Harper will win (updated)


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?

Comment away!

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.”

Why does the NDP regard Greece as a democratic success? Why?

Because – as frightened Greeks line up, right now, for basics like food – it isn’t a success. It is an abject failure. It is, as they say, a failed state.

A sampling of things you may not know about Greece, from a newspaper not noted for its fondness for austerity measures:

  • Tens of thousands of unmarried or divorced daughters of civil servants collect their dead parents’ pensions, weighing on a social security system that experts say will collapse in 15 years unless it is overhauled.
  • [Greek] law protects civil servants from dismissal, [and] it allows them to retire with a pension in their 40s.
  • Greek pension spending is expected to rise by 12 per cent of gross domestic product by 2050, according to European Union data. That compares with an EU average of less than 3 per cent of GDP.
  • Some civil servants are paid extra for using a computer. Some get a bonus for speaking a foreign language and others for arriving at work on time, while many foresters get a bonus for working outdoors.
  • Half a month’s extra salary is paid at Easter and another half during the summer. The 14th salary is paid to civil servants at Christmas when the whole economy is geared to consuming it. Taxis, restaurants and hairdressers are legally allowed to charge extra as a “Christmas present.”
  • The state owns 74 companies, mainly utilities and transport firms, many of which are overstaffed and loss-making, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The main rail company employs about 9,000 people and reported losses of 800 million euros ($1.06 billion) in 2008.
  • Hundreds of state-appointed committees employ staff though it is not clear what they all do. Greece has a committee to manage Lake Kopais, which dried out in the 1930s. One Greek newspaper estimated that committees employ more than 10,000 people and cost over 220 million euros ($292.6 million) a year.

Are you starting to see why the other Eurozone countries aren’t enthusiastic about propping up a state that has been so reckless, for so long? Are you wondering how any sane person could hold up Greece as some sort of a democratic success story?

Not Canada’s New Democrats, apparently.  They think Greece has been run well.  And they applaud the saturnalian current Greek government, which has made a bad situation much worse.

To wit:

Ashton, who is no mere anonymous backbench MP, is not alone. Others in the NDP – including someone who should know better – have been similarly foolish.

Democracy, of course, is always a good thing. But what is happening in Greece is going to lead – inevitably, inexorably – to less democracy, not more. In the next few days, the Greek government will start to impose further measures that will limit how (and if) Greeks can house and feed themselves, and provide for the future. By any standard, callously restricting the ability of millions of panicked citizens to put food on the table is not democracy, Team NDP.

It is the absence of it.


This is long overdue. 

The media went after him because he didn’t kiss their ass. The Martin folks went after him because he had been loyal to Chretien. So they got together to end him. 

My experience was that he was as fearless as he was honest. Elsewhere, those attributes are rewarded. Not in Ottawa. 

All that said, I agree: Dingwall is owed an apology. 

The delicate dears at HuffPo are offended

By this: 

HuffPo doesn’t like what my former boss did. Poor babies. 

The above image, from February 1996, is of one Jean Chretien throttling a protester, natch, who had gotten too close at a Flag Day celebration. 

When that image – the fabled Shawinigan Handshake – started to circulate, the tall foreheads in the press gallery (and, much later, HuffPo) started to write Chretien’s political obituary. Former Conservative leader Joe Clark demanded Chretien apologize, as I recall, and Reform Party MPs denounced him. The crypto-separatist media attacked him, too, and Amnesty International even condemned him. I’m not making this up. 

So Chretien called an aide to ask what pollsters had to say about the effect the Shawinigan Handshake had on public opinion. “We won’t tell you,” the aide told Chretien. “We’re worried that, when you see how positive the effect was, you’ll go out and strangle someone else.”

What do you think, Dear Reader? I think it was awesome.  You?

Socialist barbarians at the gate of Fortress Liberal


Jennifer Hollett, the former MuchMusic VJ and now digital strategist, and Linda McQuaig, journalist and author, are the NDP candidates in the two federal ridings located in the heart of downtown Toronto – and right now, they are basking in an orange glow emanating from Rachel Notley’s Alberta.  

Canvassing in their ridings of Toronto Centre and University-Rosedale, both women have noticed a change in the reception at the door since the New Democrats’ upset win in the Prairie province in May.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Jen during the (rather unpleasurable) Chow campaign a year ago. She was smart, classy and professional. As such, some of our Daisy colleagues have been working hard on her campaign.  

I don’t know her Liberal opponent, at all, but I found it revealing that she regards her regular “international” opinion pieces in U.S. newsoaoers as what her constituents want. I think she’s wrong about that. Like Tip O’Neill, I believe that all politics are still local.

That aside, the good people of Toronto could do a lot worse than Jen Hollett. She would make a terrific Member of Parliament.


It’s WestJet, however, so the chances of actually getting there are somewhere between slim and none. Happy Canada Day anyway, eh?


Trudeau, Dion and the Green Shift

Liberals still wince, a little bit, when reminded of Stephane Dion’s Green Shift. Some of them even attempt to rewrite history, and suggest they never supported it when it was party policy in 2008.

But everyone did, including Justin Trudeau, who – like a good soldier – came out to Vancouver in October 2008 to stump for votes for Dion. News reports of their rally at Science World make no mention of Trudeau attempting to shift away from the Green Shift. None. Given how successfully the CPC demonized the Green Shift in 2008 – and how they have campaigned against carbon taxes, for years – that is significant.

And, perhaps, that’s why Trudeau’s environmental policy announcement yesterday – in Vancouver, again – was also significant. The Green Shift is referenced in the headline over Akin’s column, but I can’t fund any other reference to it in the coverage of yesterday. Did the media ask Trudeau about Dion’s plan? Did it come up at all? We don’t know. But the NDP and Tory responses to what he said, I thought, were desultory – they seemed to be phoning it in.

It’s still early, of course, and attack ads may be in the works as I write this. But perhaps things have changed, in the intervening years, and carbon taxes/green shifts aren’t as radioactive as they once were. We shall see. In the meantime, here’s an amazing (and revealing) photo of Trudeau and Dion on that day back in October 2008.

Stephane Dion Justin Trudeau

Caption contest!