Monday, October 29, 2012

"The Fiendish Four" and Campaign Updates

I'm going to use the term Fiendish Four to describe the most recent event from the Sask. NDP Leadership Race, if only because it's a nifty term with a Stan Lee vibe, and it also calls attention to the ridiculousness of putting out ads to attack four candidates.

Much like their federal counterparts in the Conservative Party, the Saskatchewan Party has seemingly taken notice to the fact that the Saskatchewan NDP are in a leadership race. And again, like their federal counterparts, the SK Party is attempting to define and diminish the candidates before the race is over. While the ads aren't quite as 'character damning' as the "Dwain Lingenfelter: Down on Saskatchewan" ads; there's something to be said for the fact that these ads are even airing.

We talked a bit after looking at poll results about personality and the role it will play in selecting the next SK NDP leader, and I think this is a reinforcement of the necessity of that. The fact that right now the worst thing the SK Party can say about the current leadership roster is that they're too in step with Thomas Mulcair is already a bolstering sign.

Lingenfelter had his own baggage, and a somewhat gruff personality one must admit to those who didn't know him well, whereas the current candidates are exactly like Brad Wall: Younger, reasonably attractive (to people who apparently judge politicians by that standard), and generally well liked. There's no smoking gun of the perception of arrogance, or a general aloofness that stems from being of an older generation striving to adapt to a new generation of politics.

This was a political spot on the map that Brad Wall used to be the sole occupant of, at least in terms of the party leaders. But regardless of who becomes the next leader of the SK NDP, they will be staking a claim to that personable territory that Wall currently occupies. It was easy for the SK Party to dismantle Lingenfelter's leadership because he seemingly lived up to the caricature that they drew of him. It will not be so easy this time around.

And as I've said, being told you're too in step with Thomas Mulcair isn't exactly the worst thing one can be accused of. Furthermore, and perhaps unfortunately for the SK Party, the ad has the great potential of backfiring. Not only because they're going after a well liked group of people, but because it focuses attention to the economy.

Report after report, study after study, has validated Mulcair's statement that Canada is indeed suffering from the Dutch Disease of high resource prices affecting other sectors of the economy. Erin Weir has called attention to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the province, while the government has avoided the topic for the most part, and an ad like this is only going to cause more people to listen to the rebuttals the leadership candidates have to offer.

And for the SK Party, the facts are not on their side. If anything, this will only serve in showing that the current NDP slate of candidates are in better touch with the economy (which up until now, could be argued, was the SK Party's bread-and-butter policy area). It's going to put them in an awkward spot once more and more FACTS come out that validate Mulcair and anyone, provincially or federally, who understands the need to develop a diverse economy.

In the end, the only person who this ad may actually attack is the SK Party's credibility on economic issues.

So, with that out of the way, we can focus on the campaigns.

Ryan Meili's campaign website has added a flush of new content; mostly through the form of blog posts, but also some additions to the Vision section. While there is a still a majority of content focusing on Ryan's previous campaign for leader, the site is being updated as the content is formed by the campaign and supporters. I'd highly advise taking a look. (LINK)

Also on the Meili front, the campaign is having it's first phone town hall meeting on Tuesday, October 30th at 7pm. The campaign will dial houses and people will have the chance to ask questions to Ryan. I'll be listening into the call, though I don't know if I'll ask any questions, and will post the relevant information here.

Erin Weir's campaign has updated their website as well, and of particular note is Erin's response to Ryan's economic policy. (LINK) Without saying too much, Erin's major criticism (as has been his approach to Trent's education policy as well) is the fact that none of the provided ideas have a cost attached or an explanation to show where funding for the policies will come from.

Trent Wotherspoon celebrated the opening of his campaign office over the weekend, and also took time to meet with members in Moose Jaw on Sunday. Trent will also be in Saskatoon this Saturday.

Cam Broten most recently took some time to attend a workshop discussing migrant & immigrant labour issues here in Saskatoon.

I think that should cover it more or less for recent updates from the campaign; if I've missed anything, or need to add anything, I'm sure someone will let me know.

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