The second week of the campaign is getting heated with parties looking for nuggets from their war rooms in the hopes that they can throw their opponents off their game. Sometimes the strategy works and sometimes it doesn’t. One thing they do for sure…grab attention. And it seems that voters are paying attention as recent polls show that Liberals are losing their lead and the Conservatives and NDP picking up momentum.
That’s why in today’s Brief, we are looking at campaign attack strategies and polling. Do they have any effect on a campaign? And what do the parties need to do to sway public opinion? Let’s find out….
From the desk of Hon. Joe Jordan, Senior Associate
At the very real risk of stating the obvious, the next week will be an important stretch for the Liberals. Although there will always be specific challenges to being a frontrunner in politics, the objective is simply to get out of the gate clean. Campaigns are about implementing a strategy to mitigate the predictable obstacles and the flexibility to respond to the various unpredictable “events”, but flexibility is a capacity and not a strategy and the time for some strategy is now.
To date, the Prime Minister has had a very difficult time dealing with the election timing issue. It will continue to undermine any potential policy discussion if the debate is mired in motive. Locally, as the campaigns enter the outreach and voter identification phases, the ‘why’ issue has the potential to impact momentum and morale at the worst possible time. It is an issue that is easy for local reporters to ask about, for constituents to raise on the phone or doorstep, and it is an issue that they should have seen coming and dealt with upfront.
During the next few days, the Prime Minister will need to drive the debate back to the policy suites that underpin the Liberal’s pandemic response and recovery plan. While not stooping to personal attacks, I think we will start to see the Prime Minister be much more aggressive in attacking the opposition policy proposals. Even though the electoral clock is ticking, there is still time to align this shift with the voter engagement that will ramp up as September approaches.
As the polls continue to fluctuate, all roads inevitably lead to the national debates. I think it is fair to say that they increase in importance daily and the eventual outcome will go a long way to determining the electoral map come September 21.
From the desk of Cameron Holmstrom, Consultant
Many quotes stick in my mind when it comes to political tactics. One has been ringing through my ears for the past few days, from one of the best TV shows of all time, “The Wire”, and feels very apt right now: "you come at the King, you best not miss." We’ve seen both the Conservatives and Liberals try to go at each other’s kings through social media, missing and exposing themselves to the greater downside than whatever they might have gained by succeeding.
Missing the King opens the attacker up to not only blowback from the media, but offers the attacked party a chance to score points they didn’t earn. We’re seeing that with the Liberals' “manipulated media” attack on Conservative Erin O’Toole. Not only did it get the attention of Canadians that the video was edited within an inch of its life, but it also played into some of the worst views that some Canadians have of the Liberals and their leader. Ipsos released a poll last week that showed 44% of Canadians surveyed felt that Justin Trudeau would say anything to get elected, and this incident highlights why some feel that way.
In campaigns where so much is tied to the image, likeability and personality of a party leader, anything that can damage those crown jewels will hurt in the polls and at the ballot box. If you get caught trying such a gambit, that’s what you risk doing to your campaign. That’s why I always advise campaigns to stay away from those tactics, as the high risks rarely net the rewards to make them worthwhile. If you’re going to go at the King, you’re better to give him your best shot, not a long one. Because if you miss, you get what we’ve seen this week.
In the Hamilton, Ontario battleground, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced his party’s plan to help the “next generation of homeowners in Canada.” Trudeau also spoke with G7 leaders as they grapple with the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and the pending deadline set by the Taliban. https://globalnews.ca/news/8136159/g7-afghanistan-taliban-kabul/
Speaking from Ottawa, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole provided further details regarding the protections his party would provide workers’ pensions in the case of company bankruptcy and layoffs.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stood outside the corporate offices of a for-profit long-term care facility to highlight, that if elected, his government would phase out for-profit LTC providers in favour of public and non-profit operators.
Green Party leader Annamie Paul reiterated her party’s plan (first proposed in March) to provide Canadians with retroactive residential tenant support.
LOW DOWN ON POLLING – Éric Grenier’s blog called The Writ is all about elections, politics and polling in this country…if you love this stuff!
TRUTH TESTING from The Canadian Press
CONTROLLING INFLATION from QP Briefing
SPELL CHECK ANYONE???
Here is where you can expect the leaders to be today (all times in Eastern):
Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is in Surrey, B.C. where at noon he will meet with a family to discuss housing and make an announcement following that meeting.
Erin O’Toole, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada will make an announcement and hold a media availability at 1130 am in Brantford. In the evening, he will attend an event with supporters at the Hamilton Convention Centre.
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP is in Windsor, Ontario, where he will hold a press conference on affordability at 1030 am. At 1:30 pm, he will make an announcement with the Mayor of Windsor and the campaign with local candidates.
Annamie Paul, Leader of the Green Party of Canada is in Toronto, where she will speak with the media at 230 pm and then campaign with volunteers.
Yves Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois is in Quebec City, where he will hold a press conference at 930 am on employment insurance and sickness benefits. Following that, he will tour the area near Le Château Frontenac with local candidates, meet with Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume at city hall and speak to the media once again at 430 pm.