Monday, September 15, 2008

Conservatives to Target NDP, Greens

I'm not at all sure what to make of this:

Tories change campaign target to aim at NDP, Greens

OTTAWA - The Conservatives said Sunday they are refocusing their primary aim on the NDP and the Green Party, citing them as a bigger threat to their reelection than the Liberals.

The Tories explained their dramatic shift in strategy, coming as the second week of the federal election begins, as being due to NDP Leader Jack Layton's rising popularity over that of Liberal Leader Stephane Dion - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's main target last week.

But the Conservatives also said that the NDP and Green Party are making significant inroads, not only in British Columbia and parts of the Prairies but in northern and southwestern Ontario.

I'm trying to think of any way in which this would actually benefit the Conservatives. After all, of all the NDP supporters I know, I can't think of one of them who wouldn't rather gnaw of their own leg than vote for Stephen Harper. If they suddenly became disenchanted with Jack Layton (and some of them have), they might vote Green or Liberal, but never, ever Conservative.

The only thing I can think of is if some of the hardcore union types would consider the Conservatives a viable alternative. I don't know. Perhaps some of you Blogging Dippers can enlighten me. I've probably been a little sheltered in my GTA cocoon, but most of the NDP supporters I know are more latte than lunch bucket.

BTW, I've mentioned this before but I should probably say it again. I have no problem with the NDP. I used to vote NDP on a regular basis, and would happily do so again. I have some problems with Jack Layton, but if it even came down to a choice between him and Harper, I'd pick Layton in a heartbeat. So if things ever got to the point where the NDP became the official opposition and voting for them became our best chance of getting rid of Harper, then... well...

Happily, I don't think we're there yet. But things sure are getting interesting.


  1. Jen... Glad you asked the question. Most New Democrats in those areas that Harper is supposedly going to target aren't the latte drinkin' type that you spoke of (althought they might partake from time to time... i'm not one to pigeon hole). Being one of them, many of those New Democrats in the North and rural areas are working in the resource sector, farming, or things of that nature, which is why Harper is probably making a play at them.

    Do I think that it will work? No, because as you pointed out, they are much more likely to do serious harm to themselves rather than vote Conservative.

    The interesting development here though is the fact that Mr. Harper is turning away from going after Dion. Yes, I believe that Mr. Layton is his bigger threat on the leadership front and in those polls, so that part of it makes sense to me. But what I find odd about this is that while this takes even more attention away from Mr. Dion, it also allows for Mr. Dion to maybe recoop, which is an opportunity that the Conservatives would ever give. One thing is for sure, things they are a changin'.

  2. The NDP is showing momentum, particularly in BC and northern Ontario. The party may affect Conservative seats in BC but it may take Liberal seats in northern Ontario.

    I will agree with Northwestern Lad that rural NDPers are not lattè sippers or "Zoeys" who eat organic food. In northern Ontario, there's fishing season, moose hunting, bear hunting, deer hunting, and vegetarian hunting season.

    Why are the Conservatives going after the NDP and Greens? Conservatives need the same votes from working/middle class families that the NDP is trying to attract. The Conservatives also need disaffected voters who may be parking their votes with the Greens; they need those voters to return to the Blue Sweater Party--the BS Party. Back to the NDP. I'm guessing that the polling numbers are improving for the NDP in select areas such as BC and parts of Ontario.

    This seems cynical. I will guess that the Conservatives will be attacking the NDP to give Jack Layton more exposure which may help transfer votes from the Liberals to the NDP. An evenly split vote between the NDP and Liberals means that the Conservatives may come up through the middle and win a majority of the seats.

  3. I'm feeling very cynical as well and think what skinny dipper pointed out might be at play:

    This seems cynical. I will guess that the Conservatives will be attacking the NDP to give Jack Layton more exposure which may help transfer votes from the Liberals to the NDP. An evenly split vote between the NDP and Liberals means that the Conservatives may come up through the middle and win a majority of the seats.

    Let's be realistic, putting the Greens on equal footing with the NDP as a threat is statistically ludicrous. I think it's a ploy to encourage lots of vote splitting in those ridings.

    And to add another level of cynicism, Harper wants to destroy the Liberals. By making them completely irrelevant during this election, he gets an opportunity to turn long-standing Liberal seats into Conservative ones. I think that is the strategy he'll be using to take Goodale, Neville, Simard and Keeper's seats in the Prairies. I keep remembering 1993 when the real Tories were decimated. Solid blue seats east of Manitoba went red.

  4. Hi Jennifer;

    Harper is hoping that the media will follow his line of vision away from the Liberals to increase the level of irrelevance of Dion in the campaign. Its a neo-con strategy to make all kinds of noise but not actually talk about the issues.

    Harper is actually afraid of focussing any attention on Dion because then each article has his view but also Dion's. If Harper is only talking about Layton and May, then Dion gets left out of the media article or clip that results.

  5. You answered your own question. If he attacks the NDP, he legitimizes them, and galvanizes their own supporters. He needs a strong NDP to split the Liberals' vote, and knows that in a lot of the country this sort of thing will just make them stronger.

  6. I agree it is just a way of attempting to further split the opposition which can benefit the Conservatives.

    However, they are getting too obvious in it and it then will lose its impact. First, there were Conservatives openly talking about a deal between Harper and Layton to keep May out of the debates and discussing a morning phone call between the two campaign teams on strategy. Now, today we have them "attacking" each other, Layton calling Harper "a strong leader" and Harper saying the NDP "are trying to target on the needs of real people". It just seems too obvious that they are trying to reinforce each other's campaign message.

    I haven't seen Harper attack the Greens yet, although he threatened to. Has anyone seen that? I'm curious as to whether Harper will describe them addressing the "needs of real people" too.