Thursday, September 10, 2015

New column day

Here, pointing out that if the Harper Cons have little idea what they're doing in Canada's federal election, it isn't for lack of advantages over their opponents in planning out a campaign.

For further reading...
- Alice Funke offers a thorough look at the new strategic challenges facing all of Canada's major political parties. 
- Michael Den Tandt, David Krayden, and Andrew Coyne are among the many commentators noting that something is off with Harper and company. And Jennifer Ditchburn reports that it isn't only outside observers detecting serious problems with the Cons' campaign operations.
- Dan Leger and John Doyle each discuss how the refugee crisis in particular has exposed the Cons' utter lack of compassion - though it's worth noting that the party's position was deteriorating long before the subject was brought to the forefront of public discussion. Daphne Bramham notes that the bluster in response to a humanitarian tragedy is utterly out of touch with the Canadian public. And Murray Mandryk points out that the Cons' callousness extends to a wide range of issues.
- Finally, Lorne wonders whether there's a method to the Cons' madness, while Warren Kinsella is the rare pundit minimizing the significance of their difficulties. And Paul Wells theorizes that Stephen Harper might simply be trying to cut the Cons' losses for a new leader.


  1. Fine column, Greg. This brings to mind a long conversation I had with my best Ottawa Tory buddy during the interlude between Nigel Wright being vilified by Harper and the commencement of the Duffy trial. I learned that Nigel had stayed in Ottawa pending the announcement by the RCMP that he would face no charges and, during this time, circulated the message that if he was charged he wasn't going down alone. Apparently a lot of veteran Tory insiders remained very fond and supportive of Wright even after Harper's denunciation.

    One upshot of Harper's treatment of Wright was an instant inability to attract A-List talent to Harper's PMO. There were simply no takers to be found. That left Harper to rely on Jenni Byrne and Ray Novak - the same pair that were unable to prevent him from stupidly picking his fight with the Chief Justice. Novak, while apparently accepted as quite honest, isn't known for the political acumen one expects from a chief of staff. Byrne is widely despised as a bully in Tory ranks. Someone of Wright's stature was needed to reach out to the Tory caucus and senior types, to keep them engaged and restore cohesion and that someone simply wasn't to be found.

    We discussed at some length whether Harper intended to resign well before the election and I asked how a prime minister could go into a hotly contested election with the calibre of aides that now surrounded this man. My friend was confident that Harper wouldn't resign but he, too, didn't like the prospects of Byrne and Novak running the campaign.

    1. Thanks MoS. That's certainly a point which deserves more attention - and the inability to recruit competent people to his side only seems all the more compelling if Harper is now having to go outside the country for help in the middle of the campaign. Can it be long before Karl Rove and Frank Luntz show up?