Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Conservatives to pick new leader on May 27, 2017

 #cpc #cdnpoli #cpcldr2017 #cpcldr
 It has been a long time since the CPC membership elected a leader. You'll have to go back to 2004 when Stephen Harper won the race, making this particular election 13 years since.  No different, really, then when Paul Martin took the reigns from Jean Chretien.

During Harper's time, the Liberals had six leaders:

  1. Paul Martin (elected) - Prime Minister
  2. Bill Graham (interim)
  3. Stephane Dion (elected)
  4. Michael Ignatieff (elected)
  5. Bob Rae (interim)
  6. Justin Trudeau (elected) - Prime Minister

Again, no different, really, than what Chretien faced against six different conservative opposition leaders:

  1. Preston Manning (Reform, elected)
  2. Deborah Grey (Canadian Alliance, interim)
  3. Stockwell Day (Canadian Alliance, elected)
  4. John Reynolds (Canadian Alliance, interim)
  5. Stephen Harper (Canadian Alliance, elected)
  6. Grant Hill (Canadian Alliance, interim)
    Stephen Harper (Conservative, elected) - Prime Minister

For this new race, the feelers have been sent out.  With 16 months, that gives any hopeful enough time to build interest and momentum, fundraise, organize a national campaign team in every major city and region, and campaign.

However, if we are to consider the above pattern of opposition leaders, we could surmise, whomever wins this race, would not become prime minister, but would lose the next election in four years, spurring a new race, then again that leader not winning.  It would theoretically be on the third elected leader who would have a chance at becoming prime minister.

That is not to say those who are interested should make a run for it now to get their name out there and the beginnings of a very long-term campaign organization.

But to think that Trudeau is a one-term prime minister, for a Conservative, is overly optimistic.  The NDP leadership is in a vacuum and Trudeau will continue to pull from the left.   Further, Chretien and Harper won three elections with their party remaining in power for about 13 years.  It is not unreasonable to think history won't repeat itself and we'll see the following.

2017:  Elected Leader 1
2019:  Election loss
2019:  Elected Leader 1 steps down.  Interim leader chosen.
2021:  Elected Leader 2
2023:  Election loss
2023:  Elected Leader 2 steps down.  Interim leader chosen.
2025:  Elected Leader 3
2027:  Election WIN

What would be telling, and different is if the 2019 and/or 2023 elections had a minority government.  Then it's difficult to say how the rest of the pattern works out, because remember, Harper lost his first election to Martin, although Martin won with a minority.  Harper then won a minority.  This was a long transition period for Canadians to move from Liberal dominance to a newly merged Conservative Party.

My point is, whoever is running to be leader now or later, has to play the long game, as Stephen Harper was so brilliant to achieve for his electoral success.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Conservative leadership thingy

#cpc #cdnpoli

It's been about three months since we looked at the Conservative Party leadership race thingy.  You could say there isn't much happening other than feelers, and to be honest, I'm not feeling much here.

Let's review where the potential candidates are.

Previous cabinet ministers and current MPs (in alphabetical order):

  • Rona Ambrose - Alberta -- She's the current interim leader and doing a good job as opposition leader, but has declined to run.
  • Michael Chong - Ontario -- Not hearing much here.
  • Tony Clement - Ontario -- Hearing a little more from this guy.
  • Jason Kenney - Alberta -- I'm not hearing anything, but I'm not really paying attention to him.
  • Kellie Leitch - Ontario -- Nope. Nothing.
  • Rob Nicholson - Ontario -- Yeah, I dunno.  
  • Pierre Poilievre - Ontario -- Haven't really heard anything.
  • Lisa Raitt - Ontario -- A little bit, but not much.
  • Michelle Rempel - Alberta -- I'm hearing a lot from her and she's currently impressing me with her social media communication and outreach

Past cabinet ministers and past MPs:

  • John Baird - Ontario -- He looked like he was about to hop in, but then he didn't.
  • Maxime Bernier - Quebec -- This guy is definitely running and could win. He's currently on a speaking tour everywhere.
  • Peter MacKay - Nova Scotia -- There are rumblings and it seems likely he'll jump back in.
  • James Moore - British Columbia -- I'm not sure.  I think he'll try, but he won't get too far.
  • Brian Pallister - Manitoba -- He's busy provincially.
  • Preston Manning - Alberta -- Some have mentioned to me that he could make a come back.  I don't think he really wants to.

Past premiers / past federal leaders:

  • Jean Charest - Quebec -- Declined.
  • Bernard Lord - New Brunswick -- Declined.
Current premiers:
  • Christy Clark - British Columbia -- Too busy in B.C.
  • Brad Wall - Saskatchewan -- Says he's too busy in Sask, but he could declare after the upcoming Sask election, which he'll win, so that doesn't look good jumping out of there unless he's made out to be some sort of saviour.

Others:

  • Doug Ford - Toronto city councillor -- Please don't.
Mulroney's children:
  • Ben -- ?
  • Caroline -- declined
  • Mark -- declined
Outsiders:
  • Kevin O'Leary - Ontario businessman -- There are now very strong rumblings all over that he's going to "trump" all the others.  Please.
To re-list the likely contenders in the order I think they would garner support over time.
  1. Peter Mackay - he currently leads the few polls out there by a wide margin. 
  2. Jason Kenney
  3. Maxime Bernier
  4. Michelle Rempel
  5. Lisa Raitt
  6. Tony Clement
  7. Kevin O'Leary
  8. Doug Ford
  9. Kellie Leitch
For me, the three candidates I would consider are:
  • Peter Mackay - he helped create the party, was a good minister, is smart, capable, charismatic, well-known, deep party roots
  • Maxime Bernier - a bit of an outsider, but has a solid libertarian-conservative vision, is charismatic
  • Michelle Rempel - well-liked, capable, charismatic, and becoming more and more well-known 
Some of the ideas I want to hear:
  • Energy:  Energy East Pipeline needs to happen.  The East needs to depend less on foreign oil and more on Alberta/Sask.  The U.S. is doing it under Obama. Why aren't we?
  • Economy:  Make Canada a friendly place to invest for business and individuals again, especially for Canadians within the country.
  • Taxes:  Restore TFSA limit to $10k as it actually does help lower and middle class folks invest for the future.  Continue to reduce the income tax rates.
  • Transportation:  HIGH-SPEED RAIL.  People said the trans-national railway in the late 19th century couldn't be built but it was, and it united the country coast to coast.  No reason we can't do it again and make travelling this great country affordable without flying over most parts of it.
That's all for now.  Who do you think of the folks I listed above would be the best choice as leader and prime minister?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Proportional Representation doesn't represent

#cdnpoli #cpc

During the last lengthy election campaign, the shrill and vitriol from Dippers and Liberals about Stephen Harper went to a whole other crazy level.  Claims he was undemocratic and a dictator were far-fetched considering a full democratic election occurred and his democratically lost the election.

Now, as promised by Trudeau mind you, Liberals want to introduce proportional representation.

Tasha Kheiridden wrote a good article on why the preferential ballot method of proportional representation doesn't properly represent the people.  She writes:

In the recent federal election, this would have benefited the Liberals significantly, because Liberal and NDP voters were more likely to name each other as their preferred second choice. In contrast, most Conservative supporters had no second choice, which means their votes would have been counted once, and if they didn’t achieve the magic 50%-plus-one mark, dropped out of the equation altogether. The Council of Canadians published a simulation run by ThreeHundredEight.com, based on the 2015 results and found that under a ranked ballot, the Liberals would have elected 224 members instead of 184; the Conservatives, 61 vs. 99; the NDP, 50 vs. 44; the Bloc 2 vs. 10. Only the Greens would have obtained the same result: 1.
Preferential or ranked ballots thus don’t create a more proportional system; if anything, they tend to increase the proportion of seats taken by the dominant party. And in a country like Canada, where there are three parties, one on the left, one in the centre and one on the right, it is most likely that in any election, the second choice of either “extreme” would be the middle, not each other — thus entrenching successive Liberal governments.
The Trudeau Liberal government appears to be moving forward with this dangerous proposal without putting such a sweeping change to our democracy and society to the people in a referendum.

Or is that too undemocratic?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Carbon Tax - Alberta-style?

 #cdnpoli #abpoli


Earlier this year, no one would have thought carbon-rich Alberta would ever bring in a carbon tax.


Not even the NDP thought it.


So much so, they didn't even put it in their election platform. Why? Because they knew Albertans wouldn't buy it.  Well, centrist Albertans who were tired of the PCs and wanted change.  But they never thought Rachel Notley would ever bring in carbon tax.


With the Keystone XL pipeline nixed by President Obama, TransCanada turned around and laid off a whole pile of people.  Enbridge just did the same thing. 


She knows the NDP only have one shot at this over the next four years with a majority government.  Because I just don't see how they'll get elected again with the way the economy is, the job losses, the energy sector decline, the lack of investment, and mounting debt.


Yes, the price of oil is low, so wouldn't you think of trying to help businesses and consumers reinvest in the economy by not taking more money away from them? 


Well, except for the government party.  Few know one of the first things NDP MLAs did was give themselves a fancy 7% raise.


Premier Notley now says the average Albertan won't feel the pinch of the carbon tax.  This raises pump prices, which for shipping and other logistics, the costs get passed on to the consumer.  Food prices will go up--well, pretty much everything.


For the first time in my life living in this province, and I'm sure many of you do now, I feel like this is Dis-Advantage Alberta.


All the while, nothing will change with climate change, except maybe more Albertans will seek a change in scenery.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trudeau's first big test - G20-style

#cdnpoli . I have been watching intently how newly-minted Justin Trudeau has been conducting himself and his words at the G20. 


I'm conflicted on whether it is appropriate for him to have G20 bureau-gawkers take selfies with him, but at the same time, he is connecting with people from around the world.  This brings emotion, which is not such a bad thing.  The attacks against him saying he wasn't at the big boys' table but instead having these photos taken is not true. 


He did, in fact, speak with President Obama, and then Vladimir Putin as well, where I was most impressed with his confronting him on telling the Russian President to cease operations in Ukraine and vehemently showing Canada's support of that country.  That puts to rest those Internet memes about not being able to do that.


On whether Canada should continue bombing ISIL using the old and decrepit CF-18 fighter jets is another matter.  Few know that the bombing will continue until March 2016.  Honestly, wouldn't that be enough?  Along with France, the U.S., and Russia, being involved there, does Canada really need to be doing the bombing?


I also liked his comment that our national security approach already in motion isn't going to change and ramp up further because of the Paris terrorist attacks.  Remember that the Liberals in opposition were in support of Bill C51 on security, but they appear to be wanting to amend it.


But to continue to support the coalition war on ISIL, Trudeau has now pledged ground forces to help train Northern Iraqis to defeat ISIL.  I'm not so sure about this being effective, as many ISIL members are former Iraqi and Syrian forces themselves, but it still keeps Canada "at the big boys table".


On the Trudeau government wanting to process 25,000 Syrian refugees by January 1st is a very tall order and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has asked the Prime Minister to hold off on that while Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her province can take in a few thousand.


It is easy to cut off refugees when the allegations against them are that these terrorists were among those fleeing Syria.  From what I've read, this is not true and the terrorists' passports were fake, but were instead from Europe, one particularly from Belgium.  So, my knee-jerk approach will not give-in to fear here.  The refugees are fleeing from these very terrorists.


And of course there are the usual ignorant masses who blame Islam in general for these terrorists.  For terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIL, they constitute less than 0.01% of all Muslims.  So put your broadstroke back in your pocket and note the countless Islamic groups and Imams who have condemned these attacks.   And don't ever forget the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who have been killed by terrorist attacks either.


For Trudeau, Canada appears to be returning to the usual Liberal middle-power approach on international issues.  This means we are not going to be necessarily leading as much as it did with Harper, who, despite the campaign b.s., garnered much reputation for Canada as it continued to try and punch above its weight as was remembered during the World Wars and the Korea War.


I think Canadians can live with us being somewhat participatory in fighting ISIL, but not full-out like France is now engaged in.


But would that change if the unthinkable happened?







Monday, October 26, 2015

Conservative Leadership Race (CLR): Wall and Baird out, Rempel makes waves

 #cdnpoli #cpcldr #cpc

Brad Wall said election night he's not interested in running and doesn't speak a lot of French. 

John Baird had both feet in the water, but has abruptly pulled them out:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/john-baird-says-he-wont-run-for-conservative-leadership/article26971041/

Which is really too bad.  He was one of the most effective ministers in the entire government of the past nine years.  Jason Kenney must be happy about it to have less competition.

Michelle Rempel, if you haven't already read, made some late-night tweets about the honest perceptions of her as a leadership candidate.  I need not repost them here, because if you're reading this blog, you've probably already read what she tweeted.  What many didn't see happened a couple days later, when she released a statement regarding those tweets and the kind of political discussion waves that can be made through social media.  It was rather bold.  More especially, it was very effective--which was her whole point.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conservative Leadership Race -- The Long Haul

#cdnpoli #cpc When is the last time this happened?

Well, you have to go back to December 2003 when the Conservative Party formed as a merger between the Progressive Conservatives led by Peter MacKay (remember Napkin Gate?) and the Canadian Alliance Party, taken over by Stephen Harper.  This merger was supposedly brokered by Belinda Stronach, daughter of Magna magnate, Frank Stronach, who later dated Peter MacKay, but then crossed the floor to the Martin Liberals.

(I won't get into the machinations of everything that led up to the formation of the party--that's a whole other story.)

Then in 2004, Harper, Stronach, and Tony Clement announced their candidacy.  Harper cleaned up on the first ballot with about 69% of the total vote (56% of the total points).

Soon after, Harper's Conservatives lost to Paul Martin's Liberals, but held them to a shocking minority, 134 to 99 seats.

Two years later in 2006, Harper's Conservatives beat Martin's Liberals 124 to 103, bringing an end to a 13 year Liberal reign.

Two years later again in 2008, Harper's Conservatives beat Stephane Dion's Liberals 147 to 77. 

Three years later in 2011, Harper's Conservatives finally won a majority with 166 seats and help from Jack Layton's NDP winning 103 seats and forming the official opposition for the first time. The Liberals under Michael Ignatieff had their lowest showing in party history with 33 seats.

Harper's Conservatives were in government for almost 10 years, and Harper was leader of the Alliance for two years, plus two as Conservaitve opposition leader, plus 10 as Prime Minister. That's 14 years at the helm of a party.  Whomever the next Conservative leader is, he or she had better be prepared for the long-haul.  Unless Trudeau massively screws up, get used to at least 8 years of Trudeau Liberals.  Don't forget that Harper also spent time as an MP and Deputy Leader of the Reform Party from 1993 to 1997.

In examining the past elections, we can see that Conservative support has a solid base at about 30% of voters with softer supporters at 10% and maybe a few more.  As time goes on, and the baby boomer generation passes on, as a good chunk of the electorate, Conservatives can expect to lose base support and see little growth with millennials, who have tended to the NDP and Liberals.

What I'm saying here is the next Conservative leader needs to fully commit, understand the long-game, appeal to a younger base somehow in order to see any potential growth, and to promote the core conservative principles to entice the middle class base.  Most especially, the leader needs to sell proven fiscal domestic conservative policies as the best-approach to our society and future.  Further, how do you grow the base of women supporters, continue the ethnic support, and win seats back in BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia?

As an exercise, let's look at the names of the potential candidates I've read and heard being touted thus far, and see if you can fit the descriptions as I've stated above to the names and reputations below.

Previous cabinet ministers and current MPs (in alphabetical order):

  • Rona Ambrose - Alberta
  • Michael Chong - Ontario
  • Tony Clement - Ontario
  • Jason Kenney - Alberta
  • Kellie Leitch - Ontario
  • Lisa Raitt - Ontario
  • Michelle Rempel - Alberta
Past cabinet ministers and past MPs:
  • John Baird - Ontario
  • Maxime Bernier - Quebec
  • Peter MacKay - Nova Scotia
  • James Moore - British Columbia
  • Brian Pallister - Manitoba
Past premiers / past federal leaders:
  • Jean Charest - Quebec
  • Bernard Lord - New Brunswick
Current premiers:
  • Christy Clark - British Columbia
  • Brad Wall - Saskatchewan
Others:
  • Doug Ford - Toronto city councillor
  • Ben Mulroney - son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney

There's a few names that stand out for me.  Who stands out for you?

It's going to be a long leadership race.  My guess is the vote won't happen next year, but in Spring of 2017.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Prediction vs. The Results

#cdnpoli #elxn42

Prediction: LIBERAL MINORITY
146 LPC
115 CPC
 72 NDP
   2 GREEN
   3 BLOC

Results:  LIBERAL MAJORITY (CLOSE)
184 LPC (+38 from prediction)
  99 CPC (-16)
  44 NDP (-28)
    1 GREEN (-1)
   10 BLOC (+7)

Prediction:  HARPER STEPS DOWN
 - In about 10 hours, Harper will step down as leader, a race will begin

Results:  CORRECT
- A CPC aide sent out a letter stating Harper would step down as leader, although there wasn't a formal announcement.  Whether Harper remains as an MP, is unknown, but I don't see why he wouldn't stay on and help.  He certainly knows what he's talking about when it comes to the PMO. This would be good for Canada.

Prediction:  CPC LEADERSHIP RACE

  • John Baird - former CPC minister of everything makes a smart comeback
  • Maxime Bernier - former Quebec CPC minister has been quietly lurking. And by quietly, I mean at the forefront.
  • Jason Kenney - Minister of Defense and Multiculturalism - because everyone knows he will
  • Lisa Raitt - Minister of Transport - because she's well-known
  • Michelle Rempel - Minister of State-Western Diversification - because she has been very good in the media and against opponents this campaign
  • Brad Wall - popular Saskatchewan premier - because he's the outsider and has charisma
- I have no idea who'll be tapped to be Leader of the Official Opposition--but my guess is someone closer to Toronto and national media
Results:  TOO EARLY
- The media mentioned that Kenny, Raitt, and Wall were potential candidates, so I'm half-right on this one so far.  I also think there will be a quiet "Anybody But Kenney" coalescing around Baird.


Prediction:  MULCAIR WON'T STEP DOWN.. YET
 -  NDP Tom Mulcair will also step-down, but not right away, and he'll make a decision in the coming days as he reassess whether he wants to continue to be leader of a 3rd party, or knowing the knives are out anyway.  Nathan Cullen will be the next NDP leader, as he should have been in the first place.

Results:  CORRECT, SO FAR
- Mulcair did not step down as leader.  Cullen won his seat.

Prediction:  CONSERVATIVE BASE INTACT
 - What should be noted is the Conservatives are no where near out of the picture, other than government.  Whomever is tapped to lead, they will have a chance as official opposition, then after 8 years of Trudeau, they have a real chance.  And yes, I just predicted Trudeau will win in 4 years.

Results:  STRONG OPPOSITION
- Conservatives got 99-100 seats and have plenty of former cabinet ministers now in opposition.  They know the files.  They know the ins and outs.  They will be much more effective in holding Trudeau and Co. to account.  Much more than the previous inexperienced NDP and decimated Liberals.  That said, the new leader will need time in opposition.


Some thoughts:

Q:  Why did the Harper campaign lose this election?
A:   Two things. 
  1) They underestimated Trudeau to galvanize old Liberals.  Even old Brian Mulroney said so. 
  2)  NDP collapse.  So although the Conservatives gained some support from the niqab issue, the NDP lost support allowing the Liberals to shoot up the middle, especially in Quebec.

Q:  Why did the NDP crumble?
A:  Their stance on the niqab issue was not liked in Quebec, Tom Mulcair is no Jack Layton by any means, and a lot of their existing MPs were weak.  They lost the "protest vote" as a result.


In my next post, we'll do some advanced number crunching and look to previous elections to see what else happened.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Federal Election 2015 Predictions - Trudeaupia version

. #cdnpoli #elxn42 = Liberal minority.

- My prediction unfortunately changed in the last few days.  To get a majority, the vote percentage needs to be in the 38% range--that was when we had 308 seats. With 338 now, I'm not so sure.

146 LPC
115 CPC
 72 NDP
   2 GREEN
   3 BLOC
338 Total Seats

- The higher turnout at the advanced polls is a result of the CPC performing well on get-out-the-vote (GOTV) with seniors, who lean to the Conservatives because they donate to them as well.  This GOTV effort will also translate today, pushing the CPC higher than expected, but not enough.  Seniors since Thanksgiving, however, have decided to hand over the reigns to a younger leader.

- What's been amazing this campaign is seeing how high Mulcair and the NDP were early on and where they are now.  I think, however, the CPC were expecting a better NDP showing to split more of the vote in key ridings.

- That may not happen as much as the election turning point at the debate where Trudeau had glimpses of passion about his father--invigorating some emotion which he has then since rode upon in the remaining weeks.

- Trudeau's policy announcement gamble on massive infrastructure and deficit spending was a very interesting move.  If he would have said that a national high-speed rail system would be a part of it, he would have my attention--because we need it, badly, but it didn't.  His advisors apparently made the right choice in saying they'd kick-start the economy with this spending all the while campaigning in Ontario with Liberal Premier Wynne and her poor handling of that province's economy and her massive spending and deficits. Confused?

- The inundation of TV ads mostly back and forth between Trudeau and Harper shows a much more confident Trudeau trumpeting anti-Harper sentiment with the usual rhetoric, but a subdued Harper pleading to your pocket-book.

- Voters are mad this election--many don't know exactly why, but the left is motivated to get rid of Harper at all costs.  Even NDPers who didn't like Bill C51 are voting for Trudeau although the Liberals voted for it. 

- I am very curious to see if the younger vote made a difference in this one.

- In about 10 hours, Harper will step down as leader, a race will begin with CPC members voting in two years for at least one of:

  • John Baird - former CPC minister of everything makes a smart comeback
  • Maxime Bernier - former Quebec CPC minister has been quietly lurking. And by quietly, I mean at the forefront.
  • Jason Kenney - Minister of Defense and Multiculturalism - because everyone knows he will
  • Lisa Raitt - Minister of Transport - because she's well-known
  • Michelle Rempel - Minister of State-Western Diversification - because she has been very good in the media and against opponents this campaign
  • Brad Wall - popular Saskatchewan premier - because he's the outsider and has charisma
- I have no idea who'll be tapped to be Leader of the Official Opposition--but my guess is someone closer to Toronto and national media

-  NDP Tom Mulcair will also step-down, but not right away, and he'll make a decision in the coming days as he reassess whether he wants to continue to be leader of a 3rd party, or knowing the knives are out anyway.  Nathan Cullen will be the next NDP leader, as he should have been in the first place.

- With both the CPC and NDP choosing new leaders, neither will want to topple the minority gov't, allowing Trudeau to hang-on for 4 years.

- What should be noted is the Conservatives are no where near out of the picture, other than government.  Whomever is tapped to lead, they will have a chance as official opposition, then after 8 years of Trudeau, they have a real chance.  And yes, I just predicted Trudeau will win in 4 years.

I remember back when Trudeau said he wasn't going to run for Liberal leader.  That's when I knew he was going to, and win--even beating an astronaut, which he did.  But I didn't think he had his father's hutzpah or brains to actually become Prime Minister.

Or that the electorate was that gullible to believe him.

Welcome to Trudeaupia 2.0.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Conservatives in the right position to win

#cdnpoli #cdnelxn2015 - 

Elections are about timing and momentum. After the 1st month, with the CPC, LPC, & NDP in a virtual tie, I'd say the CPC are in an ideal position given the circumstances. 

The postponed Duffy trial has likely effected its maximum damage to the CPC soft-supporters and the party has now seen its low mark--meaning they can only go up from here. 

The NDP have been very good at building quick momentum and timing their support to peak on Election Day.   However, iteems as though they have already peaked--especially in Ontario, Alberta, and BC where a bunch of the new seats are. 

The election issue has become the economy and the deficit and I believe the Libs and NDP have fallen into Harper's trap. 

Justin and the Liberals gambled with a bold announcement for deficit spending to stimulate the economy, while equally having to retreat on attacking Harper on balanced budgets. Now they are instead focusing on Mulcair's numbers and the "big hole" to try and balance the budget with Liberal John McCallum as the attack dog.  And in looking at the affects of NDP provincial policies on their economies, the people might tend to remember. 

Meanwhile, the federal government conveniently announced that for the first quarter this year, there was actually a $5 billion surplus--essentially negating any further argument there from the Liberals or NDP. 

Then lurking in the background is the NDP's $2.7 million own expense scandal, which appears to be gaining some traction among soft-NDP voters and the cause of NDP support slipping. 

Right now, voter attention appears to be on Mulcair. With that look for more Liberal attacks on Mulcair from the left, while the Conservatives hammer from the right.

Justin has a real opportunity here to gain their support and possibly why he made the deficit spending announcement. Will it help the Liberals "shoot up the middle" with voter discontent? It's possible. 

Essentially, what's happening to the NDP is the same ideological squeeze-play the NDP and CPC did to the Liberals last election. 

And it's why far left NDP supporters are calling for Mulcair to move back before it's too late.  But all the NDP needs to do is continue populist policy announcements that ring well in rural BC and Ontario--ironically former Reform Party territory I might add. 

In the end, I think voter turnout will be very low, which plays well for incumbents, why people will vote for the devil they know, why the Conservatives are in a good spot, and why I still think they will win.