Election 2011 Primer
Last week, I looked at the election calendar - today, a look at the strategies the parties are likely to employ:
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
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
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
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
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?
Labels: Election 2011