One of the ads mocked Trudeau for having been a camp counselor, rafting instructor, drama teacher and boasting one of the worst attendance records in the House of Commons. “Now he thinks he can run Canada’s economy?” – it sneered over footage of Trudeau undressing and prancing around on a stage wearing a tank top.
Trudeau had run smack into the buzzsaw of the Conservative Party’s election machine — an entity that’s always on “permanent campaign” mode. To the Tories, electioneering is a year-round operation – not just started when the writ is dropped – that’s allowed Stephen Harper to win three elections in a row while mauling and belittling his opponents.
Trudeau, for example, has been a constant target of Conservative ads over the past two years, with the latest portraying fake job interviewers listing all the reasons why “He’s Just Not Ready.” And it seems to be working: the Liberals are currently languishing in the 25 per cent range.
For election consultants, the Conservatives’ success at the polls is no accident. “Harper is going to win (the next election),” predicts Warren Kinsella, former campaign strategist for Jean Chrétien and a well-known Toronto-based election consultant.
“He’s got a very efficient vote, he has a whole bunch of new seats in the British Columbia and Ontario and Alberta, and those are in ridings where he’s highly competitive. And he’s going to have the ability to motivate those voters because the quality of his research is better than the other two parties.”
On one hand, it’s no mystery why Harper has ruled the roost since 2006 despite lacking charisma or popularity: the progressive vote is split between the Liberals, NDP, Green Party and Bloc. Due to Canada’s first-past-the post electoral system, a politician can become prime minister with a mere 34 per cent of the vote – and garner a majority with just 38 per cent (the Conservatives won a majority in 2011 with less than 40 per cent).
Indeed, the Chrétien Liberals won three back-to-back majorities between 1993 and 2000 largely because the right-wing vote was split between Reform, the PC and Canadian Alliance parties. Now the same problem is bedeviling the left.
“Until the progressive side gets its act together, Harper is going to win because (the progressives) are splitting the vote,” observes Kinsella. “It’s a perfect cleavage.”
Read the whole article, which is expertly written. Do you agree or disagree?
UPDATE: Someone else is quoted in the article. I will not name him, but I remain immensely grateful to him for funding a large addition to one of my properties for this. That said, I have received an email from a rather extremely super senior Liberal, who says: “1. Who were the people around Ignatieff that talked about a new paradigm that suggested Ignatieff was invulnerable to attacks? 2. Who – other than Ignatieff – said he lost simply because of the attacks? 3. How does a [REDACTED] like [REDACTED] ever get taken seriously? I have nothing but contempt for Paul Martin’s minions.”