2019: the campaign starts

I saw two recent articles that pique my interest:

  • First, the Canadian Press, reproduced in the Globe and Mail, reports that “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned to veteran Liberal Jeremy Broadhurst to run the governing party’s bid for re-election this fall … [and] … Broadhurst, who is currently serving as chief of staff to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, is to take on new duties as national campaign director by May 13 … [it is felt that] … The appointment signals an attempt to reach out to long-time Liberals, some of whom have privately grumbled that their experience has not been tapped or valued by the Trudeau team … [and while] … Broadhurst is a Team Trudeau insider but he’s also got a long history with the party … [because] … He has served in senior positions with every Liberal leader, permanent and interim, since 2006, including a stint as Trudeau’s deputy chief of staff … [and] … He ran the Liberals’ war room during the 2011 campaign and, as national director of the party, played a key role in its 2015 election victory;” and
  • Second, Murray Brewster, writing for CBC News, reports that “For Capt. Kimberly kim-fawcett-1Fawcett, the personal is now political … [because] … The soon-to-be former air force officer — who last week lost a court challenge of the military’s refusal to pay disability benefits for a 2006 traffic accident that claimed the life of her infant son — is now confirmed as the nominated federal Conservative candidate in the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough Southwest … [and] … She said she’s jumping into the political fray to help protect other Canadian Forces members from going through what she did … [because] … “I went to Bill Blair three years ago to ask for his help and he turned me away,” Fawcett told CBC News. Blair, the Trudeau government’s border security minister, represents Scarborough Southwest … [and she added] … “If he is not prepared to fight for someone like me or anyone else in our riding, then I am prepared to fight him for the job.”

I have heard, from Liberal friends, about increasing dissatisfaction with Team Trudeau and, even more, with Justin Trudeau himself. I have friends who have been die-hard Liberals since the early 1960s, they have remained, through thick and thin, convinced that, broadly and generally, the Liberal Party of Canada is better for Canada than is the Conservative Party … I disagree, obviously, but they are still my friends and I respect their opinions. The main criticism I have heard is that Justin Trudeau, himself, is a lightweight but, worse, he is wedded to a handful of propositions that are not good, sound, long-term policy for Canada. Mr Broadhurst came into the senior ranks of the Liberal Party under Bill Graham, a liberal Liberal and one of the so-called Manley Liberals. It is they who are, I think, most frustrated and worried by Prime Minister Trudeau.

But it is not just the Manley Liberals who are fed up. The latest polling from the Angus Reid Institute suggests that: “The ongoing fragmentation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2015 progressive coalition is paying dividends for Canada’s other left-of-centre parties.

FederMethoThe report says that “A new public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that more than four-in-ten (44%) who voted for Trudeau’s party in 2015 now disapprove of the Prime Minister, and more than half (51%) now plan to vote for a party other than the Liberals – or are undecided … [and] … While the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) holds a sizeable lead among decided and leaning voters, it is the Green Party – fresh from a provincial-level breakthrough in Atlantic Canada – that is building up the greatest amount of proportional support.

My guess is that the Manley Liberals will not shift to any left-wing party nor will many of Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 10.41.07them vote CPC, but as many former Conservative supporters did in 2015, they may stay home on Monday, 21 Oct 19 and watch the results on the news. But the progressives, who came out in droves to vote for Justin Trudeau in 2015 now seem more and more likely to move and the Greens seem like their current choice. I suspect that shift would be more pronounced if either or both of Jody Wilson-Raybould or, especially, Jane Philpott joined the Greens.

In other key findings:

  • Currently, one-in-three voters (35%) say that they are planning to vote for a party because they dislike another party even more and want to prevent that party from winning. This sentiment is equally high among Liberals (40%) and Conservatives (40%).” This is not, necessarily, good news for the CPC because I’m guessing that most of the 40% who plan to vote for the Liberals want to do so because they are afraid of too much conservatism;
  • Conservative leader Andrew Scheer (40% approve, 46% disapprove), NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (34% vs 45%) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (28% vs 67) all have negative net approval scores. Only Green Party leader Elizabeth May is approved of by more Canadians than disapprove of her (45% vs 34%).” Too many Canadians still disapprove of Andrew Scheer or fear an Andrew Scheer led government. The conclusion might be that Andrew Scheer has not shed enough of his social-conservative reputation; and
  • Once again, Canadians identify health care (24%) and the deficit (18%) as high priorities heading into the 2019 election, but environmental issues (27%) now top the list of priorities. Priorities vary significantly across generations and by party support.” The deficit is a winner for the CPC but Conservatives, in Ottawa and, especially, in the Alberta and Ontario governments, are perceived, by too many, to be weak on health care and “off-side” on the environment.

The Angus Reid Institute says that “The Conservative lead in vote intention holds in every region of the country except Quebec, where the CPC is in a tight three-way race with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois … [and] … In provinces west of Ontario, the Liberal Party trails not only the Conservatives, but the NDP as well, a finding that may in part reflect a widespread dissatisfaction with Ottawa seen across Western Canada today:”

Screen Shot 2019-05-03 at 11.05.58.png

There are still over 165 days to go until we vote and Mr Broadhurst is a formidable campaign organizer and Justin Trudeau still has enormous celebrity “star appeal,” and Andrew Scheer is, still, both not well enough know or liked and the Conservative brand is still mistrusted on social issues.

As I said, just below, today, the Conservatives are right on more and more key issues, but even with that, the election is not a shoo-in for them.

One thought on “2019: the campaign starts

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