For all of the Liberal crowing last quarter over their 2Q results (largely buoyed by a “leadership” convention where Michael Ignatieff was coronated leader) and their 1Q->2Q plus/minus, their 2Q->3Q plus/minus is that story in reverse. However, realistically this quarter’s results shows the real strength of each party’s fundraising machine.
Interestingly, the Greens are outraising the Bloc Quebecois. The Greens may argue that this is another example of why we need proportional representation, however, I’d argue that this represents Canadians that believe in something, rather than believing against another (see what I mean in this article).
The NDP is raising half of what the Liberals are raising showing that for their relative size, their numbers aren’t surprising. Further, it shows that the NDP base is still healthy enough for their smaller party. For the Liberals, their numbers are also relative to their seat count (when compared to CPC numbers) in the House of Commons. However, this may be bad news for the Liberals as they’d like everyone to believe that their seat count is rather a result of a unpopular leader in the last election rather than current Canadian (and Liberal member) attitudes about this party.
Despite the economic crisis, the numbers are still relatively healthy. My friends in the fundraising sector would suggest that if corporate donations were still legal, we’d see party fundraising take a hit this year. However, although Canada went through some tough economic times this year, personal donations are still relatively strong in all charitable sectors.
The branding for the Canadian Olympic team was unveiled yesterday by the Hudson’s Bay Company which runs retail outlets under the Bay and Zeller’s names in Canada. The company is the official outfitter for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Canadian team. Here’s their short video describing the brand and inspiration:
It’s a bit stirring isn’t it? But, as this is a political blog, let’s describe it in this context. For years, the Conservative Party in Canada has been trying to reset the image of Canada that had existed prior to a long-run of Liberal governments and the Conservatives have sought to push back against the rebranding of the Canadian image under that party.
There was criticism yesterday that the Canadian Olympic look and feel bore a striking resemblance to that of the governing party.
The Conservative Party logo (left), the Canadian Olympic logo (right)
First, it should be said that the Hudson’s Bay effort was completely independent of any government interference. This was confirmed by Gary Lunn, junior minister for Sport in the House of Commons yesterday in a response to a question by Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry. After all, companies lobby government, it is unusual for government to lobby companies. You can see examples of other similar logos here, here, and here.
Despite the criticism about the branding similarities, and though in this case the government appears to be clear of any influence regarding HBC’s decision, the Conservatives in government have been working to recapture a certain sentiment among Canadians about their country.
That sentiment, stoked by Conservative branders, is pre-Trudeau(pian). Liberal branders would have you believe that this country was born after 1967, with the Montreal Expo, with a new red and white flag, healthcare and peacekeeping ingrained as our country’s greatest accomplishments.
Conservatives would remind Canadians that our country was born out of a pioneer spirit, hundreds of years ago, of brave individuals that carved out the wilderness and thrived in it. The Hudson’s Bay ad echoes this traditional vision of Canada.
Of Canada, Conservatives emphasize it’s history of fighting for King and country through early wars in Africa in the late nineteenth century and in Europe in the first great war. As Conservatives, we remember and acknowledge that we answered the call among nations to fight tyranny and totalitarianism in the second world war. Today, we recognize that the peace cannot be kept if it is not first made.
Our vision of Canada is one of individual determination and achievement over mushy collectivism. It was roughneck young explorers that mapped out the great expanse in the northwest of our country in search of new capitalist opportunities in fur, timber, ore and minerals.
Under the Harper Conservatives, Canada’s image is emphasized as “the true North strong and free”, a country that defends and maintains its northern sovereignty rather than one that panders to a more European, globalized kid glove approach.
Michael Ignatieff has returned to Canada after quite some time abroad. A potential platform plank that he has been emphasizing is the regaining of Canada’s place on the world stage. In a speech to the Canadian Club of Ottawa, he spoke with a tone a wistfulness for those times when, well, the world was different:
Multilateralism was the Canadian mantra. In 1956, Lester Pearson found a way out of the Suez Crisis and made peacekeeping our vocation. When he won the Nobel Peace Prize the next year, the Nobel committee said “he’d saved the world.” We cheered.
In the post-war era, we became the world’s leading peacekeepers. Up to 1988, there was not a single mission that we didn’t join. At the same time, we went to war in Korea, the Persian Gulf and Kosovo. We went to war when we had to. We kept the peace when we could. Blue helmets became an emblem of our identity. — Michael Ignatieff
Before one can regain their footing, one must survey the new ground. Michael Ignatieff is not ignorant to the new challenges that the world has faced since Pearson. He’s done the heavy thinking on the new role of the world’s remaining superpower and its place on the world stage. However, one surmises that the former academic is in need of the same deep reflection when it comes to Canada’s maturation on the world stage since the Suez crisis, let alone 9/11. One fears that instead of deep academic and analytical reflection on the topic, his new position as a politician has driven him to a knee-jerk, easy but antiquated Liberal view of Canada. Since he left, Canada’s role on the world stage has evolved and matured from the euphemistic “honest broker” to a respected decision-making voice that is sought after for advice and respected for its decisiveness. Canada is again a country that does the heavy lifting.
Despite our history and place earned from taming our own wilderness through sharp wit instead of the welfare tit, despite our nation’s proud history of our young men and women stepping up up for King and country, in the time post-Pearson era Liberals rebranded this country. Expo 67 was promoted as “Canada’s introduction to the world”, as we were recast into the role of confident but newly innocent debutante ready to walk on the world stage if only to give a proper and elegant wave.
Today, Canada finds itself changed, but somehow familiar. Canada grew up long before Pierre Elliott Trudeau declared its birth. Though we were recast as a global ingenue by successive Liberal governments that had us play the stoically unsung middle “nuanced” power, when Canada hosts the world in Vancouver 2010, it will do so with its regained voice and identity.
Mike Duffy knows your name! Or at least the automated Duffy has a whole bank of names to read from in the Conservative Party’s latest innovative fundraising and voter ID widget that is scheduled to roll out later this evening.
The folks at Conservative Party HQ sent me a preview of their new product which includes the senator and former newsman outlining the Conservative record, while asking for your ranked issues, feedback, postal code and email address. The product also is customized to deliver localized content via geotargeting.
A senior Conservative explained that the the shiny new Duffy-gram is the brainchild of the party’s executive director Dan Hilton who has been moving the party to find new ways to push the envelope in the online space.
Also of note is a new slogan for the party which may yet brand a national campaign if we see one in the coming weeks. “Moving forward” suggests momentum, progress and an ongoing job. Contrast this with the Liberal Party slogan of “we can do better” which suggests failure of the incumbent, inclusion of Canadians and the Liberal Party “we” to solve a problem. Both slogans acknowledge a difficult situation and while the Conservative slogan is more punchy and complete, the Liberal slogan leaves a question open: “better than what?”. Further, the Liberal slogan opens them up to attack as a Conservative narrative is that Michael Ignatieff thought he could do better abroad rather than improve his career among Canadians looking to do the same.
Conservatives have led the Liberal party in databasing Canadians and their levels of partisan and issue-based support since at least the late days of the Alliance. The Liberals have had quite a time playing catch up as they’ve gone shopping for proven software, even approaching the Obama campaign in the Dion days. Yet, while Liberal national director Rocco Rossi is paddling up the Rideau Canal asking folks for money along the way, the Conservatives are showing that they continue to innovate.