September 28, 2006

Ignatieff Most Winnable...says Tories Secret Memo

Linda Diebel drops a bomb into the leadership race right before Super Weekend

I am on hiatus until Sunday...enjoy

Toronto MP Michael Ignatieff is the Liberal leadership candidate the Conservatives would fear fighting the most in the next federal election. And, of the top contenders, the Tories would most like to take on former NDP premier Bob Rae.

The conclusions are contained in a confidential memo obtained by the Toronto Star, and written by Conservative national campaign chief Doug Finley.

Addressed to the CPG, or Campaign Planning Group, the memo assesses the Liberal leadership race from a Conservative campaign perspective to determine "which leadership candidate would be most formidible." It came after extensive polling and focus groups conducted by the party during July and August, including surveys of both the general public and so-called election "switchers," who could change their vote to the Tories.

Finley, a key Tory war-room strategist in the last federal election, says Ignatieff (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) "worries me most." However, a hand-written margin note by an unknown person adds: "Puts his foot in his mouth too much. Will be problematic (for Ignatieff)."

The memo deals principally with the four candidates considered front-runners in the race for the Liberal leadership, calling them the "only serious" contenders. It says:
Rae has "real problems" with potential Liberal-to-Conservative switchers, 35 and over. People think he's a "nice guy" but always come back to his record as Ontario premier.

"The only silver lining for Rae is that his negatives are concentrated in Ontario and Quebec and Ontario, to be fair, has changed a lot since the early 1990s," says the memo. It adds, however, that his record, including "Rae Days" would become a campaign issue.

Former Ontario cabinet minister Gerard Kennedy is described as not ready for leadership, with a Mississauga focus group member saying, "He looks minor-league." His French was criticized in Quebec. "People love Gerard Kennedy on paper until they see him perform." Has a "great life story, nice family" and good record as Ontario Liberal education minister. But "when exposed to Gerard Kennedy on TV, the dials go south."

Adds Finley: "If the Liberals are willing to invest a few elections in Gerard Kennedy, he could grow into the job."

Former federal cabinet minister Stephane Dion got "good news and bad news." He appears more popular among ordinary Quebecers "than the media establishment gives him credit for." Plus, he is not associated in the public's mind with the sponsorship scandal, in which the auditor-general's office found $100 million in taxpayer funds was misspent to sell federalism in Quebec.
Outside of Quebec, Dion was "the toughest sell," criticized for his English. He is rated "the most boring" of the leadership candidates. Comparing him to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Finley writes: "This guy makes Harper look exciting."

Ignatieff was "the most interesting candidate to probe/test." The memo says he "takes quite a bit of heat for his foreign policy positions" among left-leaning Liberal-Conservative switchers. He'd probably lose votes over foreign policy from Liberal/NDP switchers, says Finley.
"But he is an impressive performer and the more people watched Ignatieff, the more they liked him," says the memo, adding one woman in London said "he looks, sounds and acts like a prime minister."

Finley considers Ignatieff's appeal to be strongest among university-educated, middle-to-upper middle class voters in ridings the Tories hope to target, including Don Valley West, West Vancouver- Sunshine Coast and Lac St. Louis.

Concludes Finley: "Dion and Kennedy could evolve into formidable competitors over time but that depends on how long Liberals are willing to sit in opposition and let these two men grow into national leaders."

Liberals in 308 ridings across Canada meet over so-called "Super Weekend," beginning Friday, to choose delegates to the Nov. 28-Dec. 3 Liberal leadership convention in Montreal.
The memo says Dion and Ignatieff supporters are the "most firm in their support," while Rae support is "relatively soft with ordinary members," although he will probably do well among 890 ex officio delegates.

"As my earlier memo on party support indicated," says Finley, "the Liberal Party has a lot of work to do to convince Canadians that they have learned their lessons from January 23rd and changed for the better."

Finley declined to comment last night. A spokesperson told the Star "he is absolutely clear he has had no change of heart on the contents (of the memo) or on strategy. It's as true today as when he wrote it."

18 Commentaires:

Blogger Peter a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/28/2006 11:23 a.m.  
Blogger Peter a dit...

Where is the “most winnable”? I think the words/headline overstate reality. And if used, should be followed by “most overjoyed”, as in: “the Bloc, NDP, and Greens would be most overjoyed.”

Any first year university student (political science not required) could figure out that the most right-wing leadership candidate is most likely to take votes from the Conservatives and lose votes to the Bloc, NDP and Greens (on the left wing).

As the memo states, the Liberals would/could win: “including Don Valley West, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast and Lac St. Louis.”

The last time I checked, these three ridings are already Liberal (MPS John Godfrey, Blair Wilson, Francis Scarpaleggia) without a right-leaning leader.

9/28/2006 11:25 a.m.  
Blogger Herb a dit...

You guys are very naive if you really think it's an accident that that memo just happened to be leaked right before Super Weekend.

Don't kid yourself, the Tories would love to run against Ig: Stephen Harper, regular guy, hockey dad and and Tim Horton's customer against the Harvard snob who couldn't even be bothered living in Canada for 30 years.

I have nothing against Ig, but you need to understand that the Tories will do everything they can do paint him as an effete elitist who is so unconcerned about regular Canadaians that he chose not to live among them until he decided he wanted to be PM. And that message will resonate strongly among a lot of people.

9/28/2006 11:38 a.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/28/2006 1:58 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

ahahahahahahah oh my god I can hardly breathe I'm laughing so hard. Tories fear Iggy???? Every poll taken of Canadians since he declared his intentions says otherwise; but whatever you say Antonio, I mean Iggy , I mean Harper lmfao.

9/28/2006 1:58 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Le journal Le Quebecois, run by separatists put out a smear book on Ignatieff today by Pierre Luc Begin, saying Ignatieff is worse than Jan Wong


Its clear the Bloc do not want Iggy`s vision of Quebec become the Liberal vision.

The NDP would gain some votes, however, ask any of them, and they want Bob Rae to win as well. Probably because they have him saying so many bad things about Liberals.

Take the article for what its worth, I didnt editorialize all that much

9/28/2006 2:20 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...

Antonio are you really as dumb as you come across on this blog?

So a "leaked" memo from the Tories shows up a day before the delegate selection meeting and states that they want Iggy to win....hmmmmmmm..seems that the Tories almost want to help the Liberal Party pick him as leader becasue his 30 year record away from the country, his Brian Mulroney constitional policy, his elite academic persona, his neo-con roots, ect, ect, ect would allow the Tories to steamroll the Liberal Party like never before.

You have political instincts of David Hearle.

9/28/2006 2:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Leaking a memo in order to sway the decisions of the members of the party you oppose, just before that party votes on the issue, sounds just like the thing the neocons down south would do upon the advice of, say, a Frank Luntz or a Karl Rove. Let's not forget that Harper and his new team were addressed by Luntz and seem to be taking his advice on many things, including using disinformation (avoiding addressing global warming but framing it as climate change, etc).

So, speculation about how and why this little surprise memo was written in the first place, and leaked round about now, is valid.

Unless of course Liberals cannot make up their own minds and are now dependent on Harper and his new Tories to tell them what to think ...

The Cat's advice is: forgeddabout it. Think for yourself. Vote your convictions.

9/28/2006 2:34 p.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...


Sorry, but I'm the resident cat of this blog.

9/28/2006 3:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

The Cat yields the floor to the Mutant, but retains the right to hiss and strike out at odd times .....

9/28/2006 3:38 p.m.  
Blogger Concerned YL a dit...

Yeah, because we really want to base our decisions on the opinions of people who we insult on a daily basis. This documents got leaked -- on purpose. As Liberals, we must ask: why?

9/28/2006 3:44 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

oooo a cat fight

9/28/2006 3:45 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

people always jump to conspiracy theories. Take the article for what it is worth.

I have heard both Tories and Dippers express fear at facing Ignatieff

9/28/2006 4:06 p.m.  
Blogger jnpliberal a dit...

Wow. You are one gullible dude if you think this "confidential" memo is for real.
It is no accident that the CPC made sure it found it's way to the press right before super weekend.

It is obvious the CPC wants Iggy to win and not Dion or Kennedy.

Get real.

9/28/2006 4:16 p.m.  
Blogger cat mutant a dit...

I think whoever wins will have a tough time in the spotlight against Harper.

Rae has a bad history.

Ignatieff hasnt lived here a while.

Dion not liked in Quebec.

Dryden (french issue might be played by the bloc).

Kennedy... who?

Curiositycat and Shoshana, don't hiss at me too loudly, my head hurts.

9/28/2006 4:31 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...


That negative makes Kennedy the best and only choice. You can fix "Who?" really easily and quickly. Joe Who beat Trudeau a few months after being unknown. Becoming leader and having a smart media camapign will make Kennedy knowen around the country in a few short months.

You can't change the fact that Ignatieff has not lived in Canada for 30 years, has a history of neo-con writings that make him flypaper for attacks from the left and right and seems to think that Brian Mulroney has the right idea on constitional reform.

You can't change the fact that Bob Rae ran one of the worst and most destructive provincial governments in history a decade ago and joined the party he wants to lead a day before running for leader.

You can't change the fact that Dion is an uncomfortable academic, is another Quebecios leader of a party that needs to look to the rest of the country for it's leadership and represents too much of the bad Liberal brand of the 90's and early 00's.

You can't change the fact that the other nobodies in the race have no hope in hell of winning.

Kennedy can become a household name and his already decent French can reach the level of Harper and Layton by the spring election.

9/28/2006 5:49 p.m.  
Blogger s.b. a dit...

Kennedy is as thin as paper and is in no way shape or form ready to be leader of any federal PArty. I got a message from him yesterday and he was still yammering on about fighting hunger. Give me a frigin break. Have you got nothing else to say. He is years away from federal leader if ever. I don't even know if he should be in cabinet. He comes off dumb as a bag of rocks. Really. He's a mental midget against the likes of Igs Rae Dion and Dryden. It salmost a joke that you think he could win a federal election. Even he doesn't think he can win the next Federal election. He is a huge disapointment. That's coming from someone who supported him initially before it became obvious how outclassed he was in this race.

9/28/2006 8:33 p.m.  
Blogger Manitoba Liberal a dit...


Is that guy still running?

He's like the Canadian Action Party of leadership candidates.

9/29/2006 12:46 a.m.  

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