4.16.2011

The Liberal Party has one thin hope

It may be a desperate times yet the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) does have the luxury of bringing out a previous Prime Minister.  Two of them.  I think it can only help.  


Jean Chretien, lets call him JC, is still popular, he can remind people of the good days. Its easy to get excited with JC, he is quick, witty and sharp.


Paul Martin is also seen as competent. The deficit slayer.  Not so smart as a Prime Minister but as Finance Minister he has peoples' respect.  It may be too late however. 


Why is this needed?  The LPC have lost Quebec, they are struggling to hold what they have in Atlantic Canada and have pretty much all but pulled the dead and dying roots out of the ground in the west.


Toronto and the GTA is the LPC. It the only region left that they can say is ours.  Lose the GTA and you give Harper a Majority.  Lose the GTA and your party will finish behind the Bloc in the next election. 


We are seeing the unraveling of the LPC. They likely will finish 30 to 40 seats better than the NDP this time, but any growth by the NDP over 40 seats and a NDP percentages in the 20+ area in Quebec spell doom for the LPC in next election.


I suspect a big part of the problem goes back to the Dion coalition plan and a very effective anti-coalition campaign by Harper.  Its my view many of the GTA LPC MPs liked the coalition plan. They could actually be liberal in their approach to governing. I loved the idea. It was a recipe for success. A chance to bring a progressive approach to governing in Canada.  


It went off the rails when the LPC backrooms got cold feet. In fact I believe these behind the scenes unelected folks were opposed to the coalition from the start. The LPC backroom boys are still thinking of the days when the Royal Bank and HBC wrote them cheques for $100,000 or more every year.  Those days are gone due to JC's legislation and the RBC and HBC are far more comfy with Harper.  


The coalition would have been a gamble but one that was worth trying. The LPC would be the government.  They would have two years to show they can govern and I expect they would have done a far better job for Canada than the Harper gang did.  


That's all history now and full of what-ifs.  Those same backroom boys went to work arranging the coronation of Ignatieff.  They forced Dion out, they wanted Iggy and had to smackdown Bob Rae who likely would have won the leadership in a vote of LPC members. 


So not only had Ignatieff not earned the leadership, he was seen by the public to have not earned it.  Ignatieff was behind from the beginning.  And it just got worse.  The Harper Conservatives managed to paint a view of Ignatieff as visiting professor. Add all those votes or missing votes that amounted to the same thing, for Harper's budgets, showed a weak and desperate party, trying to wait out the storm.


The Liberals dug a deep hole waiting for Harper to screw up.  Harper has screwed up, yet it hasn't translated into LPC support.  That being the case, the LPC fell back to their tried and true practice.  Adopt as many NDP platform ideas without seeming too left, run the campaign from the left.  


This time the campaign from the left has not worked.  The NDP and Jack Layton have resonated with Canadians.  He has had fewer snickers from media when he says he is running to be the Prime Minister.  Layton has connected with voters.  He is the most trusted leader, he is seen as the one best able to address healthcare, which is fast becoming the number one issue.  That all spells bad news for Ignatieff and the LPC.


Its comes down to this.  Keep the left LPC voter from switching NDP.  It may be too late.  The LPC should be able to hold onto second place but its no longer certain.  


If I were the LPC I would spend a good deal of money getting 10,000 people into an arena in Mississauga to hear JC's call to action.   And I would do it now!

5 comments:

ck said...

Campaigning from the left hasn't worked this time because the center has shifted rightward, thanks to a mainly Harper-enabling and sympathizing media.

Even if NDP and Liberals formed some kind of coalition or merger, still not enough to beat Harper. Forget the Bloc in any kind of arrangement; they're hated in most Anglo Canada. And poll after poll, as well as every town hall or political event I've attended, most of the Jane and Joe Six-packs still cringe at an all progressive coalition in a big way.

However, according to Nik Nanos in a recent Q & A in the Globe, a more frightening trend is happening. Nanos is of the belief that many are not exactly enamoured with Harper or his flunkies, but they're gung ho about a majority, because they're tired of nothing getting done in minorities and don't want to go to any more elections. I would expand on that to say that what's on many folks' minds is what if another Harpercon minority were to be elected? They put out the exact same budget opposition all voted against and said will vote against again. Terrible, really, all this because folks are that pathologically afraid of polling stations.

Rick Barnes said...

There is only one chance in this election. The NDP. As soon as left Liberals figure that out we can stop a Harper majority.

The Liberals cut corporate taxes under Paul Martin as finance Minister and Harper continues. The only time we stopped the Martin cuts was when the NDP said no.

Martin continued down that road forcing an election again, over corporate tax cuts. Just like the Dems have done in the USA.

We need people that will put people first and for all their grand words, the LPC can not be trusted to stick to it.

The LPC is better than Harper but most people in this country will still be left wanting if they win and there are too few NDP MPs to hold them to do the right stuff for Canadians.

Tough words I know, but just look at their record. Its safe to vote NDP in Montreal. The CPC cant win there.

Anonymous said...

When the media starts mocking you all hope is lost.
Even Pierre rising up can't help the Liberal party now.

ck said...

I would venture that none of the parties put people first, including the NDP, in fact, I've distrusted them more and more over the years and I'm not alone. I have friends who were card carrying NDP members, including one who actually ran in 2008 (lost), they're not card carrying members anymore.

Another thing about Layton that creeped me out in the English language debates; when he asked Steve "What happened? You used to be for the 'little guy'" and "you used to care for the environment" and other weirdness. Since when has Steve ever been for the little guy? All one has to do is check Harper's speech in 1997 to that US think tank or any of his quotes from NCC and Reform. And since when did Steve ever care for the planet? Wasn't he who said Kyoto was a socialist scheme to suck money from wealth building nations?

Steve is the biggest evul here, always was, never changed. He is not your ordinary old PC school guy of days' past and I sometimes think that Jack Layton doesn't quite get that.


However, I would say that while there is 1 great evul (Steve) and three lesser evul parties. As a Catch 22 member, I'm promoting strategic voting, as in vote for the candidate most likely to beat the Harpercon even if you have to hold your nose to do it. That is, if you're priority is to at the very least, prevent a harper majority which seems all too real according to every pollster these days.

Yes, we should all pay attention to polls whether they're skewed or not. Goes to power of suggestion. If all those undecideds see that every polling firm has Harper in majority territory, they'll think of following suit.

Rick Barnes said...

I have to disagree with you. First I have been part of many party policy making conferences and conventions. The NDP have listened to its members.

As to Jack's comments about Stephen Harper changing he is right on the face of it. Harper came to power with the Reform party, a party that made its way based on western Canadians dissatisfaction with Ottawa.

We may agree that Harper had a bigger agenda but I will assert that the people that voted for the Reform were simply fed up with the government in Ottawa not listening.

It was at its core a populist uprising. When the Reform came to Ottawa, it was about taxes, the deficit, and gold plated MP pensions.

Jack's reference to Harper's past was correct as far as those people that voted for Harper and the reform. They were for accountability, transparency, and fairness.

Harper championed those ideals. The record shows he is none of those things, perhaps worse than the Liberals.

Many of those Reform MP's have retired in BC. In two of those ridings, one in the Kootenays and Cariboo Prince George, the NDP stand a very good chance of winning. The provincial ridings in those areas have been or currently held by the BC NDP.

The third riding is Vancouver Island North. This riding has gone back and forth between Reform, NDP and Conservative. The NDP are pouring resources there as its a swing riding.

Several other lower mainland seats also are in play.

Jack's comments were to those Reform members. Remember when you voted Reform to clean up Ottawa? Well, it didn't happen because Stephen Harper changed.