Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've Seen This Movie Before


Responding to a critique by Castor Rouge of my critique of Stephane Dion this morning, I had a flashback to 1974. I was one of many menial scribes conscripted to cover the federal election campaign that year.

It was the challenger, Tory Robert Stanfield, versus Pierre Trudeau with David Lewis batting for the NDP.

Canada was in a mess with runaway inflation. Bob Stanfield campaigned on a promise/threat of wage and price controls to stabilize the economy. Make no mistake, Stanfield was promoting a very unpopular idea. He scared the living hell out of a lot of people, particularly organized labour.

Pierre Trudeau pounced. He got up on stage and lambasted Stanfield, warning voters that, if the Tories formed the next government, they would wake up one day and "Zap, you're frozen!" It was a shrewd bit of politicking and it worked. It stampeded the labour vote out of the NDP corral and into the Liberal camp. Trudeau won, Stanfield lost. David Lewis even lost his own seat.

Just a few months later, newly re-elected prime minister Pierre Trudeau introduced - why wage and price controls of course.

Bob Stanfield was a wonderful guy, honest and direct. However he looked like an undertaker and utterly lacked charisma. He went into that election advocating an unpopular policy, unpopular but necessary, that his rival was able to use to beat him senseless.

I think Stephane Dion is something of a latter-day Stanfield. He has no discernible charisma and he wants to champion an unpopular policy, one that can easily be used by his opponents to scare voters.

5 comments:

Mushroom said...

C'mon Mound. Bob Stanfield was considered to be the best PM Canada never had. If the Grits can achieve the political success in the next election that Stanfield had in 1972, then we would be laughing.

Dion two seats short of Harper's Cons in the next election. I will take that in a heartbeat.

Castor Rouge said...

Hmmm... Interesting parallel, except, whether you see Dion as a Stanfield or not, I think we can all agree Harper is no where close to igniting his own Trudeau-mania anytime soon. And to Mushroom's point the Liberals only have to make gains to offset the Harper agenda. If Harper can’t firm up his own standing next election knives might quietly start coming out for him again too. That’s the thing with polls, they’re fickle lovers.

PS- Cudos on posting the Stanfield photo, that one always makes me smile.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think you're right, CR. Another minority might spell the welcome end of Stephen Harper and his far-right franchise.

Anonymous said...

apparently you did not see the good poll by nanos....did you ever try and vote on national newswatch poll by angus...will you vote for sh in next election...no matter how many times U vote on different days...the poll stays the same...angus is a scam ...

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right, I didn't see the "good poll" by Nanos, the one that apparently shows the LPC ahead of the CPC by a breathtaking 1%. We won't mention that the Nanos survey also found the Libs had slipped 2 points since their previous poll in April.

The question is why are we still in a statistical dead heat with the cons? That's when you have to begin looking at underlying factors like policies and leadership.

Why is the LPC fully threefold ahead of its own leader in the polls? Which one is propping the other up and which one is dragging the other down?

As for me, I'm just happy that the core party support, despite the leadership problem, is apparently sufficient to deny Harper a majority government.

I think we need an election. Now.