04 May 2011

The Dunderdale Referendum, encore

Pretty well every single conventional media outlet ran a story in the wake of the federal election about how the results might affect Kathy Dunderdale and the provincial Conservatives.

CBC has an online story about a possible “hangover.”  The Telly had a front pager on Wednesday on the same subject. NTV has a bit quoting Tom Marshall who denies there will be any backlash. 

Not surprisingly, the provincial Conservatives all claim things are rosy and wonderful.

But here’s what this is really all about

Kathy Dunderdale and her crowd joined with the argument federally that the provincial Tories have used relentlessly on their own since 2003.  It was all about getting behind the guys in power to get your goodies.  Voters in the province rejected that flatly.

Dunderdale and her team did not produce a single victory other than the squeaker in Labrador.  Everywhere else, their candidates got their asses handed to them. And that guy in Labrador is not one of Kathy’s crew.  He’s got his own mind and his own agenda and it may not match up with Kathy’s. This vote result is a major rebuke for Kathy Dunderdale by voters.

Politically, Kathy herself backed off her position as it became clear voters didn’t buy her endorsement.  She had members of her caucus who didn’t campaign with the rest or who did only the barest of bare minimums. Did Dunderdale herself make any campaign stops other than the one with Harper himself?

Dunderdale’s own statement on the results is exactly three sentences of bland platitudes. There is no reference to the loan guarantee and the Lower Churchill, at all. There is that line again about legitimate aspirations, whatever they are.  Sounds more like a hollow phrase cooked up  by the back-room brain trust rather than something that anyone  - including Dunderdale - actually understands.

Maybe she has finally looked at her own polls that show Muskrat is an issue for a mere three percent of voters.  The biggest issues for people are health care and the economy/job creation.  If she wants to create a connection between Muskrat and jobs, clearly people don’t see it.

But as referenda go, Dunderdale just took a huge political gamble and lost.


Whether or not the Prime Minister delivers the loan guarantee actually doesn’t matter.  What matters is that Dunderdale launched a political campaign that, on the face of it, was the counter-part to ABC, and she couldn’t deliver.

That got noticed.

- srbp -