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. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canadian Election 2015 - Harper will win

. #cdnelxn2015 #cdnpoli

Here is a smattering of my observations from the cheap seats on the campaign so far and then why I think Harper will win.

- Few are talking about this election or really paying attention to the policy announcements--especially Joe and Jane Frontporch.  When the kids go back to school, people will start paying more attention.  Look for the parties to reiterate their policy announcements, saving the big ones for the last few weeks.

- The Duffy trial has been in front of any other leaders' announcements, including Harper's.  Now that the trial has adjourned until November and after the election in October, the opposition leaders and media will continue to ask questions, but "It's before the courts" you will hear constantly.  The trial dragged on longer than expected as revelations from key witnesses put the whole thing into question.  The trial is being adjourned because the lawyers have other trials to tend to in the meantime--it's not some conspiracy.

- NDP supporters have gone completely batshit on social media.  Many, I know, are in unions and their postings bashing Harper are almost hourly, unjustified, and outright lies.  I say keep it up as you're all looking like a bunch of weenies. With the race this close, soft liberal progressives need to stick with Trudeau and not get lured into Mulcair's van.

- Where is retread Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe?  With no budget, I hear he was cycling.  I always liked him in the debates.

- There isn't any real main issue in this campaign that Mulcair or Trudeau have framed.  The Conservatives have made it about Justin not being ready.  While many are tired of it, it's working, as it's geared toward soft-Conservatives supporters and Blue Liberals who have voted Conservative lately and were thinking of going back.

On the debate... (cricket)... I finally watched the English debate.  Now?  No one remembers much except:
1. Green Party leader Elizabeth May was very good
2. NDP Uncle Tom Mulcair had an awkward smile like he was giving candy to kids (voters?) to lure them into his rainbow van
3. Harper held his own and was calm
4. Trudeau had some good and interesting moments.  When Mulcair asked him about the number for Quebec to separate, finally Trudeau swung back well with "9" in reference to the Supreme Court.  But his closing remarks started off fuzzy wuzzy and ended awkwardly. Some eyebrows were raised that's for sure.

On policy announcements, here's what I remember:
- NDP:  No deficit. Full door-to-door mail service will return. Tax incentives for manufacturing sector. $15 minimum wage for all!  Decriminalize ganja for small amounts.  $15/day daycare.
- Liberals:  Flexible work hours.  Not sure if they'll balance the budget.  Full pension for injured veterans.
- Conservatives:  No one's allowed to travel to Syria or Iraq.  Tax breaks for volunteer/service club memberships.  Raise the amount first-time home-buyers can use part their RSP for a downpayment from $25k to $35k.  Life sentences for serious crimes.

On scandals and odd things:

- Duffy scandal has completely dominated this election so far.  It's currently resonating with voters, especially the undecided. But I predict the momentum on that will be lost with the trial adjourned until November, and as they turn their attention to Mulcair and Trudeau, they will be paying close attention to what they say.
- A picture of an Atlantic salmon was shown on a graphic talking about conservation of BC fish. Quickly changed.
- Angry old guy yells at media after Harper campaign stop.  Now now.

- Alberta NDP Jobs Minister was out campaigning for the NDP in BC while Alberta's economy and jobs are in jeopardy.  Yeesh.
- NDP still haven't paid back the $2.7 million in taxpayer funds used for political offices. In fact, the parliamentary budget office isn't going to honour the campaign expenses until it is paid off.  Look at this to gain momentum, shooting down the credibility of Mulcair and voters thinking they need to kick Harper out by voting NDP.
- A video resurfaced of Mulcair praising British Conservative PM Margaret Thatcher

- Several Liberal nomination races aren't going well. One broke out in a fight.  Other Trudeau hand-picked candidates didn't win.  If you think Trudeau's Liberals are about openness, think again.
- A Calgary candidate had some old tweets about her hair making her look like a 'lesbo' and other things.  She apologized, Trudeau accepted, she resigned.  Moving on.
- Trudeau thinks the economy grows from the heart outward.  Wow.  While he wants to raise taxes on the top 1% (i.e. over $200k/year), and lower taxes for the middle class, maybe he doesn't realize that many middle class families combined incomes are over $200k/year.  They're hardly in the 1%.
- Trudeau's presser with Paul Martin was terrible.  He really has no clue how the economy actually works other than reiterating talking points.  He never really answered the media questions and just spouted middle class, jobs, grow, blah blah.  He has no idea what he's actually talking about and his bobble-head candidates behind him while nodding in unison, didn't actually seemed convinced either.
- Veterans angry with Harper are actually Liberals.

Advice for each campaign:

OVERALL:  It's about the economy, stupid.  It's not going well with oil low, the dollar down to its lowest since 2004, the China crash, etc.  This is what really affects families and jobs.  

Bloc:  Get some donations already.  While Duceppe doesn't have to cover as much ground, get a TV ad going saying that the NDP hasn't delivered.

Greens:  Everyone knows you're about the environment, get May talking about the real economy and balanced budgets--she's good at it.

NDP:  Talk middle class tax cuts like you know what you're talking about, unlike Trudeau.  Because a lot of the high-paying public sector and union families are making over $200k year, you might want to crank the tax increase amount to $200k PER PERSON if you're going to do that.  Talk more on the environment to trump the Greens in BC.  Be more anti-central Canada in Quebec to beat the Bloc.

Liberals:  Justin needs to learn how the economy operates and talk about small business tax cuts to thwart liberals from heading to the NDP who are dissatisfied with Harper.  Say how much you are cutting middle class taxes by (2%? 5%!?).  The "I am ready" ads are awful and your inexperience is showing because you've allowed another party to frame the debate for you.  Separate yourself from the Ontario Wynne Liberals.   The Liberal war room is the shits.

Conservatives:  Stop talking terrorism, ISIS, and crime.  Focus on investment in the economy and tout your comparative record to other G7 countries over and over again.  Remind voters of the tax cut policies already brought in and if they weren't done, families would be worse-off despite an unstable global economy.   Beat Trudeau by reiterating that the middle class has grown and is better off as a result.  Do not say you've cut taxes by millions of dollars--say what the average is that families and individuals have more in their pocket for ALL the policies (GST cut, child care, trade tools write-off, TFSA) and then say how much more they will have if you are re-elected. Beat the NDP by reiterating their shoddy provincial records in BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, and NS.  And wake up CPC war room--you're about two days behind.  Then again, so are voters right now.

My early predictions:

With the number of vote splits on the left, the long-haul campaign dollars totally favouring the Conservatives for TV ads, and that Ontario is still currently slightly favouring the Conservatives, the outcome will be a Conservative minority with a strong NDP opposition.

When the Duffy trial resumes in November, the NDP and Liberals will continue to fire questions and rhetoric at Harper to gauge what the public feeling is and ask him to resign, then potentially spark a vote of non-confidence after the trial is over.

Depending on how the trial goes, if it is too damaging, Harper may resign, but I get a feeling he wouldn't right away.  He'll do it in 1-2 year's time anyway and then watch Saskatchewan's premier Brad Wall take a stab at the leadership and win.

There you have it!  Stay tuned for more insight.