Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wasting Taxpayers Money?

Two days ago, Harper is threatening to dissolve Parliament when it returns. Today, he seems intent on wasting taxpayers money with another by-election call, one that he didn't have to make:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has added a fourth byelection for September, as speculation grows that the Conservatives are gearing up for a general election later this year.

Voters in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West will elect a new MP on Sept. 22. The seat was previously held by Liberal John Godfrey, who officially announced his intention to resign on Aug. 1.

So, let me get this straight, parliament is dysfunctional, Harper is saber rattling, and then he plunks another by-election right after the fall session begins. Considering the high probability of a fall election, it begs the question- isn't this byelection a big waste of taxpayer dollars?

Strategically, from the Liberal perspective, I see nothing wrong with Harper's announcement. September 8th will be a good day for the party, and all this means is another victory two weeks later, providing further momentum. In addition, I'm sure there will be one or two questions about the timing of this latest announcement, which probably doesn't put Harper in a good light.

Just a further point, I heard a radio ad attacking the Liberals the other day, from a Toronto station. The ad was the usual garbage, but at the end it mentioned the coming by-election. I thought, what by-election? Now, it makes sense, Harper had already decided and they purposely ran ads prior to the official announcement, which is fair play I suppose. What is contradictory, this means as Harper was speaking of dissolving Parliament, he had already decided on this by-election date. That is a fact voters should keep in mind.


knb said...

Precisely Steve!

We're on the same page again in terms of posts.

Like you I heard the ads for the Don Valley West riding and to be honest, I didn't know if pre-writ air time was legit.

I checked with the party and it is, but it puzzled me. All is clear now.

What I'm not clear on is could Harper have called DVW at the same time as the other by-elections? He had Godfrey's leave date.

Harper's showing all his cards, when no one is looking of course.

Off to link to ya.

Anonymous said...

I don't get Harper's strategy here. Why would he want to set a byelection at all in a riding that is 100% certain to go Liberal - when he could easily do nothing and wait for Parliament to be dissolved.

Unless Harper knows something that we don't!!

Anonymous said...

Note the amount of money the Cons have their kitty, which must be spent before the writ drops in a general election.

Don Valley West by-election is the best time to spend it. Longshot for the Cons but the subliminal message needs to be spread elsewhere.

The thing is. Should the Grits respond with an ad blitz now? Saving the ammo during the election campaign is prudent, but sometimes these ads need a counter response.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he plans to prorogue until the New Year. Parliament dysfunctional, so no parliament.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope Torontonians are getting smarter with age.

I hope the LPC actually thanks Harper for his quick actions, especially considering how withering they were when he acted more slowly with an LPC riding bye-election.


Anonymous said...

"I don't get Harper's strategy here."

Ramadan ends on Sept 30, so my guess is that Harper wanted to call it before then. I suspect their polls showed them this would cut into Liberal support in DVW. The CPC has also been trying to target Jews, so maybe the fact that Rosh Hashanah starts on Sept 29 factors into Harper's decision as well.

It is distasteful to talk about ethnic/religious groups in this way, but we all saw the CPC slides showing which groups they are targetting and it is very specific to neighbourhoods. You can be certain that Harper is not calling the by-election on Sept 22 to help the Liberals.

Anonymous said...

That still makes no sense. There are very few Jews in Don Valley West. Last March, the Tories threw eveyting but the kitchen sink at the Willowdale byelection where there is a far larger Jewish vote - and they got demolished. and what does Ramadan have to do with anything?

Harper could have waited until January 2009 before calling this byelection and deprived the Liberals of the spin they will get from winning.

There are only two possible explantions - Harper is incredibly stupid or the Tories have some reason to believe that they can win.

Anonymous said...

Pundits Guide says that 13.6% of the riding is Muslim, so that is what Ramadan has to do with it.

Anonymous said...


It's even more devious than you think.

Harper knows that the CPC has no chance to win. By giving this up, it entices the LPC into bringing down his government with a fall election.

Anonymous said...

So what? Nothing prevents Muslims from voting during Ramadan. That's like saying that no Catholics will vote if election day is during Lent. (But look at how all the catholic countries in southern Europe vote on Sundays!)

If anything, the very idea that Harper might have even considered making the byelection during Ramadan during a misguided attempt to disenfranchise Muslim voters would probably make them turn up at the polls in even greater numbers than usual.

Anonymous said...

Anybody ever consider that by calling more by-elections the Liberals will have to spend more money on a shoe-in riding just before a full election? The west won the cold war by forcing Russia to spend more than they could afford till they collapsed. Harper has money to burn on every dirty attack ad they can come up with all covered by the Toronto and national media headquartered there.
Can't get more bang for the buck than that.

If the Liberals are smart they should roll out one or two more planks in their platform as well as concentrate on the help for those less fortunate as a product of the green shift. Working out the average savings for that riding and keeping that front and center while questioning how much Harpers plan will cost those same people would probably counteract most of Harpers blatherings I would suspect.

Anonymous said...

The car salesman's office was lit up and fully staffed the other day, prior to the writ being dropped.

To have some fun with the cons, I left a pamphlet from the LCBO next door at their entrance. It was about plastic bottles, and the letters PET were very prominent. :)

James Curran said...

did the ads say anything about electing John Carmichael?

James Curran said...

Could it be you should get spellcheck on your computer.

knb said...

Thank goodness james appeared because I was beginning to believe this was the thread of anon's.

In fairness, mushroom and Tomm made their point, but really people, it's just too easy to gloss over an Anon.

Anonymous said...

That's funny because I was thinking I like the anonymous posts and how there is no reputations attached to them so that it is the content that matters.

No matter, I think Anon 9:11 made a very good point about Harper forcing the Liberals to spend money where they don't really need to be spending it. At the least it makes more sense than the Ramadan theory.

Steve V said...

I'll agree, that part of this Harper decision might be to force the Libs to spend more money, they can just put in a token effort. I don't think it has anything to do with certain ethnic considerations, they're going to get whalloped, no matter what they do, and the margins are irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Harper is stupid and libs are reading way too much into this? I mean the guy has blown God knows how much money keeping that white elephant of an election war room leased and empty for over a year now, plus the stupid Oily ads, and on and on.

Maybe that's his strategy. To get you guys thinking about how smart he is when he is actually just scared s**less.

Anonymous said...

"the margins are irrelevant"

The Cons have a longshot hope in winning three 416 ridings: Carmichael, Harquail, and Patrick Boyer. They are going against tough candidates: Oliphant, Hall Findlay, and Iggy. Still the campaign will act as a guerilla tactic for the 905 races. People do listen to these tacky ads when you are stuck in traffic on the

Worst case scenario for the Cons in Don Valley West: they finish third, behind the Greens. The Greens should be targeting this riding big time. If Chris Tindal finished third in Toronto Centre, a riding with a higher disposable income and a strong environmental conscious would be a godsend for Lizzie May's crew.

burlivespipe said...

I'm certain it's all about the money. While fairly confident with Don Valley and Westmount, we've had enough scares and close calls that Harper knows we can't take anything for granted, thus put a lot of energy and funds into these ridings.
But it also serves as a trial run for Dion and his Green Shift platform, which I don't think is bad at all. Plus, if we campaign properly, highlighting some of the multitude of troubles Harper is in, that will create at least a thread of a theme that will trickle out of the local coverage to neighbouring areas.

Steve V said...

"The Cons have a longshot hope in winning three 416 ridings: Carmichael, Harquail, and Patrick Boyer. They are going against tough candidates: Oliphant, Hall Findlay, and Iggy."

Mushroom, I must say I don't see that at all.

Anonymous said...

Longshot hope for me is 5 per cent max.

Steve V said...

I'm on board with that :)