Thursday, March 24, 2011

Election 2011 Primer

With the government almost certain to fall in the next 48 hours, what should we expect between now and election day?

Last week, I looked at the election calendar - today, a look at the strategies the parties are likely to employ:



The Conservatives

Official Slogan: Here for Canada (unlike that American bastard Michael Ignatieff)

Unofficial Slogan: "Now is not the time for an opportunistic election. October 2008 was the time for an opportunistic election."

Key Policy Plank: In 2008, they weren't big on policy, only releasing a full platform late in the campaign, after some backlash. This time, we know they'll campaign on cancelling the per vote public subsidy for political parties, but their main platform document was Tuesday's budget, which had something for everyone in it.

Election Framing: Harper has made it clear for the past two years he intends to make the election a choice between "a Conservative majority" or "the evil coalition". Beyond that, the expectation is they'll bomb Ignatieff, but remember, they led with the sweater vest ads last election. It wouldn't at all surprise me to see the Tories start with the feel good stuff again to drive the early conversation away from ethics and towards their budget.

Biggest Worry: The scandals stick




The Liberals

Official Slogan: We've seen the "Your Canada or Harper's?" tag in most of the negative ads so far.

Unofficial Slogan: "We've taken the low expectations principle to a whole new level!"

Key Policy Plank: The Liberals released their Family Care plan last fall, and every indication is this will be a centerpiece policy plank. Ignatieff has also promised policies on Child Care, post-secondary education, and pension reform. Much of this will be paid for by reversing the Conservatives' corporate tax cuts.

Election Framing: We know they'll talk about ethics. We've also seen a heavy focus on family on the Liberal website and in the Family Care plan mentioned above. The Liberals want to make this election about choices: "Harper's big business tax cut versus the Liberal family friendly agenda", or "fighter jets versus family care" - that sort of thing. As always, the goal will be to use sharp contrasts like this to squeeze the Bloc and NDP.

The most detailed preview of the Liberal strategy heading into this election can be found in Paul Wells' must read Maclean's article on "the effort to resurrect Michael Ignatieff".

Biggest Worry: The polls don't move




The NDP

Official Slogan: "This is Canadian leadership"

Unofficial Slogan: "Vote for Jack - get Tom"

Key Policy Plank: The NDP have made recent by election campaigns in BC and Ontario all HST, all the time. I'd also expect a lot of talk about Layton's push to cut the GST on home heating fuels - it's a mind numbingly stupid policy that's bad for the environment and bad for low income earners, but it's good politics.

Election Framing: Expect a retread of recent NDP themes - "results for people", "making parliament work", and all things kitchen table. Layton remains the NDP's biggest asset, so expect him to be front and centre in all (english) ads.

Biggest Worry: Jack's health




The Greens

Official Slogan: Still to be determined, though their website features Elizabeth May saying "It's time. Vote Green."

Unofficial Slogan: "We take the high road, unlike those other corrupt and out of touch a-holes."

Key Policy Plank: I dunno. The environment, I guess.

Election Framing: For the Greens, it's "Saanich or bust" this election - their number one goal is to get Elizabeth May elected. Nationally, their focus appears to be on disengaged voters rather than environmentalists. The challenge, of course, is that disengaged voters tend to not vote due to their being disengaged.

Biggest Worry: The decline of the environment as an issue




The Bloc

Official Slogan: Presumably something along the lines of "Here for Quebec"

Unofficial Slogan: "Gimme Gimme Gimme!"

Key Policy Plank: Duceppe has already rolled out his 5 billion dollar demands.

Election Framing: Presumably, the Bloc will run the usual game plan. Emphasize Duceppe and talk about how they'll be Quebec's guard dog in Ottawa - protecting the province against Stephen Harper.

Biggest Worry: Worry? Why would Gilles Duceppe ever worry?

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14 Comments:

  • but their main platform document was Tuesday's budget, which had something for everyone in it.

    If the opposition parties were smart--which I have my doubts--they could easily turn the tables on Harper. For example, the budget contains a $5 million handout for a Grey Cup party. Stuff like that could do far more damage to Harper than all the scandals which I doubt will actually resonate with most voters.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 8:19 AM  

  • it's a mind numbingly stupid policy that's bad for the environment

    Of course it is. Because the first thing everyone will do when our bills go down by a small amount is crank up the furnace and party like it's July.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 8:27 AM  

  • "Your Canada or Harper's?"

    I have to admit the Libs have come up with what I think is the best campaign slogan I've seen in a long time. The only question is will they use it. So far I haven't seen it get much use beyond the ads.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 8:31 AM  

  • How much of Ignatieff's plan is costed? Canadians would like the numbers please?

    No?

    Didn't think so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

  • Anon - I'm sure we'll see a costed platform from the Libs this campaign.

    Given they'll be attacked as "tax and spend Liberals", they'll need to release a costed platform.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:41 AM  

  • How much of Ignatieff's plan is costed? Canadians would like the numbers please?

    Unlike Harper, the opposition does not get to use the entire Canadian department of finance to craft their platform. So you'll have to wait for the actual campaign to begin.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 9:49 AM  

  • it's a mind numbingly stupid policy that's bad for the environment

    Of course it is. Because the first thing everyone will do when our bills go down by a small amount is crank up the furnace and party like it's July.


    At its very best, it does nothing positive for the environment, and it redistributes money up the income ladder. At its worst, it signals that the NDP approves of intemperate hydrocarbon use, and therefore doesn't understand the environment at all. It's the single policy that appeared on the NDP's front web page until yesterday. It is the very worst of trying to buy off taxpayers with their own money.

    I say this as an active member and doner to the NDP. This time around, and lagely because of this policy, "voter" may not be part of that list.

    By Blogger Don, at 10:23 AM  

  • Layton's pic has an unfortunate resemblance to Lenin.

    By Anonymous Jason C., at 10:43 AM  

  • That was an awesome summary.

    Here's mine

    I think the Conservatives are going to try to drive the debate away from ethics and to the economy. They're also going to bring up the coalition a lot.

    The Liberals are going to try to deflect the coalition question, drive the debate back to ethics, but try to keep it focused on the Conservatives.

    The NDP, Bloc and Green strategy really don't matter, except insofar as it will change Conservative or Liberal strategy.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:51 AM  

  • The Liberals have nothing to talk about when it comes to ethics or have they paid back the 100 million they stole in adscam? By the way, when are the Liberals gonna come clean on their plans for a coalition government with Jack and Gille?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:05 PM  

  • Anon - That's a compeling argument, but I can't vote Conservative because of John A's Pacific scandal.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:32 PM  

  • Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
    Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
    [Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:51 PM  

  • Excellent post, Grit. As for Jason C, who says the resemblance is unfortunate?

    By Blogger David J. Climenhaga, at 1:25 AM  

  • Entertaining summary.

    After one day, it appears that the Liberal strategy is to tell voters that it doesn't matter if the Conservatives are re-elected, they'll topple them on the Throne Speech and demand the GG ask them to form Government. (A government which they expect to be propped up while the NDP go through a leadership campaign. And even if it's toppled immediately and we go back to the polls this fall, the Libs would be the Government at the time.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 PM  

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