The past 6 months have been, to put it mildly, an interesting time in Canadian Federal politics. The landscape has changed so very dramatically with the rise in fortunes of the Liberals mirrored by the
decline in Conservative grassroots power, and the virtual collapse of NDP prospects. I won’t get into a blow by blow. I will confine further comments on the root causes of all these to the two following statements: The Conservatives have blown both their feet off with bad behaviour, and what could be characterised as a betrayal of their fiscal
identity. The Liberals have seized the moment with the elevation of Ignatieff, and a halting revitalisation of their own grassroots machine. As for the NDP, I frankly cannot say why they have faded into the background so quickly.
This week, my previous predictions of a strong Liberal revival have been confirmed with some expected, but nonetheless significant poll outcomes. Most recently, the Liberal resurgence in Quebec has been validated by a recent large sample poll. The National positive trend has been re-asserted over the past two weeks, and barring a few hiccups, the Liberals are on the move in a big way. This weekend, the Liberal Party will pick up tons of press coverage, and spin doctors like Warren Kinsella will work their dark arts to convert this into as many as 3-4% point increase in Liberal support levels across the country. That will be strong Liberal minority territory.
If you do the electoral math, the Liberals cannot force an election without the support of the Bloc. The Bloc will be torn between the threat to their fortunes posed by the Liberals, and the opportunity to lock in their current levels of support engendered by the total collapse of Conservative support in Quebec. If The Bloc fails to support a Liberal no-confidence motion, it will almost certainly be construed by Quebecker’s, (with a little help from Kinsella), as a treacherous and selfish measure to preserve the rule of the detested Conservatives. The Bloc has no real upside potential from a delayed election, and the downside risks are real. The rational move for the Bloc will be to support a no-confidence motion, and help trigger a summer, or early fall election. Please note that the Bloc has already anticipated this scenario, and is by far the best prepared of all federal Party’s with nominations in full swing.
What does all this mean for the Green Party? It means get into election mode. It needn’t be too onerous, unless you have serious plans for your EDA. If you don’t yet have a candidate, then it is time to start locating past and future municipal candidates, and recruiting them to the Green Party. If you do have a candidate in mind, then it is still time to put our feelers to local non-aligned community figures. Get in touch with ethnic, and religious leaders, and ask them for support, and endorsements, or at least start a dialogue asking them what they want to see happen. Prepare your lists and data from the last elections. Call a cocktail Party for your local friends, supporters, and members. If the weather is good this weekend where you are, host an impromptu Barbeque, and start getting the war chest topped up with membership renewals. Keep it fun, but remember that tomorrows Liberal love fest will have everybody thinking politics again. A great opportunity to have fun, but still get some election preparations under way.
As far as advice for the GPC Leadership, I’m sure you’re all a-twitter about the Nova Scotia by-election prospects, but you really have to walk and chew gum at the same time. Sure, get the By-election team and planning started, but bloody well delegate it, and start getting ready for the real thing. Undoubtedly Elizabeth is pretty focused on selling her new book, but at least try to function independently, and prepare for the upcoming election. Review this post, and start figuring out your message. For God’s sake, eliminate the foaming at the mouth hyperbole. If you think that the Conservatives devour babies, and are in league with Lucifer, then plan to actually clobber them by emulating their succesful ideas, as I explained in this previous post. Read ‘Harper’s Team’, or at least read my synopsis of lessons for the GPC. Start sourcing subcontractors for direct voter contact. Even better, hire a Call Centre Professional to set up in-house capabilities. Polish up the GRIMES voter contact database, as suggested in my previous post. Prepare your’ list of target ridings. You may want to start with my list posted on here, or make your’ own by all means. Just make sure you have a purpose, and something to focus your planning on. Don’t over-complexify things. Define your objectives. Map the path to get there. Detail your plan, and secure the resources to acheive it all. Let the Party know what the plan is, so that everybody can plan their own campaigns with a basic idea of the resources that they can count on. Communicate clearly, and don’t fly off on ad hoc tangents.
Good luck to all, and don’t forget, plan to retain your data, and make sure you are stronger when it’s over than you were when it started. You might be three years away from the next election, so don’t waste this opportunity.