Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tories moving on up, slowly

CPC - 122 (33.69%)
Lib - 111 (31.14%)
BQ - 46 (9.25%)
NDP - 29 (16.24%)

Breakdown as follows

Lib - 6
NDP - 1

Prince Edward Island
Lib - 4

Nova Scotia
NDP - 5
Lib - 5
CPC - 1

New Brunswick
Lib - 5
CPC - 4
NDP - 1

Lib - 20
NDP - 7
CPC - 5

British Columbia
CPC - 16
Lib - 11
NDP - 9

CPC - 27
NDP - 1

CPC - 13
Lib - 1

CPC - 7
NDP - 4
Lib - 3

CPC - 64
Lib - 16
NDP - 15

BQ - 46
Lib - 22
CPC - 7

Lib - 53
CPC - 46
NDP - 7

CPC - 1
Lib - 1
NDP - 1

There is also news that Gary Doer has been appointed the ambassador to the US (once he is officially retired from his Manitoba NDP Premiership) In our judgement this is a strategic move on the part of Harper. First, and most visibly, he appears to be 'reaching across the aisle', but more importantly, he is eliminating a possible future Federal NDP leader from contention. As we've seen with Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosanjh, provincial NDP leaders can go on to become Grits as well. Doer is very popular in Manitoba. A bit more about doer.

Gary Doer became Manitoba NDP leader in 1988, on the eve of / during an election in the province. Internal polling shows the NDP as low as 6% province-wide. Upon becoming leader, polls showed then NDP at 19%, and 23% on Doer's election. Doer was only able to gain a fraction of a point above this on Election Day, finishing with 12 seats, to the Liberals 20 and the Tories 25. Whats remarkable about this was the NDP was in government throughout the election. Doer specifically chose NOT to be sworn in as Premier. Doer would remain third party leader until 1990 when he became Leader of the Opposition.

Finally, on October 5th 1999, more than a decade before he was first offered the job, Gary Doer became Premier of Manitoba. He has held on to the job and his majority government ever since. Even the most recent polls show a Majority could easily be won should be decide to run again. What's the secret to his success? Pragmatism. Quite often the provincial NDP in Saskatchewan will claim that they invented the pragmatic centre position in the 90s. The reality is that Gary Doer wrote the play book. The Federal NDP tried to use a similar 'moderate' strategy, but fell flat. Doer made it work, and it is still working.

Thus we get to the present. Gary Doer is a strong politician. Would he become Federal NDP leader there is a good chance that the NDP could flourish, especially in the west. Due to the "brand" names of parties, the NDP could beat the Liberals in Alberta and walk away with a handful of seats. Should Doer switch to the Liberals and become Leader, he could all but kill the NDP on the federal level. All of this, however is dependent on two things. First, Doer's ability to win a leadership race, something which is hard to organize for when your living in another country, and second, the will. My read is the will is not there. Harper see's Doer as someone who could beat him in a fair fight and wants to get him out of the way. Doer, at least from where I'm sitting, is tired of bring Leader, and wants to move on.

Where all of this ends up remains to be seen. My prediction is that Gary Doer will never lead any federal party.