Monday, November 09, 2009

Tories' "Invisible Woman" strategy fails again in New West-Coquitlam by-election, just like Vancouver Quadra; Tories steal 1 from Bloc; Libs bomb

Now you see her, now you don't!

That would be Conservative Party candidate Diana Dilworth in the New Westminster-Coquitlam by-election tonight - and after she lost badly to new NDP MP Fin Donnelly, you may not see her again.

But the real story is that the Tories have tried and failed yet one more time at running a peek-a-boo "Invisible Woman" campaign in a BC by-election and presuming it just might work. Wrong.

Donnelly has won by an impressive 14% advantage, or more than 3,300 votes, over Dilworth.

Flashback to March 2008's Vancouver Quadra by-election - and Conservative candidate Deborah Merideth's similiarly ill-fated attempt to hide from the media and voters but slide into the MP job nonetheless.

Yes, you guessed it, another strategic error on the part of the hapless Tories.

Amazingly, the Conservatives don't appear to learn from their mistakes - they were only 152 votes short of capturing Quadra from the Liberals for an upset victory in 2008 but Merideth oddly avoided all-candidates meetings, debates and media interviews - despite being an attractive, moderate small-c Conservative candidate with lots of intelligence and no known hillbilly secrets.

The follow-up rematch in the October general election saw the nearly hopeless Joyce Murray - a much-maligned former provincial Gordon Campbell-BC Liberal cabinet minister - win again by default and a larger margin than the by-election.

So one might think the Conservative brain-trust, led by the formidable campaigner Colin Metcalfe, would rethink it's strategy - but apparently not. Dilworth repeatedly avoided media interviews and all debates save one on CKNW.

Dilworth, a Port Moody councilor, was a decent candidate in a riding the Conservatives/Alliance/Reform Party previously held with neanderthal-light MP Paul Forseth, who eventually lost to the NDP's Dawn Black. Black moved to provincial politics, successfully winning NDP MLA's Chuck Puchmayr's New Westminster seat after he left for health reasons.

But Donnelly promises to be a potential NDP star - a young, smart and environmentally-active former Coquitlam city councilor who twice swam the Fraser River to promote sustainability [a whopping 1400 kilometres] and who made the hated Harmonized Sales Tax a key election issue.

Meanwhile, the night was truly miserable for the federal Liberals - who were not only uncompetitive but came in with poor third place finishes in all four seats, including Montreal's Hochelaga. The Michael Ignatieff ghoul pool continues.

But while Iffy was, well, iffy, the Conservatives had reason to celebrate, with an upset win in the Quebec riding of Rivière du-Loup over the Bloc Quebecois, who lost a previously held seat, by a surprising margin of 5%.

And they also recaptured the former Tory safe seat of nearly unpronounceable Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley - which they lost when Bill Casey went Independent after being trashed by Stephen Harper for opposing the Conservatives on equalization.

So all in all, a good night for the Conservatives - one upset win and one seat back in the Tory fold, while one possible victory was squandered; a good night for the NDP, with one seat retained with an increase majority and a distant second-place finish in Montreal's Hochelaga - which augers well for Thomas Mulcair to hold his Outremont outpost; a bad night for the Bloc Quebecois as they lose a seat to the Tories while retaining one other; a terrible night for the Liberals as they remain in also-ran status in all four ridings, albeit without losing any and with no one thinking they were likely to win; and an abysmal night for the Green Party with vote percentage ranging from a "high" of 4.3% to a low of 1.7%.



John Twigg said...

Once again Brother Bill nails it, IMO, though he's a little quiet about how the fedNDP didn't do all that well either at least back east. It was tough on Iffy but don't be too quick to write off the fedLibs machine: they've bought lots of elections under dire straits in years past. Best wishes to Fin but he faces an uphill battle in his own caucus. Big win for Harper's policies but a black mark for all of his many old-Tory strategy hacks - the characters famous for their hide-the-horse trick. "Steve" needs to learn to lighten up a bit more and kick the old blue dogs out the door. But he's still caught in the trap of pandering to the Big Money family dynasties and not bold enough yet to free up the western populism that spawned him as a transplant from Ontario willing to listen and learn as well as to research and teach.

Bruce Banner said...

Dilworth is a Port Moody councillor — not a Coquitlam councillor.

Anonymous said...

Well,I guess you can say."Iggy PoPs".

Anonymous said...

After the embarassing showing in New Westminster-Coquitlam,Liberals are very unhappy with BC campaign co-chair Jatinder Rai and some are even calling for his head. They say the only reason he was given the job was because he works for Mark Marissen's Burrard Comminucations and Ignatieff wants to keep Marissen happy. Now that Jatinder is proving to be a disaster, will Ignatieff find the courage to stand up to Marissen and fire his lapdog? Only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Wilkinson (of Gordon Campbell's fame) is the other co-chair of the campaign. Not sure if he or Jatinder could have actually done much to get Ken Beck Lee any more votes. Perhaps they could have found someone else to do the suicide mission, but it would be sort of pointless.

And Jatinder does not work for Burrard Communications, he has an advertising agency called Response Advertising.