The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Monday, March 10, 2003

Globe and Mail scribbler John Ibbitson thinks that the best hope for the Canadian Alliance's future is a Paul Martin Liberal sweep in 2004-05. The idea is that the Alliance is unique among the four opposition parties in having a solid base of voters and seats that will (mostly) hold up while the others will lose seats to the Liberals. The idea is that even after the sweep, there will still be a substantial CA presence in Ottawa while the Tories and Bloc, possibly even the NDP, lose party status.

Might be an Alliance hack's hope, but not likely. He's right that barring major disaster, the CA will hold at least 40 seats in the next election (figure on 22-24 in Alberta, at least a dozen in BC, probably 6 in Saskatchewan, maybe holding on to two in Manitoba) and that the Bloc are in trouble in all but a handful of core ridings, but the reports of the demise of both the PC party and the NDP are premature. The NDP have not only a new leader in Jack Layton, a man who can reach urban ridings in a way that his predecessors couldn't, but also are poised ot take advantage of an electorate that is drifting leftwards after the conservative shift of the last 20 years. It's not just Dippers that are saying that the voters are moving back towards the economic and social left; so are the likes of Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini and National Post Ottawa bureau chief Bob Fife -- no simpering leftist, him!

Progressive Conservatives also have a chance to improve. The Alliance has lost all manner of voter and organizational support in Ontario, and surely some of those traditionally 'blue' ridings in Ontario are ready to turf their Liberal MP, and if given a good candidate from a viable Tory party, they might just do it. In 2000, the Alliance was portrayerd in the press as the choice of Canadian conservatives, but they likely won't have that advantage next time out, not after the Day follies, Harper's invisibility, and the departure of Conrad Black as Canadian Alliance patron/promoter. More ground for a new Progressive Conservative leader, whoever it might be, to exploit, and to gain.

If the CA isn't the only party standing after 2005, then they may just run out of gas in the way that the Progressives and Social Credit did, and slowly wither to an irrelevant rump devoid of new ideas and unable to change. Sclerosis already affects the CA, and we're not just taking about their arteries, folks. The CA policy book is 85% identical to Preston Manning's Reform proposals of fifteen years back, and changing the party platform is almost impossible -- when the party tries to do so at convention, it usually fails amidst grumbling from the grumpy old men on the convention floor. This means that the party is not about to jettison its more unpalatable ideas (often the same ideas that the party base loves), like flat taxes and using referenda to let conservative and 'family values' special interest groups set social policy.

That scenario is what should keep Alliance hacks awake at night.
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