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Keep your Liberal election cards close to your vest

This is a followup to my Liberal blogger colleague Steve, who did a blogpost on the weekend cautioning Liberals to “Beware The Spring Strategy” – a reference to some Liberal strategists “privately” telling media sources that they’d prefer to wait until the Spring before having an election.

Steve’s main point that I’ll focus on is where he says this:

One word comes to mind here- NIMBLE. I would argue that the Liberals abandon these long term plans, or more correctly, adapt to events and be pragmatic.

I’ll go a step further; I would like the Liberals to stop broadcasting their thoughts on elections -either private ones OR public – to the media. The media broadcast those thoughts/statements to the public, and part of the public that reads those statements are the Conservatives and their strategists. Why show your cards (or even give a hint as to what those cards are) to a government that will craft strategy around that as to how far they can go with their agenda?

Part of a statement I saw from the Liberals publicly was that the election timing would be up to Harper, not to them. Even that bothers me a bit, but I suppose one can craft it to mean that if Harper goes too far with a policy the Liberals feel are unacceptable, they will be forced to vote non-confidence.

What I would prefer the Liberals to say, if they need say anything, is similar to what Steve is suggesting; that they will go on an issue-by-issue basis in the Fall session and make their decisions on votes and such as events warrant (I would hope some of the strategists believe that to be the best way to go, as well).


9 comments to Keep your Liberal election cards close to your vest

  • Sideshow Bob

    Does this really matter?

    Liberals are low in the polls because they refuse to present a coherent set of principles to Canadians. Regular Canadians don’t care about these tactical questions. They care about a party that actually believes in something other than the necessity of getting itself back into power. Which explains why the Liberal Party would lose if an election were held today.

    • Marie

      Sideshow Bob, are you gazing in your crystal Ball again making incorrect opinions based on BS? Enough said and I am sure you get the drift.

  • Brian

    As a liberal myself, I think we’ve gone on far too long on an issue by issue basis.I’ve seen this party trying to get itself self-inflicted boxed-in positions for too long because the election polls weren’t good enough. If we are being denied our democratic institutions, or omnibills abusing non-confidence votes, then let’s vote them done and stand for something.

  • Kephalos

    Let’s make a deal???

    Behind door #1: new ice arena for Quebec City and no election until 2013.

    Behind door #2: new ice arena for Quebec City and an NHL team and no election until 2013.

    Behind door #3: new ice arena for Quebec City, an NHL team and a silent non-compete deal in 10 ridings in and no election until 2013.

    How am I doing so far?

    • ck

      @Kephalos, I think we’re going 2 have an election long before then. We can’t afford 2 allow Harper to do any more damage.

      But a non compete agreement in 10 ridings? Hmmm! I might have entertained that idea at another time, except nowadays, given his project of resurrecting sovereignty, it would be counterproductive for him to have non-compete agreements with any federalist party in Quebec ridings. Plus, he’s already, albeit informally, campaigning in Quebec.

  • Kephalos

    Why don’t the Liberals say what is true? Harper will not call an election that he will lose because of his ideologically driven weird decisions. He will also do his utmost to avoid confidence votes. But even then all the opposition must cohere to vote ‘No confidence’.

    But the Bloc won’t. Why would the Bloc vote for an election only to win a few more seats. And why do they want an election when they have the best advertisement against Canada in ‘la person of Stephan Harper’?

    • ck

      Kephalos, Don’t go trusting the Bloc too soon. I’ve been reading various articles and listening to various snippits on Talk Radio, not enough to come up with a concrete conclusion, but just a vibe; and my vibe is that perhaps Duceppe & STeve, along with Pierre Karl Peladeau may well play a little game of Let’s make a deal.

      Word has it that Duceppe has been pushing for a new federally funded (largely in part anyway) hockey arena in Quebec City. I understand there is a charge led by Peladeau to find an American cash strapped NHL franchise, and bring to Quebec City. Yes, the goal is to have hockey in Quebec City once again. I would be concerned about the particulars of such an unholy alliance.

      If an election were to be held in the Fall, and the Liberals were to squeak through, the LIberals may not be so accommodating as to fund this arena as well as the aquisition of another hockey team for Quebec City.

  • Dan F

    The best strategy, I would think, would be for the Libs to adopt a policy of holding the government to account for the results of each vote in parliament.
    It is the responsibility of the government to maintain the confidence of the house, and the libs need to reframe it as such, so that when the government falls, it was not the opposition that triggered an election, but Stephen Harper who failed to maintain the confidence of the house.

    In order to frame it as a Stephen Harper failure when the election comes, they need to start building that frame *now*. Whenever he is asked, Iggy should reply that it is the responsibility of the PM to maintain the confidence of the house. If he fails, there will be an election.

  • I think the problem is that the Liberals have been going issue-by-issue for too long. Each issue the Liberals have faced never seems important enough to risk triggering an election. As a results the Conservatives have been getting away with doing serious damage to the country, because each little think wasn’t worth fighting an election over.

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