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A closer look at the NDP’s new attack indicators

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Due to new advertising and fundraising laws in Ontario, spending restrictions will go into effect next month, six months before the June 2022 elections.

In the end, this means that the parties in Queen’s Park only have a few relatively unregulated weeks to convince you of their brilliance and the evil ways of their opponents.

The ruling Progressive Conservatives jumped out first, extolling the virtues of Prime Minister Doug Ford and sketching why none of the other major alternatives should give a touch of power anytime soon.

But last Friday, the New Democrats quickly followed up with several television, digital and radio commercials aimed at flying the party’s flag on a handful of key issues and highlighting the damage they believed the other big parties would do if they did they would get back on. and show what she thinks her best asset is – her leader Andrea Horwath, who routinely tops the polls as Ontario’s most popular party leader.

During a virtual press conference to launch the new ads, I asked Horwath’s Chief of Staff Michael Balagus if popularity is overrated in politics these days. After all, Ford won the last election even though it wasn’t particularly popular. And Justin Trudeau won the last general election, although his popularity has steadily declined since the three elections he won.

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“Personal attraction is not overstated,” Balagus said, admitting that the NDP had a history of very popular leaders (Jack Layton, Jagmeet Singh, Ed Broadbent and Horwath) who ranked first in popularity polls but did not win elections . “But people connect with a popular leader,” he said.

But, Balagus noted, popularity sometimes cannot rival strategic voting, the bane of the NDP’s existence during most election campaigns. Balagus said that things can go well for the New Democrats until the Liberals tell voters, “They have to vote for us or the terrible Conservatives will win.” Unfortunately for the NDP, that seems to work a lot.

But the NDP is hoping for a breakthrough in 2022 based on Horwath being “a pillar,” Balagus said, adding, “People want hope, and we have a leader who inspires confidence.”

The NDP ads attacking Ford are pretty normal. You accuse the prime minister of standing up for his friends and insider colleagues at the expense of the normal Ontarians. It is the ad that attacks liberal leader Steven Del Duca that is more intriguing. In the ad, Del Duca is identified as the right-hand man of former Prime Minister Kathleen Wynne – an obvious attempt to associate Del Duca with a majority government that was reduced to seven seats in the 2018 election.

Despite Balagus’ claims that “Accuracy is Critical” and that “the worst thing you can do is display untrue ads,” the ad that Del Duca attacks is incorrect. To claim that the current leader of the Liberals is Wynne’s right-hand man is a dramatic exaggeration of the relationship between the two Liberals. Not that they were hostile to each other, but Del Duca and Wynne were never considered particularly close confidants, either in Dalton McGuinty’s caucus or afterwards in Wynne’s cabinet, even if Wynne entrusted Del Duca with two fairly senior cabinet posts in economic development and transportation.

In the NDP ad, which is about connecting Del Duca and Wynne in the minds of voters, that doesn’t matter, of course.

“Nobody knows that Steven Del Duca is the leader of the Liberals,” said Balagus. “That actually helps the Ontario Liberal Party. So we spend money because we want people to know who the leader of the Liberals in Ontario is. ”

The NDP hopes that with Del Duca’s association with Wynne, “people will have a negative reaction,” said Balagus.
“If you remind voters of the Kathleen Wynne administration’s record, it is no good. We need to remind people of the Liberals’ record of what they did and what they didn’t do. ”The idea is to cement voter opinion that if people don’t like Ford, the NDP should be their first alternative.

This could be the most important run-up to any provincial election ever for the Ontario NDP. With the exception of the 1990 elections, when the party won its only possibility of government, the caucus was never greater (40 MPPs); the Liberals have never lagged further (seven MPPs); and the leader of the party that ran in her fourth general election was never better known or (the party would argue) better positioned to become prime minister.

Additionally, the NDP has been remarkably successful with its fundraising drives recently, raising more than $ 2 million this year (the average donation is less than $ 30). That is more than three times what the Liberals got. The Progressive Conservatives, who can charge $ 1,500 per pop on more expensive fundraisers with Cabinet Ministers or the Prime Minister, are way ahead of everyone at $ 5 million. But the NDP’s donations come from nearly 70,000 donors, while the Tories relied on just 8,500 donors.

But if, as the old saying goes, a week in politics is a lifetime, we have almost 34 lives left before the election next June. The fight for the heart and soul of the Ontarians is intense.

“It’s a very exciting time and period,” said Balagus.

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