Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What Will Gordon Campbell Do?

I haven't really heard much comment about the Liberal Green Shift from B.C's Gordon Campbell. The two plans are different, but the thrust is the same. I wonder how Campbell will react to being the indirect target of the Conservatives smear campaign:
The federal Conservatives are launching attack ads in B.C. tomorrow against federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's carbon tax.

The ads could also cause collateral damage for Premier Gordon Campbell, just days before B.C.'s new carbon tax takes effect.

"Dion Tax Trick" ads will blitz the airwaves on radio stations in the Lower Mainland and the Interior.

Tory strategists say it's the most expensive non-election ad-buy in B.C. for years, going into six-figure numbers, and could last up to three months.

The campaign will also feature public events at which people will wear bright yellow T-shirts with the slogans "The Dion Tax Trick" or "Dion's Tax on Everything."

I suppose the good news for Campbell, it's not like the ads are particularly effective, not to mention the geeky yellow shirt routine. That said, this is a huge media buy, and no matter the specifics, Campbell is likely to feel the heat. Essentially, Campbell will defend his plan, which indirectly validates the Liberal plan, putting him on a collision course with the Conservatives low road campaign. Campbell apparently has cordial relations with Harper, and this was evidenced by the Harper government's hypocritical initial reaction to B.C's carbon tax, but surely this puts a strain on things.

Campbell has as much as Dion to lose, one would think we see an informal alliance build over time, if we do see months of negative ads. Nothing overt, but an agreement, based on mutual self interest, since both are targets, regardless of who is characterized as the "trickster". It will be entirely fascinating to watch this battle develop in British Columbia. Could Harper push Campbell towards Dion, or does he just push back, and in so doing, buttress Dion?

21 comments:

MERBOY said...

Maybe there is some brilliant strategic reason for pissing off every major premier... I must not be brilliant enough to see why.

Anonymous said...

Harper probably doesn't want the BC carbon tax to go ahead. As Steve implies, that maybe the reason for these ads.

MERBOY said...

Anonymous said...

"Harper probably doesn't want the BC carbon tax to go ahead. As Steve implies, that maybe the reason for these ads."

Well naturally he doesn't want any local examples that people can use to combat this whole screw the country notion... at the same time... essentially forcing premiers to actively campaign against you... not sure that's such a hot plan.

Blues Clair said...

This proves that Harper is quite worried about Dion's gamble... but it also should worry Dion. A three month, 666ix figure ad campaign, f_cking crazy.

Anonymous said...

This will be a great way to shift Liberal voters over to the NDP in BC in the next federal election!

Joseph said...

Yes, excellent plan. Would this be the NDP "axe the tax" brigade here in BC, who are actually FOR a carbon tax plan, just a "different" one.

Yeah, no one will pick up on that I'm sure.

Tomm said...

It will be interesting to see Campbell's position on this.

Dion may be his natural ally, but a Federal "Green Shift" takes money & power right out of the BC Government's pocket. Its the same for Quebec.

I will be waiting for all the non-oil provinces to open their mouths on this.

Stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

It will be very interesting to watch, especially since the provincial Liberals in BC are actually a hybrid of federal Libs and federal Tories, they're known as the only major right wing party in BC, and tend to be quite a bit to the right of their federal counterparts. Harper may end up with no political friends in BC

Anonymous said...

Steve: don't forget how folks on the left (particularly of LIberal persuasion) were derisive of the election ads that the Tories put out in 2006. They looked stiff and amateurish and yet they were fairly successful. I know what the polling has said thus far but I would be worried if I were a Liberal.

I know that Green folk are pretty worried that Dion is going to screw-up the pitch and set back any attempts to price carbon. Case in point - decided to ignore the trademark rights of a small enviro company...

Anonymous said...

I don't think Dion will screw up the pitch. If he just stands there and quotes every major scientist, e.g.James Hansen, that should take him into the fall.

Steve V said...

"Steve: don't forget how folks on the left (particularly of LIberal persuasion) were derisive of the election ads that the Tories put out in 2006. They looked stiff and amateurish and yet they were fairly successful. I know what the polling has said thus far but I would be worried if I were a Liberal."

Were they successful, or did the RCMP had the Cons a gift on Goodale? Seems to me, the polls changed 10 points in a day, and the Liberals never recovered. I'm sorry, but I think the Liberals lost that election, more than the Cons won it, and if they were actually the "juggernaut" some believe, it would have been a far better showing than the fragile minority they were able to cobble together. If there was ever a perfect storm scenario for Harper it was the last election. Don't confuse terrific timing with strategic brilliance.

Steve V said...

Here's a timely article

Anonymous said...

Hey, they just have to run a YouTube of Harper giving kudos for Campbell's plan....can't have it both way Steve old boy.

Anonymous said...

There are obviously a lot of federal Reform/Canadian Alliance types in the BC Liberal Party. The Liberals in BC are basically just Social Credit with a new name. During Campbell's he was the most rightwing Premier in Canadian history and even people who worked for Mike Harris were shocked by what a rightwing ideologue Gordon Campbell turned out to be. I wonder whether at some point, those rightwing pro-Tory elements might decide to jump ship and form a rightwing socially conservative alternative to Campbell - now that he seems to be moving to the centre 9at least for now)

Steve V said...

"Hey, they just have to run a YouTube of Harper giving kudos for Campbell's plan....can't have it both way Steve old boy."

Be nice if someone could dig that up. I believe Harper said "complimentary", or was that Baird, who also had kind words?

Anonymous said...

We can also get a YouTube of Dion denouncing the idea of Carbon Tax in no uncertain terms very recently and just keep running it over and over and over again like a java loop.

Steve V said...

anon

Maybe we can run that one side by side with Harper's income trust promise.

Anonymous said...

BTW: Mustel Group just released a poll of 750 people in BC and it shows support for the BC NDP has risen from 31% in March to 37% in June while the BC Liberals have fallen to 47% and the Greens to 14% - and who knows what will happen once the anti-carbon tax campaign really gets going - particularly after people start actually paying it on July 1.

Steve V said...

anon

Hey, thanks for that, just posted on it. What you conveniently ignore, is that the NDP support is merely back where it was in Feb and Nov, hardly a WORRYING sign. What it tells me, the Mar offering was a temporary ebb because of the budget, and they have simply rebounded to their normal level.

Nice try though!

Oh, and I should have read this first, because I mentioned the "you just wait" argument. Thanks for being so boringly consistent, you guys are about as complex as an amoeba.

burlivespipe said...

The CON team is in full glory, hitting the usual talk radio phone lines with their 'Carbon Tax Bad!' and 'I Don't Trust No Revenue Neutral' spiel... altho the topic was Campbell's plan, many callers used the same code language as if they were referring to Dion's plan.
Now, i'm usually leaning left here in BC and have supported the NDP for about 6 of the last 7 elections (voted for Gordon Wilson's Liberals in 91) but i'm not too happy with the Carole James bunch right now. They are trying to paint 'climate change' into the same kind of issue folder as 'health care' and 'education.' Sure, those are big issues but not 'species defining' as climate change. So the argument that, 'Hey, don't make those incremental changes or even attempt to dissuade the use of carbon emitting fuels, wait until we're in and we'll do a bang-up job!' Of course, just as Harper's plan is to confuse and delay, the real work will only get harder the longer we postpone any action.
But i had to laugh when the callers, obviously Harper fans, said 'I'm not voting for Campbell again!' Yeh, let me watch you mark your 'X' by the NdP...