26 November 2015

The Leaders

The provincial election campaign a decidedly nastier turn on Monday. Conservative leader Paul Davis is trying his best to save the party’s furniture.

Davis’ best is nasty stuff.

Davis called Dwight Ball a liar.

Rarely does one politician openly attack another using words like that.  They try to remain civil and respectful.  Davis is the first Premier since Confederation who, facing imminent defeat at the polls, has thrown any trace of decency out the window.

Davis’ move is pure political tactics.  He needs to keep his handful of surviving partisans fired up enough to get them to the polls next Monday. Poll after poll shows the Conservatives in a spot that makes the Little Big Horn look like a walk in the park.  Morale among volunteers tends to slack off in such situations.  So Davis becomes more and more outrageous in his language to stir his troops onward.

Davis is also hoping to draw a few of the orange supporters.  They are an even smaller and more beleaguered bunch than the folks huddled around the Tory bunker out by overpass, behind the Rona.  Davis needs a few of them to desert to the blue cause and his insane rhetoric might just be enough to get the Dippers’ attention.

So desperate are the Conservatives for some glimmer of hope they put a lot of stock unofficial in a new poll released Thursday. Some local news media are so desperate for the easy hype fix offered by horse race polling that they put an awful lot of stock in a single poll.. The CBC spun the poll – which showed the Liberals far ahead of the Conservatives  - as suggesting that the “PCs and NDP are closing the gap.”  NTV said the race may be tightening.

A new poll by Abacus will tell its story on Thursday.  Don’t be surprised if it confirms the earlier trending and that the Forum poll was an illusion.

If you want to get some genuine insight into this campaign,  you should check out some work by former CBC journalist Roger Bill.  His half hour report on the campaign for the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel is a tight piece of work that provides some historic depth to the campaign as well as excerpts of interviews with the three party leaders.

At about 4:30 you will get the essence of Dwight Ball’s philosophy.  Always respect voters’ choices.  Work hard. Never take their support for granted. Win their support so that the voter is confident in the decision they make on polling day.

The voter talking to Earle McCurdy at the 10 minute mark isn’t a New Democrat.  She’s polite but clearly not wanting to encourage Earle.  The second voter is a New Democrat.  McCurdy is hopeful that people will cut the NDP a break and leave them with a seat or two.  Bill did the interview before the debates and in hindsight, it’s easy to see how wildly optimistic McCurdy and his folks have been.

The Paul Davis portion shows him in his district meeting and chatting with people in a very relaxed way.  Other than that,  Davis just recites the same messages he has been pushing. 

Bill puts Davis and Ball  and McCurdy together at the end in separate clips in which the leaders are talking about how to deal with the government’s financial problems.  They all say the same thing.

The same thing.

Remember that when you listen to Davis and McCurdy screaming about a hidden agenda of cuts and slashing.  It’s just the fear talking.

Bill finishes with a summary of the economic situation facing the next administration.  He’s right.

And all three leaders agree on how to address the problem.

In those 30 minutes, Roger Bill succinctly lays this election in front of your eyes.  It’s worth taking the time to watch it.