04.01.2011 02:34 PM

The Liberal strategy

I spoke to a senior Grit yesterday.  He asked what they should be doing for the next few days.  I said, in a typically nuanced way:  “Harper looks like a chickenshit with this debate thing.  Keep picking at that scab until it’s infected.  Don’t let him change the channel. Make sure the whole country knows that he dared you to debate, you immediately said yes, and he thereafter chickened out.  Make sure every voter knows it.”

Ipso facto, good stuff.


  1. well says:

    Harper knows he must go may few days or few years
    he must go

    because of human right issues


  2. Bell says:

    That will sound great however Iggy will first have to support harper’s cut to the political vote subsidy. If he whines about it like jack and gilles and asks for government support to keep his party afloat he risks painting himself and his party as weak and afraid to stand on their own. Kind of like a party of chickens.

    I suspect that’s why Harper went public with the cut today.

    • Namesake says:

      more cow, Bell. MI

      already spoke against it to the press in London today, noting, quite rightly, that it’s not because the LPC is worried for itself [it raised a million bucks just in the last few days!], but because it’s the first step to a corrupting U.S. PAC-style model:

      “‘Mr. Harper wants to bring American-style attack politics into Canada…. This is Canada. We have a Canadian electoral system that limits the influence of big money in politics. He wants to get it out of the way and give us American-style attack politics.’

      Ignatieff said the current system of subsidies is economical and creates a level playing field for all parties.

      ‘If he wants to attack it, he will face the resistance of all parties… This is a matter of principle. Do you defend Canadian democracy or do you want to import American-style democracy into this country? I don’t think so, because you get big money, you get corruption, you get all the problems that bedevil American democracy.’

      Noting that Elections Canada has accused Conservative party organizers with election fraud in the 2006 cxampaign, Ignatieff added, “So, what I’d like, actually, is for the Conservative party – instead of tampering with a system that works – actually respect the system that works.'”


  3. Jim says:

    My gosh, if Sr. Liberals who are involved in the campaign are asking you what they should be doing over the next few days, this is scary. You would assume any professional campaign which is properly organized has a staged rollout plan in place for each day of the campaign with the flexibility to pivot, as needed. This does not give me much comfort about Ignatieff’s campaign.

    If, on the other hand, they are just looking for your perspective in order to mine for novel ideas as a gut check against their pre-existing plan, then, frankly, you should be charging them for it. : )

    • Namesake says:

      no; maybe You would assume that — or maybe just pretend to — and maybe one might, but only if one knew nothing about War Rooms, and how they are in the business of REACTING to the other camp’s campaign, and putting them off their game.

      And the fact that they’re wise enough to still be consulting the former leader of their war room, even in an informal (and, one assumes, pro bono: sorry, and thanks for pitching in!), is rather good news, I should think, particularly in a dirty campaign against a bunch of congenital liars, like this one.

    • margan says:

      Coalition, debate challenge, voter subsidy, that’s three deflecting topics that keep the Liberal campaign chasing it’s tail instead of making it’s ideas and people known to the country. If they don’t stop taking the bait Harper will have a majority for sure – better the devil you know.

  4. Cat says:

    You know Warren Michael Ignatieff has had lots of time to debate Harper – like in Parliament, Question Period for instance but he wasn’t there for many of those. Didn’t I read recently that Iggy missed the most days of all the MPs? What did he do instead? Dwelled on issues like this one-on-one debate that no one cares too much about I’m thinking.

    • Warren says:

      Buck buuuuck buck

      • Ron says:

        or he has baited Iggy and the Liberals to focus on something other then their priorities
        I know one thing I would go for the debate, because the little marketing tactic I’d show in the debate would have Iggy speechless

    • smelter rat says:

      @cat..uh huh. Now tell me, how does Mr. Harper determine which 5 questions he will answer each day?

    • Debate in Question Period? Surely you jest. Don’t tell me… you actually find what the government members provide as responses as being satisfying?


      As for attendance, when Harper decides to actually attend, why do questions directed at the PM rarely get answered by him? I’ll tell you why. Harper is…


  5. Ron says:

    I’d be careful for what you wish for
    could just be they (conservatives) have something up their sleeve that the Liberals are truly unaware of
    Just me…but something is a miss with this one on one thing
    Stevie’s got a trump card that no one is considering
    Sure would love to see the debate though….ringside would be cool
    Warren hook us up with some sort of contest

    • Michael S says:

      Why did the chicken cross the road?

    • Dan F says:

      Everyone assumes that Harper is some kind of master strategist.

      He’s not!!
      He nearly defeated himself in Parliament immediately after winning an election, and just about lost his government to Stephane Dion! Any slight change in the circumstances (like if Duceppe had not been in that photo op) and it would have been all over for Steve-O, the end of his political career. Possibly the biggest mis-calculation made by any Prime Minister, ever, and he just barely escaped it by the skin of his teeth, by shutting down Parliament. I would have thought that episode put to rest any ideas that Harper was a tactical genius.

    • wilson says:

      ‘Stevie’s got a trump card that no one is considering’

      Perhaps reminding Canadians ‘who’ would be leading the coalition,
      and Iggy’s team jumped for joy.

      poll released today:
      ‘If a coalition of all three opposition parties – Liberals, NDP and Bloc – were to be formed,
      59 per cent of Canadians would like to see NDP leader Jack Layton lead it.
      Just 27 per cent would like to see Ignatieff do so…’


  6. Tybalt says:

    Look, I don’t have five seconds of time for *either* Harper or Ignatieff, I think one is a creep and the other one’s a welterweight. But even I would be very, very interested in a one-on-one debate. A lot of people would enjoy this.

    • Ron says:

      maybe this whole coalition thing is actually working
      does she know something we don’t

      • Namesake says:

        no… she just got tired of being the understudy, waiting for Anita Neville to retire.

        When it became clear that she’s not, and that she’d likely easily win again (what w. no CPC opponent in the offing, and w. that idiot Shelly Glover garnering support for her by insulting her as “past her expiry date”) then I guess she figured the only way for her to get the MP position she covets before she’s past her political expiry date was to: abandon the elected position she’s in as a a school trustee and take the Con’s 12 pieces of silver to defect to the polar opposite camp.

  7. Cat says:

    Jean Lapierre says federalist Liberals In Quebec are leaning to vote Conservative in this election to stop the Bloc.
    Antonia Maioni also agrees that could be happening.

    Provincial Liberals in Quebec are working for the Conservatives to help elect them and once again it is to stop the Bloc.

    Don Martin says “I am flabbergasted”

    Lapierre said the Liberal vote may collapse in Quebec and has Duceppe on his heels so he is afraid to go all in with his marbles.
    Don then asks Antonio if Liberal vote is fragile and may collapse and she says it may happen.
    (courtesy PeterB@BLY)

  8. allegra fortissima says:

    Does this chicken look like it’s going to win a race?


  9. Ron says:

    WK is still in shock from watching Don Martin on Power Play today 🙂
    and this just in from the Montreal Gazzette (The mountain just got a lot harder to climb)

    OTTAWA — If Canadians find themselves being governed by a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Québécois coalition following the May election, they want to see the NDP’s Jack Layton become prime minister, results of an exclusive poll for Postmedia News and Global National released Friday suggest.

    Only 27 per cent of the poll’s respondents said they’d want Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to be top dog, compared with 14 per cent who support Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe and 59 per cent who said Layton.

    “It really speaks to the depth of the challenge Ignatieff has,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Reid, which conducted to poll.

    Ignatieff is facing a very steep hill, where he’s faced with a short amount of time to try to change public opinion of him

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Layton+prime+minister+there+coalition+most+Canadians+Jack/4545686/story.html#ixzz1IJdLPSm8

    • Namesake says:

      uh-huh. Well, Bricker does his best to spin it as somehow a big win for the CPC, but even his own poll (the same one) shows more Canadians would rather have a coalition gov’t than a majority CPC one, and, far from being repelled by NDP cabinet ministers, they’d be willing to see one as the actual PM. So the scary coalition monster ain’t so scary… not as scary as giving the bully boy unbridled power.

      (a result which that story you cited suppresses, BTW, and which this one doesn’t expand on much, either, apart from the short & sweet:

      “Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched his campaign with a clear message to Canadians: coalitions are unstable and will derail the country’s economy. But Canadians don’t appear to be too nervous: Fifty-four per cent of those polled said they would favour a Liberal-NDP blend to a Harper majority.”


      • Lance says:

        I don’t think you are thinking this through to it’s ultimate conclusion. It is split 52-48 coalition/Tory majority. Whose side do you think is going to be more efficient support-wise; the one with one party or the one split between four?

        • Namesake says:

          No; it was split 54 percent preferring an NDP-LPC over a Conservative majority government (46%). Which was why the headline in the more honest version of the results was: “Canadians ok with coalition” — despite all the Chicken’s Littleism’s about ‘The Coalition is calling!’


          The figure you mis-cited was: 48 per cent support the idea of a coalition of opposition parties forming the next government, full stop (when it wasn’t specified what the alternative would be, so this would be compatible with the 52% filling in their own blanks whether it was a minority or a majority CPC gov’t they preferred, and there were probably a lot imagining a greater role for the Bloc than any that ever was or will be envisioned; problem is, as with most of these suspect Ipsos surveys, this one doesn’t make its full questions or their order publicly available).

          Another fun fact from that survey which should give you pause:

          “Nearly six in ten (56 per cent) Canadians are closer to the opinion that ‘the Conservative Party does not deserve to be re-elected and it’s time for another party to be given a chance to govern the country’ …[than to] ‘the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper has done a good job and deserves re-election’ (44%).”

  10. Jimmy says:

    Overheard in the Tory war room:

    Tory War Room Guy 1: “During the last two elections we’ve campaigned pretty well but we’ve peaked too early”

    Tory War Room Guy 2: “Yeah we could have had a majority last time if we hadn’t blown it in the last week of the campaign with that comment about the arts. How can we avoid screwing up late in the campaign this time ?”

    Tory War Room Guy 1: “I know !! Let’s make complete dorks of ourselves in the first couple of weeks!! That way we won’t peak too early and we can save our best stuff for the end !!”

    Tory War Room Guy 2: “Yeah !! Is that a great plan or what !?!”

    • Wayne says:

      Don’t quit your day job. Yikes!

      • Jimmy says:

        I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

        Actually I’m still voting for the Tories. I have a blue sign on my front lawn for heaven’s sake, but I have to admit they have not exactly hit it out of the park this week.

        Frankly I think the choice is between (i) a group of people of questionable virtue (the cons) and (ii) a group who is convinced of their own virtue (lpc). The former, I can deal with. The latter, I find much more scary.

  11. Mark in Ontario says:

    Ignatieff was disingenuous (Harper was trying to be open to May being in the debate, not suggesting extra debates) and Ignatieff made a rookie mistake with “anytime anywhere.” He totally gave the initiative to Harper. Harper can now choose his own timing and format so that it benefits him. Ignatieff is reduced to a whining open letters please please Mr Prime Minister let me have a debate with you.

    Polls today are interesting. Harper up sharply especially in Ontario and BC where he can make gains. Gap in Ontario is 17 points. Majority is in sight and being open about the “m” word is not pushing back Harper. Canadians want a majority, they don’t fear it. Any Liberal surge so far is at NDP expense, although Ekos says otherwise, that NDP is holding on. Ignatieff has to bite big timeinto both Harper’s and Duceppe’s support, just getting Layton voters to switch Liberal is not enough.

    Meanwhile Ignatieff has fallen into the trap twice. After ruling out any Coalition on the first day, he has said he won’t support Flaherty budget and won’t support ending of political party subsidies. So unless we get a Conservative majority, there can only be another election. It’s like Ignatieff wants Harper to win a majority.

    Charest gave Harper a gift today with denouncing NL loan guarantees. Harper can now say he stands up for NL and NS against Quebec and BQ, while promising Quebec they’ll get their HST compensation. He is the PM of all of Canada, and won’t be bullied by Charest (or any other premier). What will Ignatieff say? He’ll probably have to support the PM and piss off Quebec, but he disarms himself so he can’t say that a Harper Government doesn’t support Atlantic Canada. But if Ignatieff tries to pander to Quebec, then maybe Danny Williams will come back with a Anybody-But-Liberal campaign.

    Ignatieff is an ex-journalist and an experienced BBC TV talk show host, so it’s not surprising that the media love him. But Harper was looking and sounding very Prime Ministerial today. The polls seem to indicate that Canadians made up their minds long before the campaign who they want to be PM. It is Stephen Harper.

  12. V. Malaise says:

    Is it just me, or is this whole campaign turning into a nonevent? Iggy beats his drum, so what? Harper is going to take Alberta, any fool should know that. The NEP isn’t forgotten by a generation of oil industry employees who had their careers destroyed by PET.
    It’s a serious dilemma.

    • wilson says:

      The Liberal Green shift AND the LibNDP/Bloc coalition within months of each other, will not be forgotten by the West either.

    • Nice try at dredging up an old boogeyman. Most of that generation are retired Malaise. My father in law is one of them.

      Yeah, NEP gets talked about, but usually by people who don’t really know what they are talking about.

  13. Wayne says:

    And the hits just keep on coming…


    Good thing Iggy is having a good week. I’d hate to see what would happen if he had a bad week!

    I think I’ll celebrate a great first week of the campaign with a wee dram of my favourite 16 yr old Single Malt.

    Have a great night folks!

  14. Mike says:

    On the Road with Stephen

    Police Officer: Pullover!
    Stephen: No, it’s a cardigan but thanks for noticing.
    Dimitri: Yeah, killer boots man!

    — Hat tip to Dumb and Dumber

  15. Lance says:

    Wow. This little segment is going to leave a mark –


    • Ron says:

      especially where Lapierre and Antonia mention the Liberal vote collapsing
      must be on the next tweet power play sent out

  16. nic coivert says:

    Maybe Harper would like to debate him about it, oh sorry, I nearly forgot. Cluck cluck.

  17. Ron says:

    “I think Mr. Ignatieff is showing he’s not a true democrat,” Layton told journalists in Sudbury, Ont.


    • Namesake says:

      yeah, for wanting a 1 on 1 debate w. Harper — which Harper’s claiming that he, Harper, first suggested — except that MI would only do that IN ADDITION to the all-leader debate, which he also wants May included in?

      well, it’s too bad that Layton misunderstands that or has levied that slur in spite of those facts, but I’m sure some will still try to see that acrimonious attack as somehow confirming they’re still fixin’ for a coalition.

  18. fritz says:

    Just how many seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan do you think the Liberals will lose because they say they want to properly regulate the tar sands Gord?

    • fritz says:

      Gord All I’m saying is that Ignatieff proposing tough regulations on the tar sands is more likely to have a positive effect with small ‘l’ liberals and soft Green & NDP supporters but not seriously hurt him in Alberta & Saskatchewan.
      It’s much like Harper’s decision to back the Churchill Falls Hydro project will not play well in Quebec but will in the Atlantic region.
      Ignatieff is not going to win any seats in Alberta and is unlikely to win more than one (Goodale’s) or at most two in Saskatchewan anyway. It’s not a risky decision for him and even more importantly it’s good policy.

  19. Cat says:

    this is more fun to watch than national news about the election these days

  20. My choice name for Harper’s airplane: “No Question Air.” (No Questionnaire)

  21. Namesake says:

    Please, get too cocky, Gord: the CPC’s 3-day rolling averages for the last days Mar 29 — and so starting at mar 27 — to april 1) have been creeping up, it’s true, but within the margin of error:

    38.4, 39.1, 39.4, 41.3… where the changes from day to day come from adding 400 new respondents and deleting those from 4 days ago, and the MOE is, um, +/- 3.1 or 3.2 each day, depending on the variable no. of undecideds from [3]day to [3]day: 21.7, 21.7, 20.5, & 18.1%. So what was most different about the April 1 results v. Mar 31’s? That’s right, 30 more people were decided.

    Anyhow, given that they’ve currently got nearly an identical 11-point CPC-LPC- split (albeit w. different end points, given their diff. methodologies) and almost identical field dates, maybe you’ll concede that the Nanos & EKOS aren’t so dissimilar, after all. (And thus, that maybe the ACTUAL national vote intentions are: 36.9% CPC / 26.2% LPC / 17.2% NDP / 8.7% Green / 8.5% BQ / 2.5% other)

    And that’s BEFORE the Libs unveil their full platform tomorrow.

    And start hammering away at CPC corruption over the whole month of April.

    Meanwhile, perhaps YOU could say whether Mr. Harper has the “stones” to go to First Nations communities in person to explain why they still have third world drinking water after five years of malign neglect CPC rule, and why the PM’s hand-picked policy advisor Bruce Carson was given a plum patronage post to run interference for imposing environmental regulations on dirty oil companies in his day job, and why he spent his “free” time trying to wrangle millions of dollars in illegal federal commissions from the Dept of Indian Affairs for his young escort for $10,000 giant Brita filters to finally clean up that water.


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