Week 6 in Review
Weekly Winner: John Reynolds. He replaced Tom Flanagan as campaign chair and has received accolades far and wide for the campaign his team has run this time. Just read Saturday's gushing profile of the Harper campaign in the Globe & Mail to see how they've run this campaign.
Weekly Loser: Pierre Pettigrew. As he marches to certain electoral defeat (giving him more time to spend in Paris), Pettigrew has now seen his name tied into the latest Liberal scandal ("latest" as of when I wrote up this post anyways...it's become very hard to keep up to date).
The Polls: Here are the averages of the latest SES, Ekos, Gregg, Ipsos and Leger polls. I won't put the seat projections in brackets because, with the Tory surge in Quebec, I don't believe a simple seat projector like Hill and Knowlton will accurately predict seat totals at a national level.
The Gamblers: Here's the latest from the UBC election stock market:
Quote of the Week: Michael Marzolini on how weather could impact the voting:
"If there is rain in Vancouver, Paul Martin could win. If there is an ice storm in Toronto, then Stephen Harper could win. And if it snows in hell, Jack Layton will win."
Blog of the Week: Bouquets of Grey, formerly Buckets of Grewal, broke the "psycho" story, forcing Peter Goldring to axe his campaign manager in the middle of the campaign.
Scott Feschuck Line of the Week: From his list of resolutions for Paul Martin in 2006:
10. Publish my sonnets.
8. Replace clinched old phrase "very, very" with dynamic new phrase "very, very, very."
6. "Hello, PMO switchboard? Put me through to Naomi Watts."
5. Work with provinces to pass a constitutional amendment requiring each senator to dress like their favourite Osmond.
1. Surround myself with a whole new bunch of idiots.
Forecast: This is a new weekly feature, in keeping with Mr. Marzolini's quote above and something I've been saying for a long time: a blizzard in Ontario is the best thing for Stephen Harper on the 23rd. The Weather Network's 14 day forecast has Toronto and Ottawa above zero and sunny, snow in Quebec City, while Vancouver is forecast to be cold (by BC standards) and snowy.
Readers should remember that weather forecasts are no more accurate than public opinion polls ;-)
Joke of the Week: Who spliced together these new Tory commercials? Gurmant Grewal?
Liberal Weeks in Review: D
The last two weeks have likely been Paul Martin's worst since he became Prime Minister. This week was supposed to be all about policy, after Herle and friends gambled that Canadians wouldn't start paying attention until after Christmas. Unfortunately, they are...but it's not to Liberal policy. The ongoing Income Trust investigation, the new Option Canada probe, and reports of a Liberal war room in disarray continue to haunt Martin, overshadowing his policy announcements which, truth be told, have actually been pretty good. To make matters worse, the media has completely turned against Martin (I tend to question why the PM knowing about the Minister of Finance's decisions before they were announced is front page news; If Paul didn't know about the Income Trust announcement, I'd be worried).
Conservative Weeks in Review: A
If last week was Martin's worst since he became Liberal leader, it may have been Harper's finest since winning Conservative Party leadership. The get tough on crime announcement was perfectly timed to play off the Toronto Boxing Day shootings. He's also re-announcing popular policies for those who missed them before Christmas. The Tory commercial attacking Liberal scandal has been timed perfectly with the latest RCMP probes. Add the positive poll numbers and a potential Quebec breakthrough and things couldn't be better for Harper heading into the debates.
NDP Weeks in Review: B-
Layton began attacking Harper this week. All along, I've felt this was a bad move for the NDP, with the chance of a "stop Harper" movement causing a late rush to the Liberals. But maybe Jack is of the opinion that Harper has done such a good job looking un-scary that he doesn't need to worry about that. We've also seen more of the NDP platform, in Layton's attempt to paint them as a real alternative. But, with the race polarizing, the old fears of the NDP becoming marginalized must be in the back of the mind of every NDP candidate in a tight race.
Bloc Quebecois Weeks in Review: C+
No one really knows how the Tory gains in Quebec will affect the BQ. If the Tories draw votes from the Liberals, the BQ gains could be even greater than previously expected. If the Tories draw votes from the Bloc, it might actually help the Grits out. The Ipsos seat projection still has Duceppe in the 56-60 seat range but one imagines Duceppe is not too happy about the race becoming more volatile in La Belle Province. There was also the news that Gilles wants a new sponsorship program. Uh-huh.
The Week Ahead...
The debates this week will be key. Martin needs to change the topic of conversation on Monday away from scandal, and Harper needs to show he's a viable option in Quebec on Tuesday. While the Tories are cruising, there are some storm clouds on the horizon. Today alone, we've seen a Toronto Star headline that Harper is musing about a majority, my Herald headline had Harper set to scrap Kyoto, and the Liberals are badgering Harper hard on the cost of his promises and the cancellation of their tax cuts.