Thursday, April 30, 2015

Today - Alberta

Today is, in my opinion, the most crucial day in the Alberta Election.

Tomorrow is a Friday before a Weekend. Anything in the news will need to come early to ensure it catches before the end of the weekday news cycle. In addition, being so close to the end of the election (Tuesday) Fridays are social days, as are Saturdays, and even Sundays. If people are to talk about politics with their friends and family, it will be done during this period.

This means today - Thursday - is important.

Add to that we are nearing the election. Only 4 full days stand between today and election day. Any party that wants to change direction will need to do so very soon for it to 'stick' in the minds of the voters.

Today is the day where certain actions need to be taken before it's "too late"

For each party that action is different.

For the Liberals, they need nothing short of divine intervention to win this election. Literal divine intervention, not the figurative kind. Equally unlikely, they could ask their voters to vote for someone else, to stop someone else from winning.

For Wildrose, they need to step up their game. If they are going to win this election they need to find themselves on the front page of all the papers tomorrow, and not for a negative reason. Jean will need to have a clip of himself talking on the evening news, and he needs to say something that is concrete and real (not more "low taxes" but exactly how he will eliminate the deficit) but that is also short and sweet. This is nearly impossible. Nobody believes the polls showing Wildrose doing so well, and after my own research, I do not either. I expect Wildrose will finish the election with between 30 and 5 seats, much more likely between 20 and 15.

The other parties don't have a hope. Sure the Alberta Party leader, Clark Greg, might win his riding, and in fact, probably will, but no other candidate from no other small party has any shot whatsoever, even in ridings lacking a Liberal.

This election is a race between two parties, and both have a few things they can do, today, to win.

Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta

The PC Party still has the easiest path to victory. They, however, need to do a few things. I will outline them.

1 - Make some believable commitments to changing certain things. This means have someone with credibility make statements about the change on behalf of the party. This means not Prentice. Frankly, you need someone like Lukaszuk. He needs to get up and clearly state the party will look at other revenue streams - feel free to be vague.

2 - The biggest problem for the NDP in any province is trust with the economy. While the NDP has done alright for itself in Manitoba, and pretty well in Saskatchewan, NDP governments in Ontario and BC have been disasters. Nova Scotia's NDP actually did very well in terms of growth and fiscal restraint, but they were unable to communicate that well to the voters. For the PC Party to win it needs to come out swinging, it needs to

A - Take the rug out from under the NDP by committing to refineries in Alberta.

B - Continue attacking the NDP on pipelines, making sure not to leave the party openings to respond.

C - Drag out whomever they can find from the business community to say the NDP is scary.

D - Attach the NDP more to unions.

3 - Convince Wildrose supporters they need to return to the PC Party to stop the NDP. The best way they could do this is to 'encourage' some 'friends' to take out an 'independent' poll that 'happens' to show the NDP doing very well. This can easily be done by asking, for example, 3 questions, in the order of "Do you think the NDP's plan to grow the economy by building refineries is a good idea" then "Wildrose says they will eliminate the deficit but are not clear on where the money comes from, does this scare you?" and "Do you plan to vote for the NDP, The PC Party, or Wildrose". By doing this you make voters think about something they like about the NDP and dislike about Wildrose, thus skewing the final results. This is why the "who will you vote for" question always comes first in credible polls.

Alberta New Democratic Party

Yes, the NDP can win. Yes, the NDP can win a majority. Yes, they too have a path on this.

1 - The NDP needs to come out, hard, against economic attacks. The party supports both the western kinder pipeline and the eastern pipeline (the one that runs right beside my house) They need to be sure that people know this, and the best way to do this is get the message out without it simply being a response to a PC attack. I'd choose social media for this, have supporters mention the NDP's support and have them do it outside of the context of PC attacks. 

2 - The NDP has actually gotten an alright reception from many in the business community. The NDP needs to trot out two people of equal credibility to whomever the tories trot out for their own purposes. Numbers can work here, if the NDP can show their "20% tax hike" on businesses means very little - try to get some solid numbers from some real businesses to show how little this will be - the party can do much to ally fears about themselves. 

3 - Lastly, and most importantly, the party needs to convince voters from other parties to vote NDP.

A - To the smaller parties they need to let voters know their votes count; if they vote NDP. That these votes will be the ones to get rid of the Tories. They need to focus this message at the Alberta Party. Bonus for them if they are nice to the leader and mention him as the only exception.

B - To Liberals they need to point out the party is doing very poorly this election, and that if you want to get rid of the Tories, you need to vote NDP. They need to target this message at Calgary, and make sure to hit ridings very hard where no Liberal incumbent is running. If any Liberal besides Swann gets elected, it bodes poorly for the NDP. Bonus if they can manage to take Swann's riding.

C - To the PC Party they need to tell them that even their own leader does not think Wildrose can win; and anyone who is staying Tory to keep out Wildrose is misguided, and needs to vote NDP.

D - Most importantly, to Wildrose, the NDP needs to appeal to their desire for change. Mention the refineries, mention the NDP plan would leave income taxes among the lowest in the country, mention the pipelines they support, and most importantly, mention ethics and the chance to finally get rid of the PC Party. Remind them a minority is likely, but only the NDP can force that, not Wildrose. 

We are looking at a few possibilities, and I feel, they are in this order:

PC Minority (most likely) *
NDP Minority (next most likely) *
PC Majority
NDP Majority
Something Else

 * Propped up by Wildrose, either in an official coalition, or unofficially. 

So, can something beyond this happen? 

Wildrose could manage a majority.

In 2012 we saw many voters make up their mind on the last day. I've taken what I see to be the facts, what I feel to be the emotion, and what I know to be the reality, and from that, come up with a conclusion that Wildrose will not do well. If any of those are wrong, I will be wrong, and the biggest is emotion. People could find they are, truly, scared of the NDP, but, no longer scared of Wildrose. While I do not see this, I am not 'on the ground' in Alberta. 


  1. Note that when I get someone's name wrong but link to them in a news story or to their own website - it is my way of making a joke about how little known they are.

  2. You think the PC's flip-flopping on key issues 4 days before the vote just when many polls have the NDP well ahead is a good strategy? They have been talking about how the "10 year" Prentice Plan is the only realistic and responsible choice. They have attacked NDP tax and refinery policies.

    Also, why should the NDP try to beat Liberals (at this point) in ridings where they have a good chance. For several years now, the Alberta Liberal Party has been the most left-wing Liberal party in Canada. They would never support the PCs, especially after all the stuff that has come out during the campaign. Better to try to grind down Liberal support in ridings where they are out of contention and the NDP are in a tight battle with one or both of the conservative parties.