Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Letter to Alfred Apps

Dear Mr. Apps,

I am writing this letter to you, as President of the Liberal Party of Canada, regarding the EKOS poll that was released today (Thursday). I'm certain that you've had a chance to peruse the latest results, showing that the Party you preside over is rapidly falling even further out of approval with the Canadian electorate. I'm also hoping that your hangover won't be too bad tomorrow morning when you wake up from this long, long nightmare.

If one of the goals of your Party is to put a smile on Stephen Harper's rather glum visage, I'm certain that you must know by now that you have achieved your goal. From media reports, it appears that the corners of his mouth may have turned up slightly toward his forehead; in other words, he's grinning from ear to ear.

The Globe and Mail, your favourite Liberal-leaning, Conservative-bashing mainstream media rag even had this to say:

"And, according to a projection calculated by EKOS President Frank Graves, the Liberals could be reduced to 64 seats from their current 77 were an election held in the first week of July, opening the door to the possibility they might not even form the Official Opposition."

Mr Apps, the sky is falling, the sky is falling! The Globe has fallen off the Liberal bandwagon!

Actually, if you do look at the trend of the numbers Mr. Apps, you can see a slow and steady rise in NDP support over the past 18 months from 14% to just shy of 18%. You can also see a slow and steady decline in Liberal support from the mid-30's to today's number of 23.9% support. With the precipitous drop over the past 2 months, just about any Canadian with a middle school education can project that the NDP/Liberal support numbers will cross in less than a year and likely a shorter time than that.

Another question Mr. Apps. How do you know that things are REALLY bad? Things are REALLY bad when the Globe prints this quote from Mr. Frank Graves, President of EKOS:

“The fortunes of the Conservative Party of Canada and Stephen Harper now appear to oscillate more clearly with the national mood. When Canadians now feel better about the country they tend to assign special bonus points to Stephen Harper.”

Oh my goodness, now just because I feel good about Canada I'm going to give Stephen Harper a pass on everything he does plus a few bonus points just because his cronies show up to work? Sure Mr. Graves said it, but the Globe didn't have to print it, did they? I mean really, the nerve of the editing staff. I hate to go all Chicken Little on you again Mr. Apps but the sky HAS fallen, the sky HAS fallen!

I'm also hoping that you took the time to surf over to the EKOS website located here to read the poll for yourself. Here's their analysis of the results:

"So why this abrupt shift in Conservative fortunes? In the absence of Parliament, we could speculate that it is merely a random survey error. But the pattern is far too pronounced and we can dismiss this hypothesis.

Perhaps the absence of the critical lens that Parliament provides to the public explains buoyed Conservative fortunes. Another factor is the continuing recovery of the economy and the juxtaposition of Canadian strength compared to the economic and fiscal woes of recent visitors from the G8.

A final interesting hypothesis is that Stephen Harper may now be assuming a symbolic as well as political role. It is interesting to note that in the absence of the representative head of state (Michaƫlle Jean), it was Harper who greeted the Queen, rubbed shoulders with Obama and European Leaders, and basked in the positive glow surrounding Canada Day.

So just as the Olympic hockey victory lifted Harper’s fortunes, the cumulative effect of these events seems to have exerted a similarly positive effect. If indeed Harper is now becoming a proxy for national pride, this may make the challenge for Ignatieff even more formidable (as confidence in national direction continues to be strong)."

So, as I said before, Stephen Harper is a now a proxy for national pride? For crying in the sink, the poll was taken between June 22nd and July 6th, right over the period of time when the G8/G20 security personnel were acting like Mr. Harper's own personal, billion dollar storm troopers. How could those polled possibly have seen that as a "positive effect"? What does it say about the Liberal Party; wouldn't you think that your people should have been able to muster up even more support than normal? After all, the invocation of the War Measures Act is so far in the past that most voters don't even know what it is anymore.

I have a couple of comments that I hope you'll read through once you pick yourself up off the floor and dust yourself off. Canadians are less than enthused about our current government. Nationally, only 40.5% of Canadians think that the Government of Canada is moving in the right direction with 48% stating that it is moving in the wrong direction. Why is it then that we don't like our Conservative government but we still pick the governing Party over your Liberals?

My strong suspicion is that voters are less enamoured with Michael Ignatieff than they are afraid of the direction that the Conservative government is taking Canada. While Mr. Ignatieff appears to be a fine gentleman and scholar, in today's political world, nice guys rarely finish first and in the Liberal Party's case, maybe even second.

The Conservative Party has done an excellent job of creating a shroud of doubt around Mr. Ignatieff. They are constantly reminding the sweaty masses that he's just here for a visit, he's really an American wannabe etcetera ad nauseum. While it appears that Mr. Ignatieff wants to fight a gentleman's fight, the Parliamentary Marquis of Queensbury rules have changed. Personal attacks are the order of the day.

I'll let you in on a secret. All it takes is a really simple search of the internet to find ammunition that can be used against the leader of the Conservatives that might help dispel the myth that Mr. Harper is a born again federalist. Here's a start for you from Mr. Harper's 1997 speech to the American Council for National Policy:

"...Now, having given you a compliment, let me also give you an insult. I was asked to speak about Canadian politics. It may not be true, but it's legendary that if you're like all Americans, you know almost nothing except for your own country. Which makes you probably knowledgeable about one more country that most Canadians."

What more need I say.

In closing, I'd like to suggest that if you want to see the Liberal Party succeed (or even exist) after the next election, you need to make the daring move of calling a convention that will vote (and I mean really vote this time) on Mr. Ignatieff's leadership. If, after the vote, the Party still elects to stick with Mr. Ignatieff as leader, at least the fickle finger of fate will point at the Party and not at the electorate when you lose the next election badly.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I know that you've been busy washing the bus for Mr. Ignatieff's "Liberal Express" summer cross country tour of Canada and fending off Jack Layton and the NDP who want to take over your Party.

Oh, and did I remember to tell you to let your grassroots delegates actually vote for the leader the next time you have a leadership campaign? You remember democracy in action, don't you?

P.S. Here's another quote from your favourite newspaper today from Doug Finley, the CPC Campaign Director talking about the Senate carving up Bill C-9:

""I think there’s more than enough issues here to run an election on, and I’m ready,” Mr. Finley said. “I’ve got buses, I’ve got planes, I’ve got war room, I’ve got advertising already in the can. We are constantly at work on our policy and platform. I’ve got a tour two-thirds planned. Yah, let’s dance.”"

If I were you, I wouldn't be sleeping too soundly tonight Mr. Apps.


  1. The saddest thing is that the Liberals have spent years hidding under the "were just not ready yet" banner. THAT is why the past two Lib leaders should not have been leaders - it has NOTHING to do with personality, charisma, etc. It has everything to do with avoiding the fight.

    Look at the Finley quote: ""I think there’s more than enough issues here to run an election on, and I’m ready,” Mr. Finley said. “I’ve got buses, I’ve got planes, I’ve got war room, I’ve got advertising already in the can. We are constantly at work on our policy and platform. I’ve got a tour two-thirds planned. Yah, let’s dance.”"

    That is someone from a party that WANTS power and will TAKE it and KEEP it as long as others leave it to be taken. No viable opposition means a non-viable government (elected by a small minority of the population).

    The Liberals should IMMEDIATELY hold a leadership review and focus on the one key question before them: Who is willing and able to prepare the party for an IMMEDIATE election? At the very least, the electorate will notice the change and call it positive. Raise money as fast as can be done - no pussyfooting around, call it an appeal for the "Canada you want". Be open and honest about your need and the ultimate goal. Make it the war chant.

    Whoever prepares the party should be the person to lead the party in an election. Smmoth, seemless transition as part of the new Liberal "get it done" message.

    Be prepared for a pre-emmptive strike from Harper - if he sees you lining up ducks, he will panick. So be it: another promise (fixed election dates) broken...

    Finley talks about having enough issues. I agree. The CPC have handed you enough goodies to campain effectively on - play the opposition card and force the CPC to answer to their policies and actions (and results, or lack thereof). Don't try to launch huge policy initiatives - just show the government's weaknesses and how more of CPC will yield yet more of these same problems.

    Good luck. People are BEGGING for an alternative to Harper. They will even go to the NDP if they have to (it happened in Ontario, home of Bill Dsvis and the PCs for sooooo long), but voting NDP (or Green) would only help the CPC.

    Every day of inaction brings lost opportunity and potential disaster. Every day of action brings hope for a real, needed change.

    Liberals, this election is yours to lose - I just wish you were not so good at losing! :-(

  2. If you aren't a blogger already, you should be!