Election Musings (June)

Parliament_HillThe 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 June.


  • “There’s so much in play that it’s like the opening game of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Nobody can really say who is going to win the cup. It’s wide open… It’s going to be different in every respect. Nobody today has a playbook, or a prognosis that fits what’s going to happen.” – Patrick Boyer
  • “…all three parties could potentially win a plurality of seats based on where the numbers stand today. All that is required to flip dozens of seats in one direction or another is the proverbial flap of a butterfly’s wings.” – Eric Grenier
  • “…the NDP is the only national party with at least 20 per cent support in every province, and Mulcair is at the top of the leaders’ index. The guy with the beard is the guy with the mojo.” – Michael Harris
  • “There are a lot of “clouds on the horizon, but the NDP has a clear plan to steer Canada in a better direction for the middle class, and for the creation of good, full-time jobs in this country.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • “When the NDP was resigned to finishing third it waged ideological war, meaning it directed its fire mainly at right-of centre parties; but with electoral triumph seemingly within reach, the NDP will now wage political war, meaning if it has to take down the Liberals to win, and that’s exactly what it will do.” – Gerry Nicholls
  • “With 124 days to go until an expected federal election, the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP)’s Thomas Mulcair is just about as likely as Conservative (CPC) leader Stephen Harper to be seen as best prime minister.” – Angus Reid Institute
  • “Mulcair and his party have risen in the public’s esteem because they have presented themselves as a sure-footed alternative to the Conservatives and more credible brokers of change than the Liberals. But they have traded on what they are not. Their opponents are now demanding that their own record be scrutinized and that they be judged for what they, in fact, are. Caveat emptor.” – John Ivison
  • Insiders are pondering two questions, as they try to assess the durability of the NDP’s revival: How long will Notley’s win pay dividends to Mulcair? And how much will supporting Bill C-51 hurt Trudeau’s standing among progressives? Liberals have little control over the first variable. Regarding the second, though, Trudeau will try to shift attention to other files, such as his “Canada Child Benefit” proposal and, likely later this month, new democratic-reform policies. – John Geddes, Maclean’s
  • The Notley government’s troubling start: higher taxes, higher spending, higher labour costs. Is this what we can expect from the federal NDP? – National Post Editorial headlines
  • “Over the next four months, Trudeau has to convince voters he is the real voice of radical change. Mulcair’s task is harder. He has to convince voters he is not.” – Thomas Walkom
  • “So expect the Conservatives to go back to the base warning of a Liberal-NDP government that would cancel income-splitting, raise taxes, go soft on terrorism, drive the economy into the ground and the deficit into the stratosphere.” – Tasha Kheiriddin
  • “Under our government, people have seen an economy that has done well. They have individually seen their position improve. We know we want to do better, we can do better, but they know that under the other parties they’re going to see different approaches, high spending, big deficits, higher taxes.” – Conservative MP Peter Van Loan
  • “I’m sure the honourable members and Canadians will have noticed that we have been bringing forward a number of pieces of legislation in recent days and we will continue to do so for the days to come. Together they form the beginning of a substantial four-year legislative agenda which our Conservative government will begin to tackle under the prime minister’s leadership after being re-elected on Oct. 19.” – Government House Leader and Conservative MP Peter Van Loan
  • “This government is just scrambling to throw something out, so I imagine Mr. Harper has something to say in the (election) debates: ‘Oh, in the last couple of days of Parliament, we put forward a bill on that. It’s showing profound disrespect for Canadians, and it shows the utter incompetence of this government.” – Official Opposition House Leader and NDP MP Peter Julian
  • [the Conservative spin] “We know the choice Canadians face in October… They can choose the proven leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper or the high risk, high tax and high debt schemes of the opposition parties.” – Cory Hann, Conservative operative
  • [the NDP spin] “Tom Mulcair has shown he understands that Canada’s economy isn’t strong without a strong middle class and come October, Canadians will be able to vote for the change they want and this time, get it.” – Ian Wayne, NDP operative
  • [the Liberal spin] “Mr. Harper offers tax breaks for the wealthy. Liberals believe in a country that works for everyone. A Liberal government will put more money in the pockets of the middle class and those working hard to join it.” – Tisha Ashton, Liberal operative
  • “After leading in the polls for so long, momentum is turning against them (the Liberals) at the worst possible time. They will have the opportunity to reverse these trends once the election campaign begins in earnest. But rather than campaigning as the front runners, the Liberals could find themselves chasing the Conservatives and New Democrats once the writ finally drops.” – Eric Grenier
  • “By now most political folks recognize that Trudeau’s core team has become a liability – they have angered the Grit rank and file on myriad issues, and they arrogantly assumed Trudeau’s popularity would have no end.” – Warren Kinsella
  • “Trudeau possesses something of considerable political value that neither of his opponents can boast, to the same degree, which is an ability to easily straddle the centre. His core strategy, which held until the wobbling last fall in the debate over the ISIS mission, was to cut left on social policy and right on economics and security. Should he move back to that this summer, make a few cogent, toughly worded speeches and beat down the media mob in a couple of decent, lengthy scrums, he may yet turn his fortunes around…. I would venture a guess that Trudeau either embraces his underdog status and scraps it out, mano a mano, or he loses, big.” – Michael Den Tandt
  • [response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings] “The commission has spent a long time on this report — a commission established by this government. It has issued a large number of recommendations and we are still awaiting the full report. The government will examine all of these [and] obviously read them before deciding on what the appropriate next steps are.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • [response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings]  “We’re going to sit down with First Nations. We’ll prioritize. We’ll get to the subjects that they consider most important and we’ll do it in order that they consider the most important. It’s not a matter of snapping your fingers and saying you’re going to do all 94 at once. That’s not realistic and it’s not going to happen.” – Thomas Mulcair
  • [on Justin Trudeau’s response pledging a commitment to adopt and implement all of the recommendations made in the report.] “How will Trudeau deliver on all 94+ demands to the satisfaction of all these disparate camps? The answer is, he can’t. He can’t even hope to. And holding out the promise to do so is either deeply cynical or awfully naïve. It could only end in Canada’s First Nations becoming even more deeply embittered at Ottawa’s continued willingness to make pledges it can’t keep. The Liberal leader had a steep learning curve to master when he took on his job. He still obviously has a long way to go. He could start by thinking through his promises before committing to them.” – Kelly McParland
  • “What can government do? They can listen to their own people. But I’ll tell you what citizens can do, when we elect one of these people — whether we think it’s a good guy or a bozo — you got to stay on the case. You don’t vote and go home and give them the keys to the car, he’ll drive you right off a cliff. You have to help people to stay honest.” – Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • [on the pipeline debate] “The federal government’s job isn’t to come down in favour on one side or the other of a project while it’s underway. It’s not to put its thumb on the scale or be a cheerleader for a project. It’s about being a referee. It’s about levelling the playing field and making sure that any project that is proposed is going to get the proper scrutiny.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “The only way to build a strong economy is to protect the environment. The old saw of picking one or the other, which Mr. Harper seems to believe, now longer works.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “This (Harper) government has chosen to be a cheerleader instead of a referee on issues like this (pipeline in Great Bear Forest, BC). If Mr. Harper had actually listened or understood BC in the slightest, he would have said that from the get-go and saved an awful lot of people a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of money.” – Justin Trudeau
  • [on Canada’s green commitments at the G7]  “And so Harper’s Conservatives will play the climate change file the same way the Chretien Liberals did: Look busy, brag about what you might do but, at the end of the day, don’t do very much at all.” – David Akin
  • [on Senators’ questionable expense claims] “(Auditor General Michael) Ferguson found roughly $1 million in questionable expenses. The cost to us for this audit? A staggering $23.5 million… So the overage on what his audit cost is 2.5 times higher than the amount of misspending he found. Great! Only in a government town would that make sense.” – Brian Lilley
  • [on the Bloc’s new leader] Gilles Duceppe needs Canada so his party can keep biting the hand that feeds it. — “The Bloc needs Canada to help save it.” – Kelly McParlane
  • “Gilles Duceppe’s re-emergence as Bloc Quebecois leader may be déjà vu all over again. But that déjà vu could stop the New Democratic Party surge in its tracks… The Bloc’s intention over the next four months will be to paint the New Democrats as Ottawa’s handmaiden by citing case after case of injustice suffered by Quebecers under the NDP’s watch. That won’t move the voter meter in other parts of Canada, but it will create a dynamic that could make Mulcair’s life that much more difficult.” – Sheila Copps
  • “In 1997, Peter and I were part of a 20-member Progressive Conservative caucus. In this election, the only two people from that caucus who are still running in this election are Bill Casey and me, and we’re both running as Liberal candidates. That speaks to the demise of the Progressive Conservative Party and the values represented.” – Scott Brison
  • “It is time for the absurd spectacle of a hectoring, belligerent Canada, that has defined the Harper decade, to come to an end.” – Justin Trudeau
  • “Justin Trudeau complained Question Period is a circus. But he’s the only MP I’ve ever heard call a minister ‘a piece of s—’ in the House of Commons.” – David Akin
  • “If (change is) the conversation that the country’s going to have, all the parties better show up with their A game and their best ideas. Nobody better be assuming that because of something you’ve done in the past, voters are going to reward you. That’s not how elections work anymore, if ever they did.” – Bruce Anderson

(ed. – By George will be adding to this list of quotes throughout the month (last updated on Tues. 30th). 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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