Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Conservative Party Wins in Canada Election - Yahoo! News

Conservative Party Wins in Canada Election - Yahoo! News

Minority government. Could be quickly sticky if Harper doesn't put forth for immediate attention some programs that he promised that does not require parliamentary approval.

Always go direct to the masses. Then the "opposition" will be a little more leary of outright sabotage since it would be a "nose-cut-spite-face" situation with their constituency and possibly engender voting for the conservatives in previously center or liberal areas if the liberals try to cause the government to shut down and call for early elections.

However, the blame anyone but the candidate and the message project is well underway. You'd think these guys would have learned from the Democrats in the US after 2004 what happens when you look and sound like a bunch of whiney babies. It leaves a bad taste in the center voters' mouths and you're left with pandering to your radical base to keep the momentum up.

MONTREAL (CP) - With Paul Martin announcing his resignation as Liberal leader, and party recriminations well underway, his closest advisers were indignant at suggestions they might be responsible for a campaign gone wrong.

They've long blamed the Jean Chretien administration for the sponsorship scandal that dragged them down throughout their 25 months in office. Now, the news media and the RCMP are the latest additions to their black list.[snip]

Liberal election strategy was knocked off kilter by the RCMP's stunning - and very public - announcement of a criminal probe into alleged insider trading at the Finance Department.

And advisers accuse the media of an obvious bias in favour of Stephen Harper's Conservatives.

They say Liberal promises - such as a $4-billion plan to reduce tuition - went virtually unreported while the Conservatives scored a daily hit with their announcements.

"How many Canadians have even heard about our tuition plan?" one senior Liberal lamented.

But many within Liberal ranks feel no sympathy for those complaints, saying Martin's campaign was dysfunctional from the start.

He hammered away on the Kyoto accord without putting forward a plan to meet its clean-air targets. He talked about national unity but offered no new ideas for bringing the country together.

He used same-sex marriage and abortion to paint the Tories as rabid right-wingers - while conveniently ignoring the dozens of his own MPs who sided against his policy.

The media spent eight weeks pointing out those glaring inconsistencies while ignoring many of Martin's attacks - or worse, dismissing them as fear-mongering.

One Liberal MP said his leader should have projected a more positive and prime ministerial message by focusing on his economic platform.

Liberals are also wondering why they delayed so many of their policy announcements until the second half of the campaign.

The strategy was supposed to unfold like this: draw attention to Harper's weaknesses before Christmas, and kill any momentum he might have had by unrolling Liberal promises in January.

It didn't quite work out that way.

"We began our campaign after Christmas and, by then, it was over," said one well-connected Liberal. "We were constantly on the defensive, constantly reacting to Harper's announcements."

But of all the things that grated on Liberal nerves, one thing reigned supreme.

Many of the Chretien-era Liberals who helped the party win three majority governments say they were essentially forced to the sidelines.

"I have never been so disconnected from party headquarters in any campaign in my life. And it's the same story across the country," said the Quebec operative.

"They pushed aside our most experienced organizers and replaced them with young guns who didn't know their butts from their elbows."

Wow. Sounds like somebody we all know. Wrong message at the wrong time. Kicking seasoned, winning strategists to the curb in favor of morons. And, in case you're wondering, I believe I will be correct on the liberal party swinging even more left after this campaign:

One of the country's best-known Liberals used more diplomatic language to express the same grievance. He said the party must now reach out to the hundreds of grassroots organizers who were sidelined during - and after - Martin's leadership run.

"In this campaign we had 60 per cent of our people sitting on their hands," he said.

"We need to reunite the big Liberal family."

Next campaign I see the liberals accusing Harper of spending the 8 consecutive year surplus that the liberal party swears they had before the conservatives came in even after the economy picks up, the military gets some needed equipment and tax cuts put money back in the pockets of the people. I imagine it will be an even uglier fight.

Howard Dean, the Canadian Liberals need you.

A little polarization might be good for the complacent Canadian soul. Put some fire in their bellies and a little pep in their step.

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