Election Musings (May)

Mulcair, Harper, Trudeau.(Chris Wattie/Reuters; Sean Kilpatrick/CP)The By George Journal is compiling quotes about the federal election and the Canadian political scene. Month to month, we keep a running list. Here are the clippings from May.

  • “Canada has always done well when most Canadians are doing well — when we have a strong and successful middle class. The fact is, over the past 10 years, Mr. Harper’s plan has failed. We are not getting the economic growth, and we’re not getting fairness and success for the middle class. For 10 years, Harper has been ignoring the people who do most of the heavy lifting in our economy, who work longer and longer hours for an ever-shrinking piece of the pie and less and less financial security. Well, that’s not fair. And not only is it unfair to you, but it’s not good for the economy. We need middle-class Canadians to have money in their pockets to save, invest and grow the economy.” – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • “If one were to summarize the spirit of Justin Trudeau’s so-called fairness for the middle-class manifesto, it is that the Liberals have belatedly resolved to fight fire with fire next fall or, in this case, tax cuts with tax cuts. For the first time in a decade, they are set to go head to head with the Conservatives on a battlefield that the latter have largely owned by default until now.” – Chantel Hebert
  • “Justin Trudeau stakes his political future on playing Robin Hood.” – John Ivison
  • “Both the tax shift and the enhanced child benefits represent change at the margin. Trudeau is free to depict them as a revolution, but it just isn’t so…. Harper conservatism envisages a federal government that mostly just redistributes money from some parts of the country to others that enjoy more favour in the eyes of the governing party. Trudeau would redistribute the money in different ways.” – Paul Wells
  • “We’ve seen the Liberals this week draw the chalk lines on the court and say this is where we want the game to be played, right here.” – Scott Reid
  • “When someone in this country says it’s time to give the non-rich, non-poor in this country a break, to treat such people fairly and stop looking at them like rubes at a midway, I think that person has found a powerful narrative.” – Ron Corbett
  • I love the Liberal Party’s new, ultra-punk “Screw civil society” attitude. – @ColbyCosh
  • “Members of Justin Trudeau’s campaign team concede a narrative has set in, with the media if not necessarily the general public, that the Liberal Leader has lost momentum because of a lack of policy substance.” – Adam Radwanski
  • “Trudeau’s days as the favourite are over. He needs to drop the gloves (or lace them up, depending on which sports metaphor you prefer), and tackle the Conservative narrative head on. Otherwise he runs the risk of being permanently defined by it, just as Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion were before him.” – Michael Den Tandt
  • “Going from top dog to underdog might leave room for a comeback, but you need to work hard to make that happen. Trudeau needs to put meat on the policy bone — and fast. He also needs to stake out his ground, ideologically speaking.” – Tasha Kheiriddin
  • “Harper is a polarizer and Trudeau is also headed in that direction. It is anecdotal only, but one hears more and more extreme views on the Liberal leader, with those who see him as a poseur not ready for power competing with those who believe he is offering a fresh way of doing politics.” – Tim Harper
  • “64% of Canadians say they like the plan to double contributions to TFSAs. And Trudeau says he’ll cancel it. Does anyone see a problem in this for the Liberals?” – Kelly McParland
  • “Protect their pocketbook. Protect their children. Win votes of parents. Win an election. That’s the Conservative playbook for the next five months.” – David Akin
  • “To sum it up, this is the Canada we offer. Balanced budgets, lower taxes, direct help for seniors and families with children. Trade deals that create jobs and growth, record investment in infrastructure, innovation, health-care innovation and trade, putting the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of the welfare of criminals, taking a strong stand in the world based upon our values, standing by our friends and standing up to those who would do us harm.” – PM Stephen Harper
  • [PM and Liberal Leader House of Commons exchange on CPP options]  PM: exchange “The government favours allowing a range of options for people so they can save. Not only can they save but they can actually reduce their taxes by saving. What the Liberal party wants to do is it wants to force Canadians to save by taxing them, but taking their money away. Canadians do not accept that option and will not accept that option.”
    JT: “He repeatedly said he saw no desire for CPP expansion, he repeatedly said it did not need to be improved. He even said it would hurt the economy. So why should Canadians believe him now when he says that he pretends to care about our seniors?”
    PM: “I note today the Liberal leader says that unlike us he will show leadership on this,” Harper said. “Yeah, he’ll show leadership on raising taxes. We’ll show leadership on cutting taxes.”
  • “The Conservatives know how to craft a message. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Reinforce everything all the time. Make the party’s four themes lock together: balanced budget, low taxes, smaller government, personal security. Mix in a little patriotism and Stephen Harper as a tried and trusted leader, and you have the Conservative campaign long before the election is called. All parties try tight messaging; the Conservatives do it best.” – Jeffrey Simpson
  • “It’s getting to the point where half the fun of re-electing the Conservatives is watching them admit truths they steadfastly denied before the election. Admittedly, some voters may prefer other sources for their fun.” – Paul Wells
  • “It is in the nature of successful ruling parties to develop a blind spot for the rot that tends to set in over their time in office. At some point they stop seeing themselves as voters see them and become agents of their own electoral destruction. Harper’s Conservatives are precariously close to having reached that point, if they have not yet.” – Chantel Hebert
  • “Maybe Albertans can provide a lesson to other voters across the country, that the NDP is a viable choice if you’re looking for that kind of thoughtful, progressive balanced leadership. I’m excited if we’re able to help other New Democrats across the country make that case to the voters.” – Rachel Notley, Alberta’s NDP premier-elected
  • “I remember back in 2007, when I was running in the Liberal stronghold of Outremont [in Montreal] and we were told that we didn’t have a chance, that we could never break through in the province of Quebec and you saw how that went. I guess now that we have to realize that there are a couple of really solid NDP strongholds, they’re Alberta and Quebec.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “Stephen Harper — You’re next!,” Charlie Angus, NDP MP
  • “I’ve run six elections already. I did not have an NDP challenge. Now I expect an NDP challenge. The NDP has become a player indeed.” – Deepak Obhrai, Calgary Conservative MP
  • “Thomas Mulcair is no Rachel Notley. Rachel Notley certainly has a way of appealing very well in her speaking. In her [victory] speech, she proved to be very effective. Thomas Mulcair, I don’t think he’s quite like that.” – Leon Benoit, Alberta Conservative MP
  • “I was real red. I’m really proud of the work I did as a Liberal. But when I turned on the TV I just kept seeing Tom Mulcair talking about the issues that were important to me. Trudeau seems to be stuck in neutral.” – John Fenik, Mayor of the Town of Perth and seeking the NDP candidacy.
  • “If I were a Liberal, which I am not, I would be concerned about this group of people who are opposed to Mr. Harper, and going back and forth between ourselves and the Liberals, (and who) are now increasingly saying Tom and the NDP are the people that can and should form the government.” – Ed Broadbent
  • “If the Liberals are going to reverse this situation, they need to gain enough traction with their ideas to position themselves as the true anti-Conservative party. They need to play catch-up — and fast — if they don’t want the orange wave to sweep them overboard.” – Tasha Kheiriddin
  • “In 2015, Canadians will have a choice. Not only will they have the opportunity to elect a new government, but they will also have the opportunity to elect a government that is committed to proportional representation. We’re very clear on this – an NDP government would introduce proportional representation by the next election.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “A Liberal collapse would actually swell the NDP ranks, supercharging the party and turning it into a political force capable of winning the next federal election. That is why Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s overall supreme strategic mission must be to keep the NDP and Liberals in a kind of equilibrium…” – Gerry Nicholls
  • “He (Thomas Mulcair) is the best Opposition leader in my judgment since Diefenbaker, and I think I’ve known them all pretty well. He’s building credibility both in the House of Commons and across the country, slowly.” – Brian Mulroney
  • “For those in denial about the rise of the NDP, we would suggest that they consider abandoning that skepticism. It is real — get over it.” – Frank Graves, pollster
  • “This is the one risk for the New Democrats, it’s a bit early to do a victory lap. If this polling situation had occurred on Labour Day weekend before the election, it would be a game-changer.” – Nik Nanos, pollster
  • “Omar Khadr has more class than the whole f***ing cabinet!” – Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s rant
  • “May has been known to express herself strongly. It didn’t feel like a joke. She was ranting. She’s not going to shake this. Politics is a blood sport and she’s given her adversaries a lot of material to work with and they won’t let up any time soon.” – John Crean, National Public Relations
  • [on Elizabeth May’s embarrassing dinner speech] “She’s weird and she’s quirky and this reinforces that brand and will not serve the Green Party well.” Ian Capstick, MediaStyle
  • “If Mr. Harper wins this election—and I think he has a good chance of doing so—if he looks back on what happened, I think that his speech—I believe it was in October—on terrorism will turn out to have been the seminal event. When he said, “ISIS is our mortal enemy, and by God I’m going to deal with it.” And when—just about the same time—we saw the image of that young Jordanian pilot being thrown in a cage and burned to death in front of our very eyes, I think Canadians listened to Mr. Harper and said, “You know what? He’s right.”” – Brian Mulroney
  • Great interview with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney by Maclean’s Paul Wells:
    On Politics and Philanthropy
  • “I’ve said dozens of times that I think on the economic record alone … the government should be re-elected with a majority just on the basis of the quite impressive way that they’ve handled the economy now for eight years.” Brian Mulroney
  • …we asked respondents to tell us how they feel about the idea of a change in government. One in two (50%) feel “it’s definitely time for a change in government”. Another 19% feel “it would be good to have a change, but it is not really that important to me.” Just over one in five (22%) believe “it’s definitely best to keep the Conservatives in office” and another 10% feel “it would be good to continue with the same party in power, but it’s not all that important to me.” – Abacus Data Inc.
  • “With the major parties in a three-way race, the parties and their leaders will have to do some serious lifting to come out on top. No more campaigning on autopilot. When someone asks Stephen, Tom and Justin what they did on their summer vacation, the answer will be the same: work, work and more work.” – Tasha Kheiriddin


(ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (last updated on Fri. 29th). To see more quotes and related By George articles on the election and/or politics, check our archives for tagged posts on “2015 Election”, “politics”, and/or “election”.)

Also, see the previous month’s “Election Musings” from:


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