Friday, October 03, 2008

Sweater Boy Redux

I haven't worked on a politcal campaign in 20 years, but I do offer one piece of advice to anyone who seeks public office: No funny hats, no Native headdresses, no hair nets, no playing a quick game of catch-the-football with reporters, no standing in front of anything that makes it appear you either have a halo or a knife and fork coming out of your head.

What's more interesting is the fact I came across the Dion campaign by accident as I hurried from the Montreal train station to Concordia University's downtown campus. Dion was campaigning in Westmount-Ville Marie, the predominantly anglophone riding where Marc Garneau's running.
By my calculations, when a Liberal leader feels obliged to campaign in Westmount-Ville Marie -- what was once one of the safest Liberal ridings in the country -- less than two weeks before voting day, it's a sign the Liberals are completely, utterly broken. If the Liberals aren't in freefall, why are they worried about Westmount-Ville Marie? And what does that really say about "swing" ridings in the suburbs of Toronto and Vancouver? Looks like they're all written off, and it really is now a race for second place, which Dion can only win by holding downtown Montreal and Toronto ridings, seats that were considered safe a month ago.

A few minutes ago, I ran into an NDP MP who represents a very downtown Ottawa riding. He pretty much confirmed Liberal support in urban Ottawa has collapsed and his main competitor may well be a Tory. Anyone who knows Ottawa voting patterns will realize that's a profound vote shift. The election of 1979 was last time a Tory was a contender in Ottawa Centre. Robert de Cotret had taken the seat in a by-election in 1978, when people were pissed off with Pierre Trudeau. De Cotret lost the seat in 1979. Brian McGarry won't win the seat this year, but it's truly amazing that he might place second against well-connected former Chretien patronage queen Penny Collenette.

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