Tories attacking Liberals is par for the course in Canadian politics. The style with which they stage these attacks is, of course, debatable. What is not up for debate should be MPs using their print budgets at the expense of taxpayers for partisan attacks.
According to documents made available by the Liberal party, the Tories plan to spend thousands on taxpayer-supported mailings to inform Canadians of the purported inadequacies of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Traditionally, these mail-outs are intended to update constituents on the doings of the House of Commons. Not surprisingly, MPs often use them to lecture riding residents on how well they’re being served and all the good things — or bad things, if you’re an opposition MP — the government is doing.
The Tories, however, appear intent on crossing the ethical divide with mail-outs that are nothing more than an extension of their attack ad campaign against the new Liberal leader. They should not. They can spend as much as they want to discredit Trudeau — whether it will do them any good is another matter — but not on the taxpayer’s dime.
The flyers, which were presented to the Conservative caucus in mid-April and are to be distributed June 1, show pictures of Trudeau with a moustache and jacket over his shoulder against a backdrop of quotes — “He’s in way over his head,” for example — and encircled by what looks like a comet trail of pixie dust sprinkled by Walt Disney’s wand-waving fairy. Another part of the mail-out suggests the Liberal leader is naive on such issues as Quebec separatism, tax credits for families and the economy.
The cost of mailing these attacks for 166 Conservative MPs comes in at about $29,000, but throw in the full price of printing and distribution and, according to the Liberals, it will be more than $220,000. The money will come out of the Tories’ House of Commons budget. In other words, taxpayers will pay.
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan defends the expenditure, saying it is within rules approved by Parliament and the all-party Board of Internal Economy that oversees MPs’ expenditures. He says it’s “entirely appropriate” for the Tories to inform Canadians in this way about Trudeau’s leadership qualities (or lack thereof).
What a specious justification for ripping off taxpayers. Householders were intended to provide MPs with a way to communicate “information” — farm subsidy programs, home renovation credits, etc. — to constituents. Yet they have become a vehicle for partisan propaganda.
Ontario’s governing Liberals don’t just have a new leader, they’re also speaking a whole new language.
The cabinet office is circulating “style tips” to bureaucrats with “preferred” phrases and language the new government has been using since Premier Kathleen Wynne took office.
And by the way, it’s “the new Ontario government,” not “the Wynne government.”
The memo includes a litany of catch-phrases Wynne has used since she became Liberal leader, including her ubiquitous: “We must engage in a respectful dialogue/conversation.”
The premier’s proclivity for the word “conversation” has become so pervasive that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s favourite comeback is “there needs to be a little less conversation and a little more action.”
The style and tone of the new government includes a “can-do attitude” and “rousing enthusiasm,” according to the memo obtained by The Canadian Press.
Speeches should incorporate about 10 per cent of French, “personal anecdotes/stories (i.e. family history)” and the use of “active language — bold and direct.”
The government “likes to wrap speeches with ‘thank you and meegwetch” — or “thank you” in Algonquin _ something Wynne has been doing since she became the Liberal leader.
Other recurring phrases include “I’d like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of xxxx (at the start of most speeches)” — another sentence the premier uses frequently.
Do not forget: the preferred style includes short sentences and “limited use of contractions.”
Some bureaucrats are asking their staff to incorporate the language in both internal and external communications, including emails and correspondence to ministers.
I miss governments with strong ministers and MLAs. We elect them and not the Premier’s Office.
Meanwhile, the leadership campaign is largely a non-event in Quebec and a marginal one across the Prairies.
Coming as it does after months of campaigning, the tepid Quebec response has to be worrisome for the Liberals.
Besides Trudeau, two other well-known Quebecers — former astronaut Marc Garneau and former federal justice minister Martin Cauchon — are in the running.
But in spite of that, most polls show that the federal battle for francophone Quebec remains a two-way fight between the leading NDP and the Bloc Québécois, with the Liberals running a distant third.
Quebecers’ participation in the leadership campaign is on par with the party’s tepid standing in voting intentions.
With the drive to recruit supporters for the April 14 vote completed, its results suggest that the campaign has done little to energize the Liberals in Quebec.
According to a riding-by-riding breakdown obtained by the Globe and Mail, Quebec accounts for 16 of 27 ridings with less than 200 voters eligible to participate in next month’s leadership vote. Trudeau’s riding of Papineau is the only Quebec riding to boast more than 2,000 sign-ups.
So what will be the impact?
With Trudeau in the campaign, the third-place Liberals have enjoyed a disproportional amount of mostly positive media attention for months on end. It looks like it will take a lot more than that to put them back on the map of regions such as Quebec and the Prairies in which the party has become chronically weak.
If the past is any indication, popularity and the successful signing up of scores of non-paying supporters will not do the job — or at least not for long enough.
The precipitous 1993 election decline of the Progressive Conservatives under Kim Campbell demonstrated that fundamentals eventually reassert themselves, even in the face of an initially popular new leader.
In the past, a demonstrated capacity to recruit leadership supporters has not always translated into more support in the ballot box.
In 2005, a solid recruitment campaign allowed André Boisclair to beat Pauline Marois to the leadership of the Parti Québécois.
Like Trudeau, Boisclair was a big hit with younger voters and like the Liberal favourite he seduced much of his party’s aging establishment into believing that he could connect it with a new generation of voters.
Two years later, Boisclair led the PQ to its poorest showing in three decades.
Of course, Harper wants to keep his majority in the next election. But the odds of that happening are already reasonably high. The House of Commons will have an additional 30 seats in the next Parliament, all but three of which will be in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Simple math suggests the Conservatives will win far more than half of these and Harper will keep his hold on the House.
But his goals are much grander than just another majority. First, he wants to bring about the permanent weakening — though perhaps not the complete collapse — of the Liberal party. Second, he wishes to establish the Conservatives as “the natural governing party,” for much of the 20th century the descriptive given to the Liberals.
Odds are longer that he will achieve both. But the odds are not small.
Harper’s hope to permanently weaken the Liberals is helped in large part by the Liberals’ own myths and misconceptions about the reasons for their success. Principal among these is the party’s mistaken beliefs that it is a party of the centre and that this is an electoral virtue.
Here is how Harper is going to carry out his sinister plan (insert evil laughter here)
The strategy is threefold. First, Harper will continue the appropriation of national symbols. Second, he will further establish his base of support among Canada’s immigrant communities. Third, he will remain focused on delivering a managerially competent, slow moving federal government.
On the first score, one needs to look no further than the government’s continued efforts to bolster Canada’s military in both its current and past engagements. There is little need for a strong connection between the actual facts of military endeavours and their glorification. If there were, our national image of an actively engaged peacekeeping force would have ceased by the 1980s.
The government’s celebration of the British triumph in the War of 1812 and its slow and dignified drawdown of troops in Afghanistan are both part and parcel of a re-establishment of military endeavour as central to Canadian identity. What is the response of the Liberal and New Democratic parties to this? Not much, except objections over the cost of fighter jets.
On the second score, the strategy to win the support of immigrants, the government has both demographics and electoral savvy on its side. The composition of Canada’s immigrant communities, their average levels of wealth, their mean social values, all of these tip them toward the Conservatives. This combines neatly with the entrance of more than two million immigrants into Canada since the Conservatives took power in 2006. Add in the Tories’ regular courting of these communities and you have a recipe for continued and growing success among a group composing an ever-larger portion of the population.
Finally, Harper will likely eschew grand bargains in exchange for managerial, deliberate government. There is no apparent need for a deal to reconcile Quebec to the constitution, in large measure because of the low odds of a referendum ever being held again.
There is also no need to fundamentally change the constitutionally mandated fiscal structure of the country. Harper can merely back farther away from meddling in provincial jurisdictions. He has something of partner in this in Mulcair, as it happens. And he can likely dispense of what seem like major problems — the aforementioned procurement of fighter jets and the ongoing investigation over electoral manipulation — through changes in personnel. It is not apparent that other scandals abound.
The Conservatives will rot out like every other (Liberal, NDP, PQ, and Liberal) government in this country. They will make mistakes, the public will grow tired of them, and we will support on mass another party. It is even happening right now in Alberta. In 2000 we had stories of a right wing permanent majority that Karl Rove was behind. How did that turn out? The same thing will happen here in Canada and the only question is if it is the Liberals or the NDP that bounce back.
- Revere the leader.
- Remember a leader is never cooked until people start to laugh at him.
- Stay on the road to reform; keep left of centre.
- Hang together.
- Build a poll organization worthy of the name.
- Lead to your strengths in campaigns; to your weakness in conventions.
- Never negotiate through fear; never fear to negotiate.
- Remember that in politics, perception is reality.
- Recruit new, bright, young people.
- Avoid public humour, but laugh a lot in private.
Just think at one time Liberals followed these rules… and won elections.
Or, to keep it in driving terms, the Liberals have been simply taking leaders out for a spin since Chrétien made his exit, and then trading them in for a newer model.
At the moment, Justin Trudeau, the MP for Papineau, seems to be looming in a lot of Liberals’ eyes as next year’s model — at least until something else comes along.
This disposable-leader culture may tell us something deeper about why the Liberals are mired in third place — a sign of their inability to commit, or to tolerate anything except victory. That may not be the ideal quality to transmit to voters.
Within other parties, including the one in power in Canada at the moment, leadership comes with second chances.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper failed to win the 2004 election, even after uniting the right-wing parties. He almost resigned and consigned himself to history’s dustbin, according to subsequent stories by insiders.
But Harper ultimately decided to hang in and landed the prime minister’s job in 2006, where he remains today.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty didn’t win on his first try as provincial Liberal leader in the 1999 election, but he endured and led his party to victory in 2003. Nor did Mike Harris do well in the 1990 election, but by 1995, he earned the job of Ontario premier.
Perhaps with those McGuinty or Harris examples in mind, the provincial Progressive Conservatives in Ontario are sticking with leader Tim Hudak, even though he didn’t deliver an expected victory last fall.
The federal New Democrats also endured with Jack Layton through four elections from 2003 to 2011, their eyes fixed on long-term growth. The investment paid off with the reward of official Opposition status after the last election.
Liberals, though, don’t seem to have cultivated that kind of patience.
Martin struggled for 13 years to become prime minister, got the job for two, and walked away the night of his election defeat in 2006.
Some Liberals have since wondered whether this was the right decision — whether Martin, with his record as a finance minister, would have been seen by Canadians as the right man to steer through the 2008 economic downtown and the election that year.
She ends with this.
If history is a guide, anyone running for the Liberal-leader job —including Trudeau — should have two career plans.
Plan A should be focused on winning power in the 2015 election.
Plan B should be something out of politics, because Liberals haven’t been in a second-chance kind of mood since Chrétien began his exit 10 years ago.
Speaking of Liberals, here is a video of Ignatieff that I really enjoyed back in the day.
Too bad that the vision in the video never was able to get into the public consciousness. Whether that Ignatieff or the Liberal Party’s fault, we all know the results. Speaking of political videos, let me remind you of this video by Brian Topp.
Of course the right can put out some spectacular videos as well. This one comes from the Saskatchewan Party.
Here is Susan Delecourt’s list of those that may be interested in running for leadership of the federal Liberal Party. You will want to click on her link to read her comments and mischief making.
- Justin Trudeau
- Dominic LeBlanc
- Marc Garneau
- David McGuinty
- Denis Coderre
- Scott Brison
- Ralph Goodale
- Gerard Kennedy
- Martha Hall-Findlay
- Mark Holland
- Martin Cauchon
- Borys Wrzesnewskyj
- George Takach
- David Bertschi
- Deborah Coyne
- Jonathan Mousley
- Shane Geschiere
- Elizabeth May
- Belinda Stronach
- John Manley
- Brian Tobin
- Frank McKenna
- All of the Liberal premiers
That being said, some would be horrible candidates and some of the people on the list could not keep their seats or in the case of Martha Hall-Findlay, still has debt from her last run so count them out.
Just to keep the content local, here is the list that I have put together of people thinking of running for the Saskatchewan Liberal Party.
Coyne could be talking about any political party lagging in the polls in Canada right now, including the Saskatchewan NDP.
Can the Liberal party survive? Of course it can. But there is every possibility it won’t. Those who still see the necessity of a third national party in Canadian politics (fourth, counting the Greens) would do well to start contingency planning for that event.
Survival in its present form would require the party to reinvent itself to a quite extraordinary degree.
Indeed, as I’ve written before, it would have to redefine what it means to be a centrist party. This is not so much because the centre of Canadian politics has disappeared — the much-discussed polarization — as that it has been occupied. The Conservatives, whatever their recent initiatives, are well to the left of where they were a decade ago, while the NDP had moved some considerable way to the right even before it chose Tom Mulcair as its leader.
To make space for itself on this landscape, then, the Liberal party would have to show an unaccustomed boldness and sureness of purpose: a willingness to go where the other parties would not go, but where expert opinion and the national interest would advise, whether this placed it on the right or the left on any given issue. That would be its stamp, its brand: the bold party, the tell it like it is party, the party that did the right thing.
The problem with this advice, I now realize, is that it’s a fantasy. There’s just no evidence the party is in anything like that frame of mind, or is likely to be. The premise, that a party with nothing to lose would be liberated to take risks, would seem to have been disproven.
Your results may vary, of course. Earlier in January, Ekos tagged Mr. Harper with a whopping 59% disapproval rating, against 34% approval — so, a -25% approval deficit. (Bob Rae, by comparison, had 44% approval against 24% disapproval.) That sounds bad. But in September 2010, the last time Ekos asked after the leaders’ reputations, it found Mr. Harper had a -20% approval deficit. And only 32% support. And then he went on and won a majority.
After nearly a decade of fearmongering, the Conservatives just keep gaining votes. The Opposition has been in disarray, certainly, but that’s precisely the point: People can see that Mr. Harper’s actions simply do not conform to the malevolent top-line items on his purported agenda. It’s far from clear to me, therefore, that it’s wise to keep insisting that agenda exists. As Chantal Hébert recently argued, the opposition parties’ screeching about Old Age Security may well make the modest reforms the government eventually proposes more palatable.
If Mr. Harper does indeed transform Canada into “Dickens’ London,” as Mr. Caplan puts it, then his party will presumably go down in flames in 2015. Certainly, there will be voter fatigue. Never mind the Conservatives’ serial murder of their own openness-and-accountability promises. This is an ostensibly pro-free-speech government that, on Monday, denied Green Party leader Elizabeth May leave to speak on the legacy of Vaclav Havel. These people are just as hardwired for eventual self-destruction as the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives before them.
But you know what? I have this weird feeling that Canada in 2015 is going to be pretty much the same place as it is now. And that Mr. Harper’s would-be successors — not least the relentlessly Harper-bashing NDP leadership candidates — are going to have to go out and win this on their own merits, not just on Mr. Harper’s demerits. If you’re wondering why Canadians aren’t rising up in furious protest, it’s at least worth considering that, despite your very best efforts, they are simply not as angry as you assumed they were.
The Blackberry Roundtable with Kady O’Malley and Scott Reid has some interesting thoughts on the Conservative Party push polling the Irwin Cotler’s riding with the suggestion he had resigned.
AP: When Montreal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler heard that someone was making phone calls to his constituents suggesting that Cotler had resigned and that there would soon be a byelection in the riding, the Conservatives didn’t deny that it was their doing. Instead they sent Peter Van Loan to chum the waters: First he noted that since rumours were always swirling about Cotler’s possible resignation, it was incumbent upon the Tories to bring the matter up with his constituents. Besides, he added, it’s a matter of free speech, which even Sir John A. Macdonald understood “to be part of normal discourse.” n politics as in sports, the best defence is a relentless offence, but surely sportsmanship is still a guiding moral code in both. Is this normal, or has Canadian politics become the MMA of public life?
SR: Let’s start by saying the obvious: This is unprecedented. That matters because every time someone lowers the watermark for acceptable political behaviour, the reflex response is “well, everyone’s doing it.” Actually that’s not so. Ladies and gentlemen, please pause a moment as we reach a new low. Not to worry if you missed it. We’ll be arriving upon another before long. So everyone isn’t doing it. But — and this should really alarm us — if we don’t blow the whistle, scream “stop” or otherwise halt the descent into pure partisan amorality, everyone will be doing it. Because political parties are rewarded for one thing and one thing only: winning. So if something isn’t declared off-limits, the lesson everyone else learns is to imitate. It’s a brand of Darwinistic Political Ethics — the crown falls to he who shows the least shame. The Conservative response on this is risible. They claim they’re merely ID-ing their vote. Right. By systematically spreading a falsehood about a sitting MP. Meanwhile, Irwin Cotler is submitting amendments to the crime bill that the government is humiliated into acknowledging it should embrace. Except that — presumably too distracted from terrorizing its political opponents three and a half years before the next election — they shut down the committee process and now are forced to submit his changes in the Senate. The contrast between Irwin and his opponents could not be more clear. This whole thing is a freaking disgrace.
KO’M: Like all the best/worst slo-mo political car crashes, watching this story unfold over the last few weeks has been equal parts fascinating and horrifying. With the exception of the ministers and MPs sent up to defend their party’s tactics in the Commons, I truly believe you’d be hard-pressed to find any MPs, in any party, who aren’t at least a little bit uncomfortable with this tactic, despite the fact that it really is, for all intents and purposes, the natural next step in the permanent campaign. After all, with the majority having removed the conveniently constant threat of an Unnecessary and Expensive Election™, the Conservative party needs something to keep itself occupied. This, at least, is something — so why not do this? Well, other than that it may very well hobble their efforts to actually win the very-much-still-occupied seat in question, as this is the sort of tactic that goes over like gangbusters in the war room, only to plummet like a titanium zeppelin among normal human beings, including, very possibly, the good folk of Mount Royal.
SR: Well if there are government MPs who feel uncomfortable they’re doing a helluva job of concealing their objections. John Williamson and Peter Van Loan have mounted arguments in defence of this practice that are so weak they defy satire. This may be the first time in his life that it’s actually difficult to make fun of PVL.
KO’M: This is, it seems, another example of how the government — or, in this case, the governing party — just can’t seem to get its head around the notion that it has a majority. It can relax, kick back, maybe drop the constant plotting and scheming and enjoy the break, although the very notion of doing so would seem to be incomprehensible to the permanent campaigners — a good number of whom, it seems, are still hanging around The Centre.
SR: Pundits keep making this point: Harper has his majority. He can afford to lay down his sword and be a bit gracious. But they miss a fundamental and simple insight. He doesn’t want to.
AP: If we really are in a race to the bottom, politically, how do we stop it? When you’re in an arms race, no amount of moralizing about the evils of WMDs is going to stop the up-gunning of the combatants. So we need some sort of arms-limitation treaty to force everyone to turn their nukes into noodles. Are there institutional constraints or legal fixes we can implement to improve the situation?
KO’M: Sure: Parliament could address this particular tactic by making it an offence to make false or misleading claims about byelections, or, more generally, amend the Elections Act to impose spending limits outside the writ. I’ll just be over here holding my breath.
SR: Get real people! You don’t stop it. Surely the lesson of modern life is that standards get progressively lowered, not raised. We’ll see some changes when Harper is eventually replaced because ill-motivated character will always be an argument against his tenure. Consequently, a new government will have to show some symbolic differences. There may also be a change in political philosophies when people inevitably defeat the Rovian school. But in the main, the cultural degradation will remain. Call me a pessimist. Cuz I’m a pessimist.
CBC offers up their ridings to watch and it seemed like a pretty odd list so here are my ridings to watch tonight.
- Saskatoon Meewasin. The Sask Party threw a ton of resources in an attempt to unseat Frank Quennell. If they Quennell wins, it means that the NDP still has some life in the cities, the Saskatchewan Party wins, it means that no NDP seats are safe moving forward. Prediction: Roger Parent wins
- Saskatoon Fairview: Will voters be unhappy that their city councilor and MLA reside in the same household. I don’t think Andy Iwanchuk will lose but it could cost him some votes and make a race close in a riding that Jennifer Campeau is running hard to win. Prediction: Andy Iwanchuk wins
- Saskatoon Nutana: Long a safe NDP seat, I heard rumors that the campaign isn’t going that well (no NDP scrutineers in the advance polls). Interesting to see if the seat flips or not. Prediction: Very narrow win for Cathy Sproule
- Saskatoon Eastview: I wrote about this before but I am still trying to figure out why Judy Junor is using a downtown campaign office to run on the eastside. I think this could be a victim of the green wave. Prediction: Corey Tochor wins
- Battlefords: I hear from Sask Party people that Ryan Bater is under 20% but I also hear that he is winning the sign war. It’s going to come down to vote splits but let’s go out on a limb and call it for Bater. If he doesn’t win, the Liberals won’t be a political party provincially by the next election.
- I was correct about Saskatoon Meewasin
- I was wrong about Saskatoon Fairview, Jennifer Campeau won in a shocking upset.
- I was kind of right about Nutana, Cathy Sproule won a tight race but I was DM’d by former MLA Pat Atkinson who told me that the NDP were very well organized. She was right, I was wrong. Partly because I missed the changes in advance poll scrutineers.
- I was right in Saskatoon Eastview.
- I was right about Ryan Bater in Battlefords. He was beaten badly and I don’t know what the future of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party is except that Ralph Goodale lost in 1982 before winning in 1986.
After posting what I believed to be a fair and balanced explanation of who I was voting for last year, I learned that there was no way you could announce and explain how you vote without alienating those on the other side. Voting always has been and probably always will be (for those of us who actually vote) a personal thing that upsets those that see the world differently. So a wise person would keep it quiet but I am going to keep up the practice of explaining who I am voting for and why. As always, the comments are open for a rebuttal or even a good rebuke.
As most of you know, I grew up Progressive Conservative. My first campaign I helped out on way Hon. Ray Meiklejohn’s 1986 campaign for what was then called Saskatoon Mayfair (old massive riding that was Saskatoon Northwest, Meewasin, and part of Saskatoon Massey Place). I was twelve. I later ran in Saskatoon Riversdale in 1995 where I narrowly (by 3000 or so votes) lost to Roy Romanow. If he wasn’t Premier, beloved in the riding, accomplished, a better politician, well financed and far more popular than I was, I would have taken him.
In 2003 I was planning to throw my vote away and vote Saskatchewan Party (they have never run hard in the riding) when Hon. Eric Cline came to my door late one evening while campaigning. I was his last house to door knock on and he was ahead of schedule so when I asked him some questions, he got all animated and passionate at the door and we had a good discussion about provincial policy, politics, and even some NDP politics. It was a good enough discussion that I decided to vote NDP for the first time in my life (although I did have second thoughts while heading into the voting booth)
In 2006 or 2007, I think Linsay Martens emailed or Facebooked about Cam Broten’s campaign and asked me to check out his website and consider supporting him. I checked out the website and I knew Cam would win but I was busy helping out with Ken Cheveldayoff’s campaign. I don’t think I met Cam that campaign but while helping to elect a Saskatchewan Party candidate, we did vote for Cam in Saskatoon Massey Place as I thought Cam would be a good MLA and I have always been a firm believer in the need for a strong opposition.
Cam won by around 60% of the vote and I ran into him at the Community Christmas dinner for the Salvation Army and we had a good chat. I think Cam was the first Saskatchewan politician to embrace Twitter (@cambroten) and we connected online. Over the last couple of years I have found him easy to work with, tremendously helpful when I needed some help or a question answered and often would refer me to another MLA when I was ranting about something or had a question on Twitter. To be honest he kind of raised my expectations for how approachable a MLA could and should be.
In the Legislature, he went toe to toe with Hon. Rob Norris and held the government accountable for a debacle over the Carlton Trail college mergers. He didn’t score any cheap political points during those debates and I felt brought some restraint to a debate that could have gone ridiculously partisan. While Cam is obviously partisan as a NDP MLA, we can talk about issues we disagree on. This is a quality that not all elected officials have.
Voting NDP is not first nature for me. I tried to like rent control and look how that turned out. I can’t agree with a potash royalty rate review because I hate the idea of a government reneging on it’s word (a NDP government at that) with a royalty rate that was just signed. I really like the Bright Future’s Fund but that idea was lifted from the Saskatchewan Liberals. On top of that, I really like the Saskatchewan Party’s SAID program and I think overall, the Wall government deserves another four years.
Despite the fact that the NDP seem to be struggling in the polls, I am going to vote for Cam Broten. I still believe MLAs matter and Cam does an excellent job. An effective government needs and effective opposition and Cam has shown that he can help hold them accountable in the Legislature, the media, and online. As a resident of the riding, the issues I have, he experiences as well. In addition to living in the riding, he is a tireless campaigner; talking to neighbours and constituents online, on the doorstep, and through his involvement in community events. There were many days over the last four years in the freezing cold or blazing heat that his Twitter feed said, “knocking doors in ___________”.
His first four years were excellent and he deserves another four. The voters in Planet S magazine agree with me (they named him the best MLA two years in a row). I have high expectations for my elected officials. Not many have met them over the years but Cam has exceeded them.
I would have liked this NDP ad a lot better…
…if I hadn’t seen it somewhere before.
You know, considering that most of us have cable which means that we get Ontario television stations and probably saw the McGuinty ad, it seems to be a dumb decision to rip off the ad only weeks after it was on the air down east. Plus, the white balance (or lighting) on the NDP ad is off which drives me crazy in more ways than you can imagine.
Moving from east to west the NDP has pushed back the frontiers of its territory in every region of the country over the past decade. More often than not it has done so at Liberal expense.
In the early 90s, the NDP had little presence in Atlantic Canada. But today the New Democrats are well on the way to become a force to contend with in every province of the region except P.E.I.
They make up the government in Nova Scotia. On Tuesday they came within one seat of beating the Liberals to the title of official opposition in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In Quebec, the federal NDP has gone from one seat to 59 over the span of a single decade.
The Liberals under Jean Chrétien used to sweep Ontario throughout the ’90s. Last May, the NDP elected twice as many MPs as the Liberals in Canada’s largest province.
In the Prairies, the Liberal party is virtually extinct.
Out of 254 federal and provincial seats in the three provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Liberals currently hold 12.
Only two of those are federal seats and personal popularity has more to do with the survival of a lone federal Liberal flag-bearer in Saskatchewan and Manitoba last May than party brand.
The same is true in Quebec where most of the seven Liberal survivors of the federal election — MPs like Marc Garneau, Stéphane Dion, Denis Coderre, Irwin Cotler and Justin Trudeau — owe their survival to who they are (or who they have been).
Watching the receding Liberal tide, one can reasonably wonder whether the party as a major national presence has reached the point of no return.
The current Liberal establishment — rooted as it is in Ontario and somewhat blinded by its proximity to Queen’s Park — will swear that it is not so.
To shore up their faith in a brighter future for their party, diehard federal Liberals point to the leadership travails of the NDP and the resilience of their provincial cousins in Ontario.
There was a time not so long ago when the federal Tories drank the same bathwater.
They too clung to their party’s hold on provincial capitals such as Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto as proof positive of their own inevitable triumph over the Reform/Alliance.
Not to shine on Hebert’s rainy parade but the federal Tories changes, adapted, and merged and became… the federal Tories and the last time I checked, were in power nationally. The Liberals may or may not do the same thing but they are not in the same boat as the Progressive Conservatives, even if they are in a rut right now. Will they survive? Not sure but did anyone see Peter McKay and Stephen Harper in power after the disastrous 1993 campaign?