Monday, June 09, 2008

Election madness, the dramedy continues

You know, it's almost like a lame plot from a cheesy network comedy. Our two leads have eyes for each other, but they just can't get the timing right. First the one is with someone else, and then the other one is. Will those crazy kids ever get it right?

I don't know which is Ross and which is Rachel, but there is a touch of sitcom hijinks to the election rumours and rumblings circulating lately, at least if you believe the media's anonymous sources, which isn't always a good idea. As they tell it though, practically the entire caucus, including all the other ex-leadership candidates, want an election now, but Stephane Dion is resisting. He doesn't think a summer election is a good idea, he wants to take the summer to sell the Liberal carbon shift plan (Will we see it then before labour day? Please? I mean, come on!). This of course is a shift from the last 10-odd times election fever gripped Ottawa, when Dion wanted to go but much of the caucus and the party mucky-mucks held him back.

That’s quite a shifteroo over just a few months. What, I wonder, has happened over these past few months two cause each side to do a 180 on their positions? Also, what’s the benefit of going now with a summer election, as opposed to waiting until the fall? That wasn’t leaked to the media so I can only speculate.

I’ve long been an election hawk but frankly, I'm unconvinced of the urgency to go now versus the fall. I could still be convinced if I hear some good arguments, but right now I'm on the fence.

On the continual abstainment front, I think the damage there has been “priced-in” if you will. The damage has already been done. It's not like a lot of people are going to say, well, I stayed with them through the 36 other times they abstained but now 37 times, forget it, I’m outta here.

And yes, we've had a few more scandals since the last dose of election fever. There was the RCMP raid, Cadman and more Cadman, and of course the Bernier brouhaha. They don't seem to be resonating much though, the polls are largely unchanged. I do think they're causing an underlying weakening though that could be exploited.

One argument for going now is that the summer would give the Conservatives time to right the ship, come out gunning in the fall with an activist agenda and a cabinet shuffle. I've even heard speculation of a throne speech. Funny thing is, they tried that last year too, and it didn’t work out too well now did it? I suppose one of these years they might get it right though.

One of the reasons given for not going in the spring was that the party wasn’t ready organizationally. According to the media reports the campaign leadership is still against going now; I hope their reasoning is strategic and not organizational, because if we aren’t ready organizationally by now we need new campaign leadership.

Probably the most compelling argument I’ve heard in favour of going now is that Harper could resort to procedural shenanigans to avoid a fall election, so if we want one now's the time. Look deeper at though. Does Harper want an election or not, and when does he want it? I feel like he’s trying to goad us into a summer election, not liking his chances in the fall. That could help explain their bizarre Cadman tapes press conference to announce they’re filing an injunction…in September. The subtext being, if you want to use these tapes in an election Liberals, do it now! I don't know, anytime I feel like Harper wants us to do something I get leery. Of course, maybe he just wants us to think he wants us to go now, he's a crafty devil and a strategic genius, after all.

At this point, my preferred course of action would be to get the frickin' carbon shift policy out, fan the caucus out across the country and spend the summer selling it and building the brand, and then go in the fall.

We made our choice, which I was against, back in the spring. Put off the constant election speculation nonsense on every confidence motion and spend some time developing policy, organizing and building a case for governing. Now we want to abandon the strategy 1/3 of the way through its execution? What’s up with that?

The play has been called, for better or worse; at this point its better to see it through. Let's go in the fall.

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James Curran said...

With all due respect Jeff, the time IS now. When the majority of the mainstream media is ridiculing your opponent and telling you to go, you should go. Right now Stephane would enjoy a good report with the media.

I would not doubt for a minute Harper is looking at prorouging this govenment yet again. Say until November. Then we have a convention in December. You can only imagine what kind of hatchetery will be happening there.

Personally, I'm tired of watching this party get laughed at. Laughed at to the point I can't help but to begin to laugh myself.

It would be interesting to see the likes of Ruby Dhalla, Navdeep Bains, Judy Sgro, Bonnie Crombie, Ray Chan, Lui Temelkovski, Jimmy the Greek, Omar Alghabra, Colleen Beaumier try to explain to their immigrant constituencies that we will repeal a travesty of justice that is currently called Bill C-50. Whenever the election comes, you can guarantee the Conservatives use the Liberal abstention on that bill to their favour. Hell they're already advertising in the ethnic media to explain their position.

I guess the slow dismantling of the Government of Canada and its watchdogs, the violation of immigrants and their families, the lack of an environmental plan, the state of our foreign affairs department, the caddy scandals, gas being 60 cents a litre more since the CONS came to power, the PMO losing Ian Brodie and restructuring aren't enough for an election now?

I ask you how on earth do you think life gets better than this for Liberals come the fall when they rebuild the PMO, advertise our weaknesses to death over the summer and plunge us into the abyss.

Greg said...

I don't know, anytime I feel like Harper wants us to do something I get leery

Wow, does he ever have you guys psyched. Don't listen to the MSM, Harper is no genius.

Mike514 said...

I'll add to James' comment the following point:

The Tories have a policy convention in the fall (October, I think). This will give them a chance to re-define their policies, re-organise, re-focus, re-(insert verb here).

Therefore, delaying an election until after their convention will help the Tories.

Barcs said...

I think it was Bob Fife on MDL last week that said September is how far behind the courts are.... it was the first date they could get.

Liberals have done such an effective job on crime and keeping the system up... (the wait time must be reduced from years to just months by now)

Dion is going to spend the entire summer explaining his tax shift. (Must be a complicated plan) And he is going to need the whole summer to right his ship now that the plan has been defined for him. (Why did he announce a plan.... without putting out any of the plan?)

A BCer in Toronto said...

james, we both disagreed with the course that has been charted but now that we're on the thing, I just don't think abandoning it for a summer election is the way to go. time may well prove that to be wrong, i don't know. frankly, i'm just hoping to see some signs of adult supervision in the olo and caucus. election yes, election no, dion says yes and rest say no, others say yes and dion says no, it's idotic. they should pick a strategy, execute it, and stick to it for the love of pete.

greg, i apologize for not making my sarcasm about harper's "strategic genius" more apparent.

mike, this will be, what, the fifth attempt at re-making the harper government? i suppose they're bound to get it right one of these days. but then again, maybe we will too.

blaming the liberals still after how many years barcs? lol. Myself I think it's Mike Harris' fault.

Barcs said...


Grant Devine's government was defeated in Saskatchewan 1991...17 years ago.... his government was brought up as the bogeyman hiding in the saskparty (former tories and liberals) in the 2008 election.

And you yourself just reminded us of the Harris/Eves boogeyman. (not to mention the hidden agenda... and we just went through an inquiry blaming Mulroney for several things... he was beaten 15 years ago....

So I'll make ya a deal... You Liberals and Dippers stop dredging up stuff from governmnets defeated more than 15 years back to blame the current tories with... and I'll stop bringing up stuff from Liberal/Dipper governments that were defeated less than 2.5 years ago.

I bet you can't do it. :)