05.26.2016 09:32 AM

From next week’s top ten column about the Tories

Eight more points to come!

1. Don’t freak out. You won just about 100 seats despite the Trudeau sweep. You still fundraise better than the governing party. You didn’t lose any of your share of the popular vote – the percentage you got in 2015, in fact, was almost exactly what you got in 2011. Your brand – as evidenced by Saskatchewan and Manitoba, recently – still has value. Resist suggestions, therefore, to radically change everything. Don’t overreact. And, therefore, don’t think salvation lies with loons like Kevin O’Leary. That’s a cure that’s worse than the disease. 


2. Oppose, oppose, oppose. You are Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition: act like it. You were not sent to Ottawa to assist the government, or make creative suggestions about governance. As my boss Jean Chretien used to say to the caucus nervous nellies who always worried about being too negative: “When you’re the opposition, you oppose.” Governments defeat themselves – and your job is to hurry that process along.

 

12 Comments

  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Harper was the cement that held the CPC together. They will need a new leader capable of preventing those fault lines from becoming an earthquake.

    Love may keep them together but not all talked about candidates are capable of pulling that off. Tony Clement, sure — the others, not so much.

  2. Luke says:

    Re: 1 you wrote “the percentage you got in 2015, in fact, was almost exactly what you got in 2011.” I think you mean the actual number of votes, not the percentage, right? As I recall the number of votes was indeed almost the same, but because turnout was higher they had a lower percentage of it.

    • Kelly says:

      You highlight their basic problem . . . they represent a small and shrinking segment of the population. They only ever won because of vote splitting within the context of our phony (frankly illegitimate) electoral system.

      • bluegreenblogger says:

        World ain’t static, and new racists are being born every minute. Their ‘basic problem’ is that they lost the last election, and have to get supporters for the next one. Business as usual.

  3. Charlie K says:

    1) Do Freak out: You’re going into a convention this weekend to talk about whether or not gay marriage is something that your party deems acceptable. You’re about to go into a convention that, in the first time in 11 years, doesn’t have a permanent leader. More importantly, you’re about to go into a convention where Stephen Harper isn’t the glue to hold your party together. You are statistically the most divided party of Canada, with several different factions, geographical considerations, age demographics and historical roots that were held together through a haphazard coalition of the centre-right. You currently have formerly disillusioned figures re-emerging within the party in an attempt to regain control of what was once theirs and your party has no idea what its true identity without Stephen Harper’s shadow draping over your party conventions. You sit at the precipice of irrelevance by trying to desperately hold on to what once was while an opportunity for growth and re-invention has presented itself; take the path that will get you back into government in 2023 not the path that will fix 2015.

    2) Suppose, suppose, suppose: Imagine for a moment that you are a non-partisan viewer watching QP as the Conservative Party Opposition rails against the Liberal government asking questions and making accusations that not one year ago, they were guilty of themselves. Would you not recognize the hypocrisy and obliviousness of the former government’s histrionics? That is what many Canadians are going to see. They are going to see a party that has absolved itself from any responsibility for 10 years of government that did nothing to address the very concerns that it now champions in Opposition. Ask the questions that need to be answered and oppose the government on matters that are substantive. Don’t sling mud hoping for something to stick because that has never worked for you in the past. Find issues that you can get behind (like deficits) and stick to it. Stop with the incessant heckling in QP, stop with the hyperbolic rhetoric and factually flimsy debates and start working on holding the government to account. Eventually the Liberals will defeat themselves, so start showing Canadians how much more responsible you are not — not how great you think you were.

    • Vancouverois says:

      “Would you not recognize the hypocrisy and obliviousness of the former government’s histrionics?”

      It depends on your existing political leanings. Partisans of every stripe have a tendency to excuse the sins of their favoured party while screaming to the high heavens when an opposing party does the same thing. Just compare the Liberals’ behaviour when in opposition to their behaviour when in government.

      • Charlie K says:

        Exactly, and it took the Liberals 10 years to get back into power after making the same mistake over and over. You’re right in saying partisans will excuse the sins of their respective party, but growth and expansion of a party doesn’t happen if you pander to the same partisan constituency.

        The Conservatives run a very real risk of appearing to be stuck in the same negativity they were supposed to move away from. If Trudeau is all about the “sunny ways” than Conservatives can’t allow themselves to drift into “stormy nights” if they want to get back into power. Effective opposition is possible but CPC caucus should probably avoid issues that they don’t exude contrast on themselves.

        Side note: I wholeheartedly agree with your comment below regarding opposing as the Opposition.

        • bluegreenblogger says:

          As in business, in Politics you do NOT meet your opponents on their own ground (if you want to win that is). You differentiate yourself, and do something different from the other guys, if even vaguely possible. If the other guy ‘owns’ sunny ways, then you are stuck with the other thing… But WHICH ‘other thing’ you are stuck with is an open question… Pick wisely, you only get to re-brand ONCE, ROFL. Nobody will blink twice at the opposition opposing. That is what they are for, and since we are spending hundreds of $millions having them do it, please do it well. How they do so, the tone, the substance, that is what will define their brand, and Canadians will be VERY sensitive to dog-whistles etc, as that is the expected bad behaviour that we punished them for last fall. All I can say is if it turns out to be sunny ways lite, they are doomed. If it turns out to be dog-whistle racism, they are doomed. What will it be?

          • Charlie K says:

            Its a well noted reality that the degree of separation between all 3 parties when in government, is very slim. Canadian parties comparatively all gravitate to the centre of the political spectrum, save for a few minor ideological differences that separate each party.

            As Canadians, we often see the differences as being a vast canyon of disagreements, but observers may be hard pressed to see the differences from their distanced perspectives.

            Thats important for Conservatives to realize; you can’t Republican-ize yourself because you’ll render yourself un-electable. You cannot become the party that solely acts in opposition to anything the government enacts; good or bad. Its part of the growing process while being in Opposition. Its about finding how to do your job without doing the government’s job. That is to say, don’t become so abrasive and non-directional in your anti-Goverment role that it defines you. Its one thing to be an opposition and oppose the government on principled issues like deficits, but its another thing to bemoan utterly everything the government does and appear spiteful instead of principled.

            At the end of the day, opposing the government is a crucial part of our Westminster system, it is incumbent upon any party to do with with integrity and in the interests of Canadians.

  4. Vancouverois says:

    “When you’re the opposition, you oppose.”

    Perhaps; but you can’t be seen to oppose just for the sake of opposing.Remember the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf – if you ratchet up the outrage on everything, people will tune you out. Be mindful of what you’re doing; reserve your strongest criticisms for the items that will resonate with people. The Liberal plans on electoral reform are a good example of a deserving target; Trudeau bumping into Vegas or taking a day off for his anniversary are not.

    • Steve T says:

      Exactly my feeling. One of the reasons the public hates politics is the knee-jerk “oppose everything” approach of Canadian opposition parties. You could have a trained monkey say the opposite of everything the government says – it doesn’t make the monkey a good politician, or a good advocate for Canada.

      I have zero respect for a political party that just bitches and whines about everything the government does. I hated it when the NDP (and Libs) did it during the Tory years, and I will hate the NDP and Tories if they do it during the Lib years.

      Pick topics in which there is truly a problem with the government’s plan, and pick on those. But support good ideas. In other words, act like a normal person – not a robot.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      I don’t think it works that way. Opposition has no levers, reporters barely return their calls, there is no well funded PMO managing the news. You have to oppose, throw mud at the wall, and when public responds, pick up the ball and run with it. I think that is what Chretien was on about when he said oppose oppose oppose. Like a fisherman throwing out a few more baited hooks. More hooks in the water means more fish in the stewpot. Don’t worry about spending all your criticism. It will be vanishingly rare that someone pays attention, so take whatever attention you can get.

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