A top Liberal told The Hill Times that he's concerned that despite the fall in the polls, Mr. Ignatieff's top aides seem to be in denial and don't think any adjustments in the leader's inner circle, or strategy, need to be made.
"The office is relatively certain that there's no problem there. They're doing what really needs to be done, and the people who think otherwise are living in a state of ignorance. They just don't understand.... Give it a few days and we'll be back on track," said the Liberal.
Pollster Frank Graves said the Liberals must put out their policies and explain to Canadians why they should vote for them.
"They obviously have to rethink what they're doing and there's no quick rebound available for them. They're not going to bounce back, they're going to have to crawl back, and that will be by trying to tell Canadians what is it that they specifically have in mind for the country and for individual families," he said.
In many respects, I believe we are starting from scratch now, no quick fixes available, strategy a "months long" consideration, rather than any realistic hope that we are in the midst of a soon to be self-correcting "blip". A good first step, a "rethink" as it relates to parliamentary posture, because our blanket rejection of the government is clearly a loser (something which I didn't expect, at least not the degree). This "tweaking" essentially means there is no election on the horizon, between our stance and that of others, the most likely scenario is the government lasts until at least the next budget. This probability allows the Liberals to completely reaccess their thrust, because the short minded election readiness posture has led to narrow consideration.
Things aren't going to turn around soon, as Graves says we must "crawl back". That translates to some sobering realities- to my mind it means the OLO and advisors need to essentially turn on their own ideas. There is no comfort available, there is no stay the course mentaility that offers a reasonable turnaround. The political landscape has changed, it is imperative that we now "attract" voters, rather than relying on the former deluge of bad news to "repel" in our direction. The Chretien scenario is entirely inapplicable, a "kick the bums out" mentality never exists, at least not to the degree needed to bring a red wave to the land. Liberals are wrong to look to the past for lessons, for a calming context, because the dynamics today are so entirely unique that history is just that, OUTDATED.
There has been an elephant in the room for months, that was mostly ignored, but forever present- the CHIEF liability of the Liberal Party of Canada is that it no longer resonates with ordinary Canadians, they see little in terms of identity, they see an empty vessel, more "natural governing" than compelling direction. IMHO, we've never addressed this main problem, we even made the herculian mistake of delaying this "thinking" conference, in the name of expediency. Part of this understandable, the constant threat of impending election tends to disallow slower ferments, favors the quick fixes and traditional "readiness" angles. Liberals now need to resist the immediate and develop a coherent plan to re-connect with voters.
To be frank, a two-stage rebound is the most prudent path. By that- and this was true even when fortunes appeared more promisiing- we need an approach that recognizes more than one election may be needed before the Liberals return to favor. You look at the seat distribution, you look at the regional dynamics, a betting man never gave odds on immediate victory (I believe I offered a 60/40 proposition, in favor of the government, even when polls put us ahead, the math was there). Not a defeatist stance, because it can be done, but if you take a long view, an incremental path, this will lead to more substantive reform. You can't rework a brand overnight, you are confronted with your past and all the negative perceptions this entails.
We now a semi-reprieve on the horizon, which allows us to gut our current mindset. There is a "problem", admitting it is half the battle.