And now, an oddly familiar message from the Conservative campaign

by Paul Wells

From the Inkless emailbox. And, more generally, from the conviction that if you simply say the exact same thing enough times, everything will work out okay. Ladies and gentlemen, Jenni Byrne:

Date: April 27, 2011

Dear Fellow Conservatives:

As you know, Election Day, Monday, May 2, is just around the corner.

As we enter the final week of the campaign, it is clear that what Canada needs more than ever is a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government.

But in order to make that a reality, we need to redouble our efforts over the next six days.

Our country’s future is at risk from an unstable, reckless coalition made up of Ignatieff Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Québécois.

We are concerned that due to media coverage or “so-called polls”, some might feel that the election is already over.  That is not the case.

Make no mistake – nothing is decided yet.  There are many close races where even a handful of votes will make the difference.  And without a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government after the next election, we know what the other parties will do.  They will form a coalition – they did it before, they’ll do it again.

We have seen what the NDP can do.  In Ontario, we remember what happened when the NDP got hold of the reins of power: tens of thousands of jobs lost, an economy totally mismanaged, and skyrocketing taxes.

After all, one of Jack Layton’s own MPs has just said today, “Remember 1990 (when the provincial NDP led by Bob Rae won the Ontario election)? This seems to be a wave that’s moving.”  (Stoney Creek News, April 27, 2011)

And what are the NDP promising this time around?  A job-killing carbon tax on Canadians, at a time when gas prices are getting higher by the day.  Massive new tax hikes to pay for NDP pet projects.  And $70 billion in spending in the NDP’s own election platform!

As Conservatives, we must buckle down and take this threat from our opponents seriously.  Over the Easter weekend, Elections Canada reported that the advance polls had a record turnout.  We know our opponents were working extremely hard over the weekend to get out every Liberal, NDP and Bloc Québécois voter they could.

Now is not the time to rest.  We must get out our vote on Monday, May 2.

Please help us.  Spread the message to your family and friends about how more than ever, Canada needs a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government for the future of our country.  If you can, take a family member or friend to the polls.

Canada’s future is at stake in this election.  We can’t entrust that future with the high-tax, high spending agenda of the Ignatieff-NDP-Bloc Québécois coalition.
Jenni Byrne
National Campaign Manager




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And now, an oddly familiar message from the Conservative campaign

  1. Shoter Jenni Byrne: Please help us.

    • Now NDP is the elephant in the room and guess what this is what the majority of Canadians want, I know I do

  2. The trouble with basing a campaign on an easily-disprovable lie is the risk that a substantial portion of the electorate will, in fact, realize that you are doing so.

    • What "lie"? To some people nobody can disagree with them. Wow.

  3. Do Conservative voters actually like to be talked to in this way?

    • Do leftists believe one-line knee jerk nonsense is better? lol. Next.

      • So, your answer is yes?

      • I'd say conbots like Dennis are starting to get cranky but honestly, could anyone tell the difference from their usual demeanor.

          • Hey the "Next" is back. Happy days.

          • Stop teasing DF, or he'll OD on… lol nexts!

    • Yes. Admittedly it is about 250 words longer than most of our attention spans allow for. But that is why some sections are bolded. Try reading it like a Conservative would have…

      That is not the case – nothing is decided yet. A job-killing carbon tax. Massive new tax hikes. $70 billion in spending. We must get out our vote on Monday, May 2.

    • When did "Conservative voters" become a synonym for "zombies" ?

      • 2008. After Harper got let off from Fortier, Income Trusts, and the Billion Dollar Softwood give-away.

  4. What she's saying isn't a lie. It's that enough people are saying, "We don't care. We'd just rather be rid of YOU."

    Chatted with a swing voter friend who's going NDP — that's the general attitude.

    • Would the friend normally vote Lib or Con?

  5. I wonder if she could manage to string a few more adjectives in front of "government".

  6. I'm obviously not the only one who's wondering if the Conservative brain trust has their heads stuck in the sand. Or do they see this NDP surge giving them seats from Liberals and the Bloc? Either way, they don't yet seem overly concerned – putting typical fundraising E-mail aside, of course.

    • I agree, Dennis_F, that the CPC response to the NDP surge has been muted, to say the least. I wonder if they simply don't know how to respond without throwing even more fuel on the Layton fire?

      • I mean, I can't be the only person in Canada who's terrified of the prospect of a Jack Layton prime ministership, can I? Yet, a few days away from an election that can produce just that, nobody seems to be saying boo – not the CPC, not the media, and the Liberals – well, they've just lost all credibility at this point, haven't they.

        • I'm scared sick.

          But, yeah, what's there to do?

          Pose the question — "So, Ontario, are you going to go back to the Rae years because the PM and his staffers have been behaving like jackasses on this campaign?"

          And if the answer is "YES", well, then…

          • I'm scared sick.

            But, yeah, what's there to do?

            Pose the question — "So, Ontario, are you going to go back to the Harris years because the PM and his staffers have been behaving like jackasses on this campaign?"

            And if the answer is "YES", well, then…

        • I think you can take some solace in the fact that if Layton does become PM, it's extremely unlikely that he'd get a majority, which means that his tenure would probably be somewhat shortened and his ability to push through crazy legislation would be restricted.

          And take further consolation in the fact that every single party who is given the reins of power automatically moves toward the centre. There was similar consternation when Harper was elected in 2006, and while I have serious issues with how he muzzled bureaucrats I also respect that his policy suggestions were much more muted than I had anticipated prior to his election.

          • If the NDP and Liberals get enough seats to form a majority together, which is what some of these polls and seat projections are saying, then they could defeat Harper in a motion of non-confidence and take to the governor general a coalition-alliance agreement of some sort that could see them govern for at least two years if not more, no?

            What I'm trying to say is why isn't just the prospect of that happening waking some people up? Or are these poll numbers deceptive in some way? Do they hide inefficiencies in the NDP vote? I dunno.

          • I don't think people are opposed to the idea of an NDP-Liberal coalition, Dennis_F; I believe a poll came out that indicated that yesterday. If I remember correctly, it was Ekos who started asking that question during its polling.

            A coalition is not the same as a majority, and it would definitely dull the crazy edges of the NDP platform if they had to vet their policies through the LPC policy machine. At least, that's what I would assume.

          • I agree, I personally get no sense of fear from the possibility. I don't know what sort of relationship Layton has with Rae, but it would likely make sense if they had a long chat following the election. Layton will be inheriting a fiscal mess as did Rae (although at different points in the economic cycle).

          • With Jack Layton as prime minister? My guess is that even many Liberals would be scared of the prospect – or maybe even casual NDP voters. Maybe the Tories and others know that some of this will die down and sanity will prevail.

          • The "leadership index" polls are now starting to put Layton above Harper. I think the initial shock of such a suggestion is wearing off and, instead of being scared away, people appear to be getting over that fear. I've actually visibly seen this occur in person when I'm talking to people over the last few days. Instant confusion and revulsion at the prospect of Layton being PM, followed by curiousity, and then support. It appears to only take about a minute for many swing voters.

          • This is pretty much how the rise of Diefenbaker in 1957 is described by contemporary accounts.

          • "What I'm trying to say is why isn't just the prospect of that happening waking some people up? "

            Clearly it is. They're waking up and deciding to vote for the party that's made it clear they're open to joining a coalition.

        • I think Liberals are terrified!

          But you reap what you sow, Dennis. Destroying the Liberals means the NDP inevitably form government, sooner or later.

          • I'm still not completely convinced that that's what's going on right now. Maybe – just maybe – when the dust settles, we will have seen that the so-called surge was overblown or faded, and whatever of it remains ends up giving Tories seats they otherwise had no business of keeping or stealing.

        • I mean, I can't be the only person in Canada who's terrified of the prospect of a Jack Layton prime ministership, can I?

          No, but do you have any idea how terrified some people were of a Harper PMship?

          I know that people feel as you do Dennis, but ironically, I think Stephen Harper is part of the reason that they may vote for Layton's NDP anyway. As I've said elsewhere, all of the "If we elect the NDP they'll destroy the economy" rhetoric that's out there feels a fair bit to me like all of the "If we elect the Tories they'll destroy civilization" rhetoric from 2006. I think people were worried in 2006 that they might be about to elect some ideologue, but they were buoyed by the knowledge that he'd only have a minority anyway, and what they ended up actually getting from Harper was a government that ended up arguably being to the left of what a Paul Martin government might have looked like. I think it's Stephen Harper himself who has taught Canadians that with a minority Parliament one can role the dice on a more "extreme" candidate/party (I'm speaking relatively here, and within the Canadian context) and be confident in the fact that the opposition will keep such a government in check.

          Given that we still have same sex marriage, access to abortion, universal health care and rainbows five years after electing Harper, I think a lot of Canadians may feel comfortable taking for granted that we'd still have an air force, a stock exchange, criminal laws and sports cars even after a Layton minority government (not that Layton's NDP is actually remotely capable of placing above the Tories mind you).

          • That was yesterday. Based on today's polls, if the trend continues for two more days, the NDP has a shot of getting more seats than the Tories in Ontario and nationally.

  7. In Outlook, I can schedule an email for delivery later. It's very convenient. Perhaps this was scheduled under shall-we-say different circumstances?

    • It's written like the Tories were up by 15 and on their way to a comfortable majority, actually.

      • Good campaigns never, ever, ever use pretimed-delivery emails. One backbencher can destroy an entire communications campaign, so you never, ever let anything be automated.

  8. Their campaign strategy seems to be that they think they can get a majority by only convincing their established supporters to vote for them. Maybe the party is trying to get another minority so it can get rid of Harper?

  9. Help us, Obi Jen Con-obi. You're our only hope!

    • I don't see how Jen running around and screaming at people is going to help this situation.

      Maybe she needs to callously toss aside a few more long-time CPC strategists in order to raise morale.

  10. I know you first-past-the-post-haters won`t like to hear this but the Conservatives could receive a majority with the lowest percentage of popular vote in history or in a " perfect storm scenario " they could receive a large majority with 40% of the vote.

    That`s because a lot of the new support for the NDP ( that I have been told is a parked-protest vote ) is coming from folks who would not vote Conservative anyway, but would normally protest the governing party with a vote for the Liberals or Bloc.

    The resulting splitting of the anti gov`t vote will allow many CPC Mp`s to win seats because their support is not going anywhere. The fact that the Liberals and Bloc are losing votes is more a reflection of their inability to make themselves as a worthwhile voting alternative so a lot of people throw their hands in the air and vote NDP, if they vote at all.

    • Compared to 2008 and 2006, this election is actually quite exciting and somewhat unknowable. While I appreciate and agree with the argument you present, I don't think that 2011 is going to be a historically low turnout.

      Unless it rains or snows or something. Looking at the weather forecasts, Ontario looks pretty dry on election day, while Quebec looks somewhat wet. That might impact voters, but I'd say it would impact the QC distribution (NDP/BQ) less than it would impact the NDP vote in Ontario.

      • There does seem to be a lot of interest in politics in general this time—-many young people are just discovering it—maybe because of Layton–maybe anti-Harper ?
        I just have a feeling that voter-turnout will not improve for a lot of reasons.
        Soft Liberals just can`t be bothered with Ignatieff.
        The NDP do not have a good ground game in many ridings so those who are polled may not be those who vote.
        Hey it`s Spring—I have other things on my mind.
        And the newly politicized youth—Hey Man—you mean I can`t do this vote thing on my phone—I gotta take a bus over to the church basement and swear on a Bible who I really am. I don`t think so.

        • Your arguments are all valid, but I think the NDP really has a lot of people–not just the youth–contemplating their historic voting patterns. There is no way the NDP is surfing 40% in Quebec based on youth alone; even in Ontario, it'll start eating CPC votes in blue collar areas just as much as it eats LPC votes in urban centres. Monday night is going to be a nail-biter for everyone!

        • The early vote was 35% higher than 2008, Im inclined to think that was not a fluke.

          Nor am I inclined to think it was a greater turnout for the CPC to be honest. Their contituents were already charged up at that time, and the low results were mainly due to the left – especially LP voters staying home. I see little evidence to suspect a swelling in CPC suppourt, so can only assume that the left came back out, for the NDP, or LP.

          It is my hope that we will see a Minority government situation, and could care less who forms it. I'd like to see Harper step down, or be removed, and for someone with a bit more respect for our democracy and Parliament step in to put the CPC on a better course… I don't hate the general policies of the party, just the political pandering, deception, and general attitude of distain for our democratic institutions.

    • Anything is possible, but I have heard a lot of the NDP climb out west could be at the expense of Harper, and to some extent in Quebec.

      • That`s true, but why have the Liberals and Bloc not capitalized on this anti-Harper sentiment ?

        • Because they're the Liberals and the Bloc.

    • You can mull over some scenarios at http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/. The advanced section gives some ideas of the results with or without vote splitting. Vote splitting is going to make all the difference in this election.

    • You would have a good point, but you neglect the fact that (a) the NDP are taking as much out of the Conservative vote in some regions, like in BC, (b) if this surge is real (and I don't think it is completely) it is large enough to make up the difference of a split, and (c) Harper's numbers – his personal numbers for leadership and likeability – are down and the party support numbers are on a downward trend. A majority is possible, not because of the NDP surge, but because and only if the NDP surge may fall back. But there is no way any of this results in a "large majority".

  11. Oh I wish I had a strongstablenationalmajorityconservative government…

    • Patience !

  12. what are "“so-called polls”"?

    • Those are the ones that don't show a Con majority.

    • I was curious about this. Shouldn't the proper sentence (assuming you are discrediting polls) be 'according to so-called "polls"'

      But, I guess according to Jenni Byrne, the media is going around referring to the Nik Nanos so-called poll, and teh Ipsos-Reis so-called survey.

      • Fitting, for a so-called conservative.

  13. Hey…if by chance Layton and his socialist hoardes do get a hold of the coutry's finances, we can still look on the bright side.

    I can't wait to see the look on Gille Duceppe's face when he's decimated in Quebec. That would almost make it worth it.

    On another note…..time to move my investments and assets out of Canada before Layton discover's my net worth…and gives it to a union.

    • On the first part I agree. I'd be willing to live with PM Jack! Layton if it meant killing the Bloc.

      Better yet, I suspect that once Quebecers realize they don't have to automatically vote Bloc, they will be able to give the Liberals and the Conservatives a second look in the next election.

    • Two things.

      One, people on the opposite side of the fence as you were just as freaked out at the prospect of Harper dismantling health care, criminalizing abortion and killing puppies, and then they learned that in a minority Parliament even someone at the "extreme" of Canadian politics (RELATIVELY SPEAKING I hasten to add) can't really do too many radical things in a minority parliament. People may be sick of this because I've said it a lot today, but I think the people who taught Canadians that they don't have to worry about Layton and his "socialist hoards" wrecking the country are Stephen Harper and his right-wing hoards, who didn't actually end up wrecking the country even though a lot of people were sure that they would.

      Second, I ABSOLUTELY agree with your second point. The best scenario polls right now for the NDP have them reducing the BQ to 3 seats. THREE. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'd encourage people to vote TORY if I thought the Tories had a shot at reducing the BQ to single digits. We'll see what the last polls heading into the weekend say, but I do think that if people get the sense that the better the NDP does the worse the BQ will do, that that could move a lot of people to vote NDP.

      • You first point is wonderfully ironic, and absolutely true; what's good for the goose and all that. Actually it's quite beautiful. All the more so since no one – least of all the chess master, saw it building. SH unwittingly building his own scaffold – how deliciously ironic. The best bit of all is it is the socialists benefiting, not the just visiting team.

        I hope the lesson both the libs and cons learn from this is that fear has a half life, it doesn't last forever, and when it doesn't work anymore it has a way of biting you in the ass.

  14. Don't put your $$ in off-shore accounts, JamesHalifax! Going after the cor[porations, then they'll get to you.

  15. It's funny how the same people making these arguments this time did not buy it when it was Preston Manning or Stockwell Day threatening to shake the order of the established political class.

  16. Given the quality of governance we've enjoyed the past 5-7 years or so, I'd argue there are no excellent incumbents to be returned. They were either part of the problem, or let it happen.

    • I csn't agree with you on that statement. There were some, not many but some excellent MPs actually trying to do what they were elected to do. It's rather difficult especially when all parties stack committees with a disporportional number of grandstanders bent on disrupting the proceedings Those that left the ideology back in the caucus room stood out simply by refusing to play to the cameras ,and ask intelligent questions. It's unfortunate that the poll numbers being bandied about are skewed by very high support for parties in different regions and are not reflective of what is going on locally or even within different regions of each province. If you toss out the intelligent ones to clean up the mess there's no guarantee the replacements are going to be an improvement.

  17. tedbetts wrote:
    “Better yet, I suspect that once Quebecers realize they don’t have to automatically vote Bloc, they will be able to give the Liberals and the Conservatives a second look in the next election.”

    Actually, I’d like to see a Conservative majority, followed by an agreement between the Federalist parties’ not to run against each other in Quebec. Ridings where parties were strongest would go to that party’s candidate to fight the seperatists without splitting the vote. Of course now, that would mean more NDP candidates, but hey, it helps the cause.

  18. Canadians, don't buy the FEAR…

    The New Democratic Party in the year 2011 are a CENTER-LEFT party, if you want to talk political spectrum. NOT an "EXTREME-LEFT", "FAR-LEFT", "SOCIALIST", 1902 un-democratic cut off your head if you don't comply, party…

    In the year 2011? in our DEMOCRATIC country? where the politicians are accountable to the PEOPLE?, NOT the other way around…(like Harper would have) The 1902 FEAR MONGERING catchphrases are just ridicules American style babble.

    The CENTER-left NDP will do whatever it takes to stay in power, no differently then ANY other political party, & WOW?! if they make mistakes? like EVERY other party in history?!, then VOTE them out. Back in the CONTEXT that these FEAR MONGERS are trying to use them in today?, they had NO VOTE.

    All I know is JACK is a SAINT compared to Harper. BY FAR the hardest working MP in Parliament for the PEOPLE, not to mention his team. The only thing any Canadian who cares about what's LEFT of Canada should FEAR is the Harper Regime.

    Anyone tells you different?, they are just trying to SCARE you into not voting for JACK, Boo!…

  19. And the people who make that supposition keep forgetting that 2008 was the worst turn-out ever for the Liberals, blamed in large part on Dion.

    True, but how many numbers have we seen that we thought were "worst ever" Liberal numbers because of Dion, only to see Ignatieff take the floor even lower?

    • None yet.

      There's only one poll I actually trust. It's very soon.

      • Fair enough. My point was simply that I'm one of those people who was CERTAIN that Dion had found the Liberals' floor, but today, I'm not so sure.

  20. Fearmongering brought to you straight off the PMO hotstove; either that or stop reading their press releases verbatim.

    • If you worked in the industry, you wouldn't be so sure.

      There are certain things Canada is privy to that others are not. Everyone (including us) regularly reevaluates who to share with, who can keep secrets.

      On the other hand, we've made ourselves so inconsequential the last few decades that maybe it doesn't matter to us any more. Certainly, we matter little to everyone else.

  21. Not because they don't like them but because they could not trust the Dippers to keep real secrets–and they do exist.

    Mark
    Ottawa

  22. ALL MESSAGES ARE MORE EFFECTIVE ALL IN CAPS.

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