Sunday, November 7, 2010

Progressive Conservative AGM Aftermath

The Progressive Conservatives are heading home after their annual general meeting. If there was any disagreement about the direction of the party, it was done behind closed doors.

It helps to have a lead in the polls and an indication that there is a hunger for change in the province.

The CBC is reporting this Sunday that there is a turn to the right in a lot of the country, especially in the suburbs. The federal Tories have to tried to link their fortunes to Tim Horton's. God forbid someone is shown having coffee at Starbucks.

The NDP made some inroads in the suburbs in the last election taking advantage of the strength of a popular leader, mistakes of the opposition and a confident economy.

While the Manitoba economy has performed well, the deficit weighs now on the minds of many. The future expenses of things like the stadium and hydro's power lines from north to south are in flux and the desire for change seems stronger now than any time in the last number years.

All of this spells challenges to the NDP.

Hugh McFadyen met with 200 members this past weekend to chart out the next year in terms of an election campaign. In broad strokes, the Tories will make the issue crime, Manitoba Hydro, hog barns and the stadium.

A few of these issues are well treaded ground for the PCs but they might more resonance now with the rising costs for hydro and crime that is worse now than four years ago.

However, none of this will be enough for the PCs to win an election if they don't have a solid platform. Make a silly promise like on bringing back the Winnipeg Jets and they will pay a price. The platform should be sound, it should be bold and it should be confident.

There are 331 days till the election and the PCs are flush, have 10,000 party members and many are seasoned after the civic election this October. If they run a smooth campaign and present themselves as the agents of change with a sound platform, the NDP will hard pressed to counter. After ten years, it is hard to tap into the desire for change.

As mentioned, I expect the NDP plan a campaign of fear. Fear of the PCs getting into power.

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