CFN – 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.
To sponsor this column please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)
Comment policy reminder
CFN suggests you post comments using your real name. If you wish to post with a pseudonym you can register that user id by emailing email@example.com with your name, address, phone number and user id you wish to register.