05.26.2015 07:22 AM

Will the Orange Crush thing fizzle?

Here’s what Senior Statesman Ed Broadbent says:

The polling done by the Broadbent Institute shows Canadians support those ideas.

“Time after time, we find on almost every issue, a majority of Canadians are social democrats,” he says.

“On tax policy, on (the) Canada Pension (Plan), a whole range of issues that are reasonably described as social democratic, there is a significant majority of Canadians that are on that side.”

Broadbent says the long-term trend shows voters are warming to the NDP.

“One of the things that is happening now, and we’ll see if (it) persists in the election, is where some of those (voters) were split in their partisan positions, they’re increasingly coming behind the NDP.”

Leaving aside how ridiculous it is that “polling done by the Broadbent Institute” in a story about Ed Broadbent is considered in any way relevant, let’s reflect on the big question of the moment: is the NDP’s rise permanent?

Personally, I think it isn’t just an NDP thing. There are a number of variables at work, here:

  • Justin Trudeau peaked too soon.  That – plus the serial gaffes, the paucity of policy, the arrogance of an inner circle who have angered legions of Liberals, and the emerging consensus that he “just isn’t ready” – have crystallized at precisely the wrong moment for the Liberal leader.  For two years, his message was: “If you are looking for a progressive alternative to Stephen Harper, I’m the only guy that fits the bill.” After Alberta, after months of slow but steady NDP growth, that is no longer true.
  • The NDP, and their base, ain’t what they used to be. When the trade union movement started to founder and lose relevance, everyone thought that would be a death knell for the NDP.  It wasn’t.  In fact, it helped to de-radicalize the Dippers in the eyes of many voters.  Simultaneously, another thing happened: the Dippers chose to be what Norman Spector once described to me as “mature social democrats” – that is, Romanow-style balance-the-budget types who see government as a force for good, but not the solution to every problem.  The Kooky-York-University-Sid-Ryan-nationalize-everything-hate-Israel types lost out.
  • Angry Tom, Angry Voters.  Plenty of pundits – me among them – thought Mulcair’s genetic predisposition towards anger would kill him, just as it had back when he was a Quebec Liberal.  It didn’t.  In fact, Tom’s anger turned on many more voters than it turned off – because they, as it turned out, were angry too.  Voters were looking for a politician who was angry as they were about the federal Conservatives, and about the direction in which the country was headed.  And along came Prosecutor Tom, all righteous indignation and fury, giving the Tories what-for in Question Period.  Mulcair matched the popular mood.
  • The key attributes of the leaders.  Innumerable focus groups have been conducted about Messrs. Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair, of course.  No news there. Moderators in these groups typically ask participants for one or two words to describe each leader.  Here’s what they’ve gotten back, over and over: Harper is “serious, experienced.” Trudeau is “progressive, new, change.” Mulcair is “serious, progressive.”  See the problem for the Tories and the Grits? Only one leader – Mulcair – embodies positives of each of the other options.  He’s “serious and progressive” at a time when voters seemingly want both.
  • The media have bought into the Harper narrative on Trudeau. Reporters spend almost as much time with Justin Trudeau as his family does, perhaps more.  And they have concluded, with considerable reluctance, that Harper’s shorthand on Trudeau – now contained in multi-million-dollar ad buy coming soon to a television near you – is accurate.  He really isn’t ready yet.  Nice guy, not ready.

There are other variables at work, but I think those are the main ones.  Can New Democrats sustain the resulting dynamic over barbecue season? Hard to do, but not impossible.

As a public service, I offer only four words of caution: 1. Adrian 2. Dix. 3. Olivia 4. Chow.

Both of those people were initially considered inevitable winners, too, weren’t they?  In the latter case, I saw up close what the electorate eventually saw.  Chow was a lousy communicator, she didn’t offer much in the way of ideas, and she didn’t inspire.  Similarly, Dix lacked Christy Clark’s verbal dexterity, he played it too safe, and he had the worst debate performance in modern times.

Nobody can accuse Angry Tom of lacking communication and debate skills.  Nobody can say that he isn’t putting ideas out there, or occasionally taking risks.

But you Dippers out there in the Internet ether know I speak the truth, don’t you? 

Orange Crush, the drink, can go flat in no time at all.


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    Matt from Ottawa says:

    I agree fully with you, and things can change in an instant, at the same point, although the BBQ circuit is big, at the same point their lead may hold as during the summer the house isnt sitting, people arent as engaged in politics as theyre more concerned with cottage season etc. It may have an advantage as the last engaging thought people will remember come fall is that he was leading the pack, especially on the progressive front. Either way, it should be an interesting summer nonetheless.

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    smelter rat says:

    Big change is coming.You read it here first.

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      Gaspar dela Jour says:

      A Liberal “Coke” versus a NDP “Pepsi” revolution…. because the l’Orange Crushez koolaid is fizzed out?

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      MississaugaPeter says:

      No change if the NDP does not take more from the Liberals than they did in 2011.

      However, if that happens, then Blue Liberals will head over to the Conservatives, and the Liberals are history. Without a Liberal/NDP agreement, the Conservatives get a majority again. Time is now for sane folks to realize this.

      Only game changer is if Trudeau brings out a policy that is a game changer, such as:

      1. Scrap the monarchy. A republic. The time is now.


      2. Elected Senate (vs. scrapping it, most people would feel second sober thought is required, mind you, if the monarchy is scrapped …)

      Most people (including myself) find it ridiculous that in the 21st century we are less independent than almost all African countries (other than their reliance on the Chinese Renminbi).

      The Liberals need to change the channel off Trudeau ASAP!

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        Ian Coutts says:

        You do realize that scrapping the monarchy means changing the constitution? And unanimous consent by all the provinces, some of which have promised referenda on any future constitutional changes? I doubt anyone wants to go there.

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          MississaugaPeter says:

          No greater gift the Liberals could give to Canada for its 150th Birthday than no Harper at 24 Sussex and no King Chuck on mour currency.

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        smelter rat says:

        People that have never voted before will vote this time, despite the Orwellian “Fair Elections Act”. They are not going to vote CPC.

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    Alex says:

    I also agree with you. My gut, however, tells me that the Conservatives are going to lose and that the NDP will pull off a minority. Why? Two reasons. First, I think the Blue team has become a caricature of what they should to attack, i.e. they are arrogant, self-entitled jerks. There was a time when Tories were synonyms with Peter Lougheed, Bill Davis or Joe Clark. Today it is Paul Calandra and Pierre Polievre. I think this change of temperament will prove fatal to team Harper.

    Second, a lot of voters will vote for the party that has the best chance to get rid of Harper. Initially I thought that would be Trudeau, but now I am starting to think it will be Mulcair. That is why if there does end up being a consortium debate without the Tories, it may be the most important debate of the election, for it will allow people to decide who they will vote for to replace the current government.

    That being said, you are absolutely right that the Orange wave could turn out to be a sad looking puddle. But my gut tells me Mulcair is not Adrian Dix or Olivia Chow, but rather is in the Jack Layton, Rachel Notley and Roy Romanow camp.

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      Matt says:

      The overwhelming majority of the NDP’s national support level is coming from Quebec where they are at 42% according to a CROP poll last week.

      In the rest of Canada, their support is very inefficient. At this point, I really don’t think they are a threat to form government, even in a minority position.

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        Christian says:

        Reference Check: Alberta, Provincial Election, 2015. All the Very Serious People said the same about the Alberta NDP. Their strength was in Edmonton and as such were not a threat to the PCs who would hold Calgary. History had other ideas. Once momentum reaches a certain point it almost becomes unstoppable. That being said its still a long way to October.

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          edward nuff says:

          agreed but not quite for the same reason. No-one is addressing climate change. We’re at the tipping point of our very existence and still discussing whether a self selected self appointed mean spirited asshole like Stephen Harper will be reelected or not. I’d rather he were not defeated but arrested for all the damage he’s done. If you don’t know what I mean then you’re probably voting for him.

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    michael c says:

    Agreed. Part of me (not the social conservative part) hopes they win; but I am concerned about how Canada’s NDP plays on the world stage. Not sure our overly parochial left can really engage with other world leaders and issues the way we want to.

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      GFMD says:

      Canada doesn’t currently have a foreign policy, we have campaigning that sometimes takes place abroad. other countries have figured this out and are ignoring whatever we say. Diplomatic work between bureaucrats is still going on but the speechifying now matters even less than it has in the past. The next guys will have a hard time walking it back, if they choose, but almost anything would be an improvement on the bad smell coming off our international policy right now.

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        sezme says:

        Heh! I’m stealing your first line.

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      Dave says:

      As opposed, one imagines, to the totally non-parochial fundraising – er, foreign policy of Stephen Joseph Harper?

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      doconnor says:

      The NDP isn’t especially left wing by world standards. For example the NDP’s concerns about the European Trade Agreement are the same as Germany’s.

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    doconnor says:

    Having an equal chance of winning as the Liberals is still a vast improvement from the situation 5 years ago.

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      RogerX says:

      Speaking seriously…. the Libs and Dips cannot conceivably win because they are still splitting the centre-left vote allowing the Cons to win up the middle, again. If you envisage a Lib or Dip minority and some kind of coalition accord how will Justin and Mulcair resolve their mutual dislike, and how can they divide the power? They can’t, and a Lib-Dip coalition would be a disaster for the country.

      The only way to unite the centre-left is to vote Conservative and decimate the Libs and Dips thus forcing them to finally merge and thus stop their futile flagellating…. please….

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        doconnor says:

        Vote splitting will only work for the Conservatives if they have enough votes. 31% or even 35% isn’t enough. In recent Canadians elections votes have focused on one alternative in the final weeks of an election. If could happen federally, too.

        There have been successful partnerships between people who dislike each other. It can even help keep their relationship focused and unemotional.

        Of course, the correct solution to vote splitting isn’t reducing Canadian’s options. It’s PR.

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    Mike Bluth says:

    I think the party’s likely outcome in the election is very bi-modal and that mostly depends on Justin.

    If he surprises, does well in the multiple debates and there are no major gaffes he could shock people. The party could pull 30~35% of the vote. OLO in a minority situation, or a slim chance of winning a minority.

    If the narrative continues the 19% the party polled in the 2011 election might be out of reach. The NDP has been effective at presenting themselves as a credible progressive option for voters.

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    sezme says:

    I’m interested in your statement that reporters have concluded that Trudeau isn’t ready yet. I wonder how much influence reporters have in shaping the narrative. My gut says, a fair amount, but I”m interested in other opinions.

    I think that if, as it appears, the electorate is split on LPC vs NDP, but the majority want a change in government, then the campaign and especially the debate(s) will be hugely important in helping voters decide who to line up behind. I’m leaning towards an NDP minority government prediction at the moment, though that’s at least 50% clouded by wishful thinking.

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    Arthur Cramer says:

    I don’t know where this angry Tom stuff comes from. Its a fabrication. Now indignation, righteous indignation, that’s a good thing, and about time. Go Tom!

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    Man-O-Man says:

    I’m sensing change in the air. Real change. Moving back and forth between Conseratives and Liberals is not real change. Quebec sensed it in 2011 and the NDP single handedley wiped out the BQ seperatists – something no other party could do. This month the NDP wiped out 4 decades of conservatism in the heartland of conservatism – something no other party could do. When people are in the mnood for change they are going to pick the party who embodies change succinctly. That is the NDP. The attacks against the NDP will amplify from here on. They will backfire. The NDP momentum has been slow and steady. It will remain slow anwd steady until it reaches a fever pitch in early October. I’m predicting an NDP majority government.

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    Priyesh says:

    I think another variable at play is that the narrative against Tom Mulcair — “Angry Tom” — hasn’t really stuck. He might not have the friendliness of Trudeau, or even the emotionlessness of Harper. But one thing he’s not is “angry”. Truthfully, the only time I heard him lose his cool was against Quebec Separatists when he was sued for defamation, and I think that’s a battlescar that might help him.

    People call him “angry”, and then they see him calmly picking apart the Conservative government on all their scandals. If Tom has really ever flipped out and lost it, the secret stories need to come out. Or else the Liberals and Conservatives need a new line of attack.

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      Warren says:

      It stuck. On TV, he can be very hot. Unsmiling, finger pointing, prosecutorial, etc. It has worked for him, as I say, but he needs to be careful, viz. the Reformers were angry all the time and it contributed to their extinction.

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        Dave says:

        The NDP were angry in 1993. So angry they helped elected 52 Reformers.

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        cynical says:

        I’m not sure that anger contributed to the Reform extinction so much as internal backbiting, strife, the machinations of one Stephen Harper, and, well, general lack of sophistication and ineptitude. Don’t forget your use of the dinosaur thing to skewer Day. (a politician who richly deserved it, IMHO. It continues to amaze me that he holds a place in our punditocracy)

        Mulcair’s anger, if it is that, mirrors that of an awful lot of us who want Harper gone, almost at any cost. Reckless, I know, but between the NDP’s move to the centre and the spineless opposition of the Liberals under Mr.Trudeau (who I actually like, personally) the door is open.

        10 years has been too long, and what I can’t understand is why the opposition has not capitalized on the nearly endless list of crimes and near-crimes committed by the Harper Party. Voter suppression, Orwellian bills, corruption in the Senate… the list is almost endless.

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          Bill Templeman says:

          Cynical, this article contains a fairly complete list of the crimes you refer to. And the title is catchy…”Is Harper the Worst Prime Minister in History?”

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        RogerX says:

        Yup, he’s steaming with suppressed anger and his face will have a reddish hue if he is battered in leader debates… just watch!
        Quebec lawyer Mulcair began his political career as a Liberal, was drummed out and sought standing with the federal Conservatives but was rejected, and then settled into Jack’s Dipper fold in final desperation.
        This guy has Liberal spots, Conservative stripes and Dipper smell now. Talk about a speckled political career!

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        doconnor says:

        It probably helps that he is in the NDP with its decades long history of compassion.

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        Mike Bluth says:

        Is ‘Angry Tom’ potentially another reason for the Conservatives pushing for multiple debates?

        The more Mulcair is seen in a debate format the more likely for Angry Tom to come out?

        The flip side of the move by the Conservatives is anti-Harper forces see enough of the contenders in the debates to pick one to coalesce around.

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          Priyesh says:

          I’m really starting to wonder.

          An unsmiling litigator is one thing. But finger pointing is far short of what I think of as too angry to be Prime Minister.

          If Tom is really going to get red faced and explode with his foot in his mouth, the Liberals need him to do it very soon.

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        Priyesh says:

        Didn’t the focus group call him “serious” though? Maybe a straight-faced prosecutorial style is exactly why voters see him as serious. Angry would be tantrums and bursts of rage that take him off message.

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    RogerX says:

    Perhaps the CPC initial attack ad on Justin being “just not ready” indicates that the Cons are trying to strip away the Blue Grits from the lugubrious Liberals while the Red Grits migrate back to their NDP hotel room.
    IOW, the Liberal Beast is being quartered while still alive and trying to kick back with Justin’s charismatic leadership chimera.
    I still suspect that Harper and Mulcair have a covertly secret deal to squeeze Justin and his Liberal remnants out of existence and dividing the spoils between themselves.
    Makes sense to me.

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      doconnor says:

      There is no need for a secret deal. Since there isn’t that much swing between the Conservative and NDP, except out west, it has always been in both their interest to draw in Liberal voters.

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    Doris says:

    Unfortunately the dynamic of Libs staying away from the polls when they are pissed is still alive. Until the libs like you Warren decide to cross over to Mulcair because he is better able to capture the ‘progressive’ vote then we are all doomed because of vote splitting. Absent votes are no substitute for voting for a credible alternative.

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    Steve says:

    Quoting Alex above “There was a time when Tories were synonyms (sic) with Peter Lougheed, Bill Davis or Joe Clark. Today it is Paul Calandra and Pierre Polievre.” Excluding Joe Clark from this (because his ideology wasn’t conservative), the point is clear, and correct. I identify as conservative, and HATE what the likes of Calandra and Poilievre represent. And they are not one-offs. Harper has a long history of elevating these hyper partisan empty shells into prominent positions. And a history of what can only be seen as mean-spirited moves (closing Experimental Lakes research center, closing of fishery research centers and destruction of hundreds of years of records) that point to some weird, vindictive bent against perceived enemies in science. Add on his fiscal mismanagement, growth of government, utter failures on promises of transparency, tireless promotion through purchased ads, etc… and what we see isn’t a conservative in ideology, but an antisocial, antidemocratic jackass.

    Given my distaste for Harper, his government, and his way of doing things, I would love an alternative that offers rationality with compassion. And the Liberals have repeatedly failed to deliver that alternative. JT is just the latest failed savior. He is a lightweight with no consistent message or direction. What does he stand for?

    On the other hand, Mulcair doesn’t strike me as angry, but focused and direct. And unlike the other two, he seems at ease making light of the perceptions about him. On the question of management, look how well he has done ‘herding the cats’ in his inexperienced caucus. Don’t forget, he comes from the Quebec liberals, which are essentially the provincial conservative party there. So he isn’t a scary left radical, he has shown managerial chops, he is in his element in debate, and projects as more approachable then Harper, and more serious than JT. Which is not to say he doesn’t carry baggage… he does… but so do Harper and JT, and Mulcair compares favorably. The great danger for the Liberals is that Mulcair has moved more to the center as they have continued left. And the bulk of votes is NOT on the fringes, but in the middle. This could very well turn into a Conservative/NDP battle with the Liberals getting squeezed out.

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      RogerX says:

      Steve, is this what we are headed into with a Mulcair NDP government in Ottawa and a Notley NDP government in AB?:

      Premier Notley has announced her Cabinet of 11 ministers here and their CVs:


      Lawyer — 1 (Notley)
      Political Science — 2 (one a bus driver who just studied topics)
      Social Workers — 3
      Teachers — 3
      Psychology/Philosophy — 1
      Farmer — 1
      Economist — 1 (Pakistan Sharia grad!!!)

      Okay, this is “democracy” for the people, by the people and of the people. Now let’s see how well they manage and govern. The public service deputy ministers will exert great influence now given the sparsity of the cabinet material.

      IIRC, Bob Rae’s 1990 NDP cabinet had 25 ministers but I can’t find out who they were. It looks like Notley’s meager cabinet quality will require that every provincial policy is funneled through her… and Brian Topp plus a bevy of Dipper operatives in the shadows?

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        Steve says:

        RogerX… That would assume an NDP win. I don’t think that is likely. But if it happened, Mulcair’s team has more experience now then Notley’s. His newbies have had 4 years to learn the ropes. And he has a larger core of pre-surge experience (37) to pick from than Notley did. Previous resume is not the be all end all for effective performance, either in cabinet or out in the real world. Harper is an economist that ran the largest deficits in Canadian history… Soldiers and cops have been dismal failures in defense, etc… Suitability is more determined by ability to hit the ground running and learn as you go. And the bureaucracy largely runs the machinery of government from day to day in any case.

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          RogerX says:

          Steve… with due respect …. your comments reek with desperation because you are trying to hide your fearfulness over Dipper overt obvious imminent incompetence in AB.

          Harken back to Warren’s twitter blurt: “When someone says something “changed everything,” you know something didn’t.” Okay, so it’s a stretch but you are treading on quicksand with your hopefulness!

          The NDP veteran squad of 37 pre-surge Dipper old dog MPs have been rejected as governing talent in the last 10(?) election while they sit and fatten their parliamentary pension… champagne socialist millionaires all.

          As for the “4 year rookies” having learned the ropes, you must be kidding because many/most are still hardcore separatists at heart… notwithstanding that a couple of Dipper damsels were propositioned for a Lib-Dip merger!

          Your formula for political success seems to be “learning on the job to govern and manage”, plus “let the bureaucracy run the show”… not encouraging…. frightful !!

          If we do get a PM Mulcair, it will just be another Notley show but on a grand national scale …. {{{shudder}}}

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            doconnor says:

            Why would a hardcore separatists have run for the federalist federal NDP knowing they had no hope of winning? Many of the voters who switched to the NDP in the last 2 weeks of the campaign may have been separatists, but the candidates has been there since the beginning where bravely putting themselves forward as the federalist left-wing option.

            The fact that there is reason to believe the NDP could form government this early will attract higher quality candidates. (I’m worried a lot of them will the unprincipled power seekers that ended up in other parties in the past.)

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        Gayle says:

        For what it is worth, you are quite wrong about the make up of that cabinet. Do better research???

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    gyor says:

    Trudeau is the Adrian Dix of this election, he had a large lead for years, did nothing with it, and it fizzled out. Mulcair briefly had a lead before Trudeau became leader, lost it when Trudeau became leader and only got it back now, no way is Mulcair taking it for granted, especially when its still so tight.

    Also years ago I predicted that the anti Trudeau ads were a ticking time bomb, aka a landmine that at some point Trudeau would step on and it would go off, because that’s what happened to Iggy and Dion, both at one time were in the lead, looking like Prime Ministers in waiting and then they stepped on the landmines (ads) that the Tories laid out for them. Kapow and they were done.

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    chuckercanuck says:

    Couple of points:

    1) Unlike Scott, I haven’t met anyone who likes Justin Trudeau. Liberals will win seats in spite of him. There won’t be a single seat that can be attributed to his leadership swinging things to the grit favor. It won’t get better. We say, “he’s not ready” because we don’t have to say more. But there is more, “he’ll never be ready.”

    2) The NDP have no platform that we can think about. National Daycare and making it easier for Quebec to separate. That’s about it. What happens when we start thinking seriously about what a Dipper government will do? Maybe it won’t be so pretty for the Dippers then. Or should I say: they can keep the votes they have and still end up back where they started…

    3) Which is just fine because what most people here and in general seem to think is impossible (Tories win another majority) is going to happen. The hint is that the Liberals focused-group the crap out of their tax plan and showed with with basically the Tory tax plan. There’s no accident in that.

    Tory majority. Please remember I told you so. (And if it doesn’t, please forget that I said as much).

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      King Prick says:

      To quote one of my favourite comics: “This federal election is going to be like getting slapped in the face with a penis made of lies.”

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      jeff316 says:

      Agreed. They’ll hang on. The Conservatives and the NDP will lose the odd seat here and there to the Liberals, but otherwise it will be a similar result to the last time. The Liberals might pip the NDP to Opposition, but it’s 50/50.

      I’ve never heard random talk about politicians in public – restaurants, transit, lineups, concerts, etc – until Justin came along and none of it has been positive. But those people may be the politically inclined and may not reflect the rest of the country who tune in for the odd newsclip.

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    Erik Swanson says:

    Olivia Chow and Adrian Dix ran campaigns that were too cautious and bland, because they were the perceived front-runners. Mulcair and the NDP won’t run that kind of campaign this time around. Mulcair is a formidable campaign and an excellent debater. The more Canadians see of him the more impressed they will be.

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    kre8tv says:

    Politics has become such an ugly bloodspot in this country that likability has become a liability.

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    Dave says:

    1. Adrian 2. Dix. 3. Olivia 4. Chow. Fair enough, but don’t forget … 5. Rachel. 6. Notley.

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      Gayle says:

      For the record, I voted for her and celebrated her victory.

      But she had a perfect storm. a) she was a known quantity and the child of a well loved political figure in Alberta, b) the liberals were completely unprepared for this campaign as they were leaderless and expecting (for some strange reason) that the fixed election date would be honoured, c) Wildrose had just taken a hit, and Brian Jean was an unknown quantity aside from his home town, d) PC’s were corrupt, and Prentice did nothing to change that perception.

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    kevvyd says:

    You might be right, but you might not be, too. There is a real hunger for a change in government out there, unlike anything I’ve seen in a while. The fates of the NDP and Liberals really depend on which one can best pitch themselves as the real agent of change. The NDP have put out lots of campaign-style announcements and their platform is already largely out there, at least in bullet form. The Liberals have opted to keep their powder dry for now, planning I assume to release their substantive platform closer to the election. The real question is whether the electorate that wants change will have coalesced behind the NDP by then?

    Mulcair is not to be underestimated – he is a very good debater and has demonstrated some solid campaign skills. If the Liberals keep floundering, it might not even be close in the fall.

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      Man-O-Man says:

      I agree there is a hunger for change out there. Is bouncing from conservtive to liberal really change. Been there done that. Real change is the NDP. I sense slow but steady momentum foir the NDP leading to a majority in October.

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        Michael says:

        Except that in order to get a majority the NDP have to win a majority of seats in Ontario, and that prospect is slim to none. People in Ontario still remember the last provincial NDP government, and though they may flirt with the NDP between elections, come voting day they run back to the Liberals or Conservatives.

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          cynical says:

          Not so sure about that. Mike Harris made Bob Rae look pretty good to a lot of us.
          Where is Bill Davis, anyway.

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            Michael says:

            Bob Rae is the reason Andrea Horwath is not premier today.

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    Brian K says:

    The “nice guy, not ready” line of attack has the potential to be pretty devastating. Trudeau’s team has clearly tried to style Trudeau as the Canadian Obama – Axelrod and Plouffe should get co-creator credit on the “Hope and Hard Work” mantra. The problem I see is that there are an awful lot of progressive folks who have been disappointed in Obama. I don’t think he’s been a bad president by any means, but there’s no question that he could have accomplished more between 2009-2010 when the Dems had control of the government. His naivete in believing that he could broker compromises with the Republicans ultimately hurt him. In hindsight, “nice guy, not ready” feels sadly accurate. If Trudeau is supposed to embody Obama’s positive qualities (youth, good speaker, a sense of optimism and hopefulness) then he’s also going to embody Obama’s weaknesses circa 2008, and inexperience was chief among them. In a 2 party system, maybe hope and optimism wins the day against a tired, 10 year old conservative regime, despite the inexperience. In our system, however, Canadians have Mulcair as a third option – policies that reflect a sense of empathy and optimism, but grounded in a sense of seriousness that Trudeau isn’t able to project. If the broadcast consortium goes ahead with “opposition debates”, Mulcair is going to clobber Trudeau on C-51, inexperience and a lack of progressive bona fides. “Nice guy, not ready” hurts Trudeau and helps Mulcair. The Cons surely know this, so we’ll get our predictable dose of “NDP governments are risky”. Steady Stephen Harper versus risk on one hand, and inexperience on the other. The question will be whether middle-of-the-road voters are hungry enough for change to buy that premise.

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      Gayle says:

      “The “nice guy, not ready” line of attack has the potential to be pretty devastating.”

      This I agree with.

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      jeff316 says:

      The risk for Mulcair with “opposition” debates is that he’ll be ganged up on by everyone – Mr. Hair, Ms. Flake, and whomever the Bloc fields. He might end up getting smothered.

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    Bill Templeman says:

    Hard to dispute your logic, Warren. Right now, the numbers pump your points. But what about “all politics is local”? At the end of the day, here in the Boonies I won’t voting SH, TM or JT (or EM). I’ll be voting for a conflation of two factors: (1) the best local candidate (2) the candidate most likely to defeat Harper. Fortunately the two factors coalesce in one individual out here. If there is such a thing as accurate riding-by-riding polling, then those numbers will be worth waiting for, no? My bet is a lot of non- Harper people are going to go into their voting booths with this ballot question: “Which one of these candidates is most likely to defeat the Conservatives?”

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      cynical says:

      Absolutely. Anyone but Harper.

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    MG Flowers says:

    And with all of this “swept up in a frenzy of orange” we’re hearing about, the numbers say otherwise, as Grenier’s got Trudeau taking 106 seats to Mulcair’s 95. http://bit.ly/1KkUrSf

    Well-meaning commenters notwithstanding, yes, Tom Mulcair is angry. He’s sarcastic, mean-spirited and absent of any vision. His great “policy announcements” are paltry, and dishonestly represented: while he announces a federal minimum wage of $15/hr, ordinary people mistake that for a national minimum wage, and party operatives encourage it, endlessly spamming ambiguous claims of “a living wage for Canada!”

    Further, many of us remember when he criticized the very policies he’s touting now, like the 15 dollar/day childcare, that you can’t sell people (in Quebec) what they already have. And even that policy is half-baked, giving the richest the same subsidized childcare as the poorest. Evidently he also shares Harper’s idea of “fairness”.

    And the senate, for all its ills, cannot be abolished without it voting itself out of existence. Is that the kind of government we’d have under Mulcair? Pandering to some populist idea knowing full well it will never be realized? What else is Mulcair promising that he has no intention of making happen?

    To claim that Mulcair represents “change” is only laughable. He’s another fanatically partisan bully, like Harper, except the base he will be pandering to is Quebec, instead of Alberta.

    Clearly Mulcair’s (deceitful) tactic in arranging this debate mess with Harper was intended to show him as a “PM in waiting” — a real match for Harper. This is going to backfire on both of them for the malign characters they are. And people will look for real change in spirit, temperament, and vision that neither of the battling paunches can offer.

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      sezme says:

      But how do you really feel about Mulcair? Don’t hold back. Anyway, as to your first point about the numbers, you do realize that it isn’t election day yet? But who has the momentum? In April, Grenier had Trudeau at 113 seats to Mulcair’s 79. Let’s see the numbers in June.

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    King Prick says:

    The only way for Trudeau to engage the Canadian public on this election would be to put the Liberal party policies up on Pornhub. (You all know I’m right.)

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      gyor says:


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    P Brennan says:

    geez ..tough call here …I dont think our party leaders are as bad as some make them out to be or as good as others offer up …so much goes into the election

    Trudeau has had some major gaffes but is he resurectable? – he needs a strong team (as all do)

    Tom Mulcair – I see him as bright but angry – not sure that NDP support in alberta will translate , it did not in Ontario election – they did extremely well in Quebec last time

    Harper – you know what you get – does some odd things , lost some decent ministers – not sure you can blame him for global warming and all the garbage that is going on in senate –

    May – again seems to do goofy things (press dinner ,ghomeshi comments), may mean well but will not have major impact

    I think jobs are key (I know, I know its go to line always) ..everyone needs one , world wide economy is iffy , Canadian economy is iffy – oil prices, manufacturing in Ontario hurting , major debt at all levels of government already high , our big partner to south has many many of its own economic issues

    Be an interesting one to watch…

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    Gayle says:

    The last election was decided in the last two weeks, when a poll came out of Quebec showing massive support for the NDP, and the ROC either coalesced the anti-Harper vote behind Layton or ran screaming to the CPC to protect Canada from the orange wave. None of this could be predicted 5 months out or even 5 days in. So I for one am not going to declare victory or defeat for anyone at this juncture.

    That said, Mulcair may have what it takes to win. He is much like Harper (ideology aside). I am quite confident he is working with Harper to coordinate their attacks against Trudeau. (Much like Layton’s NDP worked with the CPC to retroactively change the fundraising rules in order to guarantee LPC leadership candidates would have a difficult, and in some cases impossible, task of repaying their campaign debts, and then took every opportunity to point out that the candidates could not repay the debts). I bet they share polling data too, so they can help each other identify opportunities to take votes from the LPC. Some may say this is politics – and it is. But it is dishonourable and that is what I am trying to get away from by voting against Harper.

    When a lawyer claims he can just “abolish” the senate, without ever mentioning that pesky little detail about constitutional reform, then that lawyer is not being honest and forthright. We already have a PM like that. Which, quite frankly, is why Mulcair may win.

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    reader says:

    I don’t like Harper at all, and my view of Mulcair is similar to Gayle’s and MG Flower’s above. While I understand the politics of Mulcair & Harper playing a two-step on Trudeau, as someone who leans left and thinks Harper has been in 9 years too long, it bothers me that the NDP would play ball with and help Harper in any way, shape or form.

    To me, Trudeau represents the real change, that is change to the the way things are done in Parliament. I trust him to recognize that it is not just Harper’s policies which need changing (in fact some policies are fine) but it is the culture and partisanship that now infects many of our institutions.

    When Trudeau was riding high in the polls, I thought his poll numbers should come down before the election because everyone is watching during the election and momentum is a big deal. Now that his numbers have come down, I feel it is fine for now as long as his numbers stay in the race.

    Trudeau has a good team and I expect him to have a good campaign. I also expect Mulcair to have a good campaign, but I wonder if people see more of how Mulcair can be when his anger or arrogance gets the better of him. I think he has his public persona fairly mastered and his bad side under wraps but every now and then you do see the condescension, self-importance or anger coming out. I’m looking forward to the campaign, to see if what I consider the real Mulcair peeks out, as well as to see how Trudeau and his team handle the campaign.

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      doconnor says:

      “To me, Trudeau represents the real change, that is change to the the way things are done in Parliament. I trust him to recognize that it is not just Harper’s policies which need changing (in fact some policies are fine) but it is the culture and partisanship that now infects many of our institutions. ”

      Every new Prime Minister that I can remember promised this and every one ended up worse then the last guy in 6 months to a year. Trudeau’s undermining of open nominations and arbitrary and cynical decisions on ISIS and bill 51 suggest he won’t do any better then his predecessors.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Joe. Clark. He did get it, didn’t he? But then, he lost it.

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