05.30.2020 08:31 AM

Peter MacKay has an ad

I think it needed an editor – it’s about 30 too long. The “sharp end of the Covid stick” was weird writing. A war room is likely going to find that some of the people in the spot aren’t Canadians.

But it’s smart. It doesn’t even mention Trudeau or his leadership rivals, and thereby avoids partisanship at a time when we know we all need to be coming together. It looks and sounds Prime Ministerial.

It is the Biden approach to political opposition: lift people up, pick your targets carefully. It probably will win him the leadership.


  1. Joan says:

    I agree. Peter is the front runner for a reason.

  2. Joan says:

    I agree. Peter is the best choice

  3. PAM LEVY says:

    I have not been a fan but think this video is surprisingly quite good. Helps offset my burn on Trudeau’s UN stick.

  4. PJH says:

    After a few painful initial stumbles, it’s nice to see Mr. MacKay’s campaign appears to be back on track once again. Not ashamed to say this ad made me a little fahrklempt.

  5. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    As a MacKay supporter, I hope this helps to serve as a catalyst for undecided party members. IMHO, Team MacKay is on its way to nailing this down but, of course, team and candidate will take nothing for granted and will work hard accordingly.

  6. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    MacKay doesn’t speak French.

    Anybody in his generation knew that was a mission critical qualification.

    • Fred from BC says:

      “MacKay doesn’t speak French.”

      I like that about him.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Peter has had a private tutor going all the way back to last winter. Before COVID-19, his session were on a daily basis. Not sure how often it has continued on the virtual platform.

      When he came to Quebec City, he was able to speak French with members with only minimal difficulty.

  7. the real Sean says:

    I’m actually stunned at how smart this ad is.

    – acknowledges pain / suffering in a way you’d never see from conservatives

    – acknowledges the efforts of ordinary people

    – mix of age, ethnicity, gender that doesn’t seem contrived

    – spouse just starts talking… as if, you know, a political spouse might indeed have something to say that doesn’t seem completely pre-packaged. again doesn’t seem contrived

    – makes it about people, not the candidate. This is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ad. He is the only candidate with enough recognition to get away with doing something like that. This is their greatest strength and they are flaunting it, as they should.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Peter is at his best when he trusts his own instincts and does not automatically or reflexively defer to his strategists and organizers. (They don’t necessarily like this part. LOL.)He’s learned that lesson the hard way and I’ve encouraged him in that.

      Like Harper, he’s a strong consumer of political discourse on sites and blogs and has grown demonstrably thanks to his regular exposure to differing perspectives and viewpoints. Peter knows that the Conservative, Liberal or moderate course is not always right. That’s important in a country like Canada.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “Like Harper, he’s a strong consumer of political discourse on sites and blogs”

        I didn’t know that. That’s smart.

  8. Fred from BC says:

    “It is the Biden approach to political opposition: lift people up, pick your targets carefully. ”

    I don’t see the Biden campaign doing that, though. I see them doing the same old thing as everyone else: insult Donald Trump for every little thing he says and does, no matter how trivial or unimportant to the average voter that thing may be. Not a winning strategy at all, given their performance so far; in the states where the Biden campaign still leads (and it’s a steadily decreasing number), those leads have shrunk dramatically.

    I first said this years ago, and yet am forced to repeat it once again: “Hey, Democrats? If your strategy isn’t working, then CHANGE IT!”. Doing the same thing over and over again but somehow expecting a different result is, as Einstein said, the definition of insanity. It’s almost like you don’t really want to win…

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      TrumpTheatricsTM or BidenTheatricsTM are just that. Those are in no way political strategies. Trump’s only winning strategy is a good or excellent economy. Biden’s is the exact opposite.

      What people don’t realize (and I don’t for the life of me know why) is that COVID-19’s primary effect on Earth was not to kill people but to finally prick and take d0wn longstanding economic bubbles.

      People will point to BlackLivesMatter as regards rioting and looting across the U.S. BLM is very important — but look below and you see the poor and middle-class being decimated. In short, as Carville said: TheEconomyStupidTM. People in legions are no longer going to the doctor, while food price inflation goes through the roof. In short, unless Biden self-bombs, he wins in an historic landslide.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “TrumpTheatricsTM or BidenTheatricsTM are just that. Those are in no way political strategies. Trump’s only winning strategy is a good or excellent economy. Biden’s is the exact opposite.”

        No argument there. We’ll see if Trump’s strategy of referring to Covid-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or China virus” pays off for him. I’m sure he’ll running ads reminding voters that the US economy was booming and unemployment was at 50-year lows before the virus shut everything down.

        And yes, I know his economy wasn’t sustainable…but the average American doesn’t know that, do they? As you well know, in politics perception is everything…

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Absolutely, the economy has been steadily weakening since January 2019 but most people, not to mention voters, no precisely zip about that. So Yes, he could still win because of it.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            A Week is a long time in politics. Harold Wilson.

            So, if the economy Vs (which it won’t), Us (not very likely) or Ws, Trump still has a fighting chance. But if it Ls or Ms, then he’s already done as dinner. I’m betting the farm on an L.

          • Douglas W says:

            I suspect Canada is in the same boat: we’re looking at an L economy for some time.
            What will that mean for Justin Trudeau’s re-election prospects?

            (Upside for Liberals: no Parliament until September 21, and kid-glove treatment for the most part from the media.)

    • The Doctor says:

      Fred, that Democratic strategy that you claim isn’t working? I understand that Biden has the steadiest, most sustained lead in the polls of any Presidential challenger in the history of polling. At RCP his average lead in matchups against Trump is currently over 5%. At 538.com, Trump currently has a net minus 11% approval rating.

      If that’s a strategy that’s not working, then I’m going with the strategy that’s not working. You can take Trump’s strategy that you seem to think is working like a charm.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Fred has a good and extremely perceptive insight when he raises ANTIFA. That’s like a life-jacket for Trump, especially if he can distort the hell out of it or lie (which he surely will) and make political hay sun or no shine.

        This is also where Fred’s doubts about Biden are on point: Biden has to take an even tougher line than Trump on ANTIFA and other violent radical leftist groups, otherwise he plays right into Trump’s hands and delivers him much of The Silent Majority vote. Biden has to bash the radical violent left as much as he can, otherwise it’s suddenly advantage Trump. He needs to give ANTIFA and the others more than Hell otherwise…

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Plus, adding ANTIFA to the list of domestic terrorist groups is sheer strategic brillance. Never thought they had that in them in the Trump White House.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Apparently, some constitutionalists are already arguing that this move would be unconstitutional. Warren can confirm but it seems to me, if memory serves, that the Klan and other groups have already been so designated (or is it just as hate groups)? Maybe I’ve got it wrong but in any event, things are about to get really interesting over in the federal courts. I look forward to those pleadings because this issue is definitely political dynamite.

          • Mark D says:


            According to some of my Republican friends who have very little patience for racism, and have pushed back against Alt.Right attempts to infiltrate the party, the KKK has never been designated terrorist organizations.

            As far as ANTIFA is concerned, although somewhat dated given that it was published three years ago, the following article in The Atlantic offers some excellent insight into this controversy by contrasting ANTIFA with Black Lives Matter on the one hand (BLM engages in peaceful activism only), and hate groups like the KKK on the other.

            The author’s argument is that ANTIFA’s goal of bringing an end to fascism is worthy, but not their tactics when they stray from peaceful activism or turn violent. His objections are both moral, and that it is bad strategy because it shifts people’s focus from the underlying injustice being protested to the acts of violence perpetuated by activists.

            Here is the link:

      • Fred from BC says:

        “Fred, that Democratic strategy that you claim isn’t working? I understand that Biden has the steadiest, most sustained lead in the polls of any Presidential challenger in the history of polling”

        Sounds like something CNN would say.

        “At RCP his average lead in matchups against Trump is currently over 5%.”

        And it WAS 11%…and before that, 18%.

        ” At 538.com, Trump currently has a net minus 11% approval rating.”

        Which WAS about twice that bad.

        I’ve been following the RCP poll aggregator since you pointed it out to me, and noticed the gradual change in numbers in Trump’s favor…Biden was polling not too badly while they were keeping him hidden in his basement, but every public appearance since then has been an embarrassment . The Democrats better hurry up and pick their real candidate before it’s too late…

        ” You can take Trump’s strategy that you seem to think is working like a charm.”

        He doesn’t seem to have any strategy. He doesn’t NEED one, either, as long as the Democrats keep shooting themselves in the foot. But by all means, Doc, you keep enjoying what the DNC is doing if that makes you happy, m’kay?

        • The Doctor says:

          Fred, all I’m saying is that by any reasonable measure, Biden is currently in the lead. The guy who’s freaking out behind the scenes at his advisors over shitty poll numbers these days is Trump, not Biden. (go look up Trump’s recent screaming at Brad Parscale and threatening to sue/fire him)

          I agree that the current riots will likely benefit Trump politically, the same way that race and other riots in 1968 benefited Nixon. Although it is also noteworthy that Nixon, unlike Trump, was not an incumbent President in 1968. But Trump does a good job of always playing the aggrieved, put-upon outsider, even when he’s in power. Trump’s not interested in governing, really. He’s interested in whining, bullying and seeking out narcissistic supply.

          I’m not saying the DNC and/or Biden’s team are running some brilliant campaign these days or that I agree with every strategic decision or utterance that comes out of there. I’m just saying that by all reasonable and reliable statistical and polling measures, they have been in the lead up until now. And it’s not like Biden’s lead in direct matchups against Trump has dramatically narrowed in recent days or weeks:


          • Bill says:

            I get the impression you’re only talking to the hand with this Fred individual.

          • The Doctor says:

            And by the way Fred, on your CNN guess, you’re wrong.
            The person whom I heard assert that that “Biden has the steadiest, most sustained lead in the polls of any Presidential challenger in the history of polling” was Charlie Sykes on the Bulwark podcast. He’s an American conservative, in case you don’t know.

  9. Doug says:

    It’s not bad, albeit too long. I’m not a MacKay supporter so maybe bias is clouding my perception… I have two issues with this ad:
    1) It tries to paint McKay too much like Trudeau, with the attractive wife, stylish suit, upbeat message. No one can out Trudeau Trudeau
    2) It doesn’t convey what MacKay stands for

  10. Douglas W says:

    Agreed: less, is often more.
    Two minutes, tops, would have done the trick.
    MacKay and his wife look strong together.
    On the campaign trail, they will be a force.
    In the upcoming debates, O’Toole and Lewis will be gunning for frontrunner Pete.
    Depending how he performs, the ensuing vote will either be a coronation, or a toss up.
    Not discounting O’Toole, just yet.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      We all know that this is about the 2nd ballot ranking choice. He or she who gets that wins.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “We all know that this is about the 2nd ballot ranking choice. He or she who gets that wins.”

        That’s my hope too. We can’t have a repeat of the last circus (how many ballots was that, again?). A second or third ballot win, to me, even looks better than a first ballot win…it shows healthy competition, but cooperation at the same time.

      • Douglas W says:

        True, my honourable friend.

        But I can’t imagine MacKay coming up short if he’s at 45% after the first ballot.

        He’s at 44.8% after the first ballot according to Mainstreet, and the poll’s sample size is most impressive.

    • Chris Sigvaldason says:

      It’s all academic if Peter doesn’t get above 50-percent on the first ballot. O’Toole wins in every scenario after the first ballot.
      Of course that could all change with one poorly written Tweet or some stupid statement. Frankly, I am amazed Peter is still in first place after that “Is it?” interview.

  11. M P Froese says:

    How can we believe him? He’s had 20 years in Ottawa where he showed no initiative, took on no projects, showed no leadership … how can we think he’ll finally start showing leadership? Highly paid writers can earn their $$$, but who says Peter MacKay will do any of it?

    Stephen Harper said that the two MPs who caused the most grief while he was Prime Minister were Steven Fletcher and Peter MacKay … even though Peter got all the things he insisted on at the time of the merger!

    After the 2011 election Peter MacKay was appointed regional minister for Atlantic Canada. He did nothing to prepare for the 2015 election, and we lost every seat in Atlantic Canada … including the one MacKay held! The only one of six regional ministers to lose every seat!

    And you think this history doesn’t predict his future actions?

    • PJH says:

      Please……The country was gripped in a wave of Trudeaumania. People across the country were tired of Mr. Harper, including me(he overstayed his welcome, and hung in well after his best before date, which for most Prime Minister’s, is 10 years.) My own riding elected a piss poor Liberal MP who rode in on the coat tails of M. Trudeau. While a swing seat, it hadnt been held by a Liberal in decades. The replacement of Mr. Harper by Mr.”lets get the party to help subsidize my kids private schooling” Scheer was not exactly an inspiring choice. I suspect with Mr. MacKay as Leader, half of those Atlantic seats will be up for grabs…something that scares the crap out of Liberals…

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        We were lucky to have Scheer as a standing pat leader. Imagine had he lost…

        What we need now is someone who can win next time. Each CPC member needs to make that judgment as it’s the primary consideration going forward.

        • PJH says:

          Yes, all things considered, we were fortunate. Its why I am supporting Mr. MacKay because imho, he has the likeability and name recognition factors that can get the majority of electorate (who have no political affiliation) onboard.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      M P,

      Would it be a mistake to argue that Atlantic Canada is probably in percentage terms the most moderate region of the country? If so, the massive seat loss and the responsibility has to rest with Harper and the way he deliberately decided to orient the 2015 campaign.

      During my first CPC incarnation, I repeatedly warned against the party going too far right after winning a majority. That feel on deaf ears — especially in Harper’s PMO.

      Harper defeated Harper. He publicly took full responsibility after the loss, to his credit. The Trudeau name and family reputation only accelerated CPC losses but the principle responsibility for the loss rested with Harper, where it should.

      Conversely, the brilliant two minority government strategies also rest with Harper, so he wasn’t exactly a total disaster as a tactician and strategist.

      (But as you know, I’m extremely biased, as I’ve always been consistently Against Harper and his vision for the country from Day One in 2013.)

  12. Barry Veysey says:

    The “sharp end of the Covid stick” is not a weird thing for a former Minister of National Defence to say. This phrase is often used to describe service members who are deployed in the vanguard of operations.
    This was actually a clever use of language. Anyone who has served would have understood this phrase instantly. It places into immediate, understandable language the unassuming, outstanding work our first responders are engaged in to keep us safe despite the inherent deadly risk of doing so.
    Service members routinely do similar things as a condition of “Universality of Service.”
    As a former service member I instantly understood what was being conveyed in the use of this phrase.
    He may well have been targeting First Responders and Service Members as potential voting blocks in the upcoming leadership contest.
    Nope, not weird at all.

    BA Veysey
    CWO Master Gunner (Retired)

  13. Gilbert says:

    The video is fine, but it’s not enough to give Peter Mackay the leadership. If Peter MacKay is just a little bit different from Justin Trudeau, why should people vote for him? I don’t think Peter Mackay will do so well with social conservatives, Albertans or French speakers. This race isn’t over.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      What I tell people is that Peter is a pretty good reflection of the average middle-class Canadian, in a way that Scheer couldn’t be. Scheer was more different than Trudeau and yet he couldn’t close the win. That’s reality.

      Sure, it was more of Trudeau losing than Scheer winning but the latter went largely against the grain in critical regions absolutely necessary to win a majority.

      What I want to know from Erin and his people is if any deals have already been made for second ballot support? Easy question with frankly, a seemingly obvious answer.

      • Chris Sigvaldason says:

        Does Erin really need to make any deals for the next ballot(s)? All of those second tier candidates are social conservatives and the vast majority of their supporters abhor the “centrality” and “mushiness” of the red-tories, as personified by Peter M.
        Erin gets most of those voters by default.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:


          That could very well be the case but if our next leader is not at least perceived as a moderate right-centrist, then the next election is already lost with Trudeau winning a majority.

          But party members are free to decide otherwise as long as they are alright with yet another stint in opposition.

          Peter is a Blue Tory, as is Erin by the way. Yours truly remains until death a proud and strong Red Tory.

  14. ABB says:

    I am very suspicious of tele-visual makeovers.

  15. Dave says:

    Where’s Mike? I miss his insightful commentaries.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      He’s too busy trying to save this government’s ass.

      • The Doctor says:

        I was a member of that old PC party and I take issue with your assertion that Peter M “destroyed” it. If you’re referring to the Tory-Reform merger, you’re merely engaging in what historians call counter-factualism. And counterfactuals are by their very nature impossible of disproof.

        The logical implication of your statement is that you think that if the Tories had just refused to merge with Reform, everything would have been hunky-dory. That’s an extremely dubious proposition, given the established facts. The Tory party was on life support in many regions of the country, and demonstrably incapable of competing for power at the time. I had first-hand knowledge of this. Zombie riding associations with no members, no money etc. What would you have had them do?

        I disliked Reform from the get-go, but merging was the logical and inevitable thing to do if we were to have any hope in hell of ever competing for power. Otherwise, it’s very logical to assume that the old PC Party would have either turned into some irrelevant rump party or died outright, like the old British Liberal Party.

        I don’t like what the new CPC became under Harper, but I have no illusions that there was some other come-shot option out there. There wasn’t. It was basically merger, death or eternal irrelevance at best.

      • Dave says:

        Ahh there’s the Mike commentary we have all come to love. Missing you buddy.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        The first lesson you learn in Politics 101 at Carleton is never ever say never. (Nice try though. LOL.)

  16. I honestly don’t know what the real makeup of the party is now. I left for the Liberals in 2009 as I could no longer stomach the way Harper chose to run his government. I came back in late 2019 for personal reasons relating to someone I admire and respect.

    But before I left in 2009, I repeatedly hammered home this point: members can have their BlessedPrinciples or Power, but they are not likely in 2020 Canada to have both. This is a water in your wine country and that’s how most people vote.

    Since coming back, I’ve added what I call TheHarperLesson coming out of 2015: Harper went too far right, in the humble estimation of a plurality of the electorate and so they quite deliberately turfed him.

    That’s the BigPictureLesson for 2020. It remains to be seen if the membership is aware of it because without voting accordingly in this leadership race, all that’s waiting for us after the election is once again a good, long stint on the opposition benches.

    I’m biased but IMHO, Trudeau’s PMO would rather not face MacKay in the next campaign. I have no idea how they feel about O’Toole so that remains a wild card.

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