06.08.2015 09:40 AM

What goes down can also go up

Much sturm und drang on that Ekos, last Friday.  Some of the commentariat commenting is commented on, below.

L. Ian MacDonald:

As much as the Conservatives should be concerned about their flatlining numbers, the Liberals have even more to be worried about. Since last summer, the Liberals have plummeted from 39 to 24 per cent in the EKOS poll. They’re in third place in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. They’re in third place among college and university graduates. They’re also in third place among both genders and in every age group. Those are very bad numbers for Trudeau and the Liberals, especially with an election just over four months away.

Michael Harris:

Ironically, it is the PM and his party who may end up paying the price for the unexpected developments on the progressive side of Canadian politics. The Conservatives always knew they needed to keep the left side parties in a near dead heat to exploit the same weird splits that gave them a majority last time. They have pounded Trudeau to the point they might have damaged him irreparably and in so doing, handed the would-be splits to the NDP.

Harris has an interesting point, particularly given how much he hates Harper: that is, the Conservatives did their job too well on Trudeau. MacDonald, meanwhile, just seems to be marvelling at this dramatic Liberal decline. (Us, too.)

Me, I still think Trudeau is in the race. He has lots of money, lots of party infrastructure. If he has (a) effective paid in the writ and pre-writ, (b) superior GOTV, (c) the CPC turning their guns on Mulcair for a while, and (d) a smashing debate performance, he will do better than the polls currently suggest.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Whaddya think, folks?


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    Michael says:

    I don’t think he will win this election; however, he has a good chance at winning a future one. He has a much better shot at becoming PM than Dion and Iggy.

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    Michael says:

    I do not think he will win this election; however, he has a good chance at winning a future one. He has a much better shot at becoming PM than Dion and Iggy.

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    Tiger says:

    Well, Trudeau certainly can do better than 24%. Even Stephane Dion did.

    I don’t see that Harper’s in the trouble that these writers are suggesting, although if Harper fatigue gets severe enough the PM could be pushed out the way that Quebec got rid of Jean Charest in 2012.

    Long time till the election, campaigns matter, etc., etc.

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      Bill Templeman says:

      Tiger, I want to add to your list of caveats (campaigns matter, long time to Voting Day, etc.): Local candidates matter! So much depends on the quality of the local candidates who get nominated, to say nothing of how they get nominated (a.k.a. open (?) nominations

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        Mike says:

        Sorry Bill but I disagree. This isn’t the 1950s any more. The focus is now on the leader and the central campaign. The quality or lack thereof of the local candiate matters very little if at all. In the 2011 election many good candidates lost to inferior opposition because of what was happening on the central campaign. And other candidates that didn’t campaign or set foot in their ridings won because people were voting for the leader and the party.

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        Tiger says:

        Yes, absolutely, local candidates matter — although not quite in the way it’s pitched in the media. Local candidates with local reputations and local machines matter — mayors, some city counsellors, etc., etc.

        Nomination processes don’t matter unless you bungle them and piss off your local activists.

        The air war is a national thing.

        Also: good MPs and hardworking campaigners can survive bad elections, mediocre and lazy ones go down.

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        Tiger says:

        To be clear, right now my expectation is a second Harper majority.

        We’ll see what happens, and it’s early days yet.

        I also expected a Prentice majority, before that terrible budget, so we know how quickly things can turn.

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    Andy Maton says:

    I don’t think JT’s decline is purely from CPC pounding. He’s been pounding himself as well, with non-progressive policies like C-51…stupid statements about CNOOC, etc. Oh…and lack of progressive platform. Oh, and senators. Yeah, he might be able to recover during a campaign, but he’s gonna hafta hit it over the fence every single day. Pretty big order.

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    kre8tv says:

    Bad decisions within the LPC (ISIS, C-51, candidate selection, etc.) are what have hurt them in the polls. I’ve yet to see this CPC “pounding” that Harris speaks of. If anything, the Conservatives have used Trudeau to play to their base–and frankly none of those folks would ever have voted Liberal in the first place.

    The progressive vote (fiscally blue, socially red..err..orange?…hmm sounds weird) is what’s going to decide who forms the next government.

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    bazie says:

    The problem with the optimistic case for the Liberals is that, on Harris’ view, it is also the optimistic case for the Conservatives. As in, if they DO rise up from third place standing, if they DO outpace the current polls then we are in exactly that dreaded dead heat between the NDP and the Liberals. Whether it is close between these two one direction or another isn’t particularly important as either gives the “harper has largest minority, leaving it up to the Lib/NDP to swallow their pride and work together” scenario. The bull case for the Liberals last year is that the NDP is largely forgotten down in low 20s status, that progressives flock to the guy that can beat harper: trudeau.

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    Michael says:

    I’m still sticking with what I’ve been saying for the last 2 years. CPC minority. With a strong Liberal showing. All of the points Warren made about the Liberals are true. They’ve got money, (more than the NDP), a vastly improved ground game and JT will surprise in the debates. Though pundits may not agree, the Liberals will get a big boost in Ontario from the OLP. On the ground in Ontario it is hard to beat the OLP. Hudak may have shot himself in the head, but it was the behind the scenes ground game that secured Wynne’s majority.

    If in 2011 anyone told the Liberals they would be neck and neck with the other two parties 4 months out they would have been over joyed. No one, including themselves thought they had any chance, let alone a realistic one to challenge for government in 2015. The party has improved their fundraising immeasurably and they have really upped their organizational readiness. When JT was chosen leader everyone was looking at a minimum 2 elections to be back in government.

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      GFMD says:

      A CPC minority is actually a Liberal minority in your scenario.

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    Kevin T. says:

    I think Trudeau is just weathering the body blows, jabs and haymakers, and is most likely saving himself for when the fight really matters, much like in boxing. He is going to Brazeau the cons all over again.

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      Boucher says:

      Or we are witnessing him getting Brazeaud by Mulcair right now. This is not trending in the right direction.

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        Kevin T. says:

        That doesn’t make sense. If anything he is Brazeau’ing Mulcair, letting him use up all his momentum and stamina now, and then fighting back with full energy when it counts.
        Basically right now, Mulcair and Cons are shadow-boxing Trudeau, and people have their panties in a bunch, and they think they’re winning because they are fastest in the attack and Trudeau’s not running out of the gates wildly with haymakers and slobberknockers. Cons and NDP are rope-a-doping themselves. Change is coming, Trudeau just has the chance to be in the right place at the right time.

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      Ridiculosity says:

      The most concise – and accurate – summation I’ve read about the impending election, thus far.

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    Walter Ego says:

    Here’s the Pollyanna view:

    The NDP continue their trend and establish a clear lead in the polls.

    Faced with a potential NDP government, the Tory supporters panic and switch their support to the Liberals!

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      Matt says:

      UMM, you been hanging out with Rob Ford?

      The EKOS poll has the CPC in a statistical tie with the NDP (MOE 2.1%, NDP lead 2.1%) and the Libs a distant third at 23.9%. So in order to stop Mulcair, CPC supporters will abandon the party statistically tie with Mulcair, and support the party in third?

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        Walter Ego says:

        Hey, I did include the assumption that the trend continues, i.e. the NDP support increases until they have a significant lead!

        And yes, it’s probably an overoptimistic view. I’m not betting on it.

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      Danny Aldham says:

      I think we are seeing the end game that Harper has hoped for. To kill off the Liberal Party of Canada. If Canada is a two party system we will see more consistent right of centre governments. Look at the western provinces with a two party system like Alberta, BC , etc. Nine times out of ten they elect a right/centre government. That is coming to Canada.
      When the majority of Canadians see an NDP government coming , they will swing back to the Conservatives to block that. Especially places that have seen a provincial NDP government like Ontario and BC. And now Alberta.

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    SF Thomas says:

    The obituary is probably being speculated on a bit too soon Warren. This is just one poll with the Liberals that low. The Liberal decline and NDP uptick is certainly real however if you look at the last batch of polls from the past two weeks there were 5 other polls from different firms with the Liberals either tied or slightly ahead of the NDP. There was also a new Forum Poll with Libs 32, Con 31 and NDP 28 which disputes the Ekos Poll being a trend.

    Even before this most recent Ekos Poll, the firm has probably been low-balling Liberal support slightly compared to the other pollsters. Ekos also has a reputation for high balling Green support which could be making some of the difference.

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      SF Thomas says:

      I think you are right about Justin’s chances though. The Liberals probably have a better ground game and voter identification in many places than the NDP do and more money, especially if the NDP have to repay some for those branch offices. Justin may also surprise in the debates. Despite a few off key comments he is generally a fairly good public speaker and has a fair bit of time to practice.

      The Conservatives may have more money than either party but they have to split it two ways and are also potentially up against voter fatigue with the present government.

      The other factor is that many of the new/splintered suburban ridings in Ontario, despite being good places for the Conservatives, probably still have a better chance of going Liberal than NDP.

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    Patricia Morfee says:

    Here in SW Ontario, we have high hopes of a Liberal breakthrough. I am getting a good response on the phone calling and my husband is canvassing door to door with our female Candidate. Have not heard a lot from the Conservative candidate, who is presently the Administrative Assistant for the Conservative MP who is retiring but is campaign manager for her. He is using Government Propaganda to help her. The NDP candidate has run before but not hearing too much other than Mulcair material. Our candidate is a former City Councillor who won the most votes when she ran and has been a business owner. she has good recognition here. I am getting “Get rid of Harper” responses on the phone. It will be challenging but our candidate is one of the hardest working people I know. By the way we have a school renamed Pierre Elliott Trudeau which is French Immersion.

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    MississaugaPeter says:

    The trends do not look good. The track record does not look good. More people are firmly set against you. But JT can still win. And Mulcair and Harper can lose.

    Too far out from actual voting day to predict, and debates will determine who the UNDECIDEDS go to, and whose folks will be motivated and unmotivated to actually go out and vote. A few swing points here or there in our ridiculous system where someone with less than 40% of the vote can have a majority, which we can’t predict so far out, will determine the eventual winners.

    HOWEVER, past performance is often indicative of future results. JT and his Entourage have blown over a dozen points. The trends and track record and people against are all going significantly in the wrong direction. It is time for someone, maybe Sophie, anyone, to tell Justin to change the hacks who have led him downward, and to spend less time shaking hands with folks who were going to vote for him anyways, and more time learning to act and sound prime ministerial.

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    Take Dead Aim says:

    warren sets out reasons how LPC can get back ino the race. Here’s a different set of circumstances:

    1. Braintrust around JT can’t stop the bleeding

    2. Fatigue with Harper worsens and they see him in yet another campaign

    3. Ontario, which elected Wynn already, continues the trend and turns Ontario into CPC NDP battle

    Now the discussion is minority NDP government, and without a huge policy/campaign gaffe (cut 100,000 jobs, create a trillion new ones), i wonder if the foundation of the NDP as a viable alternative becomes too hardened for LPC to crack.

    Similar to the “CPC hidden agenda” thing. The discussion around CPC losing in October is around their record according to progressive voters, not that social conservative policies has turned Canada into a country you can’t recognize.

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    Priyesh says:

    What *will* happen is anyone’s guess, but Trudeau *can* still win this election.

    He needs to fire the strategists who have been trying to chase the polls. He needs to stop trying to triangulate and squeeze his way between the Conservatives and the NDP.

    He needs to show leadership, which sometimes means going against the polls where the issue is important enough. Bill C-51 was a lost opportunity as much as it was a blunder. But there are still a few chances to be that courageous alternative to Harper.

    As Wayne Gretzky said, you want to skate where the puck is going, not where the puck is today.

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    Matt says:

    Polls are all over the place right now.

    New Forum this morning (yeah I know, it’s Forum)

    Liberals 32%
    Conservatives 31%
    NDP 28%.

    A full 8 point difference in Liberal numbers between Forum and EKOS.

    As Mr. Wright with IPSOS said last week – NDP national number artificially high because of Quebec, Liberals national number artificially high because of the Atlantic. Conservatives most efficient support across the country.

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    JH says:

    We saw the Trudeau/Liberal balloon inflate after the convention and now the NDP surge since Alberta. Too soon in both cases IMHO. As others have said, I think Trudeau and the Liberals will come back to balance against the NDP, but will that help create the type of scenario that saw the Conservative win a majority in 2011?

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      Mark G says:

      I don’t think so. To get a majority a party needs 39% of the vote (the Cons got this last time, I think). The Cons have been hovering near 30% for a while, and most polls show they don’t have huge room to grow (IE, they poll poorly in people’s second choice picks).

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    Jeff says:

    I am surprised how close the conservatives are this early. I was fully expecting a conservative minority government. Now I think it will be a conservative majority.

    The conservatives will have a good campaign and I think they always get a couple points bump over the polls on election day.

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      Danny Aldham says:

      Shy Conservatives?

      We saw a phenomenon in the recent British election of Labour polling numbers much higher than they finally saw on election day. What finally happened was the minority Conservatives won an outright majority. A similar thing happened in the last British Columbia election.

      What happened with those polling numbers showing a Labour win? I have an idea. And I think it could happen federally in Canada in the fall.

      We live in a left leaning politically correct world. The language, the positions, the policies that the media have made acceptable are left of center. That is a given.
      We also live in a world where people get passionately, even irrationally, invested in their positions. Nuance and compromise are dead.

      And in Canada, we live with people who are so full of hate, anger and venom at the current Conservative government it can be daunting to stand up in support for their positions and policies.

      Nobody is militant for the status quo. There is nobody screaming that the sun WILL come up tomorrow. Nobody pounds the drum that the average net worth of Canadians is up, considerably. What would be the point? It would only draw fire.

      And why would any sane supporter of the status quo try to engage in a conversation with hatefull, eyes bulging, vein throbbing crazies ranting about Harper and their latest perceived offence of the week.

      It is so much easier to just be quiet and to go about your day to day life. Keep your head down, tune out the mouth frothing haters, and wait for you turn to mark an X on the ballot.

      When I walk down the street and see a seriously mental ill or drug addled person screaming about some perceived injustice or conspiracy, I don’t feel compelled to engage that poor soul in a conversation. Similarly I don’t feel compelled to engage with the ranting haters.

      I will go underground. I will keep my politically center point of view to myself and trust that millions of similar thinking middle class Canadian voters will do the same. And on election day I will quietly go to the poll and mark an X beside the status quo. It is working for me. And the frothers frighten me.

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        Jeff says:

        Yeah, I agree that there is some of that sort of thing happening. There are so many hateful people out there in people’s faces trying to shove the anti Harper sentiment down everyone’s throat like they would be stupid and evil to vote for Harper. I think a lot of those people just shut up and quietly vote conservative because they are sick of trying to deal with these types of people. It is just like in Quebec where the separatists have a loud voice with an aggressive message, but Liberals suddenly come far on top of their projected polling.

        There might be something going on there too with Conservatives being able to get out their vote on election day as well. Both by strong demographics for voting and good campaigning.

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    King Prick says:

    Trudeau will likely have the worst showing since the last worse showing… He has zero credibility. He’s a talking head. He’s a farm animal at best and a potted plant at the worst.

    What’s he offering? Nothing. He hasn’t addressed a single issue that matters to me which leads me to believe that he’s just another Liberal, lying or omitting things to get elected. After Queen Kathleen Wynn moronically and subversively decided to sell off hydro, why in the name of Christ on a crutch, would I ever vote for a federal Liberal?! I voted for Wynn. She screwed me. Any politician that’s willing to sell off revenue generation is a bit of a… For lack of better words: Shithead. After Wynn, I’m done. I’ve said here before; there’s no point in voting because all of them are just going to run off, drop to their knees and orally gratify every business interest in the land. NAFTA shits all over us. Every free trade agreement we have signed shits all over us. Does anyone believe that there’s a politician willing to ratify a single one of them?! Of course not! They’re cowards. All of them.

    Harper: Full blown majority Mulcair: A strong second Trudeau: Playing in his own feces Kinsella: Apolplectic

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      Warren says:

      Apoplectic? Why? I am quite serene about all of this.

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      Elisabeth Lindsay says:

      Well well well – look at who is sure living up to his name.

      Do you have any idea how rude it is to rail at a person like that on their own web site?

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        Elisabeth Lindsay says:

        The above is in reply to K… P….

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    P Brennan says:

    still very early ..most folks do not really know mad tom ..he is no Layton nor Notley nor Bob Rae…..JT needs new handlers..very poor job to date… will be interesting..would be good for CPC’s if liz may was stronger

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      Dave says:

      The fact people do not know Tom is largely responsible for the NDP ‘surge”, such as it is.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    A wise man once said that the gut is never, ever, wrong. Mine says two things: any of the three main parties can win it. And secondly, prepare to vote Liberal but switch (for the first time ever) to the NDP if that’s required to beat the Conservatives.

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      Priyesh says:

      That’s a very reasonable and nuanced gut you have.

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    Brian K says:

    Nothing I’ve seen leads me to believe that a smashing debate performance is in the cards for Trudeau. In a sentence, what’s Trudeau’s argument for voting Liberal over NDP? Mulcair is experienced and comes across as serious and intelligent – how is Trudeau going to convince anti-Harper voters to reject Mulcair in favour of inexperience and a cult of personality? The policy differences between the federal Liberals and the NDP aren’t stark enough to be the reason why voters go Liberal over NDP. I think the Liberals wanted it this way – they wanted it to be about leadership, and create Trudeaumania 2.0. It is indeed going to be about leadership – be careful what you wish for etc.

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    Meh says:

    None of them have been a shining beacon of leadership. Can Trudeau win, sure but he’s going to have to come to the table with a lot of meat and potato ideas. None of this side show attraction crap that tends to bog down the Liberals.

    The first one who can can give me a solid economic platform that is grounded in fact,not pie in the sky theories and that thinks of Canadians first and not big business which also creates permanent full time employment with decent pay will get my vote and Probably the majority of the citizenry as well.

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    doconnor says:

    It seems the NDP has embraced Warren and the anger.

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      Priyesh says:

      I’m starting to think that people are just calling Mulcair angry because he’s Irish. Reminds me of a lot of the older colleagues I work with. Smart, tough, opinionated, but always in control. It’s why voters think of him as “serious progressive Tom”.

      Trudeau could use a little seriousness. A little strength.

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    chuckercanuck says:

    Harper wins a majority. Same lines as above comments: lots of quiet don’t understand how adults could “hate” Harper as much as they do. So we are publicly quiet about it. Many of us really like him. We really like boring. People say, “who do you like?” We answer, “not sure”, knowing to say we support the Tories would be to self-accuse ourselves of being Democracy-killing Facists. Tories always get more votes than polls show. Always.

    We don’t want to finance a politician’s massive dream project. And that’s one element missing from Warren’s points: Mulcair has to present a program that people want. The Dippers haven’t been vetted. When they do, it will be to the Conservative’s benefit.

    Trudeau is out of the game. He’s lost this election. Can he win one in the future? Personally, I doubt it. Either you got the chops or you don’t. He don’t. There’s no rabbit left to pull. He can’t “surprise” Canadians with any nasty revelations about the Conservatives. The best he can do is trash the Dippers in hopes of scaring votes out of that camp. That will help the Tories.

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    Jnap says:

    I agree with the lone voice calling for more attention to local candidates. There are several original thinkers among them, including ones with First Nations background.
    I think the Party Leaders in general are smug phonies. Eliz May and Justin T. are still young enough to have sincere hopes for a progressive future Canada emerging from its cynical ashes. Right now there is no Moses (or Ms Moses) to lead us from the wilderness. Why are we so hung up on “leaders” instead of looking for future team-builders? … lazy sheep, all of us. (WK excepted)
    As for the upcoming election, anything could happen, but we can be sure that in the meantime the mainstream media will call every granny with a knitting needle a “terrorist” threatening our safety.

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    Liam Young says:

    I was all set to vote Justin and the Liberals, but then these empty-headed statements kept coming out, so I just confirmed my support for the NDP, which, let’s face it, is pretty damn centrist when it comes to politics.

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      Laura says:

      Don’t just lose hope for Justin yet because I believe he will blossom forth as a great political leader in this upcoming election. His charisma will carry him to victory because Canadians will seriously listen to what he has to say. He’s an entrancing person who commands the interest of all Canadians. Give him a chance and you will be surprised.

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        Jnap says:

        The asset that Mr Trudeau appears to have is that he does believe in teamwork as far as I can tell. he knows that one man cannot embody all of federal government. our present PM is now a one-man band.

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    Paul says:

    Harper majority…despite all the wihful thinking on here.
    Canada and Canadians are doing OK…no reason to change
    Pragmatism will carry the day.

    Mr. Trudeau will never be PM.
    Not at all impresssive on any level

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      Dave says:

      You working out of Slater Street these days, or has Jennie re-established a bunker on Lancaster Road?

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    John says:

    Justin isn’t good at public speaking, its troubling. Too many times he sounds constipated and looking for the right words. He needs to get a better grasp of all the policies because when he isn’t sure he sounds very very unsure. A lot of umm umms in his speech. People pick up on that. Mulcair is pretty articulate and so is Harper when he isn’t flat out lying. However is handling him(Rob Silver) need to get him prepped better or he will be eaten alive even by Liz May.

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