Monday, March 25, 2013

Bracing For NDP Government

British Columbians will soon be heading to the polls to elect a provincial government, and it is looking increasingly likely that the NDP will not only win, but win big. The Christy Clark experiment has been a disaster, paving the way for Dippers to form government. There is an opportunity for the BC Conservatives to make significant gains and put elected members in the legislature, but their chances of actually winning the election are slim.

We have seen a number of high profile federal Tories like Preston Manning and Stockwell Day foolishly endorse Christy, which has not helped the provincial Tories gain the support of the many people who vote Conservative federally in BC. Now we are about to pay the price. They did not recognize that the BC Liberal brand is mortally wounded, and that a new alternative is needed.

It has been a long time since I lived under NDP government, not since Bob Rae's Ontario when I was still in elementary school. Does anyone out there have any advice or words of wisdom that could help nervous British Columbians prepare themselves for NDP rule? Should I be stocking up on bottled water and non-perishable food items? Perhaps it would be useful to watch a few episodes of that show Doomsday Preppers for ideas. Should I be building an arc in my backyard? I would consider moving to Alberta, but it looks like Allison Redford is well on her way to driving that car off a fiscal cliff. That would be a fun poll question "what is the best way to prepare yourself for NDP government?"

I voted for the BC Liberals in the last election because the Conservatives did not a run a candidate in my riding. I did not feel good doing so (having strong opposition to the carbon tax), but it was either that or vote Green or NDP. When Christy Clark ran for Premier, I wrote several blog posts opposing her candidacy (having always disliked her on the radio). I promoted the ABC campaign (anybody but Christy), but alas my warnings went unnoticed, and she was elected Liberal leader with help from fans of her radio show who suddenly signed up for Lib membership.

So be it. Let us all brace for NDP government. It is virtually guaranteed at this point. I wrote a preview of the 2013 BC General Election nearly one year ago. Christy's Liberals have gone from bad to worse over that time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Marc Garneau Quits Liberal Leadership Race

The final obstacle for Justin Trudeau to become the next leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has dropped out of the race, less than a month before ballots are to be cast. Marc Garneau was the only candidate with even a slim chance of upsetting JT, and the only one to really call him out for soft policy positions during the leadership debates. Today's withdrawal paves the way for Justin to win in a landslide, or as Garneau said; "Let’s give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar". I'm not sure if comparing Trudeau to a Roman despot is a genuine compliment, or a thinly veiled departing punch.

It probably would have been better for the party had Garneau stayed in the race until the new leader was announced, to at least give the appearance of a real competition. Without the astronaut, the "race" is essentially just another coronation. Yes, Martha Hall Findlay is still slugging away, but that hardly counts for anything. The only one who could have presented JT with a real challenge is Bob Rae, but Party brass made sure that wasn't going to happen. It would have been interesting (if not entertaining) to see Bobby debate Justin with both fighting to become Prime Minister, but that's not going to happen.

Trudeau's victory was all but certain even before today's news, with polling continuing to show that if he were the leader, the Liberals would be in a position to win a majority government. Many of those new votes would be coming at the expense of the NDP. Granted, this is polling done before Trudeau has sat even a day as party leader. His fortunes might not be so bright when he's finally put under a microscope. We're talking about somebody with a temper who has had some entertaining outbursts on Parliament Hill, which you can bet we'll be watching over and over again on television commercials over the next 2 years.

It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds. The interesting part will be what strategy Tom Mulcair adopts to keep all those old Bloc seats in Quebec. If they are not careful, the NDP is at risk of getting decimated in the next general election, which would be embarrassing for Mulcair. Good luck Tom, you're going to need it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

NDP MP Defects To The Bloc Quebecois

A Member of Parliament for the federal NDP defected Thursday to the Bloc Quebecois because he disagrees with new language regarding sovereignty in a recently tabled NDP bill, "the Unity Bill". This defection should not come as a surprise to anyone. The biggest surprise is that there have not been more of these, given that the Dippers ostensibly absorbed a big chunk of the Bloc's voters in the last election, propelling them into official Opposition status. How were they able to attract so many Bloc voters? Part of it had to do with how much people liked Jack Layton, and some of it had to do with the NDP selecting a number of candidates who had previously held membership in the sovereignty movement.

Appeasing the new separatist wing of the NDP was always going to be a delicate balancing act for leader Tomas Mulcair, as he tries to sell his party as a federalist option, both inside and outside Quebec. There would inevitably be people upset if he tilted too far in either direction. Theoretically, this was a no win position from the very beginning. The best idea would have been to postpone making any firm commitment to either side of the debate, instead of going forward with a "Unity Bill". The concern is not only will he lose more MPs, but that wave of new voters they received in the last election may swing back towards the Bloc.

More than anything else, this brewing controversy will give Trudeau a nice big target to attack Mulcair when Justin becomes Liberal leader. We are two years away from the next federal election, leaving plenty of time for this fight to play out. Mulcair kind of finds himself running in quicksand right now. The harder he tries to get out, the deeper he's gonna sink. Has the damage already been done, or can he just go mute on this issue and hope people forget? He has to be careful, since he does not have the "lovable" personality of Jack Layton; who could just praise the so-called "Sherbrooke Declaration" without stepping in the quicksand.

Mulcair risks losing both the nationalists and the separatists. I'll admit, this whole fiasco is probably better news for the Liberals than the Conservatives. Justin Trudeau will soon be the leader of the Liberal Party. Guaranteed he's going to attack this "Unity bill", at least within Quebec. At this point, it is difficult to predict exactly how much this will affect the next election, but right now, the outlook is not good.