Sunday, November 08, 2009

Ridiculous Conservative spin

The opponents having fun, a lot of fun: "Tories position byelections as test of Ignatieff's leadership." As the report itself makes clear, none of the ridings have "ever been prime Liberal turf." Nevertheless, and of course, the Liberals are under the microscope. That's just the way things go these days. Imagine if a by-election were happening in my riding tomorrow, Parkdale-High Park, where the Conservatives barely register. If they lost such a hypothetical race tomorrow in such a riding, it would mean nothing about Conservative national chances. That's essentially what's going on in these by-elections. There may be a temporary p.r. hit but that wouldn't have been avoided by going "all in" in ridings that aren't win prospects.

None of this changes that ideally we need competitive parties in a majority of regions across the country. But that's not the case for tomorrow's races and that dynamic figures for other parties too, if they're honest about it.

But the really big story tomorrow should be how the Conservatives fare. If they're edging into majority territory courtesy of piano-playing popular Steve, then surely they should win at least 3 seats: B.C., Montmagny & the N.S. seat. B.C. because of the carefully scripted campaign, visited by high profile Conservative cabinet ministers, littering judicial inquiries on the eve of the vote. Montmagny due to the kitchen sink approach: their "star" candidate in an open seat, provincial Liberal help, celebrity endorsements (Demers). N.S., well, because it's always been Conservative territory. Of course, they're playing it low:
DeLorey said the Tories expect to be shut out themselves, pointing out that byelections rarely reward the governing party. But that message is almost certainly more an excercise in lowering expectations than a realistic prediction.
A party that's spent millions and millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars over the past year to there anything less we should expect than at least three solid Conservative wins?

Update (11:20 p.m.): Just to further underscore the point of parties being competitive in varying areas, we saw a recent reminder of that fact with the news that star Conservative candidate Chris Alexander would run in Ajax rather than Toronto, his home. An acknowledgement that even a star Conservative is not likely to win in Toronto. Same applies to Montreal.