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- While it would take a miraculous combination of catastrohpic events for Paul Martin not to win a majority in the upcoming general election, it is far too early yet to forecast the size that the Liberal majority is likely to be and how many seats will be won by the other parties.

- Among the variables still to be played out (e.g. the impact of next week's damning auditor general's report on the government, the degree and longevity of support for the BQ given Charest's current unpopularity in Quebec, the still unproven capacity of Paul Martin to establish some emotional, populist connection with voters, etc.), the most important by far is the matter of who will become the first leader of the new Conservative Party of Canada.

- If the new party comes to it's senses long enough to chose the best of the three second tier candidates (the big guys are sitting this one out, preferring to run against a 70 year old Martin in 2008/9), the Conservatives could hold almost all of their western base and pick up a net gain of as many as twenty seats east of Manitoba (i.e. 25 seats in Ontario to offset a five seat loss in AC and Quebec.). This would ensure a credible official opposition of about 100 seats and position the new party well to grow and to win in 2008/9. Regrettably, the best candidate - Tony Clement - seems harder to find at the moment than Jimmy Hoffa's final resting place. And total anonimity is a dubious strategy for getting elected as a party leader.

- If the new party selects CA leader Stephen Harper - who had a huge lead going in and is the clear front runner - then many red tories (including me) will sit this election out or vote one time for red tory/blue liberal Paul Martin and the media and the party members will christen the new party as Reform Mach III and take umbridge at what will be perceived as a hostile takeover by the CA of the PC party. THe result will be the loss of 12 of the party's 15 eastern seats and a loss of at least 8 western seats (in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) for a disappointing total of 40-45 seats (compared with the 80 seats the two parties had before the merger).

- But there is an even more disasterous scenario awaiting the new party if blondes really do have more political fun and Belinda Stronach miraculously wins the leadership. The Conservatives would lose seats across the country except for a palrty offset of 5 or 6 new seats in Ontario and would be lucky to hold more that 35 seats total. It is conceivable that the NDP or even the Bloq (again) would replace the Conservatives as the Official Opposition and the party would have no chance to win in 2008/9.

- To my amazement, I see signs that Belinda Stronach could win the leadership of the new party in leadership machinations even more monsterous than the CA's selection of Laughing Stock Day - the Yahoo on the Seadoo who once raised and sold chickens from the back seat of his car - as that ill starred outfit's first leader.

- Belinda is paying two to three times the going rates for campaign people including spin doctors (Jamie Watts), national directors (John Lashinger), etc. and in an internal party contest largely sheilded from the media and the general public (as opposed to a national election) these pricey political carpet baggers could make the difference. Already, the talk is that Stronach's mercenaries have sewn up the 'rotten burroughs' of Quebec and will deliver the entire slate of quebec delegates to her (75 seats in Quebec vs just 78 in all of western Canada) so that if there develops an Anybody But Harper bandwagon east of Manitoba and Tony Clement continues to be invisible, Belinda wins. (Of course, what is more likely is that she splits the eastern delegates with Clement and thereby makes the coronation of Harper even more a done deal but she could win if Harper doesn't do it on the first ballot!)

- Belinda's two most enthusiatstic, even fervent supporters thus far must certainly be Paul Martin and Jack Layton, salivating at the prospect of campaigning against and debating this uninformed political neophyte. Paul Martin must be particularly keen on facing Stronach and, if he is like me at all, maybe sees great elements of farce in the situation. FOR EXAMPLE:

1/ Belinda can't use her initials in her campaign signs since "BS for PM" or "Its Time for More BS in Ottawa" might be misconstrued.

2/ Belinda can't use the criticism of Martin that he is a multi-millioniare who is too rich and too out of touch with average canadians to govern the country democratically. With a paltry $50 million fortune, Paul could even compare himself to Belinda and run as the poor man's candidate.

3/ Belinda can't be very hard hitting on nepotism, patronage and Paul Martin Snr.'s impact on helping the PM to rise through the Liberal ranks since she owes her business and political careers entirely to her own daddy and his nepotism and patronage.

4/ Belinda can't use the "I've met a payroll" line against Martin because he, too, has met a payroll and for many more years than she did and with a company that was going bust before he acquired it rather than a company that was booming and run by daddy when Belinda was shoehorned in as president.

5/ Belinda is even trying to occupy the same political turf as Paul Martin - fiscally and economically conservative and socially progressive.

- What, then, can Belinda aka The Magna Tarta use to give herself a competitive advantage in a race with Martin? Well, thus far her answer to almost every question is that we must "bake a bigger pie" in Canada to afford our social programs and provide good jobs and opportunity for our growing labour force. And as an average working single mother - so she says - she presumably can bake pies big and small. Paul Martin is on record as saying that he loves Kraft Dinner but that he can't make it himself. SO THERE YOU GO, BELINDA - challenge Paul to a cook off.

- Or maybe in the leaders' debate on TV, your blouse might actually come undone and reveal a fetching breast. This seems to be working wonders for Janet Jackson's career. Then you could campaign on the slogan "Its Time Ottawa Made a Clean Breast of the Situation Facing Canadians."

- So, BS, a cook off with Martin and showing your best breast at the right time. Err, that's about it.

- What else could and should Belinda do to beat Paul Martin? Any suggestions, serious or satirical?

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Belinda's two most enthusiatstic, even fervent supporters thus far must certainly be Paul Martin and Jack Layton

As Layton pointed out on Politics with Don Newman, Ms. Stronach donated $55K to Paul Martin's campaign, so I guess Belinda and Paul must be part of a mutual admiration society.

If Harper is successful in shutting up the social-cons, and Layton's "no deficit" "fiscally responsible" platform takes... we'll soon have 3 major parties with platforms that are so similar that it almost won't matter which one you vote for.

All that matters now is optics. I concur with you BB, that electing BS would be a setback for the CPC. As for which candidate is the best, I have to say Harper ( previously saddled with the nickname "what's in it for me" ) is best positioned to forge the former PCs and the Alliance together and guide the new party up to the next election in 2007 or 2008 - the one that the CPC really has a shot at.

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- MH - Jack Layton is a genius at making something sinister out of nothing substantive, politically ... in this case, he is deliberately dissembling that Stronach donated $55,000 to Martin's campaign for Liberal leadership because she admired and supported him ... in fact, Magna the multi-billion dollar corporation she happened to lead donated the $55,000 because they considered Paul Martin to be the lesser of two evils compared with Sheila (shudder) Copps for becoming LiberaL leader and PM ... most other major corporations did the same ... had Martin been running against Layton, Magna would have donatedf even more to Martin.

- I can't agree that we'll have three substantively equal platforms among the three major parties, differing only in optics ... Jack Layton can BS with the very best of them but nobody who has seen his record on Toronto Council or who has listened to the promises he has made since becoming leader or who understands that the NDP is philisophically and politically and financially in bed with the big government, big public spending, featherbedding, make work monopoly public sector unions is going to believe for a nanosecond in Layton's "no deficit, fiscally responsible" promise as anything but an election gimmick to help Ontario voters forget about the Rae Daze ... in fact, there will be significant differences among the three parties in social policy, social spending, taxation, debt reduction, interest rates, labour laws, trade policy, role and size and power of government, etc.

- I can't agree with you, MH, that Stephen Harper is best positioned to bring the CA and PC wings together into a true merger wherein the sum exceeds the parts ... Harper has never been a team player, he is an arrogant, aloof, my way or the highway leader ... all I can gather and get a sense of is that Harper has an ego and a personality and a style that would make Judas Ascariot seem like a team player in comparison to him ... this is evident in the reaction to him of those for whom he used to work like Deborah Grey who is quitting politics, Preston Manning whom Stephen deserted at a time of need and others who have worked for or attempted to negotiate and work with him such as Keith Martin, Joe Clark, Rick Borodstik and others too numerous to mention ... 40% of the old PC caucus has already resigned rather than serve under Harper and there will be more to come ... only a new leader who has not previously led either the CA or PC parties and who, preferably, has some roots and sympathies in both PC and CA camps, is from eastern Canada and Ontario even better (the last Ontario leader of the Conservatives was George Drew in 1948-56 so it is certainly time that this 40% of the economy and 35% of the seats had representation), is bilingual, is a conciliatory leader, and is seen as an honest broker, compromise leader to bring the two wings together can get the job done ... Tony Clement measures up to these criteria and could grow into and master the job IMO ... if Harper wins, we'll have to wait until the old firewaller/fire and brimstoner is turfed out after the next election debacle so that the Conservartives can this time get the right leader and forge a true merger and synthesis well before the 2008/9 contest ...

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BB, as an outsider looking in on this new Conservative party, my impression was that neither Harper or MacKay should be running. A merger is difficult enough as it is, some one more neutral at the top would be better for harmony.

What I don't understand though is why are these primarily PC MPs jumping ship, before the new leader is chosen? What is that all about?

If it's that bad already, and the leader hasn't even been chosen yet, what is coming if Harper wins. I think the party will implode.

I don't think getting delegates is the same as getting the general population to support you. Perhaps media attention isn't what is required at the moment.

Tony Clement has Chuck Strahl and John Crosbie organizing his campaign. They must know what they are doing, I would think.

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I can't agree that we'll have three substantively equal platforms among the three major parties, differing only in optics ... Jack Layton can BS with the very best of them but nobody who has seen his record on Toronto Council or who has listened to the promises he has made since becoming leader or who understands that the NDP is philisophically and politically and financially in bed with the big government, big public spending, featherbedding, make work monopoly public sector unions is going to believe for a nanosecond in Layton's "no deficit, fiscally responsible" promise as anything but an election gimmick to help Ontario voters forget about the Rae Daze ... in fact, there will be significant differences among the three parties in social policy, social spending, taxation, debt reduction, interest rates, labour laws, trade policy, role and size and power of government, etc.

How significant ? Not like 1980, I assure you...

And there's no reason to think that Layton (an intelligent man) hasn't seen the light in terms of deficit spending.

There will, of course, be some divergence in proposed taxation rates, and possibly labour laws. But social policy, trade policy and so forth will largely have symbolic differences.

- I can't agree with you, MH, that Stephen Harper is best positioned to bring the CA and PC wings together into a true merger wherein the sum exceeds the parts ... Harper has never been a team player, he is an arrogant, aloof, my way or the highway leader ... all I can gather and get a sense of is that Harper has an ego and a personality and a style that would make Judas Ascariot seem like a team player in comparison to him ... this is evident in the reaction to him of those for whom he used to work like Deborah Grey who is quitting politics, Preston Manning whom Stephen deserted at a time of need and others who have worked for or attempted to negotiate and work with him such as Keith Martin, Joe Clark, Rick Borodstik and others too numerous to mention ... 40% of the old PC caucus has already resigned rather than serve under Harper and there will be more to come ... only a new leader who has not previously led either the CA or PC parties and who, preferably, has some roots and sympathies in both PC and CA camps, is from eastern Canada and Ontario even better (the last Ontario leader of the Conservatives was George Drew in 1948-56 so it is certainly time that this 40% of the economy and 35% of the seats had representation), is bilingual, is a conciliatory leader, and is seen as an honest broker, compromise leader to bring the two wings together can get the job done ... Tony Clement measures up to these criteria and could grow into and master the job IMO ... if Harper wins, we'll have to wait until the old firewaller/fire and brimstoner is turfed out after the next election debacle so that the Conservartives can this time get the right leader and forge a true merger and synthesis well before the 2008/9 contest ...

I think the next few months will be stormy for the CPC, and Harper is just the autocrat for the job. The party will truly unite under his replacement.

That said, your points are all valid. I think Clement would be a good leader, but him winning would bother the stallwarts of the Alliance. The CA will need some time to get to know the better half of their party.

Thanks for the comments...

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replying to the first post on the thread

here is my satirical eye for the lesser grade of idiocies. its analogous to theatre like putting the BS show on the road “I CAME AND HERE I AM” ... who said that

- Strategy now – to begin 3 initial big wins, so the usual - father buys all the seats in the first three shows

first “opening night” sold out

second “opening night” sold out

third “ opening night” sold out

well you, you roistering cosmopolitans put these agendas in the show of your choice

- mostly about who is steeping down, pulling in and out

- you see we can recognize and needle every BS uttered only because we long ago also recognize an inability to really say anything so mostly about screw-ups, the call is bluff

- the debate – “its about ideas” watch how creativity and originality plays out and an entire whole political system can go down with it – but recall a sold out show … applause

i think the show is position to do well, well BS is position to show well literally.

it has high aspirations even when flawed with limited experience, knowledge and intellect. the decks [using theatre for now, can change to playing cards instantly] well that just keep stacking up favorably for now. did I say for just no apparent reason.

fourth show on the road to ottawa

- guaranteed seats only the people are now seconding puppets “shows sold out

its cheap metaphors and mostly pretentious pseudo-politics at its worst

i declare i am a liberal

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maplesyrup,Feb 7 2004, 07:12 PM] BB, as an outsider looking in on this new Conservative party, my impression was that neither Harper or MacKay should be running. A merger is difficult enough as it is, some one more neutral at the top would be better for harmony.

 

What I don't understand though is why are these primarily PC MPs jumping ship, before the new leader is chosen? What is that all about?

If it's that bad already, and the leader hasn't even been chosen yet, what is coming if Harper wins. I think the party will implode.

I don't think getting delegates is the same as getting the general population to support you. Perhaps media attention isn't what is required at the moment.

Tony Clement has Chuck Strahl and John Crosbie organizing his campaign. They must know what they are doing, I would think.

- MS - I TOTALLY AGREE!!!

- The main reason that 40% (6 of 15) PC MPs have already jumped ship and another 2 or more will do so if Harper wins the leadership is that they see the leadership race as fixed in Harper's favour and they see that 80% of the parliamentary caucus and over 70% of the members and - if Harper wins - the leader of the so-called new party are all from the western, CA, social conservative, anti-Quebec, anti-Ottawa group which means that this will - in the first couple of years at least - not be a new party but a hostile takeover of the PC party by the latest incarnation of the Reform Party. Since they are red tories and since their constituencies are also red tory, they neither fit with nor would win election as members of the new party. (And Harper being a prick to work for didn't help either.)

- As I have pointed out before, the best leadership selection to fashion a true merger of the two parties would be an eastern red tory or at least an eastern moderate conservative with roots in the PC and CA parties and a reputation as an honest broker and a fair and balanced leader. Such a leader would be able to counterbalance the overwhelming caucus and membership advantage enjoyed by the CA wing and ensure a proper place in the new party for PC not just for CA views and policy and people. Clement is the only one in the race that could be this kind of a leader.

- But the party is unlikely to implode. What is more likely to happen is that Harper will be jetisoned well before the next election and a first tier candidate matching the profile I have described above will take over and take a serious run at the Martin government in 2008/9.

- Exactly, which is why Belinda Stronach could buy/win the leadership but totally bomb in a national election. As to media attention, I don't think there has been enough media coverage of the race so far and I would like to see much more. This would reveal Stronach's glaring, manifold shortcomings, Harper's arrogance and hypocrisy, and be to Clement's advantage as the most national, modern and thoughtful leadership candidate of the three.

I certainly hope so. Maybe Big John can help transform Tony from a brilliant but reserved policy wonk into a more extroverted, charismatic, populist type candidate. After all, until Crosbie embarked upon a program to make the same change to himself back in the late 60s, he was seen as dull, reserved, boring and so painfully shy that he stuttered quite a bit and couldn't look people in the eye. In a short time, he became the dynamic, witty performer he is today (except for looking people in the eye - he still shuts his eyes when talking with you which can be quite disconcerting).

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- As I have pointed out before, the best leadership selection to fashion a true merger of the two parties would be an eastern red tory or at least an eastern moderate conservative with roots in the PC and CA parties and a reputation as an honest broker and a fair and balanced leader.

I have been reading many comments along the lines of "if any easterner is elected to lead the CPC, we're leaving to form a the Re-Reform (or somesuch) party".

I think the signficant faction of anti-Eastern types need time to get used to the idea of the merger.

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i actually would like to see belinda win the conservative run and gather momentum for 08 – she has a better shot at a PM job at that time.

in the interim she can prove her leadership, strengthen her politics and her shortcomings. well that is if she is even serious for another 4 years and what more why not capitalize on real politic, what are friends for, run parallel and in harmony with Hilary Clinton in 08 it would make for interesting times

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