4 key election questions

By George Journal poses “the 4 key election questions” left in the weeks remaining before the October vote. How Canadians’ thinking evolves (and how the Parties’ respective political backrooms maneuver) in response to these questions will have a direct impact on the election results.

 

By George’s 4 Key Election Questions

#1. Can Stephen Harper successfully frame the ballot box question to relate to the health of the Canadian economy?

There are many distractions that have fed headline news through the election campaign – Duffy, social media embarrassments, refugees, etc. Should the PM get his wish and turn the attention of voters in the voting booth to Canadians’ challenges with the global economic turmoil, he could still have a chance to gain the benefit of the doubt from undecided voters. Media and pundits have begun to pick apart the costings of the respective NDP and Liberal platforms. It is increasingly unclear whether we can trust the math of the NDP and Liberals. Weigh that fact against the 2 billion dollar surplus Stephen Harper just delivered and you have people thinking about their own financial prospects in an uncertain world and re-considering the devil they know.

 

#2. Can Thomas Mulcair and the NDP gain some traction in the GTA – and elsewhere in TROC?

Although national polls show the NDP deadlocked with the Conservatives and Liberals, the NDP numbers are skewed with their overwhelming support in the Province of Quebec. The reality is that Mulcair has made little headway in Toronto and southern Ontario – or anywhere else outside la belle Province. To win, he must gain traction in English Canada – most importantly in Toronto, “the most important City in Canada” as Mulcair has tagged it. (Perhaps this is why Mulcair does not wish to talk about Quebec politics and his Quebec-dominated caucus views on separation?) If Mulcair fails to move the numbers in TROC, this Quebec-career-politician will likely find the NDP will be on the short end of many close three-way races, losing many to his Outremont nemesis, Mr. Trudeau.

 

#3. Will Canadians actually vote for Justin “nice hair” Trudeau when he seems to be proving his critics correct?

The Great Liberal Savior, the son-of-the-Legend-himself, has been disappointing on the campaign trail and an outright disaster for some Grit backroom warhorses like Warren Kinsella. Though he may fully grasp the issues and ideas surrounding the most pressing concerns of Canadians, Justin Trudeau has shown no ability to articulately answer the most-common of questions on the economy, “the middle class struggle” or even Liberal campaign promises. The most recent case was his flubbing his way through that Atlantic CTV interview – a video now being widely distributed by NDP and Conservative politicos. So, the real question about Justin remains whether Canadians will vote for his pedigree in spite of what they see and hear from the man?

 

#4. Will election bravado that the NDP and Liberals are sure to deny a minority Conservative result the chance to govern impact the final vote?

The Conservatives need a majority vote or they will be kicked from office by a coalition of NDP and Liberals. Recall, this is the exact scenario that delivered Stephen Harper “a strong, stable, national majority Conservative government” in 2011. Both Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau have made crystal clear statements recently that they would “under no circumstances” support a Conservative minority government. This possibility that it is either a right-wing/Conservative government or a left-wing coalition motivates those right-of-centre Canadian voters to get out and vote. So, can Stephen Harper use Mulcair’s and Trudeau’s pronouncements this time around to move his numbers, galvanize Conservative vote and corral enough support from uncertain Canadians who would rather have a stable government than political drama in Ottawa? Is this a 2011 rerun or will be there a new twist to be made to the old arguments?

 

By George Journal is interested in receiving your views on these questions as well as trending concerns on the campaign trail. Connect with us!

 

On deficits & balanced budgets

All it took was for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to state he would not be tied to balancing the federal budget at the expense of Canadians’ standard of living and budgets and deficits become the hot-button-issue.

For the record, here is how the three parties yesterday articulated their stance on balancing the federal books.

Justin Trudeau said:

  • “Although the Liberal party continues to be the party that is committed to balancing the budget and making sure we maintain fiscal responsibility and discipline, how many years it takes to balance that budget is what we will be talking about in the coming days and weeks.”
  • “He [Prime Minister Stephen Harper] needs to come clean with Canadians which promises he’s made are now off the table because of his commitment to balance the budget in a recession, which will take the money out of pockets of Canadians and quite frankly, his poor economic policy in a time of recession. You just have to look at recent history. Conservatives run deficits, Liberals know how to grow the budget into balance.”
  • “The way to grow out of deficits is through economic growth, through investing in Canadians. That is how you avoid structural deficits. You just have to look at recent history. Conservatives run deficits, Liberals know how to grow the budget into balance.”

Chrystia Freeland, Liberal MP said:

  • “Thomas Mulcair’s phony rhetoric is a mirage. He’s siding with Harper in favour of austerity instead of investment, jobs, and growth. Thomas Mulcair talks a lot about looking out for average Canadians, but his only path to a balanced budget so quickly is massive cuts and backing away from the NDP’s spending promises. The choice in this election is between jobs and growth or austerity and cuts. Thomas Mulcair made the wrong choice.”

John McCallum, Liberal MP said:

  • “Stephen Harper told Canadians in the 2008 election there was no recession, only to admit the truth right after the election. He’s doing the same thing again now. Just as in his PMO scandal with Mike Duffy, Stephen Harper is not telling Canadians the truth. He cannot be trusted. Canadians have had enough. We need a new government and a new plan to grow this economy.”

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said:

  • “We’ve been categorical. We will not be running a deficit. No, we will not be entertaining any thought of that. Our choices are different from Mr Harper’s. We will not be running a deficit.”

Andrew Thomson, NDP candidate and the Party’s financial “star” said:

  • “Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau “isn’t up to the job.” We’ve had eight straight deficits under Stephen Harper and now Justin Trudeau is promising to run many more. The Conservative fiscal and economic policies have taken us into debt and recession. Liberal inconsistencies show that they don’t know how to fix Stephen Harper’s damage to our economy. While Tom Mulcair has been clear that our first budget will be balanced, Justin Trudeau can’t make up his mind. That’s not the kind of change that Canadians are looking for in Ottawa.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:

  • “Justin Trudeau now says, now that’s he’s realized that budgets won’t balance themselves, he says he’s just given up trying. He’s just going to run deficits all the time anyway. And we know what the NDP plan is. They say they’ll balance the budget but the real plan is they will bring in an avalanche of tax increases that in theory will balance the budget and in reality wreck the economy.”
  • “Since first taking office we have been focused on our plan to support jobs and economic growth. We have lowered taxes and made key investments to help small- and medium-sized businesses expand and hire.”
  • “Justin thinks budgets balance themselves, but small business owners know otherwise. Thomas Mulcair’s plan to hike taxes and pile on debt will create economic chaos, putting Canadian workers and small businesses at risk. Our low-tax plan is helping create jobs and move Canada’s economy forward.”

“Our Fearless Prediction” re the PM

Harper_02

Yesterday, having made the argument for the third time in as many days, it is time to put on record a “fearless prediction.”

In order to win the election and receive a solid, stable Conservative majority government, the Prime Minister will make a bold move within the last ten days of the campaign.

Facing the likelihood of a minority scenario with the prospects of Justin Trudeau holding the balance of power, PM Stephen Harper will announce that he intends on stepping down two years into a new mandate, in Fall 2017. He will make this announcement while urging Canadians to deliver another Conservative majority that can lead the country through mounting economic uncertainties and global troubles.

This announcement will dramatically change the way Canadians view the choice before them. The Conservative vote will immediately be shored up. And the many Canadians who are still uncertain of their vote will again consider the Tories with the relief their vote is not an explicit endorsement of Harper’s leadership.

Stephen Harper will tip his hand on his planned retirement in the early weeks of October because he wants to win that badly and Harper:

  • intends on retiring within the next few years anyway (he never wished to be a career politician, however he fancies being PM during the country’s 150 birthday celebrations);
  • cannot govern in a minority situation as he has difficulty compromising and cannot work with either Mulcair or Trudeau;
  • believes the opponents would readily gang up to move him out of 24 Sussex Drive and, with the polls indicating a weak minority government, does not want to live through that eventuality; and,
  • wishes to go out a winner and defy the left wing special interest groups and media who are working so hard to defeat him in this election.

PM Stephen Harper’s announcement in the late stages of the campaign will be that game-changer that will determine this election vote.

Reminder: By George predicted a Conservative majority at the outset of the campaign – click here.

 

(ed. – To my knowledge this retirement scenario has not been uttered by anyone, anywhere (yet). So, let our readership know that this is the first place they will have seen it…. And come Thanksgiving weekend, By George will either be crowing about the timing of this “fearless prediction” or we will hope all will have forgotten it.)

Why such a long campaign period?

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The mainstream media spent a good portion of this past week attacking the Prime Minister for his “early call” of the federal election campaign. Pressed by reporters at his initial scrum of the election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had this to say.

“Everybody knows the election date and the campaigns of the other parties, as near as I can tell, have already begun.

“I feel very strongly…that those campaigns need to be conducted under the rules of the law. That the money come from the parties themselves, not from government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayer resources.”

“In terms of the advantages this party has, in terms of the fact that we’re a better financed political party, a better organized political party, and better supported by Canadians — those advantages exist whether we call this campaign or not.

“What we do by calling this campaign is making sure that we are all operating within the rules and not using taxpayers’ money directly.”

Great points. Who would argue with the comment, the money spent on politicians campaigning should “come from the parties themselves, not from government resources, parliamentary resources or taxpayer resources”?

End of this argument.

 

(ed. – SOURCE of quotes: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-stephen-harper-confirms-start-of-11-week-federal-campaign-1.3175136 and PHOTO CREDIT to Remy Steinegger via CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Mainstream Media vs. Harper

Terence Corcoran of the Financial Post hammered mainstream media for its overt bias against Stephen Harper. Corcoran suggests media may be Harper’s biggest enemy with its unbalanced and biased coverage… He observes, “Picking HDF samples from the media is like picking apples from a tree in full fall production” in the must-read FP column:  Canada regains title as most reputable nation in the world despite Harper derangement frenzy

HDF? Here’s Corcoran:

…the Canadian media complex is in the grip of Harper Derangement Frenzy (HDF), which is an upgrade to hurricane status from Harper Derangement Syndrome, identified several years ago by Lorne Gunter as “an ideological hatred of Prime Minister Stephen Harper that is so acute its sufferers’ ability to reason logically is impaired.” The upgraded HDF extends the definition to incorporate the media hell-bent on a pre-election campaign to bring down the Harper government regardless of any facts.

HDF has been in evidence for some time, but as the election approaches the media are emerging as the Harper government’s biggest political opponent, bigger than the New Democratic or Liberal parties. The Media Party’s distorted handling of recent dribbles of economic data related to recession and deficits sets new records for overblown news creationism.

Corcoran concludes that the media is systematic and relentless in their opposition to the Prime Minister – most undeservedly so.

The Harper government will be thrashed and hammered day after day — by the media. Nothing Justin Trudeau or Tom Mulcair do will match what appears to be taking shape among editors, columnists, headline writers and reporters. They’re in the HDF zone, and the target is a sitting duck, allegedly alone in his office, a friendless man with no colleagues, no team, no strategy.

Lord knows the government has more than its share of bungles and bad policies to account for. But through the last decade, Canada has fared better than it has under many previous governments. It has certainly outshone the rest of the developed world in economic performance.

Again, this column is recommended reading.  And so too is the comments section. Within the comments there is one short piece that picks up on the HDS theme and extends it into a humourist Public Service Announcement. Funny…

Please help those afflicted with HDS (Harper Derangement Syndrome). HDS typically affects the ‘hard of thinking’ who have been told how to think and act by political partisans angry about losing their entitlements and access to the political trough. The first cases appeared in Canada in 2004. Triggers include any reference to “scary hidden agendas”, “hard right wing” or just the current PM’s name or hairstyle. Symptoms typically present as irrational mouth foaming hatred of the current PM expressed in online conversations twisting any event or comment ranging from subjects such as the weather to the price of Tim Horton’s Dark Roast, with poor spelling and grammar and occasionally in all capital letters. Irrational references to evil historical figures are often made. Those afflicted usually suffer severe selective memory loss concerning the actions of previous prime ministers. Sufferers may also approach normal people in social situations to turn a conversation on any subject into an irrational rant. Handle these situations with compassion and understanding, politely back away (“Excuse me, how very interesting, but I really have to use the washroom, get another drink, am late for my root canal, etc…”) Although the shouting may be painful, ejected spittle from the foaming mouth of the afflicted cannot transmit HDS to anyone rational. Please support your local Chapter of the HDS Foundation.

In all this humour, there are grains of truth that suggest a rather rough ride for the Conservatives campaign as reported in mainstream media.