Sunday, December 17, 2006

McGuinty Seems Safe in Ontario, But Federal NDP Appears Doomed

From the TO Sun:

The [SES] survey, provided to Sun Media, shows the Ontario Liberals are holding firm with 42% of decided voters, the Conservatives are sitting at 35%, the NDP have slipped to 16% and the Green party is at 7%.

Boring apparently works, the Libs are not being blamed for their broken promises, and John Tory hasn't made an impression on the public. Meanwhile the NDP's federal woes seem to be negatively effecting on their Provincial counterparts. Pity poor Howard Hampton, whose intimate knowledge of power generation has made him an excellent critic on the issues surrounding Hydro One.

Provincially, though, the problem has not yet reached Existential proportions. Federally, the Dippers are in tough and don't have much time to turn things around. My nightmare scenario is that the Greens take enough NDP votes that the latter lose seats, but not enough that the Greens elect anybody. I can even see the NDP losing official party status, and the Greens failing to achieve it.

The Dippers have three problems, it seems to me:

1) Jack Layton has been coming off as a bit of a Johnny one-note lately. Of course in opposition you oppose, but Jack sounds downright bitchy.

2) The NDP has always been seen to be a labor friendly party first, with a secondary environmental component, and I think this perception still holds even though the party has attempted to disintangle itself from its union roots. But the thing is, a pro-union party won't draw flies in many parts of Canada, not even among voters who otherwise consider themselves Progressive.

Meanwhile, the Green's have stolen much of the Dippers enviro-thunder.

The NDP, therefore, has to prove itself as a credible environmental party, not just complain sniffily that they got green long before Elizabeth May and co. Cutting a deal with the Tories, or at least flirting with them a bit, may help. But be careful what you wish for. If the real Greens denounce any resultant Clean Air legislation as a sellout, who will the Canadian public believe?

Hint: she's female and lacks a gay little mustache.

3) The NDP's strategy of targetting the Libs has been a failure. There is something unseemly about a national party whose goal seems to be getting dibs on Stornoway. Go for a win or go home, I say. Otherwise the party risks letting its tactics obscure its message, which is what seems to be happening already.


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