I just trotted off to Threehundredeight.com, as I do pretty regularly, and lo and behold. We have a new Strategic Counsel poll that sustains an ongoing trend. I listened to Jean Chretien two weeks ago pushing the Liberal Party towards the earliest election date possible. Fine thinks I, but the Bloc and Dippers have to agree. Now we see a seat projection model showing seat gains for the Dippers, the Liberals, the Bloc, and even a seat for the lowly Greens. The Greens you say? Hold onto your’ horses. This projection is based upon Central Nova results from the last election, with an added bounce for recent poll results for the Green Party. Take it with a grain of salt, because we know that things will be different for the Central Nova Campaign this time around. I doubt that a Liberal Candidate will split MacKays vote sufficiently for the GPC to drive up the middle.
There are some things that I haven’t thought through thoroughly, like the implications of Provincial elections on the various Party’s thought processes, but I think that the probable time to pull the trigger is right now. The economy is bouncing back, and memories of the CPC missteps last fall are beginning to recede. There is also a strong possibility that the Mounties, or Elections Canada will pay back Stephen Harper by skewering him but good once the writ is dropped. ( The promised RCMP pay raises evaporated, remember? Elections Canada was impaled on a Conservative lawsuit, remember?)
If what I say is true, and the opposition Party’s combine to bring down the CPC, then we Greens are, once again, totally unprepared to fight an imminent election. Every EDA needs to think for itself, because no-one else will prepare for you. Time to kick your’ nominations off, and comb the lists of local notables for prospective Candidates. Renew all your’ lapsed members, and tap them for a chunky donation. Plan your target polls, and work out the resources you will need to acheive your’ objective. Make concrete targets, like ‘ We will acheive 10.5% of the vote, and we will get it by winning the following polls.’ I have written countless posts about local organizing, so if you’re not sure what to do, browse through my past posts, and pick a few tasty things that work for you. Please, please, make plans for continuity, and work out exactly how you will collect, and RETAIN electoral data on voting intentions, sign takers, donors, volunteers, etc.
Lastly, and very importantly, it’s time for the Green Party to be conducting issues research. I will proffer a suggestion, above and beyond what I have stated previously about War Room preparation and the like. We can predict that every Party will have plenty to say about the economy. They will vie with each other to take credit for massive consumption stimulus spending. We should remember that consumption stimulus is pretty well demonstrated to be a waste of money. Half of the electorate would support this contention. After all, what got us into the current economic mess was a decade of heavily stimulated consumption. Make sure that our economic platform is genuinely differentiated from the rest of the nit-wits. We are about INVESTING in cleaner air, energy conservation, more efficient transportation. The Industrial age is over in Canada, so stop throwing out life-lines.
If you have a look at public opinion polls during the past two years or so, you will notice something very peculiar. While the economy has risen to the top of the agenda, there are still HUGE numbers of Canadians who think that either the Environment ( A gimme for the GPC), or Health Care are the top issues. Health Care? Howcome many millions of Canadians think this is the most important issue, and no-one is speaking to them? I think that this should be THE major plank of the GPC in the upcoming election. Why? because what we have to say is very damned important public policy, it is totally different from what the business as usual Party’s will be saying, and a huge slice of the electorate is very concerned about it. Remember that for the GPC a big win would be to get to 10% of the vote, and a couple of seats. We can get there without singing with the chorus, so focus on where we can make solid gains.
Don’t take my opinions as gospel. Craft a policy set that attacks the root causes of ill health. Clean air, clean water, toxins in our food, health care designed to fix sick people, rather than keeping
people healthy. Once you’ve got a set of policy prescriptions ready, test them using public polling companies. Focus groups are of some small value, but make damn sure that you TEST the verdict of your focus groups on some nice big samples of the electorate. In week 2, of the campaign, roll out the health message with plank after plank, and grab the media by the balls with it. In the meantime, be consistent about lumping all the other Party’s together as tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum, and tweedle-who? Don’t go down that silly path of trashing everything Conservative. The Liberals and NDP will be doing that in spades. DIFFERENTIATE us by being dismissive of them all, and focus on our positive policy strength. Learn the lessons of the last election, or else we’ll be doomed to repeat it.
I’ve said my piece. Maybe I’ve been wrong for the past 50 or so posts, and we won’t have an election now after all. If so, I’ll apologise to you if you were galvanised into some advanced preperations that weren’t needed. (NOT) Just remember all, elections are FUN! Get together with your fellows. Make plans, and then work/play like crazy to fulfil them. You will be able to take great satisfaction when you count up your’ assets at the end of the election, and rub fond memories together over a pint at the first post-election Pub Night.