08.11.2014 07:39 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: time to panic

For a bunch of people who should be panicking, they sure don’t look panicked.

The Conservative Party, that is.
For more than a year now, the Conservative Party of Canada has been eating Justin Trudeau’s dust.
Dozens of polls have shown them to be slightly behind, or really behind, the revitalized Liberal Party. Dozens of polls have made clear that Canadians want Justin Trudeau to be prime minister, not Stephen Harper. And yes, sure, polls have been pretty unreliable recently.

But, still.

Take a look at the big poll released by Ekos this week. For Conservatives, it was like a double root canal, without novocaine. It was like a two-week Justin Bieber Music Festival. It was like…well, you get the idea.

“This poll reinforces the notion that the now profound lead enjoyed by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party is far from a blip,” said the Ekos folks, who – yes, yes – have gotten plenty of things wrong in recent months.

“It appears that the Canadian public are now moving to the centre and left…the Liberal Party of Canada has gone from a dismal 18.9 points in the last election to a muscular 38.7. The very surprising Conservative majority with an impressive 39.6% of the vote has collapsed into a meager 25.6% with the NDP within the margin of error at 23.4%.”

The question isn’t why this is happening, declared Ekos. The question is what is going to happen when a general election takes place next year: “[It] isn’t whether the Conservatives can repeat its stunning majority triumph of 2011; it may be whether it can even hold onto opposition leader status.”

Ouch.

Now, if you were a member of the Conservative caucus – or someone who has sought and won a Conservative nomination in some riding somewhere – wouldn’t that sort of prose have you looking for the exits? Wouldn’t it, at the very least, have you reassessing your election strategy?

Not the Conservatives. They, and their stoic leader, are the very picture of serenity and calm.

In the New Democratic Party, those kinds of numbers would have Gerry Caplan and Judy Rebick scrambling to write self-flagellating op-eds in the Globe and Mail about how social democrats are an endangered species. Those numbers would have Liberals burying stainless steel between each other’s shoulder blades.

But not the Tories. The Conservative caucus, historically a mutinous bunch, remains unified. No leadership challengers have started second-guessing Harper in the morning papers – all anonymously, of course. And the prime minister himself has given no sign that he intends to take a proverbial walk in the proverbial snow.

So, the Conservatives continue to try to depict Justin Trudeau as a dope-pushing, strip-teasing, shaggy-headed member of al-Qaida. They’ve spent millions on that attack strategy, in fact, and millions of Canadians remain unmoved. In fact.

Despite all that, ink-stained wretches – such as the one who writes in this space – have yet to start typing up Harper government obituaries. How come?

Because Harper is smart. Because he undersells and overperforms. Because he is an expert at political rope-a-dope. Because his party has more money than God, and because they have a budgetary surplus, and because we are still the best country in the world.

Because (as noted) the polls have been proven too wrong, too many times. That’s why.

But here’s the thing, and it’s a good place to conclude: what if the polls are right? What if the Conservative trend line is all down, not up? What if the stuff the Con war room used against Messrs. Martin, Dion and Ignatieff just doesn’t work on Trudeau? What about that?

Sometimes, in politics, things truly are as simple as they seem. And that means this:

The Conservative Party of Canada, and Stephen Harper, are going to lose.

Badly.

102 Comments


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /nfs/c05/h06/mnt/72829/domains/warrenkinsella.com/html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    TrueNorthist says:

    Excellent column Warren. I have a similar, but more personal take on things, if I may… For the CPC to form another majority they will need every single one of the moderates who voted for them in 2011. That simply can’t happen now that the CPC has tacked so far to the right on so many issues. Also, a turn back to the centre now means losing the “base” and the extremists at SNN will never let that happen — they want to see Red-Tory blood flowing in the streets. It was enough to drive me away and I know there are many, many more like me out there who can no longer ignore the bigots in the attic.

    Nope, the CPC has given in to their inner asshole and wandered over the foul line in right field. All the Liberals need to be to win at this point is on the ballot.


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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      I do not see where the party has taken a hard right turn. Could you perhaps enlighten me?


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        TrueNorthist says:

        It might actually be interesting to go into detail on all the ways the CPC has steadily drifted away, but my hands are really bugging me today. Weather change does it every time. So I am going to have to simply say that the drift has been across the board, systemic if you will and has a lot to do with an increasingly bumptious Conservative “base”, unhappy with the centrist approach. Witness folks like Lilley and Levant et al, howling almost daily that the red Tories are sapping their purity of essence! You can’t possibly say that you are not aware of such things going on.

        I’ll tell you what, once my hands free-up a bit I will spend some time documenting all the breaches and promise to post it here, for your perusal. But you know, I don’t think you are really very interested in what I might say. No, I think you will disagree with everything I say, so I wonder if it is actually worth bothering? Still, I will do it regardless, if only to document the fall. Might be fun.


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        smelter rat says:

        I doubt that’s possible.


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          TrueNorthist says:

          It will indeed be a large volume of work, but I consider it kinda therapeutic. You see, for much of the past 6 years I have been under the delusion that I actually belonged under the CPC umbrella. Ya, pretty nuts alright. It will take some time to undo the damage, but compiling such a list should do the trick. It’s almost like kicking an addiction in some ways.


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            Warren says:

            Good points


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    TimL says:

    I assume they have an ad already in the can, to be used in case of emergency: “Imagine Justin defending Canada’s interests across the table from Vladimir Putin”


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      sezme says:

      Yawn.. if that’s all they’ve got, they really are finished.


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      Reality.Bites says:

      Imagine Stephen Harper defending Canada’s interests. Like ever. From anyone. Such as himself and his party.


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        debs says:

        bingo!


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    DJ says:

    Excellent article. I think there is a growing move for change. People are tired of the nastiness of this government. It doesn’t reflect how Canadians see themselves. Many Canadians are embracing Trudeau and are showing a willingness to trust the Liberal brand again. Harper’s dreams of destroying the Liberal Party and creating a polarized right-left divide between the Conservatives and NDP are not being realized.


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      Nic Coivert says:

      It is looking that way. Expect Harper to try and create mountain out of a mole hill internationally with military threats to justify his return to power in a time of strife.


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        TrueNorthist says:

        An NDP critic on P&P yesterday said it best: “This government appears to follow the rule “talk loudly and carry a small twig.” Triste mais vrai


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    Philippe says:

    Pro-pot pro-oil Trudeau has been brilliant in his limited policy positions so far, grabbing huge vote-getter (pot) and taking away the Cons line of attack (oil). Just like in his boxing match with Brazeau, he’s simply a step ahead.


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    smelter rat says:

    I for one will be dancing in the streets on that glorious day. The celebration will be short lived though, as much work will need to be done to rebuild this country.


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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      Please explain: Rebuild what?

      Maybe you’re, f’rinstance, referring to today’s policy-on-the-fly intentions to repeal transparency legislation for First Nations? Albeit I suspect there will another announcement tomorrow explaining what he really meant to say…again.


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        Kaspar Juul says:

        Bait and switch eh Professor Cranbrook


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          Matt says:

          Doesn’t change the fact the guy running on transparency is for some reason against transparency for First Nations chiefs/reserve spending.

          It’s pandering.


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            Kaspar Juul says:

            And you’re distracting soulchaser


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            smelter rat says:

            Nonsense. He simply wants to do away with crappy legislation that was implemented without any consultation with FN people, and replace it with something that is fair. But you Cons keep repeating the PMO talking points, I will enjoy your pain after 2015.


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      Apostate says:

      I’ll be doing a happy dance right along wicha, smelter……..along with rebuilding the country, I hope M. Trudeau will act swiftly to re-enact every single bit of environmental legislation that Mr. Harper and his oil patch cabal have dismantled….


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        smelter rat says:

        It will be such a great day, i might even by Perfessor Al a beer!


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          Ridiculosity says:

          I’ll buy everybody a beer. Or five.


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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    Watching the apocalypse…and that’s exactly what it is…unfolding in the middle east, I find myself increasingly alarmed as Rome burns, while Nero busies himself with his golf game.

    Oct. 2015 is a very long, long ways off.


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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Jeez Huckabee, have you got the bomb shelter ready?


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      Terry Quinn says:

      Ever the optimist,Al. The so called apocalypse in the ME is overdue to explode. The west just needs to contain it to the region. If they want a regional sectarian war there we won’t be able to stop it. We, in the west, simply need to help the minorities get through it but put no military lives at stake to help them other than providing cover.

      Oct. 2015 is not a long way off if you are Harper and the cons. Being the gutless wonder he is, the full frontal attack, complete with lies and exaggerations, on JT is now on. If this next series of ads does not change the polls in coming months, say by November, Harper will resign rather than risk losing to a Trudeau. The party itself will not want to blow all the money they have in a futile effort and will work towards saving their bacon hoping JT only wins a minority. Then they can work with their dipper partners in attempts to knock off the minority Liberal government. Politics makes for strange bedfellows.

      A Liberal sideshow now going on is the qualifications of candidates now wanting Liberal nominations, many of them cabinet material. They are attracting some very good people and having some very spirited nomination contests, all very healthy signs as more and more new/renewed members get signed up. This is even happening in the west. JT is now moving into a serious money raising season and using the polls to attract a lot of money to his events. When you start collecting $100K at several fundraisers you know the momentum has started to turn in his favour.

      Just take a valium Al.


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        Al in Cranbrook says:

        Just “contain it to the region”, eh?

        http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/12/world/asia/australia-boy-severed-head-syria/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

        I could post another dozen almost equally horrifying links involving unspeakable atrocities.

        100 Americans over there among ISIS forces. 150 Australians. How many Canadians? Brits? Pick a western nation? And how will we weed out the ones who decide to come back?

        Meanwhile, the American border with Mexico is basically a sieve, and in chaos. The question is not whether Arabs are crossing through pretending to be Latin Americans, but how many?

        Canadian politics is looking relatively petty to me right now.


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          Kaspar Juul says:

          “Canadian politics is looking relatively petty to me right now.”

          Sweet, you’ll stop lecturing us then Professor Cranbrook?


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          pc says:

          Do you have the vapors, dear? Shall I fetch the smelling salts?


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    Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    Margin of error 23.4 percent??? How can that be right?


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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Oops…..please ignore above message.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    I’m like a broken record on this. You will recall how in law school they drummed it into us that yes, damage mitigation was/is essential to obtain a verdict in one’s client’s favour.

    IMHO, that means the CPC going this fall, at the latest, to try and right the Conservative ship. Waiting until fall 2015 will be an electoral kiss of death. We both know it. If Harper is half the strategist we’ve been led to believe, he knows it even more than the rest of us.

    The choice is clear: save the party’s bacon and sit in opposition — or wait too late and end up witb half the caucus they have now. Elementary, my dear right-wing strategists.


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      davidray says:

      or we could dip their lily white asses in the ashes of the landscape that will remain after (if ever) the clean up of the Mt Polley spill. Haven’t seen a Stevo photo op of that disaster yet. Ain’t holding my breath.


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      Reality.Bites says:

      If he goes early, with a majority government he’s completely going against the spirit (but not the letter) of his fixed-date election law. It was one thing to do it in a minority government, but inexcusable with a majority


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        Ronald O'Dowd says:

        Reality.Bites,

        Remember the good old days when we used to discuss many of these same issues over at Rabble.ca? At that point I hadn’t quit the party but I was one hell of a progressive unhappy camper.

        It was fun to discuss how NDP heads were exploding over at The Mother Corp. but I digress.

        To stay on topic, do you agree with me that inexcusable is word that they are not likely to be familiar with.I doubt it appears in their dictionaries. Just watch ’em go for it. Damn the torpedos…


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    que sera sera says:

    Considering Harper & the Conservatives bizarre record to date with various iterations of electoral fraud, I suspect it wouldn’t be much of an ethical (or progressive) challenge for them to steal the 2015 election, either.

    Conservative Party fined for breaking election law
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservative-party-fined-for-breaking-election-laws-1.1076877

    Tory Cabinet Minister Peter Penashue resigns over election donations
    http://www.torontosun.com/2013/03/14/tory-cabinet-minister-resigns-over-election-donations

    Tory MP Dean Del Mastro resigns from caucus, stripped of Parliamentary Secretary job
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tory-mp-dean-del-mastro-charged-by-elections-canada-with-concealing-21000/article14547903/

    No penalty for Shelly Glover’s campaign overspending
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/no-penalty-for-shelly-glover-s-campaign-overspending-1.2428605

    Tory MP James Bezan claims ‘vindication’ in election expense dispute
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/tory-mp-james-bezan-claims-vindication-in-election-expense-dispute-1.2524657

    Electoral fraud did take place in 2011 federal vote, judge rules
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/05/24/electoral-fraud-did-take-place-in-2011-federal-vote-but-it-didnt-affect-outcome-judge-rules/


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    Ron says:

    The real indicator over the next year or so will be how busy the hawsers will get when the Good Ship Lollypop starts to list.

    Film at 11.


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      Kaspar Juul says:

      That was a bizarre yet impotent combination of cliches.
      film at 11


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        Ron says:

        We’ll see.


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          Kaspar Juul says:

          Will this be broadcast on television or just in your head?

          What is with all the strange trolls that come here named Ron?


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            debs says:

            lol, sometimes I wonder what would happen is all the trolls were pulled from this site, things would be dull without them:P I guess!


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      davidray says:

      is that a knot in your pocket or are you just glad to see us?


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        Ron says:

        “I’m going to memorize your name and throw my head away.”

        ~ Oscar Levant


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        Ron says:

        Neither.


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    Mark Morabito says:

    $10,000 to your favorite charity if you are right, $10,000 to mine (BC Children’s Hospital) if you are wrong (we dirty rotten Conservatives win). Your Ottawa pal TP will vouch for my credibility for paying my bills. What say you sir? If you take the bet, I will pay $500.00 to your favorite charity now, as a show of good faith. I should private message this, but what the fuck, I cant help myself.


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      Ron says:

      This sounds very Trumpesque, but you look more like Oliver Platt.


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        Mark Morabito says:

        I wasn’t trying to be either. I just feel he is wrong and with what I proposed nobody loses. All in good fun. Anyway, I wasn’t taken up on it. PS Who do you look like?


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          Ron says:

          PS: The Dude


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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Ha no you look like the old coot from the Rez wood stain commercials in the 1980s


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    MississaugaPeter says:

    My guess is that 2015 will be more Economy and more Foreign Affairs.

    Ballot question could be something as who will defend us from the Russian grab for the North Pole?
    Cutting the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will increase wages and lower unemployment.

    I know the Catholic Church (yes folks, they still have followers (but doing that publicly may cause a backlash in the other direction)) will be strongly against Trudeau.

    Premiers Hudak, Dix, Smith and Marois will tell you elections matter in Canada.


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      MississaugaPeter says:

      Polls just poll the general population – they don’t differentiate between those who can vote and those who can’t vote, and between the 60% that will cast a ballot and 40% that will not. That makes a poll’s margin of error wide when predicting an actual count of ballots over a year away.

      In the last Ontario Liberal leadership race, the guy who introduced JT polled every time significantly better among the population than the others, but came a distant third (and almost fifth) on the first ballot.


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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      MississaugaPeter,

      I’m starting to think that all this Redford stuff may work in reverse for gentleman Jim. What lousy timing. I don’t know but Danielle Smith may finally have the upper hand at last if unforgiving PC supporters send a clear message to the PCs by voting Wildrose. I wonder what Flanagan thinks.


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    the salamander says:

    .. on the advice of medical advisors, who have discovered a benign but serious health issue, Stephen Harper will ‘step away’ and spend time gaining further treatment in London & Geneva.

    Some sort of bizarre prorogue will be implemented.. perhaps the Harper Paramountcy Indeterminate Prorogue.. such that although Parliament will not ‘sit’ .. a ‘steering committee’ of The Speaker, the Governor General, Peter MacKay & other likely scoundrels will keep Harper’s seat warm.

    The next general election will remain in stasis.. until the ‘temporary civil emergency’ is ‘over’

    The country named Canada is already a hostage of The Harper Party ..
    and the so called Harper Government will continue the affront more directly now
    by simply litigating via its thousands of lawyers.. against Canadians, The Charter,
    democracy, honesty, decency, accountability and the law of the land.

    Whether narcism, greed, deceit, omnipotence, duplicity and a yellow streak can be cured overseas
    is a question many many Canadians will soon be pondering …


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      davidray says:

      why litigate when they know they can just beat the shit out of us and we’ll never fight back. G20


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        Reality.Bites says:

        Nothing benign could possibly survive on Stephen Harper.


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      Olmanhall says:

      Harper’s pockets are full and the private sector beckons. Just watch.


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    Niall says:

    “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” Niels Bohr (thx to BrainyQuote.com)

    YT

    Niall from Winnipeg


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    Matt says:

    Given polling errors the past few years, is it possible people simply aren’t being truthful with pollsters?


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      Warren says:

      Sure


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      que sera sera says:

      Sure, “Matt”/”soulchaser”. You would know all about being “truthful”.


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      Olmanhall says:

      God says it’s ok to lie to assholes who phone during the hockey game.


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    Bill says:

    I would never vote for the CPC but I think the addition of the new seats in 2015 will still play to their favour.

    My hope is that after a decade, people want a change and turf these buffoons out.


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      TrueNorthist says:

      I get the feeling the now certain heavy Tory losses in BC will cancel out any gains made in Alberta. Ontario is clearly not going to be sending even half of the numbers they got in 2011 and Quebec is still a total write-off. 2011 was a perfect storm for the CPC but those conditions are gone now, never to return. The drubbing they are about to take here in BC alone is enough to drop the CPC to opposition. Losing 25% in Ontario means they may not even hang on to official opposition.

      The next election could very well be an existential crisis for the CPC, but JT really needs to up his game and fast. He is simultaneously the Liberals best and worst feature.


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    Scotian says:

    What I have been wondering for some time now is whether Harper and his people really disbelieve the polls, or rather aren’t worrying about them, because they truly believe in their own vision of Trudeau as an empty suit in the end that will once exposed lose all that support and allow them to recapture enough to continue governing with. I’ve been watching the detractors of Trudeau for a while now, and one thing they all (the ones from the left/NDP too I would note) have in common is this belief that he is an utter lightweight, just you wait and see everyone will come the election, a front for others, that he is incapable of real leadership and that this will show itself in an election campaign causing yet another Lib implosion. That for now what matters is setting the wedges/cracks in place with this attacks and then just waiting for the right hammer hit in the election to shatter the crystal that is Trudeau.

    The thing is, when I look at Trudeau, and when other voters I know who are normally not all that engaged outside of elections and who are traditional swing voters look at him they seem to almost universally be being impressed with him. Sure he isn’t flawless and makes the odd stumble, but for some that actually increases their comfort, because he feels real to them, not just a polished media image. To others they expect it as on the job training from a new first time leader and for them they find it worth noting that his “gaffes” for the most part when they look into them are not such, or are of such minor ones (mostly) in nature, or even come from trying to honestly answer questions on policy and substance, something we have seen very little of from the Harper Government ™ since it became a majority. Also a lot of them believe he would not have run for leader this young were it not for how badly the party needed him to after the implosion of 2011 left them in the worst position ever, that if he waited there might not be a Lib party by the time he had gained more seasoning, and so they are willing to be more forgiving than they otherwise might be.

    So I have to wonder when the Harper CPCers look at this and indeed all the polls whether they see not their own demise but the ground they want to see in expectation of that implosion when they are ready for it. That they truly believe that their anti-pot, anti-substance attacks are beginning to leave questions in the back of the mind of many voters, and that there will come a time when it will all pay off, because he simply doesn’t have the needed “royal jelly” in their view to pull it off. It would hardly be the first time we have seen a party and leadership fall prey to believing their own misperceptions as reality even when there was lots of evidence around them to show otherwise. This would also account for why there is so little worry within the CPC about going into the next election with Harper despite the pattern ALL polls have been showing for the past year now.

    I’ve said it for some time now, all we need to know about the next election and Trudeau can be found in that boxing match with Brazeau, both in terms of how he is going to be seen going into the fight and how he will fight once in the ring/election. It was near universally expected among CPCers that Brazeau would wipe the floor with Trudeau (remember Ezra Levant and his “shiny pony” tirades?), and instead Trudeau destroyed him, the only reason there was not a knock-out the ref stopped it before it could happen, but Brazeau was clearly one hard punch away from falling, and in elections there are no refs to stop things before they get to that point. I do not know at this time whether the CPC will be as badly wrecked as to be out of contention for Official Opposition status, but it would not surprise me to see either.

    So that is why I think we are seeing so little concern from Harper and the CPCers with the polls despite the fact this is coming from all polls, not just one or two companies with conflicting ones elsewhere.


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      debs says:

      well said Scotian. Trudeau appears real, human and he actually does answer unscripted questions in front of a camera and grants off the cuff interviews with a variety of journalists.I always wonder how the harper govt, the con minions and the spin doctors make such a point of JT’s supposed errors but conveniently forget( or hope voters are stupid enough to forget) Harper and his MPs grievous errors. Scandals, crime, corruption, whooeee the cons make the libs and sponsership seem very small indeed.
      So lets hope the libs and the ndp can campaign somewhat on point, and go after harper and really highlight his flaws and his flagrant disregard for voters, the law, and the country as his trade off to his corporate sponsors.
      of course with all this said, Harper might already be working out how to steal the election with no mistakes this time:P


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      davidray says:

      so basically it’s the fight in the dog not the dog in the fight. I couldn’t agree more.


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      Matt says:

      Or maybe it’s as simple as the CPC’s internal polling and research is telling a different story than the public polling.

      According to the BC Liberals during the last election their internal polling showed them in majority territory from day one of the campaign while the public polls showed an NDP landslide.


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        Kaspar Juul says:

        “According to the BC Liberals during the last election their internal polling showed them in majority territory from day one of the campaign while the public polls showed an NDP landslide.”

        What was Hudak’s excuse then oh Soulchaser?


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        que sera sera says:

        Yes, “Matt”/”soulchaser”, I expect you’ld know all about “different stories”, presenting one front while bullshitting about the other.


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        Scotian says:

        Matt:

        That is always possible, but then the questions asked can shape the results, and if the questions/research the CPC are asking are reflecting their own internal bases about Trudeau it is possible they are getting back bad data without realizing it because it suits their own confirmation bias. Not to mention the power of push/leading questions in a series of polling questions. Then again you also could be correct, but then one would expect to get some sense of where it could happen from, and these days there seems to be very little actual room for the Harper CPC to be outside of Alberta, AND the CPC need a strong NDP vote to weaken the Lib vote enough to run up the middle or to frighten swing Lib/Con votes to their side as happened in 2011. This time out there does not appear to be that strong NDP support in the electorate, indeed if anything there are questions as to how strong and reliable these days their traditional base is given the moves to the center first from Layton and the Mulcair.

        No, Matt, l at this time I am more inclined to believe that the Harper CPC are trapped in their own prison of perception about Trudeau more than they have polling data that contradicts everything the public polls have been telling us for over a year straight, even after the millions of dollars of attacks the Harper CPC has tried to throw against Trudeau and the Libs, not to mention the results we have seen in the by-elections, not just in results but in terms of raw numbers and percentages. I have never seen the discontent with a sitting PM at this point in a mandate that I see with Harper from the average person I encounter, including a lot of once Conservative voters, not with PET, not with Mulroney, not with Chretein, and that leads me to think that your hypothesis is likely not the case, or if it is as I noted is a result of confirmation bias in the questions and/or leading questions that get to the result desired, wither way though while I cannot of course rule out your possibility I would have to give it a fairly low order level of probability.

        Keep in mind Matt that there is a clear and powerful mindset among those that are against Trudeau from all sides of the spectrum that he is simply too much of a lightweight for the job, that it is inevitable that he will implode under the strain, that in the leaders debate he will be exposed for all to see and deride. Personally, I do not understand why that view has taken so powerful a hold in his opponents, and I think it really is creating a bad blind spot, and not just about Trudeau himself but also in how the average voter is reacting to these so called “bozo eruptions” as opposed to the political chattering classes. I look at Trudeau and I see someone that brought his party back from near political oblivion/extinction in 2011, made it a strong contender in the next federal election despite being in that third party position, has done a lot of nuts and bolts repair and rebuilding work nationally at the riding level for his party, and managed to draft some strong candidates to run in the by-elections for the Libs. Not to mention how well he and his people reformed the Liberal fundraising machine so now they can compete with the CPC instead of being totally outclassed financially by them.

        These are not to me the actions of a weak and poor leader, and I suspect that is something that a lot of people will be considering, and not necessarily at the conscious level, but everyone knows just how bad things were for the Libs after the 2011 election, that the talk was that they could not survive unless they merged with the NDP, but then Trudeau came along and now they are this strong and steadily so, so much so that they are not only seen as the next potential government but verging on majority status? That is going to add credit to his leadership ability credentials, even if it was mostly work behind the scenes, and to discount that is a risky thing IMHO for his opponents. It may also be a part of why the attacks on his leadership ability so far have not only failed but if anything backfired to date.

        I really think many are underestimating Trudeaus leadership potentials and abilities to date, and the way his approach to political leadership appears to be resonating much more than either the Harper or Mulcair approaches. I also think Harper and the CPC brain-trust do not inherently understand nor recognize nor even value this style of leadership either as it runs so counter to their own, and because of that they are fundamentally misreading its potential power and strength against them, as well as feeding into their perception of Trudeau as a weak leader. This is not to say I think Trudeau is an unstoppable force, or the perfect leader of course, just that he is clearly stronger than his opponents credit, and that I do think it is resonating better in the wider electorate than said opponents/critics appear willing to believe/concede. So for these reasons I have a hard time with your hypothesis Matt about how the CPC has internal polling/research that shows the true reality against everything else out there, it is not just the polls, it is the by-elections and the vote patterns in them as well as the results, and the broader mood about the Harper Government(tm) in general outside of the political class in most of the country.


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          debs says:

          you really are a master at political dialogue Scotian, you need your own stage to educate others:)
          anyhow I agree with your stance.
          The whole Trudeau creation that the cons have promoted in the news/media, is just that, a creation, one they want to believe exists and hope to convince the average voter is the the truth. The cons live in a similar bubble that American republicans do. I think the same affliction will have the same result that occurred in the last American election. Romney& Co, believed their own hype and thought they had it in the bag.


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            Scotian says:

            debs:

            I used to run my own blog through the two minority Harper governments and the dying days of Martin, but over the years of watching the Harper Government and noting the various issues with them my health continued to worsen (I am long term disabled) so I had to give up regular blogging and go back to being a periodic commentator at various blogs. The problem with my style of writing is that it tends to be dense and on the long winded side, because I not only like to say what I say but why I say it, what I base it one and what my reasoning/logic for it is, and I am not one to speak in simplistic definitive language but fairly nuanced gray because that is the nature of humans, power, and politics, both individually and collectively. So I tend to run into issues with a lot of people who find I am too much a writer for them to bother with, but it is the way I was taught to argue growing up in school and it works for me. I can’t do Twitter to save my life though, we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. As to my old blog, it is still there, just run your mouse pointer/cursor over my alias here for the URL if you want to read it, mind you most of it is from 2005-2009 range.

            Going back to Trudeau though, it is not just the CPCers who have bought into this narrative. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Dippers go on about how Mulcairs experience and his grilling of Harper over l’affaire Duffy in QP shows who Canadians will turn to for leadership, about how Trudeau looked weak in comparison, etc. I always love how they seem to forget that as Official Opposition Leader Mulcair gets a lot more questions than any other leader (something Dippers always complained about before becoming OO themselves) and can do that sort of thing, Trudeau had far more limited time and times to ask, yet he still managed (albeit still tending to read off a sheet) to make relevant questions and even have his Liberals as well as himself raise important questions.

            As to the CPC tendency to follow our GOP cousins down South in terms of the bubble they live/operate in, I think part of the problem is that the CPC forget that Canada is demographically very different from America and the bubble the GOP has does carry some depth in terms of the reality it links to, whereas the one we see from Harper and his true believers is far more tenuously connected to reality, and that he only got as far as he has based on Liberal weakness and a de facto alliance with Layton to try and use that period of Lib weakness to destroy the party once and for all. I would not be surprised to see a Romney redux come of it this time around either, and I think Harper because he really does think Trudeau is so weak and unfit a leader to ever be PM and will in the end be seen as such by the electorate cannot allow himself to walk away from this fight, and this also may be aiding that inability to see the real threat potentials Trudeau carries.

            Like I said before, Trudeau in less than 2 years made the Libs go from being seen as all but buried in the grave as a political force/party let alone any contender for government in the foreseeable future to have raised the Libs back to the lead for government for a sustained period well beyond the honeymoon period new leaders tend to get, revamped the party infrastructure at the riding level, redid the fundraising machine so now it finally can compete with the Harper CPC machine (and doing so far more closely than the Official Opposition ever has either, worth noting) and kept both his and the Party popularity rating ahead of Harper and the CPC, to the point there is no public polling company showing other, the difference is only by how much. The by-election results since he became leader show a resurgent Lib party, and the percentages in those turnouts are important too in showing real strength.

            Now, since we saw none of that happen under Dion or Ignatief but we do see it under Trudeau, despite his having to start from the most disadvantaged place of the three, it becomes very difficult for anyone not blinded by some sort of prejudice against him to not see that as proof of powerful leadership ability by Trudeau. These actual results matter much more than what anyone says about him, and I really think it is because these results are seen with Trudeau as the leader is one of the main reasons the CPC attack machine has been failing on the “not a leader” approach this time out despite his clear inexperience compared to the other two leaders. Trudeau has been demonstrating his leadership credentials in how he has resurrected the Liberal brand and party in a period of time no-one believed possible three years earlier, and I think that is why I find it so hard to understand how his political opponents can be so blind, that is hard factual evidence that is not words or intentions, it is hard tangible results. Isn’t that almost the very definition of leadership?

            Yet they fail to see it on both sides, and I really think it is going to come back to haunt them.


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            debs says:

            thanks for pointing out your blog, I knew you used to, didn’t know it was still up. Yes your style is very different from today’s twitter style and most of us do get used to reading sound bytes in less then 140 characters, But your words are worth the time.
            and yes Mulcair too might be underestimating Trudeau, and it will be a shock to all, though it shouldn’t as I totally do see from your POV that Trudeau has done exceptionally well resurrecting the liberal party.


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    davie says:

    Oh, man, if it’s the old ‘either the black cats or the white cats getting all the cream’ continuing on, we mice are going to have to dust off our proportional rep arguments again.

    Mister Cullen! Calling Mister Nathan Cullen!


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    Reality.Bites says:

    I have to quibble with just one word of your column, Warren.

    Not badly. The Conservatives are going to lose:

    1. wonderfully
    2. miraculously
    3. deservedly
    4. amusingly

    It’s just unfortunate there’s no way they can eclipse the loss Kim Campbell suffered after following Mulroney.


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      Olmanhall says:

      Can Harper find another Kim Campbell to hang this one on?


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    Michael says:

    We were certainly the best country on the human development index, for seven years straight….under the Liberals.

    Under Harper, we’re now 14th.


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      que sera sera says:

      Yes, Harper has to drag all of Canada down to the bottom of the gutter where he & the Conservatives feel most comfortable.


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    Michael says:

    This morning as they sipped their coffee and read these latest polls, Premiers Hudak & Dix wondered what it would be like dealing with PM Trudeau.


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    doris says:

    But for the cynic amongst us who believe that the Libs only want the power and the majority without doing anything other than watching the Nasty Party stick it to themselves, the question is very simple – How much “HarperLaw” will the LPC repeal?


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    Betsy White says:

    Ideological Promiscuity

    Propagandist Kelly McParland boots around the idea that Queen of Pot Jodie Emery would be an ideal candidate for the Justin Trudeau Party. After all, she is “bright and articulate,” looks good through a lens, and is female – the much sought after “base” of the Party.

    KM notes in the minus column: “they might also be a bit nervous about photos of Jodie Emery, posing in a skimpy bikini in support of libertarian Republican wingnut Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, or, seemingly topless, surrounded by marijuana plants.” Ultra-Libertarian Ron Paul is an interesting chap. In his own words: “When one gets in bed with government, one must expect the disease it spreads” “Let the revolution begin” “Interviewer: …abolish the CIA, the FBI, and the IRS? Do you hold those same positions? Ron Paul: Yes, I do — because you know, most of our history, we didn’t have those institutions” “…Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began”.

    Point is, our current political discourse seems to make absolutely no attempt at ideological loyality. Jodie Emery can easily move from hardcore libertarian to ostensibly social democratic liberalism. As Warren Kinsella points out, Marc Emery flitted between “the Libertarian Party… the Freedom Party, the Marijuana Party of Canada, the B.C. Marijuana Party, and something called the Unparty” – and now the Liberal Party. Justin Trudeau’s personal ideological travels include admiring China’s “basic dictatorship” (Communist), feeling sympatico with the democratic socialist NDP during coalition days, and, when speaking in French, indulges Quebecois supremacism, which in the context of the Quebec Charter, is quasi-fascism. Can one logically be a Marxist-Leninist-Democratic Socialist-Liberal-Far Rightist? Abandon all logic and fidelity ye that enter the ideological bordello where politicos service all.

    One common strand you will note in Ron Paul, the Emerys and Trudeau is the politics of ego. These are petite personality cults, surrounded by a core of true believers, where non-believers and the outside world are seen as corrupt, evil, and dangerous. Also note the disregard, if not outright contempt for the law. Paul says, “Let the revolution begin!” The Emerys of course have flaunted myriad laws with a philosophy that says any law one doesn’t like, just break it. Where will it end? Will the Emerys become judge, jury, and executioner? This is the schema of any narco-state. Justin Trudeau gleefully signs autographs with “Just watch me,” alluding to the only time the rule of law was suspended in peacetime. The “basic dictatorship” commentary. This should be troubling for anyone outside the revolutionary cadres. If ideology can mean anything, then it means nothing. By design, citizens are supposed to just sit back (perhaps after a huge joint), turn their brains off, and follow the dictates of the Dear Leader and service whatever incarnation of power presents itself tonight.


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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Nutjob – see above


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        J. Wilson says:

        If “All warfare is based on deception,” wise analysts must assume one’s enemies are trying to confuse them; this is not paranoia but realism. To illustrate, gaslighting is a psychological warfare technique in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity; the exceptionally dubious Victor Santoro’s book Gaslighting: How to Drive Your Enemies Crazy is an adequate primer. According to Bell et al., “Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness.” One of the most infamous incidents involved Martha Beall Mitchell, wife of John Mitchell, Attorney General in the Nixon administration. When she alleged that White House officials were engaged in illegal activities her claims were attributed to mental illness; ultimately, the facts of the Watergate scandal vindicated her and garnered the label, “The Cassandra of Watergate”.

        Steve King, an ex-FBI agent and security operative for the Committee to Reelect the President (“CREEP”) repeatedly assaulted Martha Mitchell to keep her from talking to the press about Watergate. Mitchell wanted her husband to quit CREEP and get out of politics. She called Helen Thomas of UPI and was voicing her disgust with the Republican milieau when according to one source: “Steve King rushed into her bedroom, threw her back across the bed, and ripped the telephone out of the wall.” Further attempts at escape were made; she was confined to a room with King standing guard. The Nixon/CREEP team began to spread stories that Martha was crazy, an out-of-control alcoholic, and had had a breakdown. Mitchell tried to escape again; King spotted her and in the ensuing scuffle Martha’s was so badly cut that six stitches were required. When a doctor came to treat her hand, she was highly agitated and with the help of security people he injected her with a sedative. In the words of one crime reporter, Martha was a “beaten woman” and the “incredible” black and blue marks on Mitchell’s arms looked like they were a “totally professional job.”

        It was standard operating procedure in the Soviet Union and East Bloc to lable dissidents as mentally ill (“sluggish schizophrenia” was a popular “diagnosis”) and then pump enemies of the state with massive amounts of powerful psychiatric drugs. To disagree with the powers that be was the definition of mental illness. Conspiracy theorists have long noted the coincidence that Allan Memorial Hospital, where the infamous MKULTRA mind control experiments were conducted, was the same hosptial where Canadian dissidents were treated. The reality-based popular suspense drama Homeland is based around the premise of a mentally ill CIA officer, who, despite actually being insane, actually has pinned the Islamist terrorist mole in their midst. (Consider the true story of John Nash; the narrative of a super-perceptive mentally ill person is entirely plausible.) The point is, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Sometimes the most realistic and accurate narrative is produced by those labelled insane, outsiders, outliers.


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          Kaspar Juul says:

          First, you arent a dissident.

          Second, you need either a) help or b) a job. This obsession is bordering on OCD.

          Kudos on finding a random name generator. You have passed Troll 101.


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            Melissa Smiley says:

            In fact, we, rpt we, are dissidents. The Justin Trudeau Party really does admire China’s “basic dictatorship” and wants to turn Canada into a client state of the BRICS-Axis. Total expediency, active measures (Активные мероприятия), smear campaigns, bullying, and the above gaslighting are all part of this program to discredit any criticism of the Dear Leader. As in Ukraine, this aggressive neo-Stalinist insurgency must be neutralized.


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            Kaspar Juul says:

            Hilarious,

            You are more a paranoid troll convinced you’re sane and all others are just gaslighting.

            Of course in your world Stevie flies down on a winged pegasus to save Canada from the Bric-a-brac Axis.

            I remember when it was posted at this site about using multiple names and fake identities to spam the comments. Guess youve found a way around by being too crazy to be taken seriously.


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            TrueNorthist says:

            Good heavens people, it’s the entire Poli-Sci department at Trinity Western! The following is a useful article for understanding these kooks:

            http://www.salon.com/2014/02/07/why_the_christian_rights_persecution_fantasies_are_so_dangerous_partner/

            It’s just a matter of time until it starts making threats.

            On a side note, I sure hope you are keeping track of it’s ip addresses Warren. It appears to be getting a bit riled.


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          smelter rat says:

          Wow. The crazy is strong here tonight.


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        Terry Quinn says:

        Kaspar, you are very generous with your words.


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      HuckFinn says:

      because ideological purity is such a far superior way to view the world… really? personally, I prefer a heavy dose of pragmatism in my politics…


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    Ridiculosity says:

    Yes. Harper and Company are going to lose. Which means, ultimately, that Canada wins.

    I’m good with that.


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      A. Drewry says:

      Who “wins” to replace Harper as PM of all of Canada — Justin? Thomas? May?


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        Kaspar Juul says:

        Is there another prime minister of canada aka an Avignon prime minister oh wise one?


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    e.a.f. says:

    it could be they aren’t serene, they are simply unconscious or catatonic or too dumb to be concerned.

    Canadians are getting tired of the Cons and their act. Not supporting veterans, denying refugee claimants medical care, and “auditing” charities simply doesn’t go over that well.
    Eventually it all adds up.
    Nice article.


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    Tiger says:

    Plenty of time left till E-Day.

    The CPC has a good case to make to the sorts of people who voted their way before, and plenty of money to do it with. The leader’s experienced.

    All you can do is play things out — maybe there’s another victory left in the hat, or maybe people simply want change.

    If the electorate simply wants change, one _can_ lose respectably without imploding, even if the polls say otherwise till E-Day: see Jean Charest, 2012.

    Till then, enjoy your early victory parties. 🙂


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    A. Drewry says:

    There will be four or more major issues come the next election:

    1. Canada will have a surplus in 2015 and Harper will give Canadians another whopping tax cut. He will say that Trudeau and Mulcair would rescind the tax cuts and boost taxes. He will paint the Liberals and NDP as tax-and-spend politicians and Canadians will likely believe him. Winner = Harper.

    2. Canadians outside of Quebec will recognize that Trudeau and Mulcair are both from Quebec. There will be a covert campaign of distrust over another prime minister from Quebec. Winner = Harper.

    3. Trudeau and Mulcair will be viciously fighting the election in Quebec and Canadians will be informed about what both are saying in Quebec and how it contradicts what they say in the ROC. Winner = Harper.

    4. If there is a major international event in 2015 requiring strong Canadian leadership, Canadians will look to the proven Conservative government rather than changing government. Winner = Harper.

    Mulcair and Trudeau will be fighting it out in Quebec while Harper sits back and watches and laughs. You can’t have a Canadian prime minister who depends on the vicarious Quebec vote. As for the current popularity polls, Canadians are only expressing their pleasure at having another political toy to play with — Justin of Trudeau. It’s just a passing fancy. The rubber hits the road in 2015, and then watch out!


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      Kaspar Juul says:

      Ooh. Speculative fiction brought to us by A. Drewry. Completely unquantifiable and with about as much validity as a Dean Koomtz novel. Winner=not A. drewry.

      Thanks for the conbot desperate fantasy there


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        A. Drewry says:

        Yes it is “speculative”, but do you have a valid opposing view other than heaping derision? … which btw is the last resort of a Loser, you.


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          Kaspar Juul says:

          Ooh name calling. How could anyone have a valid view over a speculative statement based on your anti Quebec bigotry. Really you’re statement exposes a prejudice against French Canadians you assume is common amongst English Canadians.

          You sir are a bigot. You’re statement is ridiculous and not worthy debating.


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          Windsurfer says:

          Yes Drewry, I’m voting Conservative in the next election, thanks to your excellent reasoning.

          Even though those on the board who know me – know that I will burn in hell for doing this.

          However, I’ve finally seen the light that your logic is beyond reproach.

          My exemplary MP, Ms K. Leitch (though somewhat of a parroting, talking-point type of political figure) will thank me for my vote as she sweeps the riding.


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            A. Drewry says:

            My “excellent reasoning” is only a best guess on what’s going to happen come the next election… and it’s not beyond reproach. I suspect the Liberal and NDP strategists are coming to the same scenarios and planning how to counter it. Trudeau is shrewdly attempting to energize the youth vote with his legal pot proposition, and that could be a game changer, even though pot can’t be effectively legalized for general sale in Canada.


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            Kaspar Juul says:

            More fiction. Are you also a professor at the university of Cranbrook? You’re ability to make unquantifiable statements and try to shill them as fact makes you sound like faculty.

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