So Layton’s new strategy has been getting lots of press: as any pundit will tell you, we can’t attack the Conservatives for being scary neo-Cons (although of course they are), because that will scare some of our supporters into voting for the Liberals to prevent a Conservative win. But now that they’ve released a platform, we can attack their proposed budget for making bad choices. Simultaneously, Layton can repeatedly visit all the ridings where we’re way ahead of the Liberals, and try to woo Liberal voters who are fed up with their party, and have more in common ideologically with us. Opinion polls say that the NDP are the most common second choice of both Liberal and Conservative voters, so if we just get a few of both to support us this time around we should be in a very good position come election day. A large number of ridings are in play for us, and while no-one’s taking anything for granted, the mood in the office is pretty optimistic. Oh, and it’s looking like we’re going to be second in the popular vote in Alberta :) (And if we had a reasonable voting system, that would actually help us.)
Meanwhile, the Liberal campaign is heating up. The one to elect their party’s new leader, that is — La Presse is reporting that many of Martin’s supporters from last time have switched to Frank McKenna. As the article puts it: « Tout le monde fait des appels… Il y a déjà des organisateurs qui ont un couteau entre les dents et qui attendent seulement le 24 janvier pour montrer la porte à Paul Martin », a confié un organisateur libéral sous le couvert de l’anonymat. [“Everyone’s calling… There are already organizers who are holding a knife between their teeth and are just waiting until January 24th to show Paul Martin the door”, confided a Liberal organizer on the condition of anonymity.] Like parasitic copepods jumping off a dying shark, the party is falling apart, and outside a shrinking pool of Martin loyalists seem to be making only a token effort in that other campaign, the Canadian election. I’m sure MPs will be looking out for their own seats, but it doesn’t look like they care about Martin’s. The best part is that we’re heard rumours about Liberal candidates quietly taking down their “Team Martin” ads, and putting up ones with just their own name. Funny stuff.
Update: We’ve heard reports that Maria Minna in Beaches–East York, Toronto, has taken down at least some of her red “Team Martin” public signs, and replaced them with black and white ones that don’t feature the Liberal name or logo. Her website now features quotes from both Chretien and Martin complaining about her. You’d almost think she was running for a different party.