Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Liberal Platform

Today the Liberals released their fully costed platform.  Whether it was a good idea to release it so early is tough tell and I guess we will find out later.  The advantages are it is allows the idea to sink in with the public as it usually takes time before policies sink in and cause voter opinion to shift.  At the same time, it gives the Tories plenty of time to rip apart their platform and attack it.  Looking at the platform, nothing overly controversial that would likely cost them a lot of votes, but little that is attention grabbing either.  It does take a centre-left approach which should help them in their goal to pick up soft NDP and Green voters but will likely do little in picking up soft Tory voters and to win they need to knock about 5 points or more off the Tories which this alone probably won't do.  The one idea that did stick out was having a people's question period where average citizens could submit questions to the prime-minister and cabinet ministers.  This is an idea which I think could popular amongst both soft NDP and Green voters on the left and soft Tory ones on the right.  In fact the Liberals should do more to highlight this as this goes after Harper where he is weakest.  Many who support Harper don't like his arrogance, one man style of governing, or secrecy but vote for him because they feel he is the most competent manager.  This no doubt plays into appealing to this group.  The platform also calls to reduce the deficit, but no real hard numbers on how to do this which likely won't help them although the Tories haven't done this either so no real loss.  I suspect the kind of policies needed to balance the budget aren't going to be overly popular thus why no party wants to run on them as raising taxes or spending cuts, which is what the government will need to do will run into its share of opposition.  As for polling, with few paying attention, I doubt much will change until after the debates at which point we could see some major shifts.  If the Tories perform well, this could turn a majority into a likelihood rather than just a possibility.  While a strong performance by the Liberals or weak one by the Tories would kill the Tories chances at a majority and if the Tories flounder enough could even cause them to lose the election outright.  I will have more on the debates as we get closer and also the aftermath.  Usually it takes a few days to know the full impact as it is not just how well the parties perform, but also how well they can spin their performance as well as how the media reports on it.  I don't expect the NDP platform to come out later, while the Tories have sort of already released their platform as the budget in many ways was their election platform thus anything released will simply provide greater detail, not add much new and if it does contain any surprises it could backfire if they are controversial and also help them too if popular.

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