View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – New Abacus Poll Interesting Numbers – Aug 28, 2014

Dr. EvilCFN – The latest Abacus poll was interesting as its numbers show how few people think anything would change under a Liberal or NDP government. For instance under a Liberal government, 46% don’t think there would be any difference when it comes to job creation. For the environment 51% don’t think things would be any different and crime generates roughly 66% thinking there wouldn’t be anything different.

Part of this of course revolves around the fact that “Trudeau Lite” hasn’t delivered much in the way of solid policy announcements. It’s hard for the public to evaluate how things would be different under the Liberals if they have no clue about what he stands for or what he plans to implement if elected.

This makes it very difficult for the Tories to attack Trudeau. Sure they have had a few silly ads that didn’t go anywhere, but you really do need some policy meat if your attacks are to have a greater impact. Prior to 2006 the Liberals always had the fear agenda to invoke against Harper and his supposedly secret agenda. Remember “soldiers in the streets”, the abortion issue and others that allowed them to feed the distrust Canadians had in the then new Conservative leader and any changes he might bring if elected.

Part of the Conservative problem today is that we always know what they are opposed to and their language is generally negative and combative and even when it isn’t, it still leaves a negative impression with large groups of voters. The public are left with the impression that the Conservatives are opposed to improving the environment, opposed to working with First Nations, opposed to any type of firearm regulations, opposed to open and transparent government, but support the oil sands and pipelines (which may not be the most positive message) etc. Even their positive initiatives such as free trade are so complex that while positive it still doesn’t resonate with most voters as they don’t see anything in it for them personally.

Contrast that with Trudeau’s up beat and feel good campaign. The Liberal leader is very good in front of crowds, never camera shy, plus he is personable and friendly, as opposed to the Prime Minister, who is almost always much more formal and who rarely lets his warmer side show through. The difference can be seen with the video of Trudeau’s ice bucket challenge. Everyone knows it was a made for politics promotion, but people enjoyed it anyways and he looked like someone the average, especially younger voters, could relate too.

The Conservatives have a problem because right now they can’t show that Trudeau or even Mulcair has a scary agenda. That will come as we get closer to the next election and both opposition leaders are forced into firming up their policy positions. The Conservatives are always good when on the attack and their machine will be revving up in the weeks and months ahead as they zero in on the policies of Trudeau and Mulcair. Voters will have a better opportunity to study and contrast the various party positions.

In the meantime we can expect to see the Conservatives solidifying their base, something that they have to do before using it as a springboard to go after niche voters and swing voters. There will be more attacks on the “elites” including the Ottawa media (who really have to get a thicker skin), more criminal justice bills, more support for rural initiatives and social conservative ideals such as support for family values and of course lots of patriotic moments standing up to the “red menace”.

It will be interesting to see if six months down the road Canadians still see things the same way. If they do it is a problem for the Conservatives as it makes it a lot easier for voters to change a government when voters don’t see it making much difference which Prime Minister is leading the country.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for Cenco Public Affairs  in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

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  1. Conservatives got rid of gun registration, trudeau will put it back and worse. Also carbon tax and raise gst. Good choise. People will vote him in because of his old man. Putting trudeau in is like the states voting for obama, quaint, but no experance.

  2. Anybody placing bets on when Harper will decide to spend more time with his family?

  3. This country needs continued leadership not the winner of a popularity contest. We will see if Justin can develop some substance to back up his leadership run. So far his claim to fame is his lineage and that will not lead this country forward through the difficult decades to come.

    I have no party affiliation. My vote goes to leadership skills and the key business people in the dark backrooms.

    Think about it, the party platforms are generally election time fluff and have little to do with the realities of the direction of the country. It all comes down to leadership and at this juncture I am not even convinced that Justin would make a great high school principal. There simply is no track record to date that he is worthy and capable to lead a country. The clock is ticking and if Justin wants to lead he needs to step up and show us his game plan.

    Remember winning the top seat does not instantly qualify you as a leader, it merely puts you in the seat.

  4. Like it or not, David, Canadians have grown sick and tired of Harper and his nasty ways. If he doesn’t step down in the next few months, he’ll be taking his party down with him. All the recent bi-election results show that, as well as all the recent polls. JT will have lots of time to lay out his platform as the election approaches. BTW, if he is such a lightweight non-leader, why are the Reformatories so afraid of him? Why are they spending so much time and energy trying to smear him? He is, after all, just the leader of the third party.

  5. {MODERATED} Jules due to time constraints I can’t keep moderating your comments. Please keep them brief, on topic, and it’s fair dinkum to share your opinion; but you can’t make statements of fact unless they are proven if you want them to be posted.


  6. @Furtz. You seem to be speaking for the majority of Canadians, I would not be so bold to make the same statement.

    We currently enjoy stability in the political arena, the country is not falling apart and we remain steadfast in the top 15 countries of the world, despite the simple fact that we represent less than .5% of the worlds population (about the same as Uganda).

    Canada politics turned to smear and scare tactics primarily at the hands of a particular party (remember scary Harper and his hidden agenda propaganda?)Personally I am not a fan of this style but fire is most often fought with fire in politics and what goes around comes around and it is a little late to cry foul.

    Winning a beauty pageant is not indicative of your intellect.

    We should wait and watch and vote our conscious at the appropriate time and pray that we continue to see our country remain or improve its current enviable position.

  7. @ David. No amount of bloviating or pontificating on your part will alter the fact that the Harper Cons are in a political tailspin. Even in Alberta their popularity is dropping like a stone. So far I’m not a fan of JT, but that doesn’t matter. If the Cons don’t install a more palatable leader and do a complete image makeover, and soon, JT will be our next PM.

  8. Harpoon Harpo and that woman in as premier of Alberta are not liked at all but the people of Alberta have hated Pierre Trudeau something awful and I know very well that they won’t vote at all for Pot Head. I won’t vote for Pot Head either. My vote will be stuck with the Cons. I do agree that better representation in the Cons department is needed badly.

  9. Thank you for your opinion and prediction. If the country as you suggest does go to “pot” I am quite prepared to move my tax dollars to greener pastures where I can enjoy an efficient health care system with a much lower cost and almost negligible wait times. I have enjoyed Canada but there are several far more advantageous countries to retire to whose economies and taxation policies more than compensates for the loss of a small CPP benefit. My retirement plans never included CPP to begin with, I thought of the benefit only as a potential bonus.

  10. @ David. Pretty sure you’d still receive CPP benefits outside of Canada. It’s a pension plan that you payed premiums for. Not a “free” handout.

  11. Mr. Oldham the only good countries are places like Sweden, Norway, France and England. The European countries that I named are mighty expensive but the health care is way beyond ours (a much better system) but the taxes and cost of living are outrageous. Your pension wouldn’t go anywhere.

  12. I do not have a pension Jules. I started saving/investing for my retirement when I received my first pay (my father was a Cost Consultant who traveled outside of Canada on business and always drove home the value of paying yourself first). Spain, Ecuador, Ireland and certain areas in the Pacific Rim offer outstanding opportunities as well, Jules.

  13. Actually, apart from the odd lousy winter, like the last one, I’m quite enjoying my retirement where I am. There are lots of reasons why people from around the world choose to immigrate to Canada. The idea that electing a Liberal government for the 24th time since 1867 will ruin our country forever is nothing short of crazy.

  14. @Furtz. I agree Furtz people from around the world wish to come to Canada for lots of reasons. Money is a prime motivator. A new arrival coming to Canada gets more in benefits from us then we provide to our veterans. Check it out for yourself.

    When my Spanish father-in-law found out that one of his sons required expensive ($75,000 US in 1979) heart surgery he applied (on the advice of his brother who had gone to Canada once)to come to Canada. I do not know the details but after apparently 6 months of paying nothing into our system his son had the procedure done and shortly thereafter they both went back to Spain. What a saving!

    Having benefited from viewing Canada from the outside in I understand the difference of being generous vs stupid. Politically a bit lame (taxpayers paid the salaries of members of a political party, the Bloc, whose principal platform was to break apart the country)

    Anyways Furtz, it is not a particular political party that would spell the ruin of the country but rather the people themselves. We do not hold our politicians of any stripe accountable and we too quickly forget their transgressions.

    I hate to admit that I feel we are losing ground and a proud history. I love Canada.

  15. Enough of this continual knocking of Canada.

  16. Interesting David. You’re saying that part of the problem is that Canadians don’t hold politicians to account. But as we look forward to tossing out the Harper Cons (hold them accountable) because of their treatment of vets, election fraud and cheating, mismanagement of many files, etc, you say we should keep them on because we need political stability.

  17. No one here is knocking Canada. Do not confuse being realistic with being negative, they are not the same. Keeping ones head buried in the sand never resolved anything well. Dialogue brings about change.

  18. I wasn’t referring to you David Oldham. The person I’m referring to knows who they are. I’m tired of her constant Canadian and in particular Cornwall putdowns.

  19. @Furtz. I am not happy with the treatment of vets either, nor native Canadians but to be fair the liberals having been in power for 43 of the years since the end of the second world war have been more in a position to make changes. Having said that however both parties are responsible. We could discuss election fraud or Adscam but to what resolve? We would merely have to conclude that politics is a dirty game played at the top level by players who want power sometimes seemingly at any cost.

    My concern at this juncture in our history is are we willing to change 4 quarters for a loonie and risk politically driven economic fallout in the process?

    My concern from a largely ignorant electorate is that this is exactly what will happen and I do not get all warm and fuzzy contemplating the end result.

  20. The treatment of our vets and native Canadians by our current government is just typical of Dear Leader’s nasty way of doing business. Those two groups of people are now on Harper’s ever growing enemy list along with scientists, judges, environmentalists, charity organizations and on and on. And, of course, those who are unfortunately on that list have to endure personal smears and character assassinations. Canadians have had enough of Harper’s small minded nastiness, and that is why the Reformatories will be going down in flames. The election will not be fought so mush on economic issues as it will on common decency issues.

  21. Mr. Oldham you spoke about a family member who came to Canada from Spain to have heart surgery and yes in a lot of countries including my husband’s Lebanon if you do not have the big bucks you die at the door of the hospital. We had to send big money over including my husband’s brother in Australia to pay for his eldest sister’s heart surgery and later she died. We had to pay for her meds which cost $500./month along with other things. When Canadians complain I would say stop complaining about our health care system – yes it isn’t the best that I can vouch but much better than having to turn over your house, car, cottage and putting yourselves in huge debts to pay for doctors, hospitals, etc.

    We have heard of refugees coming over to Canada and getting $35,000 to start and they get housing, etc. much better than what a lot of us have. Ordinary immigrants do not get that $35K but only refugees. I knew of refugees in the past in Cornwall who had the best jobs and the rest of us were thrown at the way side.

  22. Jules….we have to stop agreeing. I agree refugees get too much.

  23. Hugger we rarely ever agree with one another and this happens to be another time. I don’t know how many times that we did agree but not very often. LOL LOL. I am giggling here tonight.

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