Friday, May 21, 2010

Sounds About Right

Hebert on the Liberals Quebec strategy;
Ignatieff’s failure to connect with Quebecers is emblematic of his larger failure to connect with Canadians. And unless it is reversed it may go down as the biggest squandered Quebec opportunity in recent federal Liberal history.

Couldn't agree more with the word squandered. What is particularly worrisome, since the Coderre fiasco, Ignatieff has virtually disappeared on the Quebec landscape. I believe that the last year has provided a terrific opportunity for a federalist option to seize some ground in Quebec, challenge the Bloc in an aggressive way. Couple that fact with a decidedly weak Conservative option, and the Liberals really have/had room to reinvent their brand in the province. Why the lack of high profile exposure in Quebec?

On a side note, as it relates to my decidedly pessimistic view of late, I would contend that circling the wagons, putting our hands over our ears and praying for some external gift to reverse our fate is entirely counter-productive. I also think under-estimating just how bad things are serves no one, because it validates a status quo which has already failed. I don't blame Ignatieff, nor do I blame his handlers, but if people don't reaccess the entire approach and show the pragmatism and outside the box thinking required, then blame is entirely warranted. Comfort blankets are for the delusional, Canadians don't owe the former natural governing party a darn thing, nor will old nostaglic sympathies be our savior.

I think we can turn it around. Step one, would be a provocative and engaging strategy within Quebec, one that frees Ignatieff from politicianitis- a condition that renders a once powerful thinker impotent, as he learns the safe language that tries to be everything to everybody, and in so doing ends up saying little to anybody. I see recent events as a cold shower moment for the Liberals, and the good news is you generally feel refreshed and revitalized after the initial shock is accepted. Brrrr.

20 comments:

uber.liberal said...

Ignatieff will win!! We will get Trudeau's Canada back from these cons and show them who is right! We will stop all the bad things and bring in day care and slap those cons back to where they belong!!

Marc Bernard said...

I hate the Conservatives as much as the next guy, but I don't think the Liberals are going to be in any shape to win an election for a long time.

They need to realize that allowing Harper's gang to define the Liberal leader is a disaster. It's incredibly effective. I don't think I'd heard one word out of Stephane Dion's mouth before the "not a leader" ads were all over the place. He never had a chance. Ignatieff is in the same boat. Nobody knows who he is or how smart he is, because he turtled when the Conservative attack ads hit the airwaves.

Until the Liberals find a leader who has the balls to define him or herself, we're in for a long run of bad election results.

Steve V said...

Ignatieff now attending Habs game tomorrow with Dryden. That should get him some face time on the big screen.

Gallahad said...

I bet Harper will be at the Habs game as well.

Probably in his blue sweater.

And singing in the intermission.

Steve V said...

I heard he is showing up with Gowan. He hangs with all the cool guys.

JimBobby said...

Good post, Steve. Don Martin had something yesterday about duck hunting where the ducks are. There aren't any Liberal seats for the taking in Alberta but there could well be some in Quebec. Ignatieff wastes time campaigning in Alberta.

WADR to a few politically committed students, I think he also wastes time campaigning on the academic circuit. The 18-24 YO bracket has the lowest voter turnout of all age brackets. As a Greenie, I am well aware of this. The GPC wins out in opinion polls among young people but it doesn't translate into votes. This is not dues to a last minute change of mind or vote-parking. It is due to teh fact that less than 30% of those young people bother to actually cast a ballot.

By way of contrast, the best voter turnout is among us old grampaws an' grannies. The over 55 crowd tend to vote Conservative but at least we vote.

Ignatieff should be vote hunting where he has a chance of getting some. University campuses and Alberta ain't where they're at. If he can't see that, then he's not savvy enough to be PM.

Greg said...

Ignatieff now attending Habs game tomorrow with Dryden. That should get him some face time on the big screen.

Sending Iggy with a Hall of Famer may not be a great move. All it will take is one shot that looks like Dryden is explaining what is going on and BOOM!

Steve V said...

JB

I actually applaud Ignatieff for reaching out to all regions of the country, I think that is important on a philosophical level. But, you're right, the "boots on the ground" focus should concentrate on winnable areas.

RuralSandi said...

Sometimes tough love/rude awakening can change things. I saw a panel discussion a few years ago with some very successful people. They all had a failure and/or a low point in their careers. The common denominator amongst them all is they say never give up.

Harper knows this. He working on a tactic that if he keeps attacking and demeaning every Lib leader they will panic and get rid of that leader over and over and over again.

The Libs can't keep changing leaders every few months - it looks bad.

Andrew Coyne said on At Issue last night that everyone is overreacting to the polls. He reminded us that Harper polled at 25 in 2005. I remember that Harper polled from Apr 2004 to June 2004 at 14% down to 10%.

Perhaps the rude awakening will wake up the strategists, advisors, etc.

Omar said...

All it will take is one shot that looks like Dryden is explaining what is going on..

Or the shot they themselves put on Facebook showing Iggy and his posse watching the Habs wearing their flawless suits and ties in the parlour. And for added All-Canadian realism, Zsuzsanna was along for the ride clutching her glass of intensely coloured, ripe and spicy Shiraz. Yeah, I could just feel how they were just like the rest of us. Who the fuck advises these people anyway?

Steve V said...

Sandi

Anybody suggesting a leadership change is crazy.

Kim said...

I think that the Liberals need to shed Iggy for someone who is charismatic, but more importantly, the next person to lead the country needs to have a Platform. Some real ideas that they actually plan to implement.

uber.liberal, Trudeau was at the helm when, in 1974, the government quietly started borrowing money from the banking cartel rather than exercising their right to print it via BoC. Look back, that is where our troubles started.

I am not affiliated with any party, I think we need to change our system of voting to STV.

I beleive the liberals are part of the problem in that they failed to repeal NAFTA, the GST, and they failed to tax corporations. They also failed to redistribute power away from the PMO and back to Parliament. Paul Martin was just as criminal as Brian Mulrooney, he didn't even pay taxes in Canada on his drug smuggling Canada Steamship Line, (which broke the Merchant Marine).

I think we need to spurn political parties, and vote STV for independants. But we need to engage the young. That's a parental responsability.

Steve V said...

Kim

Fair enough. I will say one thing, if you actually hear Ignatieff in a small gathering, he's entirely charismatic and quite charming really.

Kim said...

Steve V. I beleive you. This man has been a teacher and public speaker. He obviously has the intelligence. Where I question him is his motives. He has not put forward any ideas on where he sees his leadership taking Canada. That's exactly why so many Canadians have disengaged themselves from participating in democracy. Again, I have to stress my point, if you know any kids who are or will soon be of voting age, educate them, show them how to register, teach them to care!

Gayle said...

"There aren't any Liberal seats for the taking in Alberta but there could well be some in Quebec. Ignatieff wastes time campaigning in Alberta."

And then the liberals are criticized for ignoring us. Whatever happened to that campaign to increase the votes in all regions of the country?

I agree there are no seats to be had for the LPC in Alberta right now, but what I see Ignatieff doing here is playing the long game. Harper never comes here - because he does not have to. Will that work for him in the long run? Edmonton is more left wing than the rest of the province, and we have voted liberal before. There is nothing wrong with building relationships here.

So I guess my question is what is wrong with trying to appeal to both Alberta and Quebec?

JimBobby said...

So I guess my question is what is wrong with trying to appeal to both Alberta and Quebec?

The 2 should be compatible but MI's blanket support for tar sands alienates Quebec and pretty much any support for Quebec alienates AB.

Gayle said...

"...pretty much any support for Quebec alienates AB."

That is not true.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

Anybody suggesting a leadership change is crazy.


Perhaps. But you should probably start thinking about Ignatieff's replacement now, because Bob Rae won't fare any better than Ignatieff is going to.

(and I know you already know this)

"Support the leader" is all well and good, and loyalty almost always a good thing, but the last time you heard that message your leader was Stephane Dion. Right now you have a chance to pick the next one without the pressure of an imminent election. If I were you, I'd start now...

(and I say this as someone who, while I would obviously prefer the Conservatives in power, also would rather see a strong Liberal Party than a weak one, believe it or not...)

Steve V said...

Fred

I guess you forget all the discussion about Harper's inability to win an election.

Gayle

"but what I see Ignatieff doing here is playing the long game."

And Liberals should support this initiative. I think it important that we don't confuse focus with not even bothering to try and connect.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...


I guess you forget all the discussion about Harper's inability to win an election.


Right from the time he was the leader of the Canadian Alliance he has increased his seat count in every election. He only needs 12 more for a majority, right?

Stephen Harper's biggest problem isn't about strategy or even ideology...it's about his lack of charisma.