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A Look Ahead At 2019

It seems that everyone is producing polls while pontificating about the next election results in 2019.

I am not one to put much faith in any election polling this far out- let’s face it they are not much better than a guess and the results can be impacted by the wording, the order of the questions, the questions used and of course who is paying for the poll or even the pollsters personal political leaning. My distrust of poll numbers goes for polls that show the Conservatives out in front too.

Even a serious well thought out poll is only a snap shot in time. If there are several negative Trudeau stories this week, they might show Trudeau down a bit or up if there are a lot of good stories.

So, I may as well offer my own thoughts- they are as accurate as anyone else’s this far out from the election date.

At this point Trudeau will probably survive to fight again, but with depleted numbers. I say this based on the collapse of the NDP. A strong NDP means a split vote with the Liberals in many key ridings allowing the Conservatives to come up the middle. With their invisible leader and some screwball policies such as decimalizing all drugs, they will keep fading. Assuming Singh wins his byelection (no guarantee of that), by the end of June he will be in the house all of 69 days and that assumes he will show up every Friday for Question Period- something national leaders rarely do.  If we take out Friday sittings, he will be there for only 55 days. National leaders also skip a lot of Monday QP sessions as well which could bring his time down to as little as 42 days. This is hardly enough time to make a dent in public opinion.

Over a few decades in politics, I have heard all of the BS ideas and excuses that you don’t have to be in QP to make an impression, IE he could be crisscrossing the country which is what he just might end up doing- I simply don’t believe that will work at the Federal level especially with a leader with no significant previous name recognition at the federal level. He has wasted a lot of time since being elected leader of the NDP- time that will cost him dearly now.

The NDP’s fund raising is simply not up to par with either the Liberals or the Conservatives, plus if we see strategic voting which is a good possibility this time around, who do the so-called progressives vote for?

They won’t ever vote Conservative. At this late stage they still don’t know what the Conservative plan will be for climate change or the environment and many distrust them on social conservative issues. Nor will most vote Green. So far, the Greens are stuck with a dull leader and one who is connected in the public’s mind primarily with environmental issues. While important, this leaves them looking like a one policy party. Quick can anyone tell me the Green Party’s policies for small business or national defence!

Strategic voting will not go to the NDP this time around, but to Trudeau to stop the Conservatives.

At this point the Conservatives will come up short. They need a collapsing economy to shift votes their way and that is Trudeau’s biggest worry. They are still too heavily weighted towards rural issues. They need a major break-through in metropolitan areas. They scream that the sky is falling every day on some issue or another to the point where people tune them out.

They are easy to attack from the Liberal and NDP side with fear mongering on immigration, climate change, carbon taxes etc. and of course we all know or should know that the Liberals and NDP will try between now and the calling of the next election; to box the Conservatives in on some hot button issues such as abortion.Nor can a leader be widely accused of a lie as opposed to simply being against a policy issue and expect the public to want to vote for you.

In many cases I don’t take issue with the Conservative position on an issue, it is their messaging and the way that they present their position that often sucks. If they can’t convince one of their own political partisans; what does that say about the impression left with other voters.

You can also add in the potential of Bernier snagging a percent or two of the Conservative votes and when that happens, and it probably will; they will have a struggle.

In their favour, the Conservatives can rely on some ticked off voters if prices for gasoline, food and utility costs rise too fast. They can also rely on Trudeau doing or saying something stupid as he is prone to do. Butts and company in the PMO will have their hands full guiding their accident-prone leader in the next few months.

I know a lot of people say that Scheer is just to dull to go up against Justin Trudeau, but, let me remind all of the younger reporters out there that it was Mr. Charisma himself- Joe Clark of “Joe Who” fame who took out Justin’s father after years of Trudeaumania. Sometimes nice guys do win.

Have a Happy New Year and a great 2019!


"A Christmas Truce Please"

One would be hard pressed to find any politicians or their staff showing any Christmas spirit on either Twitter or Facebook these days. The animosity continues to reach new heights every day as political partisans of all stripes continue their attacks on each other.

One of the biggest changes that I have observed over the last decade or so is how personnel the attacks have become. Back on March 15, 2012, I wrote in the National Post the following:

There is no doubt that the way politics is practiced now is much different than it was in the past. Today it is meaner and nastier, and you are either on side and “right” or opposed and “wrong”. You are my brother or my enemy. There is no room for compromise and no middle ground exists.

Ignatieff commented that “We’ve blurred opponent with enemy.” That is a fairly accurate comment. Today it is winner take all, not just during an election, but every single day. Whether it is Question Period, committee work or even rebuttals in speeches, no quarter is given. Today it is all out war between political opponents.” (National Post, March 15, 2012)

Unfortunately, every party is guilty of the above practices, aided of course by the new platforms such as Twitter where you can remain anonymous, hide behind your computer screen and make vicious attacks on people that you view as “your enemy”.

The reality is people enter politics to make a difference. They may have different ideas about how to improve this country but, they are just as sincere in what they do, work on and say as your own side.

Like the Christmas Truce in World War One when combatants laid down their arms and enjoyed each other’s company, let’s see some Christmas spirit from our federal and provincial politicians and their followers. For the next few days at least, politicians and partisans showing some Christmas spirit would be appreciated. There will be plenty of time for the nastiness to resume when the calendar flips over to 2019.


“Jab, Jab, Punch”

Lawrence Martin made an interesting comment on Twitter the other day when he said:

“Been watching Opposition leaders since Dief. Those who gain credibility do not knee-jerkingly go into a rage at everything the governing party does.” (@LMartinWashDC)

I have to admit that I am old enough to have watched politics from the time of the Diefenbaker-Pearson years right up until now and Lawrence Martin is right.

I’ve noticed that every little item the Trudeau Liberals do becomes a full-blown attack on them. What is the point?

Cry wolf to often and eventually people tune you out. Hell, I am a partisan and I have been one for many decades, but even I skip over the attacks from Scheer and his MPs when I see them on Facebook, Twitter and TV.

The Conservative attack team needs to learn to wait for a story to develop before going all out. Sometimes the real story is on day two or three. Often a story will change as new information comes to light. Failing to wait could end up with your leader swinging in the breeze for his first all out attack comments on the Liberals.

The Federal Conservatives need to think like a boxer and learn when to jab and when to punch. If all they do is round-house punches, they will be exhausted by the time it really counts.




What is the point of bailing out failing companies?

Over the last few days we have seen a great example of why governments shouldn’t bail out struggling companies. GM is the latest example; Bombardier which repeatedly comes cap in hand looking for money is another.

Bailing out a failing company whether it has made foolish business decisions or produces products that people don’t want should not be the responsibility of any level of government. The same point could be argued for both the CBC and Canada Post.

This morning on CTV, Ian Lee of the Sprott School of Business made an excellent point. It is better to invest in the workers and in retraining them than to give money to companies. We have a shortage of high paying trades jobs in Canada- retrain workers and help those near retirement age to transition to their pension. It makes sense and would probably cost a lot less money than offering corporate welfare to failing businesses.

What is the point of pulling workers off the job right before Christmas because you don’t like a decision that has gone against you. CUPW is a prime example. They have been legislated back to work. The brilliant CUPW leadership then pulls an extra one-day strike. Bright move as that cut will come on the worker’s pay cheque roughly two weeks from now, just before Christmas. Will this extra day off help the workers?

We saw the same thing at GM where the workers walked out for the day as well.

Outside of union leaders believing their own rhetoric and trying to divert their members attention away from the failed efforts of the union leadership- what was accomplished? Besides a few seconds of TV coverage of angry union leaders grandstanding for the membership, all that was achieved in both cases was the loss of another days pay for zero impact or benefit for the workers.










It is about time that the Trudeau Liberals acted on the Canada Post issue. With hints that they might intervene, they are still not committed to solving the issue.

The longer they wait the bigger the political problem will be for them.

Politically the Liberals are in a no-win situation.

It’s nice to say let the bargaining process continue, but anyone who knows the history of the relationship between Canada Post and the union knows that this is a pipe dream or maybe it’s a pot dream in Trudeau’s Canada.

If the union can’t get Canada Post to agree to its terms, government intervention allows them to blame the Liberals for not getting the workers what they promised.

Canada Post on the other hand can also blame the Liberals for intervening and potentially costing the corporation money that they might have saved from a long strike or a lock out. Those lost wages add up quickly.

There is no doubt letting this issue continue will also cost the economy. Too big a hit is not something the government wants moving into an election year.

There is also one other group that is getting more and more concerned as we get closer to Christmas- all the parents and grandparents sending packages out that they have paid for and expect to arrive on time for Christmas Day. This group will remember the disappointed looks on little children’s faces when there is nothing under the tree for them.

The Liberals can’t win on this one- it is better for them to bite the bullet now and get it behind them going into 2019.

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