Tuesday, December 04, 2007

McGunity Van Loan Pissing Contest: The Conservatives have strategy and Liberals Don’t

The biggest ridings in Ontario and indeed in the country are all in suburban Toronto. However, it is far from clear way the Conservatives would want to seed the field to the Liberals -- at least in the short term. Far from being the Liberal fortress that urban Toronto is Suburban Toronto and the rest of the 905 have been an area of growth for the Conservatives. They picked up 4 seats in 905 in the 2006 election and margins of Conservative victory increased in every riding that they had previously held.

You can be sure that the Conservatives' motives for getting into a pissing contest with Dalton Mcguinty are far from capricious. The Conservatives are aiming to do two things. One, they want to play to their “Western” base and two they want to reassure Quebec and the Maritimes that things will not get out of hand --- hence the small man of Confederation reference. Most people understand this. What they do not understand why this strategy is likely to work. You see one of the long simmering sources of “Western” alienation is the perception that Ottawa, for reasons relating to Quebec, is unwilling to recognize the region’s growing economic and democratic clout. The Conservatives are not so much trying to reduce “Western” alienation as trying to stoke it. The Conservatives are betting that the Liberals will defend the status quo and so far the Liberals have done just that. During the next election the Conservatives will mention how the Liberals are content to continue short changing the “West”. It is no accident that the Conservatives are proposing to give the same number of seats to the BC and Alberta as Quebec has. On the other side of the ledger Ontario’s huge rate of growth in absolute terms is bound to scare the bejesus out of Quebec and the Maritime premiers and by short changing Ontario the Conservatives are signaling to these provinces that they recognize these concerns and are willing to do something about it.

The Conservative fall back position is to say to Ontarians that while Ontario might be shortchanged in comparison to BC and Alberta and Quebec, it nevertheless gains more seats under the new system then it would under the old system. (It is should be noted that in absolute terms this is true; Ontario will gain more seats in absolute terms; after all, the new system adds more seats than the older system. However in the long term such a system will see the gap between what percentage of the population of Canada lives in Ontario and what percentage of MPs are from Ontario grow faster than under the current system.)

If the Liberals were smart, they would surprise the Conservatives and say that the 4 largest provinces should all be held to the same standard and cash in in Ontario. The problem is the Liberals are tactical dummies and they do not know the first thing about strategy. Indeed, as Canada’s 3 largest cities grow, their suburbs and not just the urban cores are becoming more liberal. What is more, the Liberals still have better relations with new Canadians than any other party and most Canadians are in Canada three largest cities. These areas are the biggest potential for long term Liberal growth; the more seats they are given the better. So what are Liberals doing? They are busy worrying about what Harper’s chew toy (Charest) has to say.

1 comment:

A Quantum Liberal said...

Fukk off Maple Tree.