View From The Hill By Keith Beardsley – Bye Election Repercussions for Thomas Mulcair – NOV 20, 2014

Dr. EvilCFN – It was interesting to hear Tom Mulcair try to dodge the issue of how poorly the NDP did in the last two bye-elections, as well as the previous one where they lost Olivia Chow’s former seat. If you are the leader of a party your worse fear is that your vote will collapse and drift elsewhere.

Mulcair is no fool he has lots of provincial cabinet experience, he knows what fate can await a leader if that type of trend continues. Party members and MPs tend to want winners leading them into an election and right now it is Trudeau not Mulcair who has the momentum.

Every election there has been talk about strategic voting in order to stop the Harper Conservatives and we haven’t seen much evidence of that happening or at least it being successful.  Usually when we heard the other two parties fighting over strategic voting it was a sign to us that both of them were weak. In our case we wanted both of them about equal so that they would split the vote and thereby give us some wins in closely contested ridings.

In the 2004 and 2005-6 elections my war room attack staff was under strict orders not to go after the NDP during the campaign as we didn’t want to weaken them too much. We even had to get permission to intervene on a riding by riding basis if one of our candidates came to us for assistance against their NDP opponents.

What are the repercussions of a potential collapse of the NDP vote?

1. Mulcair’s tenure and policies will face increased internal scrutiny.

2. The Liberals will probably mount a pre-election push to attract soft NDP votes to themselves in an ABC (Anyone But Conservatives) campaign and this time they will have a chance of that being successful. They may also want to go after the former PC Party vote, using former MP Bill Casey as an example.

3. The Conservatives are left with a few difficult choices. Do they try to find a way to prop up Mulcair in the hope that they will stop the NDP vote from drifting to Trudeau or

4. Do they look at an earlier election date to head off a potential NDP collapse outside of Quebec? An earlier vote would also allow the Conservatives to get ahead of any economic slowdown caused by falling oil prices which could put their economic record in jeopardy. With foreign policy issues dominating the news right now they could also capitalize on Trudeau’s weakness on that front.

All in all it makes for an interesting few months as all of the above gets sorts out.

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. Too bad for Mulcair. He’s been the best Opposition leader we’ve seen in a long long time. Not surprising that the Dipper’s popularity would drop after Jack Layton died.

  2. “Trudeau’s weakness” on foreign policy. Only if you are a warmonger like Harper.

  3. Defending a democracy by standing against terrorism makes a leader a “warmonger”. What does that make the Liberals under Chretiens leadership for involving Canada in Afghanistan? Ten years of failure by the Russians was an indicator to the Liberals that the Canadians would be successful in their attempt to do what exactly what? You surely forget that history records that it was the Conservatives under Harper that brought our men and women back from an untenable situation.

  4. Oh come on David. You know very well that Harper was chomping at the bit for Canada to join Bush’s and Blair’s invasion of Iraq. That little adventure turned out well, didn’t it?

  5. Talk about defending a democracy! Nice if Harper defended Canadian democracy for a change, instead of being found in contempt of it,routinely railroading Parliament with omnibus bills, bypassing Parliament with major economic policy decisions, failing totally to consult with provincial premiers on issues of national interest, and attacking anyone with a different view from his own.

    If the term hypocrite didn’t exist already, Stephen Harper would be the reason behind the need for it.

  6. Well as I feared Canada is getting deeper into yet another Middle East war with mp guy lauzons party allowing mission creep.
    We were only bombing Iraq but now Harper wants to move into Syria as well. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
    Saudi Arabia and Turkey sit on the sidelines while we send our young people off to drop bombs on isis
    Bombing didn’t stop Viet Cong,Taliban and will only slow down isis.
    Canada should move back to peacekeeping and let the countries under threat STEP UP and fight these cut throat terrorists.

  7. Not to mention a number of other ugly terms that spring to mind.

  8. It sad how willing the Harper Cons are so willing to cheat and engage in criminal activity in order to gain power. To them, subverting democracy is an acceptable activity. From the “in and out” scam in 2006, to Dean Del Mastro, to Michael Sona, the criminal convictions are piling up.

  9. Yes PJ. And it’s good that a lot of their underhanded BS and cheating is finally blowing back at them. Been a long time coming.

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