Wednesday, July 22, 2009


That's the one word that describes a successful political strategy. You come up with a strategy, based on the evidence at hand, but you keep your eyes on the future, try and stay ahead of the curve and then quickly adapt where necessary. I would describe the current economic state as an example where one has to remain nimble at all times. Today's fairly impressive retail sales figures provide further evidence that the worst may be behind us on the economic front. That doesn't mean to suggest it's still not a rough road ahead, only that we're in the stage of recovery where mixed signals will abound, replacing the daily diet of cataclysmic data. For an opposition party, the past few months have made for easy pickings, as we could constantly bombard the government with the most offensive of figures. The government had no control, simply in damage control mode, trying to ride it out and keep themselves above water. These dual dynamics no longer apply.

Looking forward, there will be plenty of evidence to bash the government with, so we still have the "wear it" factor on the recession. However, there is enough good news now to make a credible counter, not to mention a rising sense within the public that better times are around the corner. No point debating the validity of that psychology, but we should proceed with that in mind.

The new debate will most likely shift from present economic circumstance to one of future direction. The Conservatives will obviously use the "turned the corner" argument, they've taken us through the worst and we're well positioned to come out strong, particularly on the world "relative" front. We will obviously continue to attack their record, but that won't be enough I suspect. What will be required is an effective counter that resonates, something akin to a "5 year plan". The Liberals need to stake the new ground, position themselves as best able to bring us back out of deficit, best able to modernize our economy. Rather than simply beating the Conservatives over the head, we will know have to look the better alternative. "Kick the bums" out, under the pretext of falling economic fortunes isn't the winner it looked just two months ago.

The fact the government still sits tied in the polls, having come through this maelstorm isn't easily fluffed off, it gives reason for some optimism on their side. Not great optimism, problems still abound and the Liberals have plenty in our quiver as well, but much better placed than anytime this year. This reality necessitates that we bring more to the table than simply opposing. Harper isn't popular, but we're not a compelling alternative either, which might explain why we've lacked maximum capitalization. Timing is another consideration, but beyond that, I now think there is no doubt of one thing, which again speaks to a nimble approach- we have to give them a reason to turf the government, the benefit of friendly headlines no longer a given.

Future forecast calls for partly cloudly skies and near seasonable temperatures. Let's dress accordingly.


Lizt. said...

There are a great many people who really do not know ignateff. Surely, he is not going to stay away fom the public much longer, as there is really only a little over a good month, to do that, as the summer is the best time.
Does anyone know where is? Is he still in France?
..and, if he is here, why does not the media know...pretty quiet , isn't it

Gayle said...

If we have truly "turned the corner" then perhaps the LPC should be front and center, taking credit for the stimulus budget and spinning it as the reason.

Anonymous said...


The Grits want Harper to wear the recession. Harper has worn out the recession like the sweater.

Gayle said...

Yes, but my point is that the LPC could be saying the only reason we are climbing out is the stimulus budget, and the only reason we had that budget was because the LPC forced Harper to do it.

Steve V said...

That might be a tough one, considering our main thrust the past few months is the money isn't going out the door.

Gayle said...

point taken

(not that it would stop the CPC if the tables were turned)

Steve V said...

Not in the least :)

I guess if the Cons start bragging about their budget as representative of their "steady hand at the tiller", we can remind Canadians how we got there.

Anonymous said...

"we can remind Canadians how we got there."

Which is why the EI panel becomes very important.

The Grits can neutralize the issue and claim a small victory, or blame Harper for deliberately sabotaging reform.

Steve V said...


I actually see like Harper neutralizing the issue. It's not his issue anyways, we've taken it up, so neutralizing to us isn't a victory.

Harper already said he would adopt national standards, include the self employed. That will be the type of package we'll see, and it won't leave the Liberals much room. Yesterday, I read us saying the 360 qualification is our "starting point" in these talks, which means we're going to bend on that.