It’s a nasty campaign with the leaders afraid to say what they really think

A few impressions as the federal election campaign heads into its second official week.

It is shaping up to be a nasty, brutish campaign with negatives drowning out positives, the kind of campaign that misleads more than it informs and will turn off more voters than it inspires.

It’s election time – time to put credit cards and cellphones away

A veteran political strategist/organizer of my acquaintance has a blunt caution for candidates who come to him for advice.

Bundle up all your credit cards, he tells them. Bury them in your home freezer. Bury them deep, beneath the frozen peas and broccoli and that mince pie left from Christmas. Do not thaw them out until the campaign is safely over.

This is good advice for politicians in the Oct. 21 election campaign, which will begin for real within a week, whenever Prime Minister Trudeau drops the writ.

He’s back! Stephen Harper comes to the aid of Andrew Scheer

In this era of fixed-date federal elections (on the third Monday in October), political strategists work on premise that most voters snooze through the summer pre-campaigns and only shake themselves awake and pay attention after Labour Day.

Now with Labour Day in the rear-view mirror and the prime minister poised to drop the writ in 10 to 12 days, the electorate is presumably becoming focussed. So, here is a small political quiz. What are these three sets of numbers? What do they mean?

162-143; 153-146; 158-135

An alarming exercise in poor judgment, but will it hurt Trudeau?

Americans are starting to worry about a recession. So what does Donald Trump do? The maestro of diversion, he changes the channel. The United States, he proposes, should buy Greenland.

What? Buy Greenland? Absurd!

Of course, it’s ridiculous, but the distraction works. Historians, economists, climatologists and political scientists rush to join the Buy-Greenland debate as the inane idea floods the airwaves and social media.

Bianca Andreescu’s empathy and poise would be a fine model for politicians

Bianca Andreescu is the real deal. Not only is she a great tennis player – perhaps the greatest this country has produced – she possesses qualities of poise and empathy rarely found in one so young.

Bianca is just 19 years old. Yet there she was on Sunday afternoon, on her knees, consoling her weeping idol, 37-year-old Serena Williams, who had just been forced by recurring upper back spasms to withdraw from the Rogers Cup final.

How the Liberals mangled their gun control promise

“We will take action to get handguns and assault weapons off our streets” – Liberal Party of Canada, election platform, 2015.

Over the past four years, some controversial promises have been kept -- the legalization of recreational marijuana being a prominent example.

Some major promises have been broken – the Liberals having abandoned their pledge to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system when it became clear there was no national consensus for change.

In the backroom: Polls that drive political insiders

Does it matter what the polls say in late July about a general election that will not happen until late October?

For most folks, the answer is a resounding No. Just about anything that occurs today, barring some ghastly gaffe, will be long forgotten before voters bring their minds to bear on their Oct. 21 ballot decision. It’s summer, for Pete’s sake. Enjoy it while it lasts. There will be plenty of time – in the last 10 days or two weeks of the campaign – to worry about what Justin, Andrew and the rest are going on about.

Beware claims of accuracy in political polling

“Indeed! It illustrates why the ritualistic ‘within three per cent 19 times in 20’ is nonsense, when less than 10 per cent of people respond to polls.” – Political Scientist Barry Kay, Wilfrid Laurier University

Professor Kay was commenting via email on four new federal election polls in the past week. Two polls put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals – one by six points, the other by eight points. The other two had the Liberals ahead – one by one point, the other by six points.

A few sensible ways to improve our childish and inefficient Parliament

Every now and again – perhaps once in a political blue moon – a really good idea emerges, one that is so sensible that you might think our elected representatives would trip over themselves to claim ownership.

The idea for this blue moon emerges, or re-emerges, in a new book by Dave Meslin, a Toronto-based artist, activist and community organizer, entitled “Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up.”

Opinion-Policy Nexus is a forum of opinion and commentary on topics related to public opinion and public policy. Views expressed in any blog entry are those of the author and do not reflect LISPOP's positions.

Authors

  • Ailsa Henderson
  • Andre Perrella
  • Anna Esselment
  • Anthony Piscitelli
  • Barry Kay
  • Ben Margulies
  • Christopher Alcantara
  • Christopher Cochrane
  • Geoffrey Stevens
  • Jason Roy
  • Jorg Broschek
  • Loren King
  • Manuel Riemer
  • Nikolaos Liodakis
  • Robert Williams
  • Simon Kiss
  • Timothy Gravelle
  • Zachary Spicer

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