Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Here's why a Tory majority is in the cards

I have a column in this week's Ottawa Hill Times, in predicting a Conservative majority victory, if an election is held this spring.

It's reproduced below:

2011 to  mark true beginning of Harper Dynasty
At the beginning of the year I boldly predicted in the National Post that the federal Conservatives would trigger an election this spring.

Nothing has happened since then to cause me to change my mind. Indeed, if anything every day brings fresh evidence that a federal election is near.

This has emboldened me to climb a little further out onto my forecasting limb.

After much pondering, I have come to the conclusion that if we do have a federal election this spring, the result will be a Conservative majority.

Now I realize this forecast goes against conventional political wisdom.

Many pundits, using current public opinion polls as evidence, are arguing no party currently has enough voter support to win a majority.

Columnist Lorne Gunter has written, “Party standings would probably end the campaign at more or less their current levels. There is almost certainly no majority available to any party.”

And former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella has declared, “Harper is still far from a majority.”

Really?

Gunter and Kinsella are forgetting one simple fact: Canadians are not yet politically engaged.

The Liberals recently released a poll, for instance, which showed only 15 percent of Canadians are even paying attention to federal politics. (By the way, that’s completely normal.

The average person rarely cares about the goings on in Ottawa. They would rather watch American Idol than The National. And who can blame them?)

But once an election is actually called Canadians will get focused on politics. They will start paying attention.

And what will these focused Canadians see when they start paying attention?
Well for one thing they will see a Prime Minister in Stephen Harper who is at the peak of his political powers.

A battle-hardened veteran of three national election campaigns and two leadership races,

Harper is a wily political tactician who leads a united, well-disciplined and wealthy party.

The Liberals, on the other hand, are in a sorry state.

Their leader, Michael Ignatieff, is intelligent but a rookie when it comes to running a national campaign. He has only one national race under his belt, a Liberal leadership contest, which he lost.

Nor has he shown any evidence that he is a good campaigner or that he possesses good political instincts or that he can come up with a message that will resonate with Canadians.

His party is also demoralized and cash-poor.

In short, in the next election Ignatieff will have a hard enough time rallying his own

Liberal base, let alone winning over undecided voters.

In other words, on paper at least, the Harper vs Ignatieff contest could be the biggest mismatch since General Custer took on Sitting Bull.

And let’s not forget the Conservatives only need a net gain of 12 seats to win a majority.

That’s absolutely doable.

All things considered, the Conservatives should gain seats in Danny Williams-less Newfoundand and will very likely win back the one seat they lost in Alberta in 2008.

But I’m guessing it’s in “voter-rich” Ontario where the Conservatives will really make their majority-guaranteeing electoral breakthrough.

Political conditions in that province are just right for major Tory gains.

Last year’s emotion-laden debate over the gun registry, for instance, should help the Conservatives immensely when it comes to taking some Opposition-held Ontario rural ridings.

And even Ontario’s urban ridings are ripe for the Tory taking.
Consider how the Conservatives handily won the recent by-election in Vaughn.

Plus the victory of conservative Rob Ford in the Toronto Mayor race shows even the up until now Tory-resistant GTA might be ready to turn blue.

Helping the Conservatives is that Ontarians are growing tired of Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and thus will be in the mood to vote against any Liberal, provincially or federally.

For all these reasons a Conservative majority seems to be in the cards.

Mind you, the preceding analysis assumes the Tories will run a good, tactically sound campaign, and I concede that’s a mighty big assumption.

Never underestimate the ability of Conservatives to mess things up.

However, all things being equal, we should expect 2011 to mark the true beginning of the Harper dynasty.

How will Prime Minister Harper govern after he wins a majority?

That’s something even I can’t predict.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

if you can't predict how Prime Minister Stephen Harper will Govern with a majority I will take up the challenge
Prime Minister Harper will continue to Govern as he is now as the Prime Minister of all Canadians
He will continue to work hard for all Canadians
He is the most forward looking Prime Minister Canada has ever had
he is thoughtful, intelligent and has a record of keeping his promises
Let us work hard to give him a majority
He is the best person to lead Canada
you can take that to the bank
fh

Anonymous said...

Harper is the best PM this country has seen during my lifetime. We should be so lucky to have a Harper majority. The media in this country will as usual, gang up on Harper, but in the end the people decide, not the CBC.

Edmund Onward James said...

I tend to agree with your prediction... and I am glad to see and read yoiur positive attitude toward our Great Prime Minister.

Stephen Harper is one of the greatest in my lifetime. And should he win a majority, I believe he will prove that he is one of the rare leaders to be in power at the right time — when needed.

Xanthippa said...

You underestimate the backlash against Harper among the law-and-order conservatives following the Fantino betrayal.

And, make no mistake about it - Fantino defines 'race-based policing' to Ontarians. That Harper permitted him to run as a Conservative - and then had the nerve to put him into the Cabinet....

A hell of a lot of people who traditionally vote Conservative - especially in Ontario, rural Ontario doubly so - would rather stick toothpicks in their eyes than to reward such a betrayal with a vote for Harper!

Anonymous said...

Canada needs a Harper Majority. It will happen, this year or next.

Alberta Bob

Anonymous said...

The current strategy for the Libs is to fight an election based on reversing the corporate tax cuts that they supported in the first place.That in itself is incompetence.

But, add to it the scenario in Ontario where the provincial gov't has ravaged the citizens with a barrage of taxes and levies, the threat of even higher taxes for businesses is just plain stupid. This could be a killer during the election once as you suggest, people start paying attention.

The Liberals have shifted to the left with this latest gem so much so that they are no different than the NDP.

I would agree that a strong campaign can deliver a majority for Harper. If the Tories agree with this assessment then they can engineer their own defeat without much trouble.

saskconian said...

We may not win a seat in williamsland but that can be offset by winning at least two NDP seats in Northern Ontario, at least two in BC, at least two more in Quebec and one in Alberta. That leaves only 4 to be picked up in the rest of Ontario. Yes it's doable and if that happened this country would become the envy of the world with the leadership of Prime Minister Harper.

Anonymous said...

NDP support will fail in rest of Canada because of their involvement in Quebec - risking everything for a very small possible prize in Quebec.
Thomas Mulcair in a desperate losing attempt to hold on to his seat in Quebec , the only NDP seat in the province, will cost the NDP party thousands of votes in the rest of Canada and likely some seats with his unwavering support for Bill 101.
This bill is an attack on minority rights in the province of Quebec and can not be disguised as anything less. The courts will have to continue to uphold the constitutional rights of all Canadian citizens and all Canadian citizens must rally and come to their aid because they could be next.
For every vote the NDP get in Quebec for their support of the undemocratic and unconstitutional Bill 101, they will lose 40 in the rest of Canada and all this in a failing attempt to try and hold one NDP seat in Quebec.
The NDP fail to see that Mulcair under his skin is still a separatist gaining points for them and advancing their agenda in the federal arena, at the expense of the NDP.

Ken S from Ramara said...

Sorry fans of Harpeeristan, but the CPC will have net loss of 15-20 seats in this spring election.

Springer said...

You gotta wonder what the likes of John Manley and Frank McKenna are thinking about their Liberal party right about now, eh?

...or whether they'd even vote for 'em?

Anonymous said...

"the preceding analysis assumes the Tories will run a good, tactically sound campaign, and I concede that’s a mighty big assumption."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Really Gerry you couldn't have forgotten the CPC attack ads of late that were so bad even partisans were sour on them.

For the Umpteenth time Gerry, Harper is a political incompetent. He couldn't deliver against Dion there is no reason to expect he will now. And as bad as McGuinty is, Ontarians don't hate him enough to put Hudak over 40% consistently, so don't expect the CPC to reap much from Ontario.

Pissedoff said...

I agree with Xanthippa, Fantino was a bad choice and as a senior I am doubly pissed off as no doubt so are a lot of others.

wilson said...

I'd like to add this to why PM Harper will get his majority:

Poll suggests Canadians overwhelmingly favour integrated border with U.S.

75 % supported shared intelligence gathering.
84% supported harmonizing food-safety regulations
70% favoured creation of a bilateral agency to oversee the building of new border infrastructure
83 % said Canada-U.S. relations today are the same (62% Bush) or better (21% Obama) than 5 years ago

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/poll-suggests-canadians-overwhelmingly-favour-integrated-border-with-us-115589949.html

Russ Campbell said...

"Prime Minister Harper will continue to Govern as he is now as the Prime Minister of all Canadians
He will continue to work hard for all Canadians"

Hear, hear!

I've lived in Canada since 1955, and I've not seen a better PM than Harper.

One caution, though: politicians like fish begin to stink once they've been around too long :-)

Anonymous said...

There is no question that Mr Harper is an almost perfect leader.

With a majority he won't need to prorogue anymore when the going gets tough ...

Anonymous said...

Stephen Harper will NEVER get a majority. LOL!

Stephen Harper is a in my view a US shill. He has to be to a certain degree, but this man goes to far.

Prison for pot. Turning Canada into a pro war nation, undying devotion to Israel despite their war crimes, concentrating power in the PMO, running the largest deficit in Canadian history. Income trusts, secrecy, lies, flip flops and on and on and on.

Judging from the comments, this is a paid advertisement for Stephen Harper and I will be surprised if this gets posted. How courageous. LOL!

realist said...

Here is what Stephen Harper will do if he obtains a majority.
1. He will shut down the CBC. He HATES the CBC.
2. He will pass laws severely restricting press freedom. He HATES newspapers.
3. He will name to the cabinet people from the oil and gas industries. Then, he will tell his MPs to step aside and then hold by-elections to get his newly-appointed cabinet members into the House of Commons. All the by-elections will return Conservatives, because he will arrange with his good friend Julian Fantino to station SWAT teams, armed to the teeth, outside every single poll, to make sure that everyone votes Conservative.
3. He will close all the mosques in Canada.
4. He will expel all Muslims.
5. He will pass laws forbidding people from assembling in public, holding demonstrations, etc.
6. He will pass laws criminalizing any and all activities in which citizens criticize the police.
7. He will abolish the Canada-U.S. border and will promote the mass invasion of Canada by Americans.
8. He will abolish the Bloc Quebecois and jail its executive and its members.
9. He will abolish the NDP and jail its executive and its members.
10. He wil abolish the Parti Quebecois and jail its executive and its members.
11. He will abolish bilingualism.
12. He will abolish provincial borders. and will urge English-speakers to settle in the former province of Qiebec, with a view to abolishing the French presence in Canada.
-0-
And that's only the beginning.