claim that ‘that dog won’t hunt,’ since it’s actually ALREADY caught 3 out of every 5 adults, and that’s DESPITE the corporate media shilling for it.

          So just wait until the LPC gets some ads out & on & gets to talk about it in the campaign:

          The Conservative Party thinks that the most profitable big corporations in the Canada like banks and oil companies shouldn’t have to pay their fair share of taxes to support the health care, education, infrastructure, and other government programs that gives them access to the best workforce, customer base and safest place in the world to do business, which makes those profits possible. We disagree.

          And no, the LPC NEVER signaled it intended to buy the F-35s: they just paid to play in the development of it, to get the spin-off benefits, which we have: all the contracts now in place that the CPC was trying to exploit when appearing at pressers held at the aeronautics companies who’ve benefited from that.

          Unlike the CPC, who walked into the showroom with googly eyes and their chequebooks already out gushing, “We love these… where do we sign,” they were a lot cagier than that. There was always the understanding that they’d have their own competition & get the guaranteed Industrial Regional Benefits contracts equal to the purchase price. Your guys were rubes.

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    Patrick Hamilton says:

    Mr. Kinsella: Living out in BC, I can tell you that the economy is still not booming……and if I ask the question, am I better off than I was five years ago, the answer is a definate no. I received no bonus this year, my hours have been cut, and half the stores in my downtown are empty….not exactly boom times. Were it not for the marijuana industry, I believe my town would have collapsed completely. We have a lacklustre Conservative MP, and most people I talk to would love to see him turfed. So I would like to see an election now, but unfortunately during the internecine war years of the Liberal Party, the organization in this riding fell apart. We are rebuilding, but it is going to take time. So another year before an election would be helpful….but in the meantime, its another year for the “Harper” govt to march us down the path of a right wing fundamentalist Christian oligarchy……I say go now, if its another Harper minority, the shivs will be out for him from his own party, resulting in the collapse of the already shaky PC Reform Alliance. Cant wait for the Fundies to find out the real deal on would be leadership contenders Baird and Kenney…..

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      Namesake says:

      uh-huh. Well, with an overall unemployment rate of 8.2% (which, as an average, conceals much higher rates in some parts of it), and an employment rate of just 59.9 in BC, acc. to the latest LFS (compared to 5.9 & 68.8, in AB), well, who’s booming who, there, Gordo.


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        Namesake says:

        my point is that your clumsy attempt to undermine the credibility of Mr. Hamilton has undermined yours (if that’s even possible, any more): BC most assuredly is NOT booming, when those two most key indicators are contrasted with those of a region which (almost) is.

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        Namesake says:

        They’re not my brethren.

        And that’s precisely the problem Mr. Hamilton was alluding to: the employment IS lagging, in his neck of the [they’d probably like to cut down but can’t sell the] woods.

        (Which you can’t and shouldn’t be trying to minimize or deny by sleight of hand: you don’t even know what town he lives in and which of its (probably resource) industries is suffering, just now, or why, which is what makes your usual impulse to call a critic of the CPC a liar & pile on BS to explain why… so offensive.)

        And don’t call me surely.

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        Namesake says:

        Correctly? By citing major construction & housing starts in the Lower Mainland, where people continue to flock to, from all over the world, regardless of how bad the economy is elsewhere in the province?

        News flash: not everyone in BC works in or benefits from construction.

        In fact, even though they’ve seen a slight increase in total employment over the past year in BC, that’s due entirely to part time — and mostly low wage, low benefit, low prospect, service sector — jobs.

        There’s now (with the latest LFS for Feb. out yesterday) almost 23,000 fewer people with Full-Time jobs in BC than a year ago (despite a 45,000 increase in their labour force), and an 8.8% unemployment rate, with at least 218,000 people actively looking for work (30,000 more than a year ago), or well over a quarter of a million, when ‘discouraged workers’ are included.


        I.e., pretty much 10% of its entire work force is sitting idle. Equals: NOT booming.

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    fritz says:

    “It sounds okay?but my point is that they need to lay more track on the ethics stuff. Going now doesn?t give them enough time.”

    If you back to 2006 there are literally many dozens of very serious, serious and not so serious ethics violations and attacks on parliamentary democracy. Just how much track do you need?

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    Sean Cummings says:

    I fairly conspiracy minded, and I think five years of hyper partisanship, attack ads, blame game, scandal, fiery rhetoric and just plain nastiness on the part of everyone in Ottawa has created a background noise of epic BS that most Canadians tuned out from a long time ago. For this reason, I think making this election about ethics is going to backfire on the Liberals. Had Canadians truly sickened of the insane level of BS coming from Mr. Angry and his ilk, very simply, he wouldn’t be riding so high in the polls. I think Warren is right, the only thing on anyone’s mind is the economy and there’s nothing in the Liberal plan that would make Canadians want to shift their vote to Team Iggy – there’s just nothing there.

    Yep – Harper is a control freak.
    Yep – He’s stomped on democracy and thoroughly emasculated the power of Canada’s Parliament
    Yep – He probably eats kittens and babies and puppies and stuff

    But Canadians know where he stands, he’s strong on the economy and seen as the guy to manage it.

    I believe voters will give Harper his majority if anything to shut the PPG up from a five year ENDLESS cycle of election speculation which eventually saps a person’s sanity because there’s like um, real news to report as opposed to the latest poll or the almighty “when are we gonna have an election”. Voters are sick of it and will give Harper a majority for a few years of peace and bloody quiet.

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    Reader says:

    When would you propose having an election? The longer the Liberals wait to have an election, the worse their chances become. Canadians are now comfortable with Harper and no longer terribly afraid of him. The attack ads aren’t going to suddenly start working in Ig’s favour. Unless there’s a sponsorship scandal waiting around the corner, Canadians are only going to grow more comfortable with the Cons. I’m not trying to flatter you, but I think everyone might have realized that you were right when you were working for the OLO, and that an election was better sooner than later.

    My biggest concern is that they’ll let parliament expire naturally and become infamous as the first opposition in Canadian history to let a minority to run the full course. The case for a Harper majority becomes easy and Liberals look pathetic and weak. At least this shows some balls and frames the election on the Liberal’s terms. Maybe I’ve become too pessimistic, but I think this is the last chance to avoid a Harper majority (which I think is possible despite the polls; the Liberals can communicate the ethics theme more effectively during a campaign, when Canadians are paying attention again.)

    Am I too pessimistic? Can the Liberals turn it around before 2012?

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    dave says:

    Do they have an option? Harper wants and needs an election now. Food price and oil price shocks are coming. The US dollar is the lowest its been for 3 years. Things are not setting up well. With a huge lead in the polls and scandals building steam, harper will do whatever he has to to get to the polls. So the question is, if harper is going to make it happen, what do you campaign on? I think Harper racking up 100 billion in deficits in two years is worthy of mention. Also how much more interest we taxpayers are paying now and how foolish moiney was spent on signs and g20 and the list goes on. Also, the huge banks are having record profits and getting more corporate tax cuts while unemployment is high and small business has been hit with addditional payroll taxes. Realistically the people should be absolutely incensed by the attempt to circumvent election finance laws and how the Cons are understating it. But canadians have become so apathetic they may not care. And the attack ads have worked. Tough situation.

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    The Doctor says:

    One point that Warren fails to mention is the “unnecessary election” angle. Not to mention the “evil coalition” angle. It’s an “if”, but if Harper can frame this as a triggering of an “unnecessary election” by the opposition, that could be trouble for the LPC. Obviously, hard-core LPC/NDP supporters would never see an opportunity to turf Harper as an “unnecessary election.” But those aren’t the people who really determine elections. It’s swing, unaligned and undecided voters. And are those people really hankering for an election these days?

    Probably the classic example of where the deliberate, opportunistic triggering of an election came back to bite a party in the butt was when David Peterson triggered that Ontario election in the early 1990s. Everyone called it for the opportunistic move that it was, the “unnecessary election” narrative gained legs during the ensuing campaign, and the rest is history — Peterson’s Liberals lost, and Rae Days were here.

    Of course there are differences in facts and context here, but I would expect that Harper will at least try this narrative on for size. And it may stick — aside from political junkies and partisans, most normal Canadians don’t enjoy elections, and see them as an inconvenience at best. I find that the biggest conceptual mistake that hard-core political partisans consistently make is assuming that everyone else sees the world the way they do.

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      Namesake says:

      Yes, indeed, Harper’s already been Harping on that for some time, and has launched a new website on it.


      But as always with this party, it’s steeped in Harpocrisy:

      perhaps he’d be good enough to explain why the country “needed” all his non-confidence motions related to the sponsorship scandal — and NOT ‘job creators’ — which led to the election of 2005/6, just a year into that mandate; or why we needed his second opportunistic election in two years, in 2008, just two years into that mandate.

      So, on a pro-rated basis, with this one possibly coming at what is approaching the three year mark of a minority gov’t, that makes it the least wasteful one of the last three — two of which Harper caused.

      Opportunism In … Opportunism Out.

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        The Doctor says:

        I take your points, NS. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. But let’s face it, you’re a political junkie of the first order (as am I). We are not normal people. You have an almost encyclopedic memory for Canadian federal political history. Most normal people aren’t that way. The average voter is simply not going to think the way you have described things in your post. I suspect the overwhelming majority of voters cannot remember what even precipitated the last (2008) federal election. Hell, even I had to check wiki just now to refresh my memory.

        And I would be extremely wary of comparisons to the 2008 campaign because that campaign had a very clear substantive economic policy differentiator: Dion’s carbon tax/Green Shift. In the eyes of many, or most, voters, that was the ballot issue. As far as I can see, there is no such meaty, economic-based policy issue differentiating the Liberals and Conservatives this time out. So IMO, that leaves it open for Harper & Co. to say: “Why are we having this election?”

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          Namesake says:

          same as why they wanted it in ’05: to throw the bums out.

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            The Doctor says:

            NS, I totally get the fact that you think Harper is execrable and that in your view, in & out & Oda etc. = Adscam. The crucial question is, though, does the average voter share your view? I’m not convinced of that. I guess that’s where you and I will have to agree to disagree.

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    cd says:

    If any of the parties had the courage to fix healthcare, that is one issue that the entire country cares about and would welcome an election on that issue alone. Because none of them will speak to it or focus on it, I literally don’t know who to vote for, except that I could never vote Conservative. The main issue I read any Canadians mentioning in this regard is OVERSIGHT of hospitals is needed. Why doesn’t any party think of that? CEO’s overpaid, HR focused on NOT treating patients, waste and mismanagement of hospital funds. But nobody will look into it or even acknowledge that IS the problem in many cases.

    I think there is more than enough ethical reason for an election now but I’m not sure we’ll end up anywhere other than where we are. Unless A LOT of citizens are contacting Liberal, NDP and other MP’s, complaining they are not happy, I don’t see that this won’t just be money wasted. Wish I could have more faith in fellow voters but I don’t anymore. Canada is too apathetic about everything. Whole situation makes me sad how little the majority of citizens actually care about Canada, fellow citizens, and waste time splitting votes and talking a lot but doing nothing.

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    dave says:

    With no campaign and lots of Conserv advertising, I think that affects the polls. Fro 7 or so weeks of an election campaign, there is a bit more equality in the advertising,and people pay a bit more attention to it.
    Seems to me that a government that is wearing a ‘dishonesty’ hat has a tougher job selling what it is doing with the economy.

    And there is a connection to be made between dishonesty and the economy.

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    Mulletaur says:

    Top three national issues according to the last Nanos poll of 14 February 2011 : Healthcare – 22.9%, Jobs/economy – 20.2%, Environment – 10.3% [http://www.nanosresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-W11-T456E.pdf]

    The federal Liberals have addressed the first one with their Liberal Family Care Plan [http://cdn.liberal.ca/files/2010/10/lpc-family-care-en.pdf]

    ‘Ethics’ is not a ballot question, or at least, not a good question for politicians to pose as a way to gain partisan advantage over other politicians, rightly or wrongly. Democracy and abuses of power are very good ballot questions.

    Lawrence Martin puts it best : “To do the math on the Harper government is to conclude that, while it has no sponsorship scandal on its books, it?s already surpassed its predecessor on a range of other abuse-of-power indices.” [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/on-the-road-to-the-harper-governments-tipping-point/article1933110]

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      Mulletaur says:

      Also, if there really are people in OLO who have given up, they should not be there. That is a question of leadership.

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        Mulletaur says:

        OLO, that is.

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    Namesake says:

    Agree that it’ll take a lot of good comm. work to make up for the lack of time for the arrogance & corruption motifs to take hold and metastasize as slowly as they did in ’05, but several points:

    1) Not all, um, regime change elections are over — or are even remotely related to — the economy: witness ’06.

    2) Campaigns matter. Here’s three seminal moments in Cndn. federal electoral history where a 20 or as high as a 15-point national lead in the last Pre-Campaign Poll was_completely_ evaporated & the bums got thrown out:

    1984 (Libs 48, Cons 39 pre-writ; Libs 28, Cons 50 election result)

    1993 (Libs 33, Cons 36 pre-writ; Libs 41, Cons 16 election result)

    2006 (Libs b/w mid-30s & 41 & Cons b/w 26 & 30 in the first week of Dec. 05, with the 30.2 v 36.3 electoral result on Jan 23)



    3) The Economy battle has to be fought, too, of course, but: to a draw.

    The Cons. have been tremendously lucky that the recession wasn’t as bad as it might have been, here, and recovered as quickly as it did, and they shouldn’t be able to take credit for simply managing not to run what has essentially been a latch-key business aground, as far as the sound fundamentals all being in place before they got there, thanks to the Liberals.

    So in the campaign and especially the debates, they need to be challenged on:

    what, specifically, did they do to manage the economy and mitigate the effects of the global recession and facilitate job recovery here that:
    a) the Liberals hadn’t already done, or
    b) wouldn’t do again in their place, if they were in government, or
    c) they weren’t pressured into doing by the Liberal Opposition

    As Dan Gardner recently observed, In the big picture, Liberal and Conservative economic policies are almost indistinguishable


    But the devil is in the details, of course, and it’s been clear, they’ve made some pretty devilish and ill-considered cuts on some things, while horribly overspending on others, and overall, they’re actually pretty BAD money managers:




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    Darren says:

    I will say it again, because Warren is right. If the Liberals force an election before the government is allowed to bring down a budget, that given the concern over the economy Canadians will want to see, it plays right into the narrative that Ignatieff is just in it for himself.

    As for staffers giving up, well, that’s not a very good sign. And “nothing will change until there is an election” is like polling by gut, and not likely to work out very well.

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      Namesake says:

      and so I’ll say it again*: that’s nonsense. If Ignatieff were only in it for himself, he’d wait until the polling numbers were more favourable or until the current mandate ran its full course, or he would’ve quit fed. politics and gone back to Harvard five years ago… it’s not like he _needs_ this or even the PM’s job: he was probably making more at Harvard & selling books.

      * http://warrenkinsella.com/2011/03/this-so-totally-makes-no-sense-to-me/#comment-28230

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    Bell says:

    So when Layton hobbles up to the microphone on his crutches and says “ignatief is calling an unnecessary election attempting to take advantage of my recent health issues. However he is underestimating me. “. Then spends the rest of the campaign on his crutches and having his staff reminding the press about his recent battle with cancer how will Iggy be able to explain to to the left how this isn’t about him?

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      Namesake says:

      gimme a break: that’s total crap, because Ignatieff can’t call an election without Jack’s party’s help and agreement, and because Jack’s better than that, and wouldn’t play that sympathy card, and because Jack’s a tough old bird and won’t wince, and because he’s been given an excellent prognosis for a full recovery, and in fact he’s already out of the hospital and back at work




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      nic coivert says:

      The government can’t fall without the NDP’s support.

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        bell says:

        Sorry I wasn’t clear. I know Layton has to agree. My point is that he can play the health card to his advantage by gettting the sympathy vote and playing on the image already created by the cons that Iggy is only in it for himself. Remember it is alot easier for Layton to vote against the budget (unlike Iggy he would not be seen as changing his mind on things) than Iggy.

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          Namesake says:

          backing off on the corporate tax cuts IS seen as changing his mind, and it’s not playing well with THEIR base, BTW.

          But this is all moot — as I said, he’s back at work already, up on his two feet in QP and in scrums;

          they superglued the hairline fractures on his hip, he’s mending fine, it’s all good, Layton himself isn’t going and doesn’t want to exploit his health status, so any attempt to portray Iggy as a big bad wolf is more shameful than he supposedly is on this.

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    michael hale says:

    Canadians don’t care. They have other things on their mind. Make them vote at your own peril.

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    H Holmes says:

    The difference between the conservatives and the liberals in terms of campaigning is knowing the difference between something that fires up the base and can be used to raise money and real election issues.

    In this case the real election issue is the economy and more importantly taxes. The liberals will have a hard time winning if they try to promote a tax increase.

    The fundraising issue is ethics, few people really care how unethical a politician is as long as its not criminal and doesn’t cost them money They should be emailing their base and putting up a website to promote all of the ethics issues of harper. This website and email campaign should be directly linked to fundraising.

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    Sean says:

    1. Economy… Generally, I don’t think that Joe and Jane Front porch really believe that any party is better or worse, provided that nothing drastic is proposed. As long as they are working, the trains are running on time and the mail is delivered etc., swing voters will generally always believe that the Government is the best “economic manager”. Is it the # 1 issue? You bet. However the Tories wildly overestimate the importance of that issue in terms of a “differentiator”.

    2. Libs wildly overestimate ethics as their issue. Wake up team grit, the average voter believes EVERY operative in every political party is always stealing money from all the taxpayers, all the time. Six years after the sponsorship mess exploded, this is especially true.

    3. Polls. They aren’t going to get any better. An election is the only way out of the leadership mess. The only alternative would be for Ignatieff to resign and that probably isn’t going to happen. Its time to get on with it so we can rebuild and have a chance in 2014 / 2015. Is a Tory majority bad for Canada? Our leader climbs down and runs away so often, it can’t be much worse than this. At least all the political defeats wouldn’t lead to a weekly existential debate within the Liberal Party.

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    Namesake says:

    Well, it’s doubly good news for the forces of good, I guess:

    the Speaker has just ruled against the CPC on BOTH motions, and found a prima facie breach of privilege both on Bev Oda’s misleading the House, and on their failing to be forthcoming with the budgetary information they need to assess the crime bills

    but the Speaker apparently also headed the non-con. motions off at the pass, signalling to the Liberals that he wouldn’t entertain them, so it’s off to Committee they go.


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    Michael Bussiere says:

    Warren, could it not be argued that secrecy and questions of trust have always been Harper’s weak point, and that he is therefore never been more vulnerable than at this time. The list is very long and has always reinforced this perception. Cadman, twice prorogation, secret documents, Bev Oda, Jason Kenney, In-and-out, etc etc. The public has been aware of this overarching trait for a very long time. And the list of questionable flip-flips and statements on record is long indeed. “Canadians aren’t worried about loosing their jobs or their homes” is my personal favourite. Hell, let’s go back to Reform Party days. This so-called economist never finished his education, never ran a business, never practiced as an economist, and bloody well thinks we are a second-rate socialist state!

    All of this amounts to trust and a culture of propaganda, shallow spin, and unprecedented kniving behaviour. Essentially, Harper = Nixon.

    So, regarding the economy, why the hell would we trust this man with our health care system, our old age pensions, and the biggest deficit in our history which he alone owns? That to me is the link between the trust issue and the economy, the corp. tax cuts, the prisons, the jets, all purchased with borrowed money and interest payments. Lousy management, lack of foresight, biggest deficit ever, distain for our social programs, and the perfect manufactured excuse to decimate them. That to me is a game changer, especially if a really solid Liberal economic plan is laid out.

    Nothing scares the bejeesuz out of people more than a hidden agenda, and that target has been painted on his ass since day one.

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      The Doctor says:

      “. . . especially if a really solid Liberal economic plan is laid out.”

      So, is there any evidence that that is forthcoming?

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    MJH says:

    Focusing on the ethics issues will renew much discussion about ADSCAM. Mudslinging will ensue about who was more corrupt and get us nowhere.

    “It the economy stupid” will be the Conservative mantra.

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      MJH says:

      Should be “It’s the economy stupid”

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    JFoster says:


    1: I think the actual question upon which an election is called is generally relevant for a day or two. Beyond that elections are about everything and voting for one now doesn’t mean that the economy won’t be campaigned on. You can’t seriously think that the 600 pound primate will actually be “ignored” do you?

    2: Yes, folk are skeptical about scadals mostly because of the molehill into mountain tendencies of the opposition parties but really the iron is at least warm on that issue/s right now if the Liberals wait the iron might go cold and the Tories might call an election on their own when the information mavans decide to talk about something else.

    3: Yes the party is down in the polls but here’s the thing… it’s been weeks since the last bad poll I’ve seen and there has been plenty of bad press for the gov’t in that time, would it really be better to wait for the Tories to dole out a budget filled with targetted goodies paid for by the taxpayers dime and then call one themselves? would it really be better to wait for the Tories to roll out their leaked ethnic media campaign and then call one themselves? I propose that it’s better for the Liberals to go on their terms then wait for the Tories to pick their own spot.

    Just food for thought,


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    Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    Wouldn’t Peter Milliken’s ruling just announced on the breach of Parliament and on the Oda file constitute the last spike required in the “laying of the tracks on the ethics stuff”?

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    cd says:

    Mulletaur, thank you for sharing that Liberal plan. I haven’t seen that before. And it makes me wonder why because I seriously track all healthcare news closely. This plan should be talked up once a week at least in media, on blogs, etc.

    This is a nice health support plan. However, it offloads care to families. What if you’re single or all family is dead? What if you need to call 911 and the hospital makes you wait 14 hours before they do anything? What if you have a rare disorder? These are serious problems. And with any of these financing plans, why is there NO PLAN FOR OVERSIGHT? Again, same thing happened with E-Health thing in Ontario – there was no oversight. Those people were accountable to NOBODY. How hard is it to have an accounting firm audit/check every fiscal quarter – and have a chartered accountant in management for further daily controls? I know the cost of that would be FAR LESS than allowing people in executive positions to arbitrarily spend and waste.

    Throwing money and support at healthcare is great. But without oversight, the problems continue to escalate every year. There needs to be an Accountability and Integrity arm to that plan. Not criticizing Liberals. I usually vote Liberal but would rather do it without holding my nose and praying they will run things correctly – I would like to KNOW and TRUST that they will. Killing healthcare by quietly allowing private services etc. and letting it die slowly so people run to private payer system is unconscionable and all the parties are guilty of that. NDP in particular should be all over this I would think.

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    Bruce says:


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    Scott Tribe says:

    YOu probably already know this, Warren, but I say go – if we’re going to lose, better to go down fighting on this issue then on a poison pill budget. It can be framed the same way Harper did in 2006 – that there are so many scandals the Liberals cannot support the government under any circumstances. It would show the public we dont care about the polls – that this is an issue of principle.

    It’ll also give Ignatieff a chance in the leaders debate to confront Harper over his “just in it for himself” smear campaign against him, and ask him if he really thinks he’s any less of a Canadian for being abroad. I think that would help him immensely.

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      Warren says:

      Brother, I don’t want to go down.

      I want to beat the bastards.

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      Windsurfer says:

      I agree, Scott. And by the way, this Quisling (Mark in Ontario says:) who posted a little later than this message can go screw himself.

      And also, having met my candidate-designate up here in the hinterlands who has actually gone out and signed up new Liberal local members to meet his minimum, pre-acclamation as the candidate-proper, I’m heartened.

      I cite the Star Trek episode where Picard was fighting on the bridge amidst flames and collapses of bulkheads saying I’ll surrender the Enterprise over my dead body. I’m ready for the fight and maybe the CON-Borgs will be fought to a royal stalemate which will be the end of Harper. At that point, the rest of the left-overs are going to be succulent indeed.

      Then again, I could be delusional but at least I’ve put my significant funds where my mouth is.

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    scott says:

    There are a lot of similarities between this current (pre-writ) environment and that of the 1996 U.S. presidential election. During that time, Preident Clinton (riding high in the polls) had managed to re-position himself and his party after a huge midterm defeat two years prior by successfully taking all the tough issues (which the Republicans could fight the election on) off the table. This strategy left them [Republicans] with no other alternative than to attack Mr. Clinton on his moral compass. And to be perfectly honest, such a strategy may have worked had the Republicans been able to elect a young charismatic leader who could get down in the gutter and fight. Unfortunately, they had Bob Dole who, much like Ignatieff, looked good on paper to his party as the best choice, but he failed to connect to the voters the way the President did due to his elitist persona. And because of this, the Republicans failed to exploit some of Clinton’s shortcomings, which coincidently, included alleged charges of illegal fundraising practices. Something that seemed much bigger to the Washington beltway then it did to the regular voter who saw pocket book issues as their main concern.

    That said, I’m with you on this one Warren. It’s mere suicide for the Liberals to think they have some sort of advantage, at all, if the writ is dropped (or forced) in the next few weeks.

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    Mark in Ontario says:

    The last week has convinced me of one thing, which implies I agree with Mr Kinsella, which is true. That one thing is: the Liberals have given up on making the economy the issue of the election. I saw Rob Silver trying to make the case that Harper should call the election now. That is a Liberal trying to set the trap. It won’t happen. The only way there will be an election is if all 3 opposition parties (aka the coalition) defeat the Budget. Everything that has happened up to until now says Harper will make any “unnecessary” election about the Coalition. I remember the polls of December 2009. If anyone thinks in-and-out of 2006 will make any headway with the Canadian voters compared to the visceral disgust they felt and continue to feel about the Coalition then they, as Mr Kinsella says, are over-wrought with emotion and need to calm down, and soon.

    The two “scandals” the Speaker ruled on today are trivial compared to people’s real concerns. The Oda affair is a winner for the Conservative base – the Minister over-ruled the bureaucrats to deny tax-payer funding to a suspect NGO. The “prisons” funding thing will go to committee and more numbers will be released which we will see later anyway. The in-and-out “scandal” is about the Conservatives spending too much of their own money in 2006!

    The NDP will blink, just to survive.

    It’s now 2011. Mr Kinsella is right. Forcing an election now (assuming NDP and Bloc support) is fatal to the Liberals. Now more than ever the Liberals need patience and self-discipline. The need to lay the tracks of a good election campaign. Harper is offering it to them gratis. No election until 2012. TAKE THE GIFT

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      nic coivert says:

      What coalition though? Opposition parties voting together against a minority government is how parliament works.

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      Philip says:

      Mark in Ontario wrote:
      “The in-and-out “scandal” is about the Conservatives spending too much of their own money in 2006!” Really? So what about the $800,000+ that your Conservative Party got back from us taxpayers through rebates? It’s stolen money Mark. Stolen from the Canadian taxpayer through 67 forged invoices from Retail Media. If it was really legal and above board, then why were those 67 invoices forged?
      So if you don’t mind Mark from Ontario, I’ll discount the advice of someone who has no qualms about his support for a people who forge invoices.

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    nic coivert says:

    The Cons are not unassailable on the economy. Things are tough, money is very tight. Gas prices and food prices are rising steadily. The Cons are presiding over the largest spending government in history. Jets, Prisons, G20. What fiscal conservative can love that. And how about corporate tax cuts, or bank profits. What have the Cons really done for the Canadian people other than try and buy votes with taxpayer money? And the longer Harper is left to leverage power the more he builds his right wing Christian hegemony.

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      Kevin says:

      When are Canadians going to wake up to the $500-million AdSCAM that Harper Government has been carrying out for the past two years?

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        Namesake says:

        yeah, the latest piece of that is they’re “planning to spend up to $4-million on a taxpayer-funded ad blitz to promote its 2011 budget, a media buy that will start just days before an increasingly probable spring election campaign.”


        Man, I wish there were — PMB, anyone — a cheap internet or telephone referendum mechanism that we voters could use to levy instant $1,000+ fines against the MPs who go along with such pork-barreling or shameless partisan advertising type schemes (among other things).

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    TofKW says:

    Of the thirteen federal elections held since 1962 inclusive, the party leading in the polls when the writs were dropped saw itself lose support during eleven of the campaigns. The only exceptions to the pattern were during the 1974 election ? which featured Pierre Trudeau?s attack on Bob Stanfield?s “wage and price controls” platform ? and in 1988. In this latter case ? the “free trade” election ? Brian Mulroney?s Progressive Conservatives did decline precipitously during the campaign, but rebounded toward the end and finished with the same support level at which they started.

    Not saying the Conservatives won’t win should we go to the polls this spring, but I don’t think it’s likely they will win a majority regardless of what the polls say now. In all probability they will win another minority, the only question being what will the final riding count be?

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      The Doctor says:

      Very interesting numbers in that first sentence of yours. I was not aware of that.

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      Mark in Ontario says:

      Any earlier election where there was no Bloc Quebecois is irrelevant. To compete Ignatieff and the Liberals have to accomplish 2 great comebacks – one against the Conservatives in the West, and the other against the Bloc Quebecois in Quebec. Shouting “in-and-out” and “Bev Oda” will not win many new Liberal voters in either region.

      Harper has already framed the election if it happens in 2011: Either it is a Conservative majority or a Coalition majority. If the Government falls on the Bidget, it will be Coalition ads 24/7 for the next 5 weeks. Harper is after 20+ seats in GTA and Lower Mainland BC. The Conservatives are already 20 points ahead in English Canada, and the Bloc seats are not going to fall by the dozens to the Liberals. As Mr Kinsella says, it will be a massacre. It is hard to tell the lemmings to stop running toward the cliff, but I am glad there are those like Mr Kinsella who are trying.

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        Namesake says:

        “The Conservatives are already 20 points ahead in English Canada”

        uh-huh. So you — an apparent concern troll who just appeared out of nowhere the other day to — say, based on the liberties you took the other day, with the now-dated (because its field dates of Feb. 11-14 were before the Oda, Kenney, In&Out court developments, info. concealing scandals) Nanos poll.

        But as I pointed out a couple days ago, that was an illegitimate / not statistically sanctioned reconstruction of the data, based on a not very large sample to begin with (1,016 completions, 826 decided voters);

        without it being cleared by the actual pollster, we can’t put faith in that interpolated result as being truly representative of this made up “Rest of Canada” region, that it was appropriately weighted for where the actual respondents were hailing from.

        (E.g., if we take all the mostly gung-CPC-ho Prairie respondents — nearly 20% of their total Cndn sample — out of that last Nanos mix, it was only a 9 point lead for the rest of Canada encompassing just BC, ON, and the Atlantic Provinces).


        Moreover, if we do that same procedure to a subsequent & more robust poll — the Ekos released on Feb. 23, w. field dates Feb. 10-22 (so with only some of those scandals reflected), which had a MUCH larger sample (2,811 completions, 2358 decided voters), well,

        the 5-point gap (32.4%, 27.3%) for ALL of Canada only gets increased to a 9 point gap for the ROC (39%, 30%), sans QC; and it shrinks back down to a 5-pt. gap when the 3 prairie provinces are removed (37%, 32%).

        And again, this is all pre-writ, with the CPC benefitting from the $60 million they’ve spent on advertising in the past few months, and the LPC… almost none.

        So I’d certainly advise any actual Liberals to take ‘Mark in Ontario’ ‘s counsel with a giant grain.

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          Mark in Ontario says:

          My point all along is polls which show the “national” level of support for the Bloc Quebecois, a nonsensical figure because no-body outside of Quebec can choose to vote BQ,, have to be taken with a huge grain of salt. I think Strategic Counsel used to, but nobody seems to be showing “Rest of Canada” results. If you can any of the mainstream polls and filter out the Quebec numbers, you will tend to see that the Conservatives have greater support among English Canadians there than the polls indicate. This is because Conservative weakness in Quebec artificially pulls down their national numbers. I don’t know if it is a 20 point lead in ROC, but it is certainly in double-digits. Mr Kinsella is right. For the Liberals to ignore that would be a mistake.

          As Napoleon once said “never interfere when the enemy is making a mistake.” To win, Ignatieff has to defeat two very strong opponents, Messrs Harper and Duceppe. It’s a 2 front battle. Mr Harper has worked diligently and hard almost two years to make a Liberal-Bloc coalition or entente politically toxic. If Ignatieff can force an election now, the issue will be the Coalition that will raise taxes and wreck the economy. And as Mr Kinsella says, elections are always about the economy.

          Ignatieff is euchred on the Coalition. This weakens the Liberals. The only way out is to have Harper to call the election himself. That won’t be until 2012. Liberals have time to build their strength. Liberals now need wisdom, not emotion. Wait until you are strong, not weak.

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            Namesake says:

            except as I just demonstrated, no, the ROC gap is NOT “certainly” in the double digits — it’s only 9, in the latest EKOS, which has the largest sample & broadest sampling method (both cell & landlines);

            and the new conventional wisdom you’re going on about is re: winning a majority, which no one dreams — and many of us don’t even WANT — the Libs to do, at this point: the current goal is just to squeak out a minority.

            and pace what you attribute to WK, elections are NOT always about the economy: the election that got the current gov’t into power wasn’t even remotely about the economy: the unemployment rate was two points lower, and the deficit/surplus about $60 Billion different, to the good, then.

            And pace the “We’re on track” nonsense Flaherty spews, this gov’t has continuously been a massive JOKE on their alleged economic management prowess: denying & not knowing a recession was coming; thinking nothing should be done about that ASAP, until forced to; cutting the GST instead of income tax rates; thinking the structural deficit they created will magically go away; not knowing or admitting that increasing prison sentences will cost billions a year that both the federal and provincial gov’ts are going to be permanently liable for; and now — courtesy of the PBO today — not understanding or admitting that the costs of the F-35s they’ve been shilling for to suck up to the Americans and reward their defense industry buddies is likely to cost us TWENTY-NINE Billion over their lifetime (i.e., at least double what they’ve conceded), and at least 20% more than it might have, if we’d held our own competition instead of pretending that the American’s JSF competition was ours, too.


            So, again, let’s just say, I don’t think the OLO should be particularly concerned about anything you’re putting down, Mike… esp. since it sounds so concern-trolly. (Care to give your real identity to show you’re just a regular citizen wanting a strong Opposition to disprove that, rather than a Con. operative fearing a loss?)

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    Markus Dee says:

    As much as I despise the man, Karl Rove’s strategy of attacking an opponents strength is a solid approach. The Reformatories haven’t really been that great on the economy file. If anything, they should be thanking the past Liberal governments for not deregulating the banks as much as other countries did. I would like to see the Liberals go after Harper’s Government ^^ on economic issues. In other words, we’ve gone heavily into debt (probably necessarily), but what do we have to show for that money? Jails? Jets? We should be investing in infrastructure (rails and roads) and education, among other things.


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    Skinny Dipper says:

    I think Harper will go to the GG as soon as possible and ask for an election. While Harper may be strong debating the economy, He is weak on His ethics. If the opposition can combine His lack of ethics which my lead to poor economic decisions, the opposition may limit Harper’s chance at a majority.

    I know Paul Wells has his election rules. I have one extra rule: the most important issue is never the most important issue. If people say that the economy will be the most important issue, then it likely won’t be the most important. Something else may take its place. If the opposition wishes to lead, then the opposition leaders must set the election agenda. Don’t just follow opinion polls.

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    JH says:

    WK is right. Take Quebec out of the equation – the Libs are dead in the polls. Sorry – however you frame it, folks will simply not vote for Ignatieiff. Even talking to folks on vacation in Florida and that is the consensus. This will mean 4 years at least of a Conservative majority government. Are the Libs willing to risk that rather than change the leader? All the so-called ‘scandal’ issues are just noise. Most folks say ho-hum, we’ve seen it all and heard it all – from them all, before. Drive on – nothing to see here.

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    Derek Pearce says:

    During an actual writ period, with ads from all parties and not just the cons, Harper will not maintain this supposed 20 point lead in English Canada. Plus the government will actually lose seats in Quebec. Think longer term. Have an election, let another Harper minority government form and then sit back and watch the whisper campaign begin on when the governing party may ditch their third-time-so-close-but-always-so-far leader.

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    hugger says:

    “But that’s emotion – that’s not a strategy, folks. It’s also a formula for disaster. ”

    When Harper was elected in 2006 it wasn’t because the economy was being badly managed, it was based on emotion.

    Harpers continued support from his core base hasn’t come from appealing to their logic, it’s been based on manipulating their bias and limitations. Appealing to emotions.

    I watched a good part of the proceeding in the HOC Tuesday and Ignatieff did very well. There was fire in his belly and passion. He owned Harper and made him resort to lying in the House.

    If you want respect you have to earn it. The opposition parties earned a measure of respect because they fought for what is right. For principles.

    Then there is Chantal Heberts views on the subject;


    But it’s your party.

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    The Dude says:

    I don’t understand how they can’t be attacked for the economy. Harper has the biggest deficit EVER. It should at least a part of the attack

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    Jordy says:

    This whole mess really is a shame; a dishonest government that campaigned on honesty, ethics, and accountability.

    With regard to the economay being the conservatives strength, I don’t really see how that can be argued. We had a decade of prosperity, followed almost immediately by contiuous economic turmoil. Even before the recession, the surplus was spent and structurally eliminated from occuring in the future. Once in a recession, the Cons could not recognize it and were forced to acknolodge it.

    We now see ourselves having the largest defecit ever, and it is structured to continue for years to come. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, the Cons are either blaming the Libs for the defecit by forcing them into the spending, or they are taking credit for saving the economy with “The Economic Action Plan”… Talking out of both sides of their mouth…

    There is a long list of issues we could discuss where the Cons have not been straight with us, starting on day one with income trusts… This behaviour never stopped, and power was all they ever wanted in my opinion… What bothers me most of all in not that we have an arrogant and apparently corrupt and incompetant government, but that people don’t even seem to care. What happened to Canadian character? I thought people used to care, but perhaps I was just naaive.

    When I see these Conservative ads, what I see is a character attack. This is the Cons real strength and why they are up in the poles, and t has nothing to do with the economy. They make themselves look big by taking other people out at the knees.

    I wish the Cons were honest and good managers; I would vote for them. What I want is good govenrnment that will not embarass us internationally, and who can balance the budget and say it like it is. What I see is a dishonest big spender, who blames everyone else when things don’t go right… The one thing Harper is a master of is distraction.

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      MJH says:

      Cons have tape showing Michael I. calling for more stimulus spending, and pumping the deficit even higher!

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        Namesake says:

        the Libs have a recent tape showing Flaherty not ruling out increasing the GST back up. Booga Booga!

        and it matters when MI said that, and what the economic indicators were at the time: don’t forget, the Cons agreed to that when they extended the program themselves past the hard ‘shovels in the ground by last fall’ deadline they had, to stretch into this spring

        and the Libs didn’t want the ‘Even just new doorknobs can count as an EAP as long as we can erect a sign in front of the building’ type of porkbarreling stimulus program that this Adscam Redux gov’t seized upon, where most of those short-term jobs it created will disappear …

        they wanted SMART stimulus, more along an adventure capital / social entrepreneur model: to invest in new, alternative energy, green technologies and R&D, to both create jobs in the short term AND to help transition our economy into LASTING changes that will result in SUSTAINED jobs and a more SUSTAINABLE Environment… concepts the CPC party is allergic to.

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    JH says:

    Nobody posting here has yet convinced me that WK’s original thesis is incorrect. There’s also the growing perception that the Libs want to have a $300 million dollar election so they can gracefully dump Iggy afterwards and replace him with Bob Rae. Smile if you will, but maybe some of you political junkies should spend a little time in the small town coffe shops.

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    Tiger says:

    I think there’s a lot of “nothing’s changing before the writ drop, so let’s just get the damn thing over with”.

    Both on government and opposition benches.

    Probably the only politico who wouldn’t mind putting things off for a year and a half is Harper — and that’s because he’s prime minister.

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    Dr Drew says:

    You underestimate the extent to which a whole generation of Conservative Canadians loath the Liberal Party of Canada. It is a passionate and visceral hatred that was nurtured over decades of Liberal “Natural Governing Party” rule. I would add this is not personal, not one of my fellow conservatives who was forced to spend the first half of their lives in a public policy wilderness has a “personal vendetta” against Liberal Party members. None of us question Liberal party members individual honesty, integrity, or their love of Canada. We just want your party wiped off the face of the Earth, and we do anything within the boundaries of fair play to see that day come.

    The tide has turned, and we will not rest until the Liberal Party ceases to exist. I know it must be impossible for life long Liberals to understand our motivation. I know you “think” you dislike us, but you simply cannot appreciate the extent to which we will go to see your party bankrupt and merged into the NDP.

    See you at the Polls!

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      Namesake says:

      yeah, we’ve seen your “fair play”: breaking elections laws to over-spend on national attack ads, and submitting phony invoices to bilk taxpayers of about $800,000 to replenish the ridings’ coffers so you can do it all over again the next time.

      And that “it’s not personal” visceral hatred among you young jihadis: that’s a CULT you’re describing, a cult of personality. You’ve been brainwashed by a disturbed, hateful man.

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      hugger says:


      Scratch a Rightie and this is what will bubble up. It’s been festering for years. Pure raw emotion.

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      wilson says:

      The LPC answer to winning only 8% of the seats in Western Canada (31% of Cdn pop.) …… replace those loses with Bloc MPs, 2008 coalition.
      Last month Duceppe renewed the coalition agreement by formalizing Bloc participation in the next coalition.

      So from a Western Canadian perspective, the first 49 seats have a Bloc guarantee, and the LPC and NDP have only to not lose more than 8 seats, and they can seize government.

      Please no lectures on coalition governments, democracy and our British Parliamentary system.
      We get that. We get that you ‘can’, we also get that you ‘will’.

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        Namesake says:

        that’s right, conspiranut: we’re going to lock everyone up (say, you lot should like that part), force them to eat poutine, watch Chez Helene, and speak only French. Booga booga!

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          wilson says:

          So take Western Canada out of the equation then,

          and what you would have done in 2008 is form a government with (mostly separatists) 64 Quebec MPs (23% pop) and 55 Ontario MPs (39% pop).
          And you can see, if you look, why Quebec is the ONLY province that embraced the coalition.

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          Tiger says:

          If the Tories only have 145 seats in the next parliament, after an election in which the coalition possibility was raised by the Tories at almost every opportunity, it’ll be totally legit to turf Harper at the Throne Speech on that basis.

          Whether it’s politically wise or not — well, that’s something for the Liberal leadership to think about. Might make sense to try to end Harper’s career. On the other hand, the CPC might not fire him, and the next election might then lead to a Tory majority.

          But then, if a coalition held together for a full five years, it could kill most of the CPC’s momentum. A Cameron-Clegg-style arrangement for the Grits and the Dippers.

          Next parliament will be fun.

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            nic coivert says:

            I see above that venality has overtaken all sense. Dr. Drew won’t rest until the LPC is wiped off the face of the earth, wow, I hope you’re not a real Doctor, just someone vain enough to give yourself such a tag. If the Doctor possessed a little common sense then he or she would realize that creating a political vacuum and replacing it with an all powerful Conservative hegemony would be a terrible thing for Canada. Isn’t this what happened to Germany in the 1930’s with Hitler purging the political landscape of all possible foes? A dangerous and unhealthy situation indeed, but alas, this is what the conservative Dr. Drew recommends. And why all this whining about decades of Liberal rule? Was Brian Mulroney not crooked or corrupt enough for the Dr.’s tastes?

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            The Doctor says:


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            hugger says:

            Sure sure Tulk, we all know how honest and accountable the Reformatories have been so everyone should be held to the same standards.

            I noticed the coalition was a favorite talking point in the House today as well. Though it was the Governments behaviour that was in the fore front with the motion on the floor, the coalition talking point was used no matter how off topic it was.

            Gawd they are an insulting bunch.

            Was that somewhere near the top of the list on today’s talking point email for the faithful?

            With the world in the state it is, when a valid question is asked in the HOC, I want a valid answer. I want Democracy to function. Is that too much to ask?

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            hugger says:

            Tulk, should the CPC declare the true costs of their F35 decision? Should they be honest about the actual costs and benefits of their Corporate tax cuts? Should they have the courage to tell the Canadian people what their tough on crime policy is actually going to cost Canadians, both at the Federal and Provincial levels?

            I think those are the questions that need to be answered. Those are the things that the Harper Regime need to account for, and tell the Canadian people what the actual bottom line price will be.

            They need to stop hiding and being cowardly and stand up and defend their costing with real numbers. Remember real numbers? We already had that discussion recently and you, like your Party did not provide the real numbers.

            Like your party, you said it was important to deliver real numbers but never did.

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            Namesake says:

            The only country we want to dismember is Harperland.

            And it’s you weenies you keep trying to change the topic of the CPC’s profound lack of honesty, transparency and accountability to “the coalition.”

            And it’s your PM who’s declared he doesn’t care how many nations Canada becomes *…and who already made Quebec a separate one, in a way.**

            And it’s only Duceppe who still thinks the BQ might be able to be included in negotiating a formal coalition: the other two leaders won’t touch it with a ten-foot poll. No matter what the rabble say. So there’s not much point in trying to force the rabble TO say, is there. So go flog some other dead horse somewhere else.

            * “In a 1994 speech to the NCC, at a time when Quebec separatism was a serious threat, Harper said the need for national unity was secondary to the need for small governments. “Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion,” said Harper, who was at the time constitutional affairs critic for Reform. ”


            ** http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/11/22/harper-quebec.html

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            hugger says:

            Tulk, the deflectacon strategy of throwing up coalition whenever they refuse to participate in democratic process, is a dog that won’t hunt.

            You, like your Party demand an answer to a non issue but yet refuse to answer questions which are truly relevant to Canadians and the economic security of the the country. Excuse me if I don’t feel in the least bit compelled to play the deflectacons game and continue to call them out.

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    Riley Hennessey says:

    For anyone still doubting Warren’s assertion that the Liberal Party could be relegated to 3rd party status, have a gander.


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    Cath says:

    Hey WK – the response for this post must be nearing KD territory???

    This isn’t looking good for Ignatieff, but who’s counting? Which suggests to me that Warren’s on his mark again with the emotional boo-hooing not really something Canadians like in their leaders.

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    Russ Campbell says:


    I agree, “The top of mind issue for Canadians, by a long shot, is the economy.” With that and a twenty point lead outside of Quebec, Tories will be hard to beat. Not impossible, but improbable. On the other hand, Grits can’t keep demonizing the Conservatives and yet continue to keep them in power. If they don’t go now, next convenient time is a year from now–because of provincial elections. That’s a long time for senior Grits to continue to eat crow.


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    Troy says:

    Where’s the evidence that the Cons have a 20 point lead in English Canada?

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      The Doctor says:

      I don’t know about 20 points, but a poll in January game them a 46-28% lead in Canada excluding Quebec.


      The wierd thing about that poll was that it also had an 18-point national lead.

      I think it might have been the (very favourable to the CPC) ipsos poll published on March 2 that dave the CPC a 20% lead in English Canada. Can’t seem to find a good link to that.

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      Namesake says:

      It’s a new urban myth created by concern troll ‘Mark from Ontario’ based on fiddling with Nanos’ last poll, removing the QC respondents w/o due regard for whether the remainder were weighted properly for the region, age, or gender of the respondents.

      And as I point out above, that supposed 20 point ROC gap was cut in half if we do the same ‘don’t try this at home’ Frankenpoll procedure with a different, more robust poll (EKOS).

      Speaking of which, it’s out, today, too, and unlike those HIGHLY dubious A-R online panel polls the conbots get so excited about, it’s still in groundhog territory:

      a two point change, sigh, in the wrong direction, put still only a seven point gap (with, again, a very large (2892), broad (using both cellphones & landlines) and low MOE (1.8)

      32.4 CPC, 27.3 LPC, 14.9 NDP


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      wilson says:

      Troy, look at the 2008 election results, not including Quebec.
      LPC 63
      CPC 133

      CPC won 57% of the (233) seats in the ROC
      LPC won 23% in the ROC

      there are only 25-30 seats available to federal parties in Quebec.
      there are 92 seats available to federal parties in Western Canada.

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        wilson says:

        oops s/b
        LPC won 27% in the ROC

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          hugger says:

          Wilson, you are like GM seed and the paramilitary that work for the people trying to force it on humanity.

          You float about spreading your poison here, there and everywhere.

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        The Doctor says:

        there are only 25-30 seats available to federal parties in Quebec.
        there are 92 seats available to federal parties in Western Canada.”

        Exactly. THAT’s the important number. And I fear that the LPC braintrust has still not really woken up to this fact. And note that it could get worse with new riding re-distribution.

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          The Doctor says:

          A related observation is that we may be in the middle of something historically significant in Canadian federal politics: this may be the first time in Canadian federal political history that it is truly a comparative advantage for a party (in this case, the CPC) to be strong in Western Canada. the irony is, it’s the advent of the Bloc Quebecois that has made this possible. And arguably, it’s the LPC’s historic and reflexive focus on Central Canada and especially Quebec that may have caused the LPC to ignore this shift.

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            Mark in Ontario says:

            What’s a concern troll?

            Anyway here again are the results of 2008 Election. MOE = +/- 0%

            Rest of Canada: Conservatives 43.29% (133 seats) Liberals 27.13% (63 seats) NDP 20.32% (36 seats)

            Quebec: BQ 38.1% (49 seats), Liberals 23.7% (14), Conservatives 21.7% (10) NDP 12.2% (1), Ind 0.6% (1).

            Here are the results of the last Nanos Poll (somebody says the MOE is +/- 3.9% or something like that)

            Rest of Canada: Conservatives 46.8 %, Liberals 27.4%. NDP 19.7%

            The only difference between the 2 is the Conservatives are up almost 5 points in ROC from the 2008 result. That sounds about right, but what does a concern troll know? I would guess it is the Vaughan effect, ie growing Conservative support in the GTA, but again, what do I know? I am sure the OLO experts have it all figured out.

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            Namesake says:

            A concern troll is someone who pretends to be offering honest, helpful advice to a group they’re actually trying to undermine (often, but not always, by also pretending to be a member of that group, themselves).

            Yes, you keep going back to your home-made re-jigging of that now-dated Nanos poll to try to scare Liberals off the idea of voting non-confidence this spring; and I keep pointing out about the invalidity of your methodology and the selectiveness of just relying on that particular poll.

            And now you try something even more illegitimate:

            comparing the last actual election results with the not-latest, non-electoral period poll… and pretending the latter’s results will be the same as the elections, as if the campaign — and the Libs finally launching its own ads — will have no effect at all.

            So how’s about at least comparing apples with apples — and then to the oranges:

            Namely, the results of that latest, pre-writ Nanos poll you’re so fond of, with the results of pre-writ Nanos poll in the corresponding period back before the snap election of 2006 was actually held — the one I’m hoping this next election will mirror — and compare those to the subsequent actual & possible election results .

            So, if we assume for the sake of argument that the non-confidence vote is held and the writ is dropped by the end of next week, that puts the field dates of your precious Nanos poll:

            about 12 weeks prior to when the spring election will be held.

            And, counting back 12 weeks from the January 23, 2006 election, the corresponding date would be Nov. 8, 2005;

            turns out, Nanos did an awful lot of rolling polls then, and that fell between two, one ending Oct. 27, and one on Nov. 13,

            which had very different results for the Libs (40, then 34) & NDP (15, then 20) (but identical ones for the Cons),

            so I’ll take the liberty of averaging them, and then immediately contrast that to the actual results, and calculate the differences:

            Late Oct / early Nov 2005 pre-writ Nanos*:
            Con 28% / Lib 37% / NDP 18% / BQ 13% / Gr 4%

            January 23, 2006 Election results
            Con 36.3 / Lib 30.2 / NDP 17.5 / BQ 10.5 / Gr 4.5

            Net change when the scandals mounted & the bums got thrown:
            Con +8 / Lib -7 / NDP near 0 / BQ -2-ish / Gr near 0

            Feb 11-14 2010 field dates Nanos**:
            Con 39.7% / Lib 26.6% / NDP 18.9% / BQ 9.9% / Gr 5%

            Reversed Polarity Change when the scandals mounted & the new bums got thrown:
            Con 32.7% / Lib 34.6% / NDP 18.9% / BQ 9.9% / Gr 5%

            Yippee! Liberal minority! Thanks for your concern!

            * http://www.sesresearch.com/library/polls/POLNAT-F05-T159.pdf
            ** http://www.nikonthenumbers.com/topics/show/176

            (only whole #’s reported, with no n’s / sample sizes, were reported in these old Nanos reports, BTW, so I can’t replicate that Rest of Canada reconstruction to compare)

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    hugger says:

    I remember many years ago reading that the amount of money contributed to Ronald Reagan’s first campaign was not only an extraordinary historical high, it literally swamped his democrat opponent.

    Reagan cut not only Corporate taxes, but taxes for America’s wealthy as well. He also ran up America’s debt to previously unheard of proportions. That debt still hasn’t been paid back, but there are a lot of foreclosed properties down there.

    Stephen Harper supporters idolize Ronald Reagan. Even though he suffered from Alzheimers.

    Stephen Harper supporters live in a dream state and believe that extraordinary debt is oakeley doakely ok, just so long as Don Cherry shows up every Saturday night and John Baird continues to bellow incoherently.

    I have fear for my Country.

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    reformatory says:

    Folks.. I know everybody is nervous about polls and such.. but lets put things into perspective. First of all polls can change on a dime.. especially in this political climate. Remember how fast they changed on Paul Martin, and the 2006 election when the RCMP unethically intervened in the that showdown. Next… knowing what we know now about the “in and out” scandal.. one can academically postulate that we have a “illegal regime” in Ottawa. Not to mention and “accidental one” since the outcome would have been different in the absence of RCMP meddling.

    Look Canadians might not be paying that much attention right now but consider, “In and Out”, “Porouging”, “Long Form Census”, “Bev Oda”, “Minister.. I mean GLADHANDLER Kenney”, “F-35 Aircraft Intentional Underestimations”, and several several other examples of mismanagement… along with the fact that we have since 2006 been in a steady state of electioneering and grandstanding by an incompetent, paranoid, and self conscious government.. Canadians will just start to remember the steady hand, competence, and professionalism of the Liberals under Chretien, and will start to demand a real government that acts as a leader.

    Another thing Liberals have to get a handle on is the economy. Look when was the last time a “neocon” ever balanced a budget? Where does all this perceived credit given to the Harper Conservatives or any conservative come from? Canada’s economy is in fairly good shape right now and we have missed the brunt of the global meltdown mainly because our resource sector is humming … based on orders from the emerging Asian giants.

    The Liberals must always remember and be proud of the fact that it was them who put the country’s finances on a sound footing and who prevented a financial crisis by not letting the banks overreach. We need to be proud of that.. raise our heads high and start getting some prominent financial experts in this county to speak on behalf of the Liberal party to remind Canadians that a Liberal means Socially Progressive and Economically Sound. With respect to Democracy and Ethics.. we are also the party that can and should most be trusted… especially considering the Harper and last Conservative PM Mulroney record.

    Every Liberal in this country.. take stock.. gather your friends and lets fight this election on any front. SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY, ETHICALLY.. we are and will always remain the party closest to Canadian’s hearts. Stop the infighting.. Like Chretien did.. Allow Ignatieff to project a stand firmly in the centre. Surround him with faces and giants from both the left and the right.. and let’s start acting like who we are! We have dominated the last 50 years of Canadian Gov’t and Politics.. and we need to start acting like it.


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    nic coivert says:

    Obviously the Cons are too strong where they don’t need it, Alberta, and this skews their national rating. For me, B.C. is the question mark. It seems very volatile at the moment and hard to predict what may happen.

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    reformatory says:

    Now I’m not saying we need to jump on the bandwagon and start all the engines.. but hey it’s a start for all of us FED UP of watching the “CONG SHOW” in Ottawa .. and this may lead to something even grander in due time. Make no mistake.. Blood has been drawn.. Wounds need to be tended to.. and these snipes can become important and potentially fatal in the larger battle. If you’re a LIBERAL.. You should be smiling! The chickens are coming home to “ROOST” as they say!

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    Cameron Prymak says:

    Yes, statistical analysis can give us a some decent information but what can’t be quantified is the constantly shifting analysis going on inside hearts and minds of voters. A poll, to me, is just a blurry, point-in-time snapshot and not a totally reliable predictor of what will happen in one, two or six months from now. The closest analogy I have is a fairly common experience for a lot of us – driving through a winter snow storm at night.

    Sheets of sleet and snow shift violently from left and right in front of your vehicle in a wild choreographed spectacle but completely out of your control. You plod along at slow speed, wipers going furiously, switching between high-beams and regular lights in the vain hope of increasing visibility. Your bright lights only bounce off the snow curtain and create more distraction than anything. Still you persist thinking that it will get better if you just keep trying.

    So can you drive through it? Sure, you may even be able to see the road if you slow down enough but basically you can only determine your position on on a very small stretch of that long highway. Familiar landmarks just 20 feet off the highway are obscured as you blindly pass them by and so what the road looks like ahead is largely unknown to you.

    You’re focussed 110% on staying on what you think is the road and you realize getting from where you are to where you want to go is affected by conditions that are totally out of your control and your ability to predict.

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    Patrick Deberg says:

    This is not the time to charge the barricades! Sun Szu said it best, “never interfere with the enemy when he is making a mistake. The L part is still fragmented and has no solid cohesion. They will avoid the vote at best. And the CPC is doing splendid! Give them to the summer and a few more small victories and their ego’s will swell. They can’t do too much damage now and they have gone as far down the road as they can. Now they must remain central to be relevent so the compacency makes them sluggish. And nothing enrages them more than plodding along getting nothing done. They will leak crazy cause that’s what they do when they are idle. They will cut themselves a thousand times untill all the blood is gone. They will defeat themselves mark my words. Cheryl Gallant just can’t stop herself!!

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      hugger says:

      Although I liked your quote from Sun Szu, it’s one thing to wait until you see the whites of their eyes, it’s quite another to wait until the mice are sipping from your canteen and nibbling on your MCI Ration. If one continues to ignore the mouse, soon you will find he has grown fat and left you with nothing but crumbs.

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        nic coivert says:

        Patrick Deberg makes a lot of sense here. An election from the LPC standpoint is sounding more and more like falling on your sword just as things were about to turn in your favour.

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          hugger says:

          Maybe if the attention span of the New World extended a little further, I might think as you do. Unfortunately they are too easily distracted by the grifters who target the twitters.

          I think there is strength in common purpose, and right now as was the case briefly when the Harper Regime brought forward the poison pill on election financing, there is common purpose. During such times, it is much easier to convince people of the value of strategic voting and to dismiss silly attack ads. Btw, the Greens are receiving considerable praise for their efforts in that regard.

          I see opportunity. Not for a coalition, but for a Co-op. I like Co-ops, they bring people together to work for common good, but they are a threatened entity. Threatened by concentrated money and the power that brings.

          I listened to a Liberal MP in HOC recently talking about the In and Out, and the committee that was shut down by Harper when he called the last election, and have that in mind as well.

          I’m also thinking about the Rumble in the Jungle and the Rope a Dope. The strategy was to take all those blows and let the opponent wear himself down while flailing away. In order to make the strategy work though, a keen sense of timing is necessary. Knowing when to unleash and go for the head before the multiple body blows break your ribs.

          Although I understand and appreciate the strategy of he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day, the Taliban being proof of the value of that strategy, I also understand that timing is ever so important.

          With thoughts of the Taliban entering my thought stream, it’s probably best that I exit forthwith.

          I will leave you with this; The Co-op vs. the New Global Order. 2% of the world’s oil capacity is interrupted? and China’s economy farts, and the markets nosedive. And the grifters will tell you it’s complicated. Damn straight it’s complicated. It takes a lot of effort to convince a lot of people that although they are carrying unprecedented debt, that it’s good for ya Joey. Now go and eat your genetically modified broccoli and stfu.

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      Namesake says:

      Well, apparently that quote was actually Napoleon’s,* whose tactical acumen is, shall we say, mixed.

      And by and large, the Cons aren’t making a mistake in the hearts & minds communication war:

      hammering away at the Libs with their deep-pockets, dark-arts ads; using considerable gov’t resources to advertise and promote themselves in numerous adscam redux ways; claiming that they actually care about and are doing anything the economy, unlike the Opp.; deflecting away their many lapses…

      …all that IS succeeding in keeping them ahead, and it’s not clear that continuing to capitulate in the hope that they’ll trip themselves up further will be successful in the end, because it will just be portrayed as being both weakness and self-serving opportunism.

      * “the enemy is making a false move, why should we interrupt him?”

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        nic coivert says:

        It’s like a game of chicken between the Libs the NDP and the Cons. The Cons especially enjoy the Libs and Dippers squabbling, although I’m not hearing a lot of that.

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    Kirk says:

    Take Alberta, Sask. and Manitoba out of the mix along with Quebec and instead of a 20% lead for the Cons you have a 6% lead for them

    BC, ON and the Maritimes decide elections because the other places don’t change much.

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    JH says:

    This discussion reminds me of a scene from some Roman tragedy – Everybody is advising the noble heroes to fall on their swords and some guy lurking in the background (WK?) is waiting to pick up the pieces. A $300 million dollar election campaign to replace Iggy is not the answer folks. LOL!

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