Transcript: Battleground Ontario | Jan 29, 2015

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and red and pink striped tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

Steve says CANADA'S ECONOMIC
ENGINE HAS BEEN REVVING IN THE
WEST _ ALONG WITH THE POLITICAL
POWER THAT GOES WITH IT.
BUT AS WESTERN ECONOMIC FORTUNES
HAVE TURNED, SO HAS ATTENTION
WITH MORE POLITICAL EYES FOCUSED
ON THE STRATEGIC BATTLEGROUND OF
ONTARIO.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON THIS
POWER SHIFT:
IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL:
JOHN IVISON, POLITICAL COLUMNIST
WITH THE NATIONAL POST;

John is in his late forties, with short salt and pepper hair and a trimmed beard. He’s wearing a gray suit, checkered purple shirt and matching purple tartan tie.

Steve continues AND WITH US IN STUDIO:
ANNA ESSELMENT, POLITICAL
SCIENTIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
WATERLOO;

Anna is in her late thirties, with shoulder-length chestnut hair. She’s wearing a black blazer over a caramel cotton shirt.

Steve continues AND MARIT STILES, FORMER
STRATEGIST WHO'S WORKED IN THE
BACKROOMS ON A DOZEN CAMPAIGNS
AT ALL THREE LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT.

Marit is in her early forties, with shoulder-length wavy blond hair. She’s wearing a golden animal print blazer over a black blouse, and a gold choker with matching earrings.

Steve continues WE'RE HAPPY TO WELCOME EVERYBODY
TO OUR BROADCAST TONIGHT.
LET'S JUST START, JOHN, WITH YOU
IN OTTAWA.
WE'VE SEEN OIL PRICES GOING
DOWN, WE HAVE SEEN THE LOONIE
GOING DOWN.
THE FEDERAL BUDGET IS NOW BEING
DELAYED AS THEY TRY TO FIGURE
OUT WHAT THE NEW NUMBERS ARE
GOING TO BE.
ONTARIO IS OBVIOUSLY ALWAYS
IMPORTANT BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT
OF SEATS HERE IN THIS PROVINCE
BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE EVEN
MORE SEATS GOING FORWARD AND
GIVEN ALL OF THE EVENTS OF THE
PAST FEW MONTHS, DO YOU THINK
THAT MAKES BATTLEGROUND ONTARIO
EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN IT
USUALLY IS?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "John Ivison. National Post."

John speaks with a broad Scottish accent and says ABSOLUTELY.
I MEAN, I THINK WE SAW THIS WEEK
ALREADY WITH -- I'M CALLING IT
THE SQUEEZED MIDDLE CLASS
BECAUSE THE MIDDLE CLASS IS
BEING SQUEEZED BY ALL THREE
MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES, AND IN
FACT MR. HARPER HAD A SPEECH
THIS WEEK AND TOM MULCAIR AND
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, THE IDEA OF THE
MIDDLE CLASS, WHICH MEANS
BASICALLY IF YOU'RE NOT IN JAIL
AND YOUR NAME IS NOT THOMPSON,
IRVING, AND MacKAY YOU'RE IN
THE MIDDLE CLASS.
THEY'RE BASICALLY TRYING TO WOO
YOU WITH WHATEVER THEY HAVE to OFFER.

The caption changes to "Battleground Ontario. Current of events."

John continues OBVIOUSLY THE SEAT COUNT IS
HIGHEST AROUND TORONTO AND IN
TORONTO AND THE GOLDEN
HORSESHOE.
SO, YEAH, ONTARIO IS KEY TO
EVERYBODY'S PLANS RIGHT NOW.

Steve says WELL, WE HAVE NOBODY
ON THIS PROGRAM NAMED THOMPSON,
IRVING, OR McCAIN.
LET'S FOLLOW THAT UP.
MARIT, BATTLE GROUND ONTARIO,
MORE IMPORTANT NOW BECAUSE OF
ALL THOSE FACTORS?

The caption changes to "Marit Stiles. Former Political Strategist."

Marit says ISN'T ONTARIO
ALWAYS THE CENTRE OF THE
UNIVERSE.
C'MON.
ONTARIO IS ALWAYS AN IMPORTANT
FOCUS FOR ALL PARTIES BECAUSE
IT'S SO VOTE-RICH.
WITH THE BOUNDARY CHANGES, THERE
ARE MORE SEATS THAN EVER.
THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT THE
PARTIES WOULD HAVE BEEN LOOKING
HERE ANYWAY.
BUT WITH THE LOONIE KIND OF
SLUMPING, I THINK THAT THINGS
LIKE THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR IN
ONTARIO BECOMING A GREATER FOCUS
FOR ALL THREE PARTIES, SO IT'S
NOT SO SURPRISING I THINK THAT
WE'RE SEEING MORE ATTENTION
ESPECIALLY OVER RECENT WEEKS
HERE AND I THINK WE'LL CONTINUE
TO SEE THAT OVER THE NEXT FEW
MONTHS UNTIL WE HIT THAT MAGIC
ELECTION DAY.

Steve says ANNA, WHAT'S YOUR
VIEW ON THIS?

The caption changes to "Anna Esselment. University of Waterloo."

Anna says YES, I
AGREE WITH BOTH JOHN AND MARIT.
ONTARIANS ARE USED TO BEING
IMPORTANT IN ELECTIONS.
SO IN TERMS OF SOME OF THOSE
ECONOMIC SHIFTS, WE EXPECT
PARTIES TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS
PROVINCE AND VOTERS EXPECT IT TOO.
I THINK WHAT VOTERS IN CERTAIN
REGIONS WILL FIND SOME MORE
ATTENTION.
FOR EXAMPLE, WE SEE THE LEADERS,
PARTICULARLY SPENDING TIME IN
SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.
SO AS THE TALK OF MANUFACTURING
COMING BACK OR AS THE LOONIE
PLUMMETS, WE SEE LONDONERS
GETTING MORE ATTENTION, PEOPLE
IN KITCHENER-CAMBRIDGE GETTING
MORE ATTENTION, THAT'S WHERE
THOMAS MULCAIR WAS I BELIEVE
JUST THE OTHER DAY.
I THINK WE'LL FIND THAT VOTERS
IN CERTAIN PARTS OF ONTARIO WILL
ALSO SEE MORE POLITICIANS COMING THROUGH.

Steve says THAT'S INTERESTING,
MARIT, BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF
SEATS IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO
THAT DON'T REALLY FEEL LIKE
THEY'RE IN PLAY AT ALL.
WINDSOR SEATS -- THERE'S NOT A
LOT OF WINDSOR SEATS I WOULDN'T
THINK THAT ARE GOING TO BE IN
PLAY.
THERE'S SOME CONSERVATIVE
PARTIES OF SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO
THAT ARE NOT GOING TO BE IN
PLAY.
SO WOULD THE SOUTHWEST STILL BE
ONE OF THESE REGIONS WHERE
THERE'S GOING TO BE EXTRA
SPECIAL ATTENTION BECAUSE OF ALL
OF THESE FACTORS?

Marit says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says THERE WILL BE.

Marit says EVEN IF YOU
LOOK AT THE LAST PROVINCIAL
ELECTION IN ONTARIO, ONE OF THE
KEY AREAS WHERE SAY THE NDP
PICKED UP A LOT OF SUPPORT WAS
AREAS AROUND SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO.
THERE'S A LOT OF POTENTIAL THERE
AND THE NDP SEES THAT AS AN AREA
OF GREAT POTENTIAL WHERE THERE'S
ACTUALLY -- THE BATTLES TEND TO
BE MORE CONSERVATIVE-NDP IN SOME
AREAS THAN CONSERVATIVE-LIBERAL.
I MEAN, THAT'S ONE FOCUS.
I KNOW THE NDP IN PARTICULAR IS
LOOKING AT THOSE AREAS.
AGAIN, YOU KNOW, WHERE WE MIGHT
HAVE LOST SOME SEATS IN THE LAST
PROVINCIAL ELECTION, LIKE IN
TORONTO, WE PICKED UP A LOT OF
SUPPORT THERE AND THEY'VE BEEN
BUILDING ON THE GROUND.
I THINK IT'S A KEY AREA.
THERE'S SOME INTERESTING FIGHTS COMING.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY WE, YOU
MEAN THE FORMER WE BECAUSE
YOU'RE VERY NON-PARTISAN NOW
GIVEN YOU'RE A SCHOOL BOARD
TRUSTEE THESE DAYS.
I GET IT.
JOHN, DOES IT MAKE IT MORE
DIFFICULT ON THE POLITICAL
PARTIES TO CREATE GENUINELY
NATIONAL PLATFORMS GIVEN THAT,
FROM WHAT YOU'RE ALL TELLING ME,
THERE IS GOING TO BE THIS
EXTRA-SPECIAL ATTENTION, EVEN
BEYOND WHAT'S NORMAL, FOR SOME
PARTS OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO?

John says WELL, I THINK
THE THING THAT IS DIFFICULT FOR
THE PARTIES IS RECENT EVENTS.
IT LOOKED TO BE IN OCTOBER LIKE
MR. HARPER WAS ON A DOWNWARD
DEATH SLIDE AND EVENTS HAVE VERY
MUCH MOVED IN HIS FAVOUR.
I THINK ON THE ECONOMY IN
PARTICULAR IT'S A KIND OF GOLD
GOLDILOCKS FOR HIM.
NOT TOO HOT AND NOT TOO COLD.
AND THE SECURITY FILE AGAIN,
THAT REALLY HAS COME TO TOP OF
MIND AND IT PLAYS FOR MR. HARPER.
SO THE PLANS WHICH THE LIBERALS
I THINK HAD LAID OUT ARE NOW IN
A LITTLE BIT OF DISARRAY AND I
THINK THEY'VE NOW GOT TO RESPOND
TO EVENTS.
THEY HAVE -- YOU KNOW, THEIR
PLAN WAS REALLY JUST WAIT UNTIL
THE CAMPAIGN COMES ALONG, THEN
WE'LL START UNVEILING POLICY.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE SITTING
AROUND GOING, WHAT WOULD YOU DO,
MR. TRUDEAU, IF YOU WERE PRIME
MINISTER RIGHT NOW?
THE SILENCE HAS BEEN THE LOUD REPLY.
SO I THINK THE WAY IT'S LOOKING
RIGHT NOW, THERE NEEDS TO BE A
REEVALUATION OF SOME OF THESE PLANS.
OBVIOUSLY THE FISCAL ROOM IS NOT
THERE FOR THE OPPOSITION PARTY.
THE GOVERNMENT STILL MAINTAINS
THAT IT HAS ROOM TO MAKE THE
FAMILY TAX CUTS THAT IT HAD
PLANNED TO DO, AND TO SOME
EXTENT THEIR CLAIMS ARE
BOLSTERED BY WHAT THE
PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICER
REVEALED IN A REPORT THIS WEEK.
HE SAID THAT ESSENTIALLY EVEN
WITH A SUB 50 dollar OIL PRICE, THE
CONSERVATIVES MIGHT SEE A
400 MILLION dollar DEFICIT NEXT YEAR,
WHICH REALLY, IN THE SCHEME OF A
280 BILLION dollar SPENDING
GOVERNMENT, IS NOT THAT MUCH.
I THINK THAT'S THE REAL KEY
CHANGE OF LATE.
A LOT OF THESE PLANS -- THE BEST
LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MEN, AS
ROBERT BURNS WOULD SAY, HAVE
GONE OFF.

Steve says NOT ONLY IS THAT A
LOVELY QUOTE, BUT WITH THAT
ACCENT OF YOURS, JOHN, IT REALLY
IS JUST SUPERB.
CONGRATULATIONS.

John says HE'S FROM MY
HOMETOWN AND IT'S BURNS DAY SO
I'M OBLIGED TO SAY THAT.

Steve says GOTCHA.
YES, YOU ARE.
THE PLUMMETING REVENUES WE'RE
SEEING BECAUSE THE OIL PRICES
ARE GOING DOWN, THE LOONIE IS
WORTH SO MUCH LESS, HOW DOES --
IF AT ALL, HOW DOES THAT CHANGE
WHAT THE BALLOT QUESTION MIGHT
BE FOR PEOPLE AS THEY CONSIDER
OVER THE NEXT 8 MONTHS WHO THEY
WANT TO VOTE FOR?

Anna says YES, WELL,
I THINK THERE ARE A COUPLE OF
POSSIBILITIES FOR THE BALLOT
QUESTION: ONE IS WHETHER VOTERS
ARE READY FOR CHANGE OR WHETHER
THEY WANT TO CHOOSE CHANGE.
IT'S ALMOST ALWAYS I THINK THE
BALLOT QUESTION IN MANY CASES.

Steve says WHO IS THE LAST GUY
WHO RAN ON CHANGE?
McGUINTY.
LOOK FOR HIM.
LOOK FOR HIM THREE TIMES,
ACTUALLY.

Anna chuckles and then says THEN
THERE'S ALSO SORT OF THAT
QUESTION OF WHO DO YOU TRUST?
WHO DO YOU TRUST WITH THE
PUBLIC'S MONEY?
WITH ECONOMIC CHANGES, VOTERS
TEND TO PRIORITIZE SORT OF, YOU
KNOW, THE ECONOMY IN THEIR
EVALUATIONS OF WHAT'S GOING ON,
AND LEADERS.
AND VOTERS ALSO TEND TO BE MORE
RETROSPECTIVE WHEN THEY THINK
ABOUT THE ECONOMY, SO THEY KIND
OF LOOK BACK.
AM I BETTER OFF NOW THAN I WAS
FOUR YEARS AGO?
AND FOR A NUMBER OF ONTARIANS,
THEY'LL PROBABLY SAY, YES,
THINGS LOOK BETTER, I FEEL
BETTER, ESPECIALLY IF I'M PAYING
LESS FOR GAS AT THE PUMPS, THEY
HAVE A LITTLE MORE MONEY IN
THEIR POCKET.

Steve says SO THAT ALL HELPS
STEPHEN HARPER?

Anna says SO THAT CAN
HELP THE CONSERVATIVES, ABSOLUTELY.
BUT WE CAN'T FORGET THAT THERE
ARE, YOU KNOW, LARGE SWATHS OF
THE PROVINCE THAT HAVE NOT BEEN
DOING WELL, WHICH IS I THINK WHY
YOU HAVE SOMEONE LIKE JUSTIN
TRUDEAU WHO IS CAUCUSING IN
LONDON, TRYING TO BRING
ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THERE
ARE AREAS THAT HAVE NOT DONE WELL.
I WOULD ADD A KEY POINT THERE
TOO, DEB MATTHEWS, WHO IS A VERY
PROMINENT AND POWERFUL ECONOMIC
MINISTER IN THE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT, WAS THERE -- SHE WAS
THERE WITH JUSTIN TRUDEAU, AND I
THINK THE PROVINCIAL LIBERALS,
PART OF THEIR STRATEGY IS THEN
TO SAY: LOOK IT, ONTARIANS, WE
HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH
THE LIBERALS, WE KNOW STEPHEN
HARPER DOESN'T HAVE THAT
RELATIONSHIP, AND WE WANT TO
WORK TOGETHER TO FLOAT THE BOAT
OF ONTARIO.

Steve says MARIT, IT'S
OBVIOUSLY NOT UNHEARD OF FOR THE
FEDERAL LEADER AND THE
PROVINCIAL LEADER TO DO STUFF
TOGETHER.
I KNOW TOM MULCAIR IS IN SUDBURY
HELPING CAMPAIGN FOR THE NDP
CANDIDATE IN THE BY-ELECTION
THAT'S GOING TO BE HAPPENING
THERE NEXT MONTH.
BUT THE FEDERAL LIBERAL LEADER
AND THE PROVINCIAL LIBERAL
PREMIER ARE TOGETHER ALMOST ALL
THE TIME.
THEY DO STUFF TOGETHER A LOT.
WHAT'S THE VALUE IN THAT, DO YOU THINK?

Marit says OBVIOUSLY
THERE'S A PRETTY POPULAR LIBERAL
PREMIER HERE IN ONTARIO RIGHT
NOW, AND I THINK JUSTIN'S HOPING
SOME OF THAT WEARS OFF ON HIM.
IT WORKS FOR BOTH OF THEM.
IT CAN ALSO WORK AGAINST THEM, THOUGH.
IN ONTARIO, I THINK, WHEN WE
VERY RARELY SEE THE SAME
GOVERNMENT IN POWER FEDERALLY AS
PROVINCIALLY, SO THAT'S A BIT OF
AN UNUSUAL TURN.
I DO THINK THAT IN THIS CASE IT
CAN BE A LITTLE DANGEROUS.
YOU HAVE RIGHT NOW A PREMIER
WHO, AGAIN, PRETTY POPULAR, BUT
SHE'S FACING SOME DIFFICULT
CHOICES AND CHALLENGES AS WELL,
AND SO THE QUESTION IS: HOW
QUICKLY IS THAT GOING TO BECOME
APPARENT TO VOTERS HERE IN ONTARIO?
AND WHEN YOU SEE THINGS LIKE
PUBLIC ASSETS BEING POTENTIALLY
SOLD OFF, SOME OF THOSE TOUGH
CHOICES THAT SHE'S GOING TO BE
MAKING OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS
MAYBE EVEN, WE'LL SEE HOW THAT PLAYS OUT.
THAT CAN HAVE NOT A GREAT EFFECT
WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING THAT CLOSE
TO YOUR PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL
LEADER, RIGHT?

Steve says JOHN, CAN I GET YOU
ON THAT?
OBVIOUSLY THE PRIME MINISTER
BEING PRIME MINISTER WOULD TEND
NOT TO CAMPAIGN IN A PROVINCIAL
ELECTION FOR HIS CONSERVATIVE
COUNTERPART.
SO WE HAVEN'T SEEN STEPHEN
HARPER OBVIOUSLY IN ONTARIO
ELECTIONS FOR QUITE A WHILE, AND
FRANKLY, HE'S NEVER HAD THAT
CLOSE A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY OF
THE LAST FEW CONSERVATIVE PARTY
LEADERS ANYWAY.
HAVING SAID THAT, DO YOU THINK
IT'S A REAL HELP TO HAVE
KATHLEEN WYNNE AND JUSTIN
TRUDEAU OUT THERE TOGETHER?
DOES THAT HELP JUSTIN TRUDEAU
EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE A PROVINCIAL
ELECTION?

John says IT COULD BE
BITTER, IT COULD BE SWEET.
THEY MET THIS MORNING, FOR EXAMPLE.
THEY'RE OBVIOUSLY VERY TIGHT
AND, YOU KNOW, JOINT PLANNING
SESSIONS ALMOST.
THE SPEECH KATHLEEN WYNNE GAVE
IN OTTAWA LAST WEEK OR THE WEEK
BEFORE WAS ALMOST LIKE A SETUP
FOR JUSTIN TRUDEAU BASICALLY
SAYING WE NEED MORE MONEY SPENT
ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND LO AND
BEHOLD JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S MAIN
PLANK OF HIS POLICY IS
INFRASTRUCTURE.
THEY'RE HELPING ONE ANOTHER, BUT
IT CAN BE A HINDRANCE.
I REMEMBER, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN
PAUL MARTIN WAS PRIME MINISTER
AND DALTON McGUINTY BROUGHT IN
THE HEALTH TAX, WHICH WAS MAYBE
TWO MONTHS BEFORE OF THE
ELECTION OF 2004, AND THE
LIBERALS HEARD IT AT THE DOOR.
THE FEDERAL LIBERALS HEARD ABOUT
THE HEALTH TAX AT THE DOOR
BECAUSE THE VOTER DOES NOT
DISCRIMINATE PARTICULARLY.
YOU KNOW, KATHLEEN WYNNE HAS
SOME PRETTY TOUGH CHOICES AND
MAYBE JUSTIN TRUDEAU DOESN'T
WANT TO BE CAUGHT IN THE
CROSSFIRE OF SOME OF THOSE
DECISIONS.

Steve says LET'S JUST CONSIDER
WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW.
WE'RE A LITTLE -- IF -- IF THE
FEDERAL ELECTION IS IN OCTOBER
WHEN THE LAW SAYS IT'S SUPPOSED
TO BE AND IF THE PRIME MINISTER
DOESN'T GO EARLY, AS HE HAS A
COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE PAST, 8
MONTHS OUT, MARIT, BASED ON, YOU
KNOW, A DOZEN CAMPAIGNS OR SO, 8
MONTHS OUT HOW MUCH DO YOU
ALREADY KNOW ABOUT WHAT ISSUES
YOU WANT TO CAMPAIGN ON, HOW THE
CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO GO, WHERE
YOU WANT THE CAMPAIGN -- I MEAN,
ALL OF THOSE DETAILS?
WHAT DO THEY KNOW RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Campaign pivots."

Marit says I THINK ALL
THE PARTIES KNOW A FAIR AMOUNT
ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW.
AT THIS POINT, WITH THE FED
ELECTION DATE, YOU KNOW AT THE
VERY LEAST YOU'VE GOT ONLY UNTIL OCTOBER.
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE YOUR PLANES
BOOKED, YOU'RE GOING TO KNOW
WHERE YOUR TOURS ARE GOING FOR
THE MOST PART, AND IDEALLY
YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE YOUR
PLATFORM WELL IN HAND.
I MEAN, IN THIS CASE, IT IS AN
INTERESTING TIME RIGHT NOW
BECAUSE WE ARE SEEING MULCAIR
OUT THERE FLOATING HIS PLATFORM
PLANKS NOW.
AS YOU MENTIONED EARLIER, THAT'S
KIND OF NOTICEABLY MISSING FROM
TRUDEAU'S PLANS RIGHT NOW.
WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE HEADED.
BUT REALISTICALLY, WE KNOW THAT
IN THE BACK ROOMS THEY KNOW
WHERE THEY'RE GOING.
AT THE SAME TIME, THEY'VE GOT TO
BE PRETTY NIMBLE HERE.
THINGS LIKE A TURN IN ECONOMY,
AS WE'RE SEEING NOW, THE PRICE
OF OIL, CAN REALLY AFFECT NOT
JUST THE FISCAL REALITY THEY'RE
HEADING INTO BUT WHAT VOTERS ARE
WILLING TO BUY.

Steve says THAT'S IT.
EVEN TOM MULCAIR HAS A LOT OF
INK WITH THE DAY CARE PROMISE HE'S MADE.
IT IS CONTINGENT ON THE TREASURY
BEING FLUSH, AND HE'S EVEN SAID THAT.
HE'S NOT GOING TO PROMISE TO DO
SOMETHING IF WE CAN'T AFFORD TO DO IT.
YOU KNOW, AGAIN, THEY HAVE SOME
SENSE ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT TO DO
RIGHT NOW 8 MONTHS OUT, BUT HOW
MUCH OF THAT CHANGES GIVEN A
DETERIORATING LOONIE AND A
DETERIORATING -- OR A LOWER
PRICE OF GAS, I SHOULD SAY, AND
ALL THE OTHER CHANGES?

Anna says AGAIN, I'M
NOT REALLY A STRATEGIST SO I
WOULDN'T KNOW EXACTLY AT WHAT
POINT THEY WOULD MAKE CHANGES,
BUT I THINK WHAT WE'LL FIND IS
PARTIES WILL BE VERY CAREFUL
ABOUT WHAT THEY WILL START TO PROMISE.
WHEREAS I THINK THERE COULD HAVE
BEEN, YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO
DO -- WE HAVE THIS CAMPAIGN
COMMITMENT, WE'RE GOING TO
ANNOUNCE IT HERE AND AT THIS
DIFFERENT TIME AND THIS IS GOING
TO COST US 300 MILLION -- I
THINK WHAT WE MIGHT FINE IS
THERE IS A REINING IN OF THAT
AND A RE-THINK OF ANY OF THE BIG
PROMISES THEY MIGHT MAKE IN
ORDER TO WAIT AND ASSESS WHERE
THE BUDGET'S GOING TO BE.

Marit says DON'T FORGET,
IT LEAVES OUR CONSERVATIVE
GOVERNMENT IN A BIT OF A BIND.
THEY HAVE BIG MONEY PROMISES
THAT THEY HAVE SAID THEY ARE
GOING TO CARRY OUT.

Steve says INCOME SPLITTING.

Marit says INCOME
SPLITTING.
THIS IS GOING TO BE A REAL
PROBLEM FOR THEM.
AND THE OTHER PARTIES ARE GOING
TO ALSO BE CONTENDSING WITH
SIMILAR ISSUES FOR SURE.

Steve says JOHN, YOU WANTED TO ADD?

John says I WAS GOING TO
SAY ON THE BIG SPENDING
PROMISES, MULCAIR HAD MUSED LAST
YEAR ABOUT RESTORING THE 6 percent
ESCALATOR TO HEALTH SPENDING AND
HE WAS ASKED ABOUT THAT THE
OTHER DAY AND HE WAS NOTICEABLY
LESS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THAT, IT
WOULD COST 30 BILLION IS NOT A
BAD IDEA.
EVERYBODY IS TAKING A LOOK AT
WHAT THEY'RE PROMISING AND, YOU
KNOW, MULCAIR, FOR EXAMPLE,
PROMISED HE WOULD HONOUR THE
CHILD CARE BENEFIT THAT THE
CONSERVATIVES BROUGHT IN.
THAT'S A 5 BILLION dollar PLEDGE.
SO HE DOESN'T HAVE THAT MUCH
MORE MONEY TO PLAY WITH.

Steve says JOHN, BACK IN THE
DAY -- BY THAT I GUESS I MEAN
BEFORE FIXED ELECTION DATES WERE
A PART OF OUR REGULAR POLITICAL
CULTURE -- YOU WOULD NOT, 8
MONTHS OUT, SEE THE KIND OF
BLATANT OBVIOUS ELECTION
CAMPAIGNING THAT WE'RE ALREADY
SEEING NOW.
CAN YOU TELL US HOW WHAT HAS
CHANGED THAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE
SEEN 25 YEARS AGO?

John says FOR SURE.
WELL, I MEAN, WE ALL SAW IT IN
ONTARIO WHEN McGUINTY BROUGHT
IN THE FIXED ELECTION DATE.
I GET THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AFTER 2003.
SO BY 2005, WE KNEW WE WERE
GOING TO BE IN ANOTHER ELECTION
AND IT WAS PRETTY MUCH CAMPAIGN
FROM THEN ON.
THAT HAS NOT BEEN THE CASE
FEDERALLY UNTIL THIS ELECTION.
ALTHOUGH, YOU KNOW, WE WERE IN A
PERIOD OF PERMANENT ELECTION
CAMPAIGNING BECAUSE OF THE
MINORITY GOVERNMENT, BUT IT WAS
PRETTY MUCH -- IT WAS A VERY
DIFFERENT FEEL TO WHAT WE'VE GOT
NOW WHERE PEOPLE ARE LAYING OUT
A CAMPAIGN A YEAR AHEAD OF TIME.
YOU KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, WE SAW
TOM MULCAIR THIS WEEK OR LAST
WEEK WHEN HE CAME BACK FROM THE
BREAK BASICALLY RELAUNCH HIMSELF
AND HIS PARTY.
THEY HAD A TERRIBLE FALL, AS
PRIME MINISTER HARPER'S POLLING
NUMBERS ROSE, HIS FELL, AND THEY
WERE ECLIPSED ON THE ECONOMY AND
SECURITY.
SO HE'S NOW PUT HIMSELF BACK IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE DEBATE,
TALKING ABOUT THE ECONOMY.
THEY MADE PROMISES TO BUSINESSES
EARLIER THIS WEEK.
AND THIS IS A VERY CONSCIOUS
DECISION TO SPEND 8 MONTHS
TALKING ABOUT THIS, TRYING TO
CONVINCE PEOPLE THAT THE NDP CAN
BE TRUSTED WITH A 2 TRILLION dollar ECONOMY.

Steve says ANNA, CAN I GET YOU
TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT?
HOW ARE THINGS DIFFERENT NOW
WHEN WE KNOW THE ELECTION IS
GOING TO BE IN OCTOBER AS
OPPOSED TO AT THE PRIME
MINISTER'S WHIM, HOW HAS IT
CHANGED THE WAY CAMPAIGNS NOW
OPERATE WHERE 8 MONTHS OUT WHAT
YOU SEE NOW YOU WOULDN'T HAVE
SEEN 25 YEARS AGO?

Anna says YOU'RE
SEEING THINGS LIKE THEIR
MESSAGES ARE TIGHT AND
DISCIPLINED.
THEY'VE WORKED ON THEIR SLOGAN.
MR. TRUDEAU ALWAYS, YOU KNOW,
EVERY TAG OR TWEET IS “HOPE AND
HARD WORK.”
SO THERE'S A REAL FOLLOWING OF A
CERTAIN SCRIPT NOW BECAUSE THEY
WANT TO KEEP TIGHT ON THEIR
MESSAGE AND THEY WANT TO EXUDE A
CERTAIN BRAND.
BOTH FIXED ELECTION DATE BUT
THIS IS ALSO BECAUSE OF THE
EXPLOSION OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND
HOW HARD IT IS TO CONTROL, NOT
ONLY YOUR MESSAGE BUT ALSO WHEN
YOU'RE REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE.
SO TWITTER AND FACEBOOK AND ALL
THESE THINGS ARE KIND OF
POST-CHRéTIEN YEARS AND EVEN
JUST STARTING UP WITH MARTIN.
BUT HARPER, WHEN HE CAME IN, ALL
THE SOCIAL MEDIA WAS IN PLACE.
NOT ONLY DO YOU HAVE 24-7 JUST
TRADITIONAL MEDIA, BUT NOW YOU
HAVE ALL THIS SOCIAL MEDIA.
SO IN ORDER TO CONTROL AND IN
ORDER TO TRY TO KEEP THE
MESSAGES THAT YOU WANT TARGETED
TO THE VOTERS THAT YOU'RE TRYING
TO REACH, EVERYTHING IS NOW I
THINK MUCH MORE STREAMLINED AND
YOU WOULD HAVE LOTS OF PEOPLE
TALKING ABOUT ALL KINDS OF
DIFFERENT THINGS 25 YEARS AGO.
YOU WOULD HEAR FROM MINISTERS.
YOU WOULD HEAR FROM CANDIDATES.
AND NOW YOU WON'T AS MUCH, YOU
KNOW, ESPECIALLY WITH THE
CONSERVATIVES.
BUT I THINK WE SEE MUCH MORE THE
NDP HAS CERTAINLY BECOME MUCH
MORE DISCIPLINED IN THEIR
MACHINERY AS WELL, AND THE LIBERALS.
AND I THINK THIS IS JUST A FACT NOW.
I THINK IT WILL ALWAYS BE
THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT CAMPAIGN
AND WE THINK -- YOU KNOW, HARPER
IS VERY CONTROLLING, BUT I THINK
EVEN IF IT WAS MR. MULCAIR OR
MR. TRUDEAU, IT WOULD BE DEGREES
OF THAT CONTROL BECAUSE THEY ARE
OPERATING IN A VERY NEW
ENVIRONMENT.

Steve says MARIT, HOW, IF YOU
HAVE TO DO THIS FOR THE NEXT 8
STRAIGHT MONTHS ARE YOU (a)
NOT GOING TO BORE THE HELL OUT
OF THE CANADIAN ELECTORATE AND
(b) NOT GOING TO RUN OUT OF GAS?
I MEAN, YOUR PEOPLE CAN'T GO DAY
IN AND DAY OUT FOR 8 STRAIGHT
MONTHS WITH, YOU KNOW, A LEAD
FOOT, RIGHT?
PEDAL TO THE METAL.

Marit chuckles and says WE JUST CAME
OUT OF A MAYORAL RACE HERE AND
IT'S REALLY NOT THAT MUCH
DIFFERENT FROM THAT.
WE KNOW WHEN IT'S GOING TO END
AT THE LONGEST.
WE KNOW WHERE IT COULD
POTENTIALLY END, IN OCTOBER.
SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL-OUT RIGHT NOW.
I THINK THAT IT IS A LOT LIKE
THOSE MUNICIPAL CAMPAIGNS WHERE
WE HAVE THOSE SET ELECTION DATES
AND WE SEE THAT THE CHALLENGE IS
IN KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING
AND HOLDING BACK ENOUGH THAT YOU
HAVE SOMETHING NEW TO PRESENT AT
A CRITICAL MOMENT.
AND ALSO FOR LESS EXPERIENCED
CAMPAIGNS -- I THINK IT WILL BE
A CHALLENGE FOR TRUDEAU, FOR EXAMPLE.
BECAUSE I THINK THAT IT IS --
IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU NEED A
LOT OF CAMPAIGN EXPERIENCE TO
HANDLE THE KIND OF MEDIA THAT
YOU GET DURING A CAMPAIGN PERIOD.
THAT'S GOING TO BE CONTINUING.
EVEN IF WE DON'T HAVE THE
ELECTION UNTIL OCTOBER, THE
SUMMER IS GOING TO BE LIKE HARD
CAMPAIGN TIME THERE AND THE
MEDIA SCRUTINY THAT THE LEADERS
ARE GOING TO BE UNDER IS GOING
TO BE VERY INTENSE FROM THE GET-GO.

Anna says THIS IS
HARPER'S FIFTH CAMPAIGN AS
LEADER AND THIS IS MULCAIR'S
FIRST AND THIS IS TRUDEAU'S FIRST.
SO I THINK ESPECIALLY FOR THE
NDP AND THE LIBERALS, THEY WILL
HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT THEIR
LEADERS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT
UNDERGONE THE SCRUTINY THAT
HARPER IS VERY FAMILIAR WITH
DURING A CAMPAIGN.

Steve says WHETHER YOU LIKE HIM
OR YOU DON'T, THE PUBLIC KNOW
STEPHEN HARPER.
HE'S BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME.

Anna says EXACTLY.
ONCE THEY GET BORED, THAT'S WHEN
YOU KNOW YOUR MESSAGE HAS GOTTEN
THROUGH.
ONCE THE VOTERS GET BORED WITH
THE MESSAGE, YOU REALIZE IT HAS
RESONATED TO THEM.

Steve says JOHN, THERE IS A
DANGER IN OVERLEARNING THE
LESSONS OF THE LAST CAMPAIGN AND
APPLY THEM TO THE NEXT CAMPAIGN.
BUT HAVING SAID THAT, I'M SURE
IT HAS NOT ESCAPED THE VIEWS OF
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE BACK
ROOMS OF WHAT HAPPENED LAST JUNE
AND THE FACT THAT, FOR THE FIRST
TIME IN 40 YEARS, WE HAD A
ROOKIE LEADER WIN AN ELECTION IN
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.
HADN'T HAPPENED SINCE 1971.
TAKE NOTE JUSTIN TRUDEAU AND TOM
MULCAIR IF YOU WANT TO BE A
ROOKIE AND WIN, MAYBE YOU SHOULD
BE TALKING TO SOME OF KATHLEEN
WYNNE'S PEOPLE.
HAVING SAID THAT, WHAT CAME OUT
OF THAT SUMMER 2014 ELECTION
CAMPAIGN WHICH ENDED IN A
LIBERAL MAJORITY GOVERNMENT THAT
YOU THINK THE PARTIES MIGHT BE
INTERESTED IN AS IT RELATES TO
THIS OCTOBER'S FEDERAL ELECTION?

John says WELL, I'M NOT
SURE THAT THERE WILL BE TOO MANY
LESSONS TAKEN FROM THE WYNNE
CAMPAIGN.
SHE RAN AGAINST TIM HUDAK.
IF SHE RAN AGAINST NOBODY, SHE
PROBABLY WOULD HAVE LOST.

Steve says YOU'RE HARSH, JOHN,
VERY HARSH.

John says INEPTITUDE OF
THE HUDAK CAMPAIGN THAN THE
BRILLIANCE OF THE WYNNE CAMPAIGN.
THEY MANAGED TO KEEP THE
DISCUSSION AWAY FROM THE GAS
PLANT AND OTHER THINGS THAT
MIGHT HAVE HARMED HER.
I THINK IT WAS MAINLY TO DO WITH
HER, YOU KNOW, BRIGHT, FRESH
PERSONALITY AND THE FACT THAT
TIM HUDAK'S CAMPAIGN JUST WAS
PITCHED VERY BADLY.
I THINK ON THE POINT PREVIOUSLY
MADE ABOUT MULCAIR BEING A
ROOKIE, I DON'T THINK REALLY
THAT'S A CONCERN.
I MEAN, HE IS A VERY, VERY
SEASONED OPERATOR AND HE
PERFORMED EXTRAORDINARILY WELL
IN FRONT OF CAMERAS AND IN FRONT
OF JOURNALISTS.
MR. TRUDEAU, THOUGH, I SAW
YESTERDAY IN QUESTION PERIOD --
I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE
WATCHED IT -- BUT, YOU KNOW,
MULCAIR AND HARPER WENT AT IT
LIKE OLD PROS AND AD LIBBED AND,
YOU KNOW, FULL OUTRAGE AND IT
WAS A PRETTY -- IT WAS A PRETTY
GOOD SPECTACLE.
AND THEN MR. TRUDEAU STOOD UP
AND ASKED THE QUESTION ABOUT THE
INCOME-SPLITTING, HOW IT WOULD
ONLY BENEFIT WEALTHY FAMILIES
LIKE HIS AND MR. HARPER'S.
NOW, HE USED THIS LINE BEFORE.
MR. HARPER KNEW IT WAS COMING.
HE ZINGED HIM BACK WITH A LINE
ABOUT NOT EVERYBODY HAS A TRUST FUND.
AT THIS POINT MR. TRUDEAU SHOULD
HAVE PIVOTED AWAY OR DONE
SOMETHING, GONE TO PLAN “B.”
HE THEN PROCEEDED TO ASK THE
SAME QUESTION IN FRENCH AND HE
GOT ZINGED ALL OVER AGAIN.
IF THAT HAD BEEN A TELEVISION
DEBATE, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A
KNOCKOUT PUNCH.
PEOPLE WOULD HAVE LOOKED AT HIM
AND GONE, WOW, HE'S NOT QUITE
THERE YET.
THEY REALLY NEED TO USE THE 8
MONTHS TO GET HIM UP TO SPEED
AGAINST THESE TWO SEASONED
FORMIDABLE OPERATORS.

Steve says LET ME ASK, MARIT,
ABOUT TOM MULCAIR, AND WHETHER
THERE'S A LESSON FROM THE LAST
NDP CAMPAIGN IN ONTARIO.
AS YOU KNOW, ANDREA HORWATH CAME
UNDER CRITICISM FOR WHERE HER
PARTY DID NOT DO WELL, NAMELY
CITY OF TORONTO, BECAUSE, THE
ARGUMENT WAS, SHE STRAYED TOO
FAR FROM HER BASE, TOO POPULIST,
TOO MANY SMALL “C” CONSERVATIVE
ELEMENTS IN THE PROGRAM.
SHE DID EXTREMELY WELL IN OTHER
PARTS OF THE PROVINCE, WE HAVE TO ADD.
IS THERE A LESSON FOR TOM
MULCAIR IN ALL OF THAT?

Marit says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK MR. MULCAIR BRINGING OUT
SOME OF THESE PROMISES QUITE
EARLY, ESPECIALLY THINGS LIKE
THE 15 dollar A DAY CHILD CARE PLAN,
ARE REALLY ALSO ABOUT SPEAKING
TO YOUR BASE, MAKING SURE --
SENDING THAT CLEAR MESSAGE, HEY,
I'M THE GUY YOU KNOW.
I'M THE SAME GUY WHO WAS IN THE
PARTY ALONGSIDE JACK LAYTON, AND
I'M GOING TO TAKE YOU IN THAT DIRECTION.
AND I THINK THAT'S A REALLY
IMPORTANT MESSAGE THAT ANY
LEADER CAN'T FORGET IS THEIR BASE.
THAT'S THE FOLKS THAT ARE GOING
TO ACTUALLY GET THE VOTE OUT, TO
TRANSLATE THOSE CHECK MARKS ON
EVERYBODY, ALL THE CANVASSERS
LISTS INTO VOTES ON VOTING DAY.
YOU CAN'T FORGET THOSE PEOPLE.
THAT IS A CENTRAL MESSAGE THAT I
THINK TOM MULCAIR AND THE NDP
FEDERALLY HAVE ABSOLUTELY RECEIVED.
AT THE SAME TIME, YOU'VE GOT TO
LOOK FOR NEW AREAS.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT ANDREA
HORWATH DID AND IT WORKED IN
SOME WAYS AND NOT SO WELL IN
OTHERS CERTAINLY WAS TO SEEK OUT
NEW VOTES IN NEW AREAS THAT
HADN'T BEEN SO STRONG FOR THE
NDP, WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT THE
SOUTHWEST, AND I THINK YOU ALSO
HAVE TO KEEP THAT IN MIND.
I THINK THAT'S WHY MULCAIR WAS
OUT THIS WEEK TALKING ABOUT
THINGS LIKE SMALL BUSINESSES,
MAKING IT A LITTLE EASIER THERE,
TALKING ABOUT MANUFACTURING
SECTOR, INCENTIVES.
AGAIN, NOT TAKING FOR GRANTED
YOUR BASE, BUT LOOKING FOR NEW
VOTE OPPORTUNITIES.

Steve says EVEN THE C.F.I.B.,
CANADIAN FEDERATION OF
INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, LIKED WHAT
MULCAIR HAD TO SAY ON SMALL BUSINESS.

Marit says SURE.

Steve says I HAVE 30 SECONDS LEFT.
WE HAVE IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO 103 MPs, IT'S GOING TO
118, RIGHT, BEFORE THE NEXT
ELECTION, THEY'RE GETTING 15
MORE SEATS -- OR IS IT 121?

Anna nods and says 121.

Steve says 121.
CAN YOU TELL ON THE BASIS OF
WHERE THOSE SEATS ARE WHICH
PARTY WOULD TEND TO BE MORE
FAVOURED?

Anna says IT SEEMS TO
BE SPLIT AT THE MOMENT.
THERE ARE ABOUT SEVEN SEATS, SO
IF YOU THINK ABOUT HALTON,
CAMBRIDGE, HAMILTON -- THOSE
AREAS SEEM TO BE LEANING A
LITTLE MORE CONSERVATIVE.
AND THE OTHER 8 APPEAR TO BE
MORE COMPETITIVE SEATS IN YORK
REGION, IN TORONTO, SOME IN PEEL.
BUT, AGAIN, THEY'RE NEW.

Steve says WHO KNOWS?

Anna says WHO KNOWS?
IF SOME OF THESE MINISTERS OR
MPs HAVE SWITCHED OVER TO --
YOU KNOW, RIDINGS HAVE BEEN
SPLIT, THEY'VE GONE TO ONE AND
NOT THE OTHER, YOU MAY HAVE
VOTERS WHO MAY NOT RECOGNIZE WHO
THEY ARE.
SO I THINK THE DYNAMICS WILL BE
VERY, VERY INTERESTING THIS ELECTION.

The caption changes to "Theagenda.tvo.org"

Steve says AS HAS THIS
DISCUSSION BEEN.
JOHN IVISON, THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR BEING WITH US IN THE
NATION'S CAPITAL, ANNA ESSELMENT
AND MARIT STILES HERE IN TORONTO.
IT'S GOOD TO HAVE ALL THREE OF
YOU ON THE PROGRAM AGAIN.

Watch: Battleground Ontario