09.02.2015 10:10 AM

KCCCC Day 31: it’s the economy, duh


  • It’s the economy, stupid, per Carville. And the economy looks not so good, this morning. See assorted pundits here and here and here and here. Worrying news stories here and here and here and here and here.
  • All that bad news has a political effect, eventually.  And, increasingly, it looks like the Conservatives’ principal political opponent may not be the NDP or the LPC – it may be day after day of bad economic headlines. 
  • Does that all matter, though?Per the cliche, isn’t it true that only campaigns matter? Well, in recent years, a small but influential number of university professors have asserted that, well, campaigns don’t really matter at all. People make up their minds about voting choices based on things over which political consultants have no control, they say. 
  • For example: some of these professors have developed mathematical models to track changes in personal income, gross domestic product, and so on, and then predicted campaign winners based upon economic results. Not policy, and certainly not hardball campaign strategy. GDP. 
  • One of the better-known members of the “campaigns don’t matter” school is the much-quoted James E. Campbell, at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He’s a smart guy. Campbell asserts that, as far as he and like-minded thinkers are concerned, the economy is the answer to every question. 
  • Numbers and data assembled by Campbell shows the following: since the Second World War, in eight out of the ten presidential elections where the United States has enjoyed annual GDP of at least 2.5 percent, the incumbent has won. The two exceptions, he allows, were Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968, whose candidacy was battered by the ongoing Vietnam War, and the Republicans’ Gerald R. Ford in 1976, who was the target of anger for the sins of Watergate and the pardon of Richard Nixon. Until somewhat recently, Campbell was attracting a lot of academic converts. 
  • But. But but but. George W. Bush won when the Clinton/Gore economy had been going well. Stephen Harper won in 2008 just before a cataclysmic global recession – and won a majority when we were barely out of one, in 2011. The economy, therefore, is a question but it may not be the question. 
  • What do you think? Is this thing over already, due to the sagging economy? Or will the best campaign prevail?


  1. MC says:

    So far, it seems no one is really convincing anyone that (a) the economy is really anybody’s fault or, especially, (b) they have the answer for fixing it. Canadians want, I believe, a balanced budget, minimal deficit, and cash-in-hand. No party realistically proposes to do all three of these things. Only Conservatives, generally, are expected to offer the third.

    • billg says:

      Wasn’t so sure about that 4 weeks ago, but, starting to think that’s the narrative the Conservatives will be focusing on.
      Mr Trudeau just came out with the promise of building the economy with “green” initiatives, that’s not going to be popular in Ontario where the average hydro rates have basically doubled over the past 8 years due to green initiatives.
      Here comes the carbon tax fight.

      • doconnor says:

        The Ontario PCs have had very little improvement since their disastrous election that suggest there has been a massive movement against that program. As for the Liberals and the NDP, has anyone every seen such wildly variable polling?

    • ralphonso says:

      In the current climate, the only voters that care about balanced budgets have already decided to vote Conservative.

      I don’t think it will actually work, at all, but Trudeau has a great rallying cry that is easily communicatable and puts Mulcair and Harper in the same corner.

  2. doconnor says:

    In Canada we’ve been big swings in support during campaigns.

    The dynamic in US presidential is different. Since1828 it has been within 10% of 50-50 between the two parties. Occasionally there will be a third party candidate that will eat into one of the party’s support but 50-50 pattern still fits.

  3. Tired of it All says:

    Monocausality blows. If Harpo loses it will be a combo of economy, regime fatigue, and the other 998 cuts he’s suffered along the way.

  4. Thanks, WK. My wee, little brain just exploded.
    In my very, very humble opinion, I would agree with the “campaigns don’t matter” camp to a point. The only piece of the campign that does impact results are the activities around voter identification and GoTV day work. That is where some campaigns are won or lost… who has that better ground game.
    Ads? Stump speeches? Events? Debates? Naw – minimal impact compared to the ground game and extraneous factors like (especially) the economy, foreign conflicts, etc.
    Now to stuff what is left of my brain back into my skull…

  5. Ridiculosity says:

    The party that offers the best plan for our economy will prevail.

  6. I think that it’s always the economy but this time I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to make it stick.

  7. DougM says:

    Someone on a forum I frequent posted this: “You don’t over react and promise billions in deficit spending because of a couple slow months.” I think that view is going to pick up some steam (ScotiaBank is already saying we’re not in a recession by “their” definition). The question is how much steam? In the end there are only so many people who hadn’t already decided who they were going to vote for before the writ was even dropped and I think the economy is a big issue for them.

  8. Vancouverois says:

    It depends on who crafts the best narrative to fit the facts.

    It isn’t enough for the Libs and NDP to say the economy sucks; they each have to make a convincing case that they’ll do better. And the Conservatives have to convince everyone that things would be worse, not better, without them.

  9. Maps Onburt says:

    I think MC is right… despite all the caterwauling by the opposition, it’s going to be hard to pin the current economic woes on the Harper Conservatives as the economists are all saying that this has been tied to the global drop in oil prices, we are probably already out of it (or soon will be) and there isn’t much a government could to anyway without stimulating inflation (which will raise interest payments which will add to our debt (and ensure a deficit). This is exactly what happened when Trudeau senior decided he could run up huge deficits to pay for “social investments” in his “just society”. When he took over Canada had a net Debt of $18B dollars. When he took his walk in the snowstorm, we had $172B in debt.. Despite cutting back spending and running operating surpluses for most of his 8 years in debt, the interest payments on the debt weren’t paid off and had to be put on the debt (equivalent to using your MasterCard to pay off the minimum balance). In the BEST year those interest payments were $20B… in the worst $45B. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 4-9 Unemployment Insurance programs…. The deficit and debt are much smaller now as a percentage of GDP but a sudden change in interest rates would quickly put an end to that. Harper has managed to keep us with the best economic record in the G7 (and almost all of the developed world – there are only about 3 countries doing better – all tied to resources too). Trudeau promises to embark on a spending binge and I don’t believe a word of Mulclair’s when it comes to the economy – this is a guy who thinks its great to remortgage his house 11 times to five times its original value. Now that people are starting to pay attention to the platforms and we start getting independent views on the costing of the platforms, I think Harper will get enough people saying he’s the safe choice – after all, he’s met every single one of his last election promises except one (which he says will be implemented as soon as Canada is safely out of deficit territory). The Liberals have campaigned on one thing and are known for doing almost the exact opposite and nobody believes the NDP when it comes to fiscal responsibility (although Mulclair has been getting a pass by the fawning meda to date). The moment he stumbles, they will turn and attack – just like they did with the hapless Dion.

  10. Amit Dubey says:

    I know I’ve been banned from commenting on your *blog*, but my two cents:

    1) Most of the research is done in the context of a two party system. Add a third party, and all hell breaks loose. Minority and coalition governments are especially hard (hello 2008 and libdems).

    2) The research calculates popular vote, which was accurate in 2000: Bush Jr lost. Also, some models have a four year incumbency advantage and an eight year “kick the scoundrels out” penalty.

    • Doogie says:

      What analysts don’t broach is that the rump Liberals will never support a socialist/unionist Dipper minority government. The Liberal party is a capitalist political party and their interests are more with the Conservatives than Dippers.

      Look for another 18 month Harper minority government supported by Blue Liberals…. and a new Liberal leader who will sweep out the Martinite detritus, once and for all.

      • Ridiculosity says:

        Totally delusional.

      • doconnor says:

        It’s only extreme Conservatives that go around calling the NDP unionist/socialist, not Blue Liberals.

        Liberal MPs will vote how thier leader tells them to vote, no matter how inconsistent or unprincipled, just like they did during the last minority.

        • Doogie says:

          But ‘Blue Liberals’ are tied into the capitalist power structure like certain Powerful Montreal Corporations and the Big Banks too. Also, Justin is told what to say, do and think as the faux leader of the Liberal party. Surely you don’t think he is coming up with all that policy strategy on his own, and I doubt he even cares about much of the Liberal policies… except for legalizing maryjane!

          • Ridiculosity says:

            Doogie, nobody has called weed ‘maryjane’ since the sixties.

            This may be mind-altering, but it’s currently 2015.

            It’s time for some innovative, fresh solutions.

            If not, nothing changes and Harper continues to dictate his ‘teeny, weeny” ambitions for Canada.

          • doconnor says:

            Mulcair’s NDP is no threat to Powerful Montreal Corporations and the Big Banks. It is useful to allow people to think they have a choice among Neo-liberals.

            I believe Trudeau is an person of at least average intelligence. His gaffes where clever jokes that he said probably knowing they would be blown up by the media, but he couldn’t help himself. He’s been getting better at acting the part of a below average intellect that is needed to succeed in politics.

    • Jon Adams says:

      “I know I’ve been banned from commenting on your *blog*, but my two cents:”

      Judging from the word you emphasized, you brought it on yourself.

  11. Mervyn Norton says:

    Few can predict our economic future, personally or nationally, though leadership does matter in setting out a positive or negative path. But “this thing is over already” simply because many who might normally lean Conservative but won’t vote for Harper this time–about 10% of voters–will switch their vote for any of a multitude of reasons: from muzzling (or firing) scientists, squeezing veterans, and slashing the CBC, to trying to pervert democratic accountability. In other words, many voters don’t see their values reflected in Harper–and we don’t want him presiding over Canada’s 150th celebrations in 2017!

  12. Michael Bluth says:

    Definitely not over because of the economy. That doesn’t mean the campaign will prevail.

    There are very mixed messages coming out about the economy. Not a good thing for a long time incumbent party.

    The opportunity for the opposition is grabbing that economic mantle. Mulcair is seen as a stronger leader than Trudeau. Many people worry about an NDP government controlling the economy. I believe the combination of those two factors is why we are seeing such high undecided numbers right now.

  13. Bruce Marcille says:

    The theory may indeed apply to the American political landscape (anyone else reminded of Asimov’s “Foundation” Trilogy when reading Mr. K?) but western democracies are reflections of their people’s experience. Americans are notoriously focused on their backyard, even while their government flexes its global muscle; Israelis have, shall we say, somewhat different priorities; Canadians re-elect basket-case financial managers (Ontario, Québec) seemingly to spite their economies. A centralizing theory of political success based on economic performance does not work in Canada (or likely anywhere else.)

  14. RogerX says:

    If you look at the commentary on this fine forum, you can see that everybody (sans moi) have made their voting decision and are vigorously defending and attacking to score points, all to no avail.

    I was a Con supporter, but after listening to Mulcair, I am wondering what a dose of Dipper socialism would do to Ottawa and the country. I reject the Liberals because I believe in a two party system of Left versus Right, and the Libs are mired in the middle.

    Okay, so how would a PM Mulcair “balance” the Budget as he proclaims; where is he going to find the tax money to float all his promises, e.g. $15 daycare? Then it suddenly struck me, he’s going to go after all the offshore money and extract Billion$$$ of unpaid taxes by rich individuals and corporations. I recently saw a documentary on offshore tax havens and the many Billion$$$ stashed away and Revenue Canada unable to extract taxes because of SCoC decisions.

    But what would happen if a PM Mulcair did try to tax offshore haven money, who would it affect mostly? Obviously rich Canadians, but it would also gore Canadian banks who have a fiduciary interest in maintaining the offshore tax havens because they are ‘washing’ that money into their banking systems. That means the Canadian banks must oppose the election of a Mulcair NDP government, as well as Canadian corporations and rich individuals. How can such a powerful group influence and affect the outcome of the election? So far I haven’t seen anything to Stop Mulcair…. and I’m entranced by a dose of Dipper socialism for Canada. I must be reverting to my socialist youth.

  15. Kaiser Helmets 'n Motorbikes says:

    The election is Evil Devil Harperman’s to win. Harper Delusional Syndrome is causing a classic case of ‘spiral of silence’ to descend across the country. My facebook news feed has become unreadable as more and more so called “friends” become completely unhinged and have turned their facebook posts into some sort of juvenile, ranting version of WarrenKinsella.com posts; minus the thinking, the humour, and interesting parts…

    I had an erstwhile well adjusted neighbour stop by on Sunday to borrow a hammer. After availing himself of my generosity, he proceeded to launch into an extended diatribe on “evil Harper is killing veterans (and for some reason, dolphins?) !@!!!&^%(%(^&%!!!!

    The rant when on for 20 minutes.

    At one point I was sternly lectured on my extraordinary oversight for not reading the Harper hatchet job article in the Globe and Flail. “You DIDN’t READ IT!!!!!… YOU DIDN’T READ IT!@W@W”. I was being lectured by a college educated simpleton on my lack of civic awareness… For a little perspective, as a boy I used to bike from Nova Scotia to Mount Allison’s library in Sackville, NB every Saturday morning just so I could read month old copies of The NY Times, WSJ, and The Economist newspapers. I even manage to read the occasional Warren Kinsella article, who else do you know who bothers to do that?

    What do you say to a raving lunatic?

    I’ll tell you what you say, nothing. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with a person suffering from any form of mental illness knows to keep their mouth shut. “Harper Delusional Syndrome”, just like the older “Trudeau Delusional Syndrome” may not have made it into the DSM 5, but is most certainly a real, and very ugly epidemic in this country.

    The net result of all this insanity is a “Spiral of Silence”. You shut your mouth, listen while all the lunes yell, scream and shout down everyone else in the Timmie’s coffee line, then, in the privacy of the voting booth, go vote Conservative. The Polls are really for dogs this time, Harper probably has at least 5% more support than any is willing to admit to publicly in this shrill environment

  16. MississaugaPeter says:

    IMO, and I am not a professor, the economy will not be the determining factor in the ballot box in October.

    I believe 2015 is a 1984 and 1993 year, a referendum on the prime minister. In 1984, Trudeau Sr. got turfed bad, in 1993, Mulroney’s replacement got smoked bad (2 Con MPs left).

    Unfortunately, the Liberals, the natural second choice, are led by a leader that really is not a leader. A son of a leader, an actor. If the spaceman was leading the Liberals, I sincerely believe the CONS would lose half of Alberta to the Libs. Harper is not even liked there, but, fear of two protest votes within one year is too much for most Albertans.

    The NDP are doing a great job of shedding their far left history. Will they be able to keep it up, and can Mulcair continue to appear prime ministerial, we will see.
    The only folks who have anything solid right now are the NDP in Quebec and CONS in rural Alberta.

    IMO, the ballot box issue will be who do I want to be prime minister? Harper wins if he reminds us he is the best to represent us in the World. Trudeau wins if he reminds us he is the best to represent us in Hollywood. Mulcair wins if he reminds us he is the best to represent us in Parliament.

    • ralphonso says:

      I’m pretty sure I will not vote for his party, but Mulcair is one hell of a great communicator.

      He doesn’t inspire, but jeez can he take a tough question and respond quickly by stating his view, explaining a concept and getting his point across.

      Can you see any other NDP leader surviving the barrage of “cuts” related questions he’s had? No way.

      • Matt says:

        Yeah, uh, any idea on when exactly Tommy will communicate how he plans to pay for all his spending promises???

        • The Doctor says:

          It’s not spending, it’s “investing”. He learned that trick from Rub-&-Tug Jack. Now pardon me, I’m going to go invest in a coffee.

        • cgh says:

          He has. It’s called carbon tax or cap and trade. Doesn’t matter which; the Canadian consumer will get savaged either way. Not to mention the number that get thrown out of work when their employers decamp to less business-hostile climes.

  17. zing says:

    Oh come now! Yes, George W. Bush “won” the 2000 election, but he only did so in the Electoral College. Al Gore won the popular vote, albeit only narrowly.

  18. Nathan says:

    This campaign is really a fight between the Liberals and New Democrats. The pro-Harper folks have nowhere to run and the anti-Harper folks didn’t like him at his best. It remains to be seen whether the 2/3 of voters who want to give this government a thumbs down will come to a consensus around who best to hand the reigns too. The campaign is the place to articulate the respective visions for the economy, so to paraphrase Carville, this year’s ballot question is, “Who is most likely to fix the economy, stupid?”

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      Really CONS and NDP, the actor is a millstone on the Liberals, and they just keep on putting him front and centre. The Cabal is gaga over Trudeau. Even some of the seniors on this fine website are. But the reality is Canadians realize he is like the Emperior with no clothes …


      Harper is still the preferred choice for PM at 28.7% (down from 34.1% high past 12 months) versus Mulcair at 27.7% (down from 28.8% high past 12 months) versus Trudeau at 21.7% (down from 35.8% high past 12 months).

      The last Ontario election was not really the Libs versus PC versus NDP, but Wynne versus Hudak versus Horwath. It will be no different in October. And Trudeau support has fallen 40% in past year!

  19. King Prick says:

    But, but, but…

    For me, the economy is rather important however, I’m more interested in Canadian sovereignty. NAFTA, Trans Pacific Trade Partnership and the constant litigiousness of foreign corporate entities against our government is the bug up my ass. Not a single one of these dolts running for PM have once spoken about how much money we waste paying legal costs and associated settlements to foreign businesses.

    Under NAFTA’s rules, Canada is the most sued country on the planet?

    “The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) found that more than 70 per cent of claims since 2005 have been brought against Canada, and the number of challenges under a controversial settlement clause is rising sharply. Canada has lost or settled six claims paying a total of $170 million in damages, while Mexico has lost five cases and paid out $204 million. The U.S.,meanwhile, has won 11 cases and has never lost a NAFTA investor-state case. (…and no one in Ottawa finds this alarming at all?) Any idea what 170 million could do for a country?”

    “In 1997, the Ethyl Corporation, a U.S. chemical company, used chapter 11 to challenge a Canadian ban on the import of MMT, a gasoline additive that is a suspected neurotoxin and which automakers have said interferes with cars’ diagnostic systems. The company won damages of $15 million and the government was forced to remove the policy.” (So we put a corporations whims ahead of Canadian health and safety?! Seriously?!)

    “A year later, U.S.-based S.D. Myers challenged Canada’s temporary ban on the export of toxic PCP waste, which was applied equally to all companies. Canada argued it was obliged to dispose of the waste within its own borders under another international treaty. However, the tribunal ruled the ban was discriminatory and violated NAFTA’s standards for fair treatment.” (The government can’t even tell a corporation where to take their garbage?! Why then, do we bother to have a government if they can’t govern and protect the nation?

    There are currently eight cases against the Canadian government asking for a total of $6 billion in damages. All of them were brought by U.S. companies.

    Here’s another doozie I came upon from January…
    Michigan billionaire Matty Moroun, owner of the existing bridge connecting Windsor to Detroit, is claiming damages from Ottawa in connection with Canada’s plan to help build a second bridge linking Ontario to Michigan at Detroit.
    Moroun, whose bridge company opposes the Canadian project, claims Canada’s handling of the pre-construction phase of the proposed new bridge has violated his firm’s right under NAFTA provisions to be treated no differently than a Canadian company. In an initial filing, Moroun’s company asked a NAFTA arbitration tribunal for $3.5 billion in damages from Ottawa.

    (For real?! And we have to entertain this bullshit as legit?!)

    So, the bigger question is this: Why should I bother to vote at all? Government hasn’t done it’s job and claiming that we have the ability to fire these idiots every four years is codswallop. And please don’t tell me that we should vote because people have fought and died for our right to vote because that’s horseshit too. The argument is old, tired and lame. It’s the “Milkhorse Argument.” Like an old racehorse; it doesn’t run with me anymore and should be put out to pasture. Respect to war veterans but the indoctrination of this theory of “because they died for you” is not enough anymore.

    Every candidate running for PM are self centred twits searching for glory and a win. Nothing more.

    It’s not the economy at all. That’s the shell game. Protect sovereignty and you protect the economy. Insisting that the economy is the issue, leaves the real issue to be buried in a manner that all Canadians should be concerned about.

    • doconnor says:

      The NDP has held on to their long standing opposition to this kind of thing. They don’t agree with the investor-state provisions of the EU trade deal and neither does Germany.

      • King Prick says:

        yeah but they haven’t said a word about what we’re being sued for. If they gave a toss, they’d make it a plank. If it were plastered in the media for weeks like, oh, I don’t know; Rob Ford; that we have elected consecutive governments that have left Canada a toothless remnant of what she once was, there would be fire in the streets.

        We’re not even Canada anymore. Somebody owns us. We’ve been sold.

    • cassandra says:

      excellent post, and yes we need a real govt that protects sovereign interests. Softwood lumber, we lose every time, it makes no bloody sense to have these trade deals when they are onesided in favour of the other country, esp the states,
      now we will have China doing the same thing for a couple of decades.
      what we need is to stop having these idiot politicians and instead have a team of tax accountants and money managers along with a team of lawyers to help manage canada.
      why bother having these useless puppet politicians that give away our resources and and throw our tax dollars to the winds:P
      we need an overhaul of the whole national system and dig out the corruption and rot.

  20. Al in Cranbrook says:

    The last election here in BC, the economy became the central issue.

    The NDP, whom are against pretty much anything to with resource development and actually making money, went from a 20% lead in the polls to a loss of seats to the BC Liberals, and an increased majority.

    Point being: Tough times again? Let’s see now. Do we want a new (socialist/left wing) government, hell bent on tax and spend? Or the one we know that’s did a pretty good job of steering us through the last global mess, and even cut my taxes while doing it?

    This ain’t over by any stretch.

  21. KenzoS says:

    George W Bush won an election? News to most.

  22. Christian says:

    People will either take comfort in what they know (aka win for Harper) or they’ll decide that the same ol, same ol hasn’t and isn’t going to work (aka neither the incumbant who has overseen this mess or the usual alternative Party, which would be the Liberals) and give someone totally new a chance on the playground (aka win for Mulcair). So, I guess from that perspective it depends on how bad the economy gets and how well campaigns communicate the change narrative, but on the other hand…..ah hell…..I don’t FUCKING know! And neither does anyone else! One thing I do know is that we are, all of us, royally and collectively fucked. There. I strangely feel better now……weird.

  23. gyor says:

    Campaigns matter, but only within the context of current events.

    As for questions:

    If the electoral question is the economy, the Tories lose.
    If the question is ethics and corruption, the Tories lose.
    If the question the enviroment, the Tories lose.
    If the question is democractic reform, the Tories lose.
    If the question is support for Vets, the Tories lose.
    If the question is who represents change the Tories lose.
    If the question is civil rights, the Tories lose.

    If the question is over terrorism, the Tories can win, its they’re only hope.

    • Doogie says:

      If the voting decision is on family tax savings — Cons win.
      If the voting decision is on income splitting — Cons win.
      If the voting decision is on kids sports benefits — Cons win.
      If the voting decision is on economic stability — Cons win.
      If the voting decision is on domestic security — Cons win.

      Tories lose on ethics and corruption, environment, democratic reform, supporting vets, civil rights and change for the sake of change. Now which issues will resonate with Canadian voters?

  24. Leslieville Bill says:

    Warren, is the research you’ve read been done mostly with American statistics? I can understand the conclusions they might reach but it would be interesting to know who the beneficiaries are in a multi-party system (like in Canada or Europe). Is there a way to tell whether say the NDP or LIBS are more likely to pick up the support?

  25. Christian says:

    Just to add and provide an update to my previous comments. If this is the type of stuff the Liberals are going to try and win the election than I feel safer to say with increasing confidence that it WON’T be the Liberals that are going to win.


    Following Warren’s advice I watched with the sound off. My take. Despite the economic message he is trying to convey the bottomline is “Prime Ministerial Candidate Justin Trudeau Gets Confused By An Escalator” (until some nice person offcamera shows mercy and switches it to ‘Up’). Not the best message to leave with voters. So, I guess campaigns do matter!

    • Mark says:

      The Trudeau team is finally listening to you Warren. They have literally escalated the ad war.

    • bobbie says:

      It’s a ridiculous ad getting exactly the attention it deserves…….a good laugh and that’s about it.

    • Maps Onburt says:

      Yes, I laughed out loud when I saw that one… best tweet was “Man wants to be PM… gets confused by escalator”. Just Not Ready. (and his hair looks bad in this one too).

      • davie says:

        People should stay off those things. If the power ever cut out when you were on one of those things, you’d be trapped.

        This ad suggests JT’s carelessness.

    • Luke says:


      With the sounds off or on, I got amusement out of the ad, which is more than I can usually say. Usually I cringe at the pandering or nastiness or what have you; in this case I got the sense that the makers of the ad were perfectly aware of, and comfortable with, the silliness of it. I found it sort of campy or cheeky or something.

      One thing I noticed was the presumably deliberate timing of the NDP jab with the escalator stopping, as though to say to those flip-flopping between the Liberals and NDP, “We know they aren’t as bad as the Conservatives, but…”

    • Lance says:

      I think that ad was pretty much perfect…….except he should have had Harper photo-shopped in or something treading the escalator as the image, with Trudeau making the same exact pitch as a voice over, and a brief address as himself to that camera. It would have made a much bigger impact Harper treading upwards on that escalator instead of seeing Trudeau doing it.

      • Marc says:

        Everyone that I’ve showed it to thought it was effective. The throw away line about Mulcair, although a bit of a stretch, is super effective. Dismissive and concise.

  26. !o! says:

    The biggest question in my mind is: when (not if) we get a minority gov’t come October, will the LPC/NDP be able to agree on the specific shape of voting reform legislation, and will it get passed? It benefits both parties to do so, but I wonder if either will be open to ceding the incremental advantage that the respective parties’ specific brand of voting reform brings (ranked ballot or pure proportional representation). This, more than anything else has the furthest reaching ramifications for elections and future gov’ts.

    • doconnor says:

      They should have an ranked ballot referendum among, PR, ranked ballots and the current system. Then they can let the people choose among them. A ranked referendum should help with the “No” bias in referendums.

  27. Luke says:

    Economic trends as the sole factor in deciding the net will of the voters doesn’t make sense to me.

    We have three contending parties. If good economy means incumbents win, fine. But if a bad economy means incumbents lose, well…. there is not enough information left to decide between the replacement options. And failure of the electorate to decisively choose one option or the other can well mean incumbents win anyway.

    It might work in the States with two parties, but with three viable ones here the idea is insufficient. Somewhere the notion of what a party or leader stands for or represents must become important in deciding the outcome in a bad economy. If that becomes clearly established during the campaign, the campaign matters. If not, it was a big waste of money I guess.

  28. Felipe Morales says:

    Campaigns DO matter! The best proof was Canada 1993-eveyone had written off Jean Chrétien. The Tories were on Kim Campbell exuberance and the NDP was buoying based on their “Anti NAFTA” vitriol. Lucien Bouchard and his Bloquistes were preparing the first period of the the Referendum. You ran a tight, decent and disciplined campaign and proved everyone wrong. In the USA, 1992 Bill Clinton came from being completely written off and because he acknowledged “Perot voters”. Could Al Gore have won the USA 2000 if Ralph Nader had not taken votes away from him in Florida and Colorado? Could Carter have stayed in office in 1980 had it not been for Anderson? Humphrey could have won 1968 had it not been for the George Wallace Dixiecrats?
    CAMPAIGNS MATTER! It comes down to one question: somebody asks the citizenry to give them the power of the government. Everyone expects to be told why should that be given to anyone. Whoever gives the best answer ultimately wins. I think Harper had that in 2006 and not really in 2004.

  29. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I’m not ready to say Justin has the best campaign but who has gone up in the last five polls?

    And who blew it by providing an overly extended runway for political takeoff? You guessed it.

    • KBab says:

      As a (usually) committed Liberal I had some serious doubts when the writ was dropped, in fact I was resigned to backing the Dippers; not now though, I like what I’m hearing and seeing out of Trudeau. The NDP are about to be flanked, campaign to the left.

  30. Justin says:

    Duceppe trails the NDP by 37 points in his own riding! RIP Bloc.

    • Doogie says:

      If the Duceppe BQ tank again that will mortally, fatally terminally wound any attempt by new PQ leader PKP in the next Quebec provincial election. It’s make or break for the BQ and PQ sovereignty parties and I suspect they will not go down passively. They will get desperate and vicious in their attacks on Trudeau and Mulcair in a shock and awe manner to shake les quebecois out of their mental confusion and rejection of sovereignty. Their worst case scenario is a federal government led by a Quebec federalist prime minister and they must destroy them in Quebec. Their best case is another Harper minority government with the BQ holding the balance of power. It’s gonna be brutal in Quebec, and for the future of the Canadian nation.

  31. pod says:

    Libs- moving forward
    NDP= They have Nobody at all
    Cons- Totally untrustworthy (even on the economy)

  32. e.a.f. says:

    It is an interesting theory based on self interest and what works for the individual. Of course campaigns can still matter, especially when something goes side ways for the “ruling” party.

    This campaign will matter for the Liberals and NDP because it is between those two parties as to who will form the next government. Most people made up their minds about the Cons prior to the election and not all of it has to do with the economy. Of course a poor economy and some scandals, might send people in another direction. In cases of a good economy, scandals don’t matter that much. Of course there was Alberta.

    It depends upon how stupid the governing party is. Chris Alexander didn’t help the Cons today, on Rosie Barton’s show. if the RCMP decide to raid the First Nations demonstrators in northern B.C. and Bill C-51 gets invoked, life could get fun in politics. don’t forget we have Pammy and the Bruce Carons show coming up, but the theory, ya, if people have money in their pockets they don’t care about much. If they don’t have money, they start to care about a lot of stuff.

  33. For the poor the recession never went away.

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