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Andrew Coyne on the slipping prospects of a Conservative majority

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Andrew Coyne on the slipping prospects of a Conservative majority

  1. AC, I don't have my audio working so was unable to listen to your spiel. But, an honest q – maybe worthy of your blog reply.

    If, as "conventional" wisdom suggests, Layton's catching of fire occured during his "winning" of both the english and french leader's debate (it didn't strike me that he won in the english debate, and never watched the french) how would this transormation have been affected had may been included in both debates? I don't think it would have been so profound, for reasons I can elaborate further upon, should you write about it.

    An interesting retrospective, as you seemed to be an- E May debate proponent at the time.

  2. If the Conservatives really don't get a majority this time, then I suspect that viable leadership rivals will start to appear within the party.

    • Really? Who?

      I'm actually curious. I don't see anyone except maybe Baird. And that's only because he'd drink the blood of any of his opponents.

      • I don't think the Tories are ready for a gay leader.

        • Baird's gay?

          • Googled' but no clear answer: seems he's a closet case. He is, however, an admitted vegetarian which is certainly a FAR graver liability for a potential Conservative leader.

          • Be happy that you're not in the Ottawa bubble, being constantly bombarded by rumours of sexual orientation, marital infidelity, and other irrelevant babble.

    • Peter MacKay, Harpers real inside enemy and a true conservative not a reform/alliance guy.

      • Mackay is not Harper's internal enemy, and the old PC wing of the party lacks the base to mount a successful leadership bid. Plus, Mackay is dumb, unilingual and not that inspiring. I did hear that during the coalition crisis, Jim Prentice was being touted by some insiders as a potential replacement for Harper that might placate the opposition. Tony Clement definitely has the leadership bug, and I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Flaherty did as well. And Maxime Bernier has been effectively running for the leadership for at least 2 years now.

        The Tory party is a party of factions, and any successful candidates will need a strong base in at least one of the following camps:
        -Reformers (eg. Kenney)
        -Harrisites (eg. Clement, Flaherty)
        -ADQistes (eg. Bernier)
        -Old PCs (eg. Prentice, Mackay and Lord)

        • Agreed MacKay has absolutely no chance: he would have imploded as PC leader given enough time.

          I suspect Bernier will manage to get the support of the Quebec *and* Reform/libertarian wing of the party versus the more centrist/Ontario/red-Tory/PC wing under a Harrisite. Who comes out on top likely depends on what happens on the left: if the Liberals and NDP unite the Torries will need to move to the centre, otherwise a true believer (i.e. Bernier) will do.

      • True conservative? He's a lifetime Red Tory, the spawn of another lifetime Red Tory.

    • I've seen Jean Charest and another Red Tory from NB (forget his name) touted as possible contenders as well, supposedly by insider Conservative chit chat. The thinking being they realize they can't win a majority with a far-right leader.

      Speaking of Peter MacKay, has anyone seen him lately? On a milk carton maybe? I haven't heard anything about him during the campaign.

      • If the Conservatives do badly enough for Harper to resign, and the Bloc also does poorly enough to give the PLQ a temporary boost, it could be an opportune time for Charest to return to the federal scene. Still, I think Charest would have a hard time running away from his mushy-middle record as premier: hard to claim you're going to trim the fat in Ottawa when you made no effort to do so in Quebec City.

    • Oh, gawd I hope so. The only reason I can't enthusiastically support the CPC is because of Harper. It's *him* I distrust, not the party or right wing ideology. SO I'm hoping for another minority, although that may open up the possibility of a coalition. Not an easy choice this time around, Canada.

    • I'd cheerfully support Bernier, Prentice or Mackay.

      Clement would be a mistake, but bearable.

      Risk of a stroke if it's Flaherty or Kenney.

      Instant spontaneous combustion if it's Baird.

      Who am I missing?

      And I'm not one for quotas, but the lack of *any* plausible female option is telling. Maybe Ablonczy could have been up there if she'd been allowed to breath by The Man.

      • Clement? You mean Tony Clement? Deep Woods Gazebo Tony? (that's his Xmen mutant name- his power is the ability to build a gazebo, at will, anywhere)

        Surely you jest?

  3. This started as a nothing election. It gets more interesting by the day. . .

    • the election Harper keeps saying 'nobody wants'! he read that like he read the recession!

      • I meant boring, and now becoming interesting. Not saying that we want this election.

  4. Curiously, Mr Coyne presents a Conservative vision—low taxes, an end to corporate welfare, treating provinces equally—that almost all of the major parties could adopt, with modifications usually to the definition and provision of social programmes.

    That Harper and his caucus have performed so poorly speaks volumes about their political instincts which have alienated more Canadians than they have attracted (and with a political message that is fairly anodyne).

    • You're basically describing the socially progressive/ fiscal conservative sweet spot of the Canadian voter. It seems simple enough and yet they went more or less the opposite direction trying to secure a majority. And the Liberals seem to have also missed the point by swinging too far right of their centre as well.

      To think that all these years of Harper's so-called 'incremental' change that was supposed to make Canadians move gradually to the right appears to have instead galvanized the left.

  5. The Conservatives reduced the "Paul Martin Juggernaut" to a minority in 2004 on a very conservative platform. They completely abandoned it in 2006 for the sake of an extra 30 or so seats. Now they're scratching their heads wondering why they're going to end up with yet another minority.

    Although I do recall a similar late-campaign surge in 1988. John Turner's support spiked briefly after he eviscerated Mulroney over Free Trade in the English debate (the debates used to be a lot later in the campaign). But Mulroney re-gained most of the lost ground and won easily, albeit with a reduced majority.

    The difference was, the media never let Turner off the hook; they certainly weren't salivating over a possible Turner victory they way they are for Jack Layton now. In fact, the media really tore Turner's spending plans to shreds, constantly pressing him on how he expected to pay for his platform. The question dogged him everywhere, because he was unable to answer it. If the media stops cheering on Jack and starts pressing him on his costing, his support might start to wilt as Turner's did. I wouldn't hold my breath though. The love affair seems pretty intense.

    • Wouldn't say the love affair is intense so much as the media doesn't seem to care about any party's costing. Beyond blogs and secondary reporting, almost all coverage has ignored each of the Liberal's exaggeration of gains from corporate tax increases, the Conservatives ridiculous claim of 11B in cost reductions, and also Layton's platform. Instead they cover polls, narrative, scandals, etc. It's a matter of focus, not bias.

      • Focus or bias, Layton is getting a free ride. And we'll all pay for it.

    • It is remarkable the degree to which Layton does seem to be getting a bit of free ride. Nothing more then a feeling, but they seem to like that narrative – "it's Jack's time". Who knows, maybe they're just bored with the ignatieff stuff and just sick to death of the Harper crap. Makes a great story – Jack topples big bad Harper…can't get enough of it myself. Harper's had it coming a long time.

      • There's no narrative that the media loves better than the story of an underdog, David beating Goliath.

        • I'm glad they also seem to like the bald laughing guy…just like me…the first part anyway.

          I'm convinced that on a certain level journalists are just frustrated novelists or screenwriters. I would be too.

  6. I agree with Coyne that authenticity resonates with people, and that's why I disagree with him on the reasons the Conservatives are failing.

    The real reason the Conservatives keep failing to secure a majority is simple: Stephen Harper.

    To call Harper insincere is putting it politely. The man comes across as a pathological liar whose extreme right sympathies are on the record but who tones down his message, muzzles his colleagues, and accuses his opponents of the very things he's guilty of (ie: being power hungry), all in an effot to get elected by moderate voters.

    Yes, we need policy renewal in the Conservative party but a simple change of leader would be a great start.

    • I am in agreement, you need a PM that is a born leader. The conservatives need a leader, someone that is not afraid of being candid, being passionate, and not being afraid to answer the hard questions.

      That's how you measure a leader, by their ability to perform under pressure. Right now Harper has no pressure, Iggy is unfortunately a joke and does not raise the political standards any higher. If Paul Martin was still running my money would be the Liberals would be the one's talking majority.

    • You are right on. Harper has to go. He is not a conservative he is a Refomer gone rouge.

  7. According to Coyne, the CPC "used to be a party of balanced budgets, low and simple taxes, ending corporate welfare, of treating every province equally"

    Can anybody point me to a time when that actually was? I mean, I know they run around claiming it a lot, but have they ever actually done it?

    • In government? Not federally, but Mike Harris was fairly good on those issues when he held power. Harper stopped believing in that stuff after he moved into 24 sussex, though.

    • When they were in Opposition.

  8. When is SH ever going to learn?

    Fear like love only lasts for so long[ hope my wife isn't reading this – just kidding dear]

    For all his faults Brian Mulroney was twice the poltician SH is. Harper may well end up as a footnote in Canadian politics. An object lesson on just how far mandacity, distortion and low ball skullduggery will carry you. Everyone can learn, he's a smart man, but i doubt he has the slightest desire to even try.

  9. The Conservatives are running on exactly what the CRAP-inspired merger promised. Paranoia, massive deficits, catering to special interests, fear-mongering and personal values driving policy. They took their style from the Republican playbook to gain power.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    • The CRAP merger promised massive deficits? I must have missed that one.

  10. Gotta bust yours that your taxes will still be funneled directly into Andrew's bank account, eh?

  11. Why would anyone in their LEFT mind vote New Democratic Party?!…

    A party whose founder Tommy Douglas was voted the GREATEST CANADIAN in the history of our country?!, who does he think he is?!…

    A party who forced MEDICARE on every CDN?!, only people who can pay out of their own pockets wile bleeding to death in a ditch should be able to get medical treatment or too bad!…

    A party who cares about the people?!, forget the people!, what about the oil companies, banks & big corporations?!, their only making BILLIONS in profits!. crap I'm out of bread & water again…

    A leader who thinks the credit card companies are charging us to much interest?!, who cares if Canadians are drowning themselves in dept?!, keep the government out of the BILLIONAIRES business!…

    I mean geeze baa! The other parties & media keep telling me not to vote NDP baa! they say the SKY WILL FALL! baa! you'd be crazy baa! to think for yourself! baa! you know you can TRUST what baa! the other parties tell you to FEAR baa!.

    Baaa!…

    • Great response Orange Crush!

    • If cred card companies were forced to prime plus 5 % – Only you and the rich would receive a cred card – People do default payments and the paying must make up for millions of unpaid debt.

  12. It's sad when a fellow conservative refuses to read a magazine because reporters are given the freedom to speak their mind and may at times not agree with our political wishes.

    I have to ask, do you quit your job when you disagree with your bosses viewpoint?
    Should all reporters only publish articles that validate your beliefs?

    I would suggest you open your mind and read both sides of the argument. Otherwise you are no different then my child who puts both fingers into his ears because he does not want to acknowledge the bad news I am about to give him.

  13. You can't be serious……..I guess we should just throw democracy aside and take your advice blindly. Last time I checked we can each vote however we please. Who are you to say what's good for the country. Canadians will collectively decide on there own. I'm not even a liberal supporter and I can clearly see that we were able to weather the storm in terms of the economy because of the restrictions that the liberals place on the expansion of the Canadian banks.

  14. Stop spamming, Lois. You've posted this a number of times…same spelling mistakes and all. You are not making the strong case that you think you are when you simply cut and paste the same poorly written diatribe.

  15. Authentic? Vladimir Layton? now that's some seriously funny spin. Authentic!! LOL!

  16. The thought that AC has put into his writing is a model for other journalists to follow. Thanks to AC for treating his readers as people who like to think.

  17. Good analysis by Andrew here. But I can't help but be amused at even looking at Harper. He looks like a country bumpkin or, better, a Village Idiot with his ungraceful posture, walk and humho style of speaking. How can this pathetic robotic creature be so arrogant and meanspirited. Guess nerds working in Mail Rooms in the bowels of Alberta oil companies, who've never worked at anything but joining other political hacks….are just this way. No wonder we lost our coveted UN Security Council seat for first time in 60 years. Our Village Idiot is the joke on the world stage…
    Let's hope Canadians wake up in time!

  18. I'll always admire Ignatief's courage in promoting DEMOCRACY and making it a real issue in this Election — while our neanderthal Prime Minister of Bland Evangelical Glory thought it "UNNECESSARY"!

    If it weren't for Iggy's bringing in his belated HEALTHCARE ATTACK AD telling it like it for Harper's disregard for healthcare, hidden Reform agenda and disrespect for Democracy, Layton would not have risen so high. And I also believe that Layton deserves the Opposition Leader's job, as well. The only monster in this mythic play is Harpe W. Bush.

  19. WOMEN VOTERS will make this a COALITION government as they will refuse to vote Cons in. They can see Harper is deeply misogynist and even his wife Laureen left him 2 years ago. Andrew had a column back in December in the Ottawa Citizen about this and Spector wrote in the Globe (pulled).

    Harper is EVERY WOMAN'S FIRST HUSBAND. UGH!

  20. Harper seems to think being Prime Minister is a divine right and that makes him look snobbish. If the Liberals and NDP did a better job exposing Harper's disasterous foreign policy then a Consservative majority would be out of the question. Some day history will clearly show that the Afghan policy was very wrong, a total waste of tax dollars and lives lost. At one time Canada's foreign policy was looked upon as being significantly different than the US but Harper changed that view. It's a disaster for Canada and brings this country much pain and shame.

  21. I have voted Liberal most of my life but not this time. Ignatieff is no politician and a very poor excuse for a leader. The Liberal Platform must have been written in the John at lunch time. If the Liberals ever want to regain credibility they have to get Dominic LeBlanc in there as the leader. That's a must as far as I am concerned. Liberals are very disappointed in Ignatieff, he should go back to the classroom.

  22. if Harper dose not get his way he will quit, he is a big fat kids that does not play fair at any given moment. He already has a position some where if he dosen't win. I don't see anything that he has done for the betterment of the Country nor will he. He bays streets back pocket. He was never married to Laureen, they have been shacked up for years.

    • I assume you belong to a union – Watch out for your pension. Unions have billions of dollars invested in Corporations etc.

  23. Rick mercer should stick to his comedy routine on CBC. The tax payers will keep his job safe. His political comments are not funny and I can't understand why Macleans would have him to stir up crap. Leave stirring up crap to our politicians.

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