Advertisement
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM

ONW's CAMPAIGN 2011:THE STRATEGISTS

They’re back at it again. Political strategists Bob Richardson, Blair McCreadie and Michael Rosenstock bring their political expertise to bear, parsing the parties' strategies in week two of the Ontario election campaign.

 

ONW: PC leader Tim Hudak is no longer using the phrase "foreign workers" when it comes to describing the Liberal tax credit for professional immigrants, instead now calling it an "affirmative action subsidy". Was using the "foreign workers" phrase a strategic mistake on the part of the Tories?

 

Blair McCreadie, PC Strategist:

Absolutely not - this issue is about the Liberals, not the Tories. The Liberals said one thing when they announced the policy. Then, facing a backlash, they had to further clarify who would be eligible. This affirmative action subsidy is just more evidence that the Liberals are completely out-of-touch, and are making this up as they go along.

 

Bob Richardson, Liberal Strategist:

The PC's have changed their messaging (indicating a mistake) and have been changing their advertising frequently. That is usually the sign of a campaign in flux (been there, done that!). We have been clear and consistent with our advertising tour and on the ground strategies (focus on jobs, health, education). We are running 100% ads with our leader on those 3 topics. Clear and consistent from the start, no daily zig zag.

 

Michael Rosenstock, NDP Strategist:


Both parties have changed their messaging/tact here. Liberals rushed to clarify Saturday while Tories dropped some of the heated rhetoric around “foreigners.” Perhaps that's a sign that both parties know that what people want to hear about are positive solutions to the jobs crisis - not more attack-style politics. Andrea Horwath has been doing just that, hitting hard on the jobs theme for the past week.



ONW: Some pundits say the Liberals are hiding Dalton McGuinty. Can the party overcome the fact that McGuinty's personal popularity has decreased over the last year or so?


Blair McCreadie, PC Strategist:


With the kids going back to school last week all across the province, I would have thought that Dalton McGuinty would be talking about his "record" on education. Instead, he's struggling to sell an affirmative action policy that helps only a select few, rather than the 500,000 Ontarians who are currently out of work. Liberals are off-message, and off campaign script. But while the Liberals flounder, the bigger challenge may be for the NDP. The affirmative action subsidy has been the focus of media attention in the first week, and it has squeezed the NDP out of the frame. As for your question about Dalton McGuinty, the Liberals know he's a liability. That's why he had to acknowledge in his own TV ads that he "wasn't the most popular." Voters have made up their mind on McGuinty - that's why the Liberals are trying to focus their campaign efforts elsewhere.



Bob Richardson, Liberal Strategist:

If we are supposed to be hiding our leader then someone should be fired on the campaign because we are doing a bad job of it! :):). He is in our ads 100% percent of the airtime (focus on jobs, health, education). Our tour obviously focuses around the leader. The platform (conveniently on my desk as it should be on yours) has photos of him throughout and quotes him extensively. We are proud of our leader and team. We are not hiding anything.




Michael Rosenstock, NDP Strategist:


Horwath's on TV every night is talking about real solutions on jobs, and suggesting that the bickering and nasty rhetoric isn't helping anyone find a job (like those corporate tax handouts.) This week she said Hudak and McGuinty are running a "groundhog" campaign: pop their head up -- hit the negative talking points -- and disappear. I wouldn't be surprised if that message takes hold and people take notice.



ONW: That's an interesting point Blair made about the NDP. Has it gotten squeezed out of the media coverage or might that actually benefit Horwath because the other two parties are at each other's throats so she's not a target. The NDP is up in the latest 3 polls to 24 per cent - Harris Decima, Nanos and Ipsos.



Blair McCreadie, PC Strategist:


Any "bump" that the NDP has received can be attributed to the fact that people want a change and, for some Liberal/NDP switchers that means a vote for the NDP. Admittedly, I'm intrigued to watch the NDP campaign this time. Horwath is clearly a departure from the one-dimensional angry man routine that Howard Hampton delivered in three straight elections. And the focus of their platform would suggest that they're aiming at seats in places like Windsor, London, Hamilton, Ottawa and Thunder Bay, rather than their traditional core vote. The key question is whether Horwath can translate any lingering goodwill that exists towards the federal NDP, and turn it into an actual gain in seats.



Bob Richardson, Liberal Strategist:


I think the NDP has been getting a free ride to date. One, very little scrutiny or analysis of their platform by the media, academics etc. It deserves to be reviewed in the same comprehensive fashion as the Liberal and Conservative platforms have been. Two, coverage of their leader has been far less 'tough' by the media then it has for Hudak or the premier (this is classic 'nice' coverage for the leader of the third party and has nothing to do with gender). Third, I think there continues to be somewhat of a 'halo' effect from the passing of Jack Layton that benefits New Democrats. It remains to be seen whether that will be reflected at the ballot box.

 

Michael Rosenstock, NDP Strategist:


At least we know it's not because of the right wing media conspiracy, to paraphrase the Finance Minister. But seriously, to Bob's point, bring on the heavy scrutiny. It's a fully costed platform that speaks to priorities - jobs, affordability, and health care. I'd also say this: it's clear the Liberals and Tories don't want to be talking about positive solutions. Whether or not the platform leak was intentional, both parties think they're going to make hay on immigration. Really they're just turning voters off.

ONW: Interesting commentary, gentlemen. Thanks very much. Chat to you next week.

 

 

 

 

Posted date : September 14, 2011
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM
Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne's approval ratings have plummeted a year ahead of next year's Ontario election. But not so fast, says Peter Shurman - don't count Wynne out yet.
April 24, 2017
Finance Minister Charles Sousa is promising to act in the province's budget being brought down next week. What exactly should it do? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin on that.
April 20, 2017
If Ontario really does put Canada first, it has to be a big supporter of the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement scheduled to take effect July 1st. Randall White delves into the details.
April 18, 2017
It's been thrown around for everything from fat paycheques (read Bombardier) to tax credits for creating jobs. Brad James thinks it's time to give the old phrase a rest once and for all.
April 17, 2017
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. But who should be the new leader? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin are in the ONW Salon.
April 12, 2017
A 20% border tax on imports into the U.S. is under hot debate among Republicans. What would such a tax do to Canada, coming on top of new NAFTA negotiations? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin debate.
April 05, 2017
Wynne's popularity has hit an all time low of 12% - just about rock bottom. Could the fact she is the first woman and openly gay Ontario Premier be working against her? Randall White explores.
April 04, 2017
Statistics show 40 per cent of edible food that is grown or imported is thrown away. Terri Chu is calling for stronger public policies to protect both our future food production and water sources.
April 03, 2017
With leadership campaigns heating up, pundits have crowned some candidates as "front runners". But no one's asked those actually voting. Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin discuss.
March 29, 2017
The Trudeau government's new budget, rather than delivering activist government as it promised to do, reveals a party that turns more and more conservative in power. Luke Savage weighs in.
March 23, 2017
Ontario's PCs and NDP are pressuring the Liberals to hold the line on school closures. But to keep them open, says Randall White, no one wants to pay the piper.
March 22, 2017
The Liberals government's proposal to cut energy costs by 25% is just shifting the actual payments to our children, warns Terri Chu.
March 21, 2017