Saturday, July 7, 2007

New Dalton.ca site signals interesting strategy for Ontario Grits

A new website has been launched by the Ontario Liberals called Dalton.ca.

I will admit, it's a pretty slick site and very daring. It openly acknowledges many of the major promises on which McGuinty's government failed to deliver, including closing coal-burning power plants by 2007, reducing Highway 407 tolls, not raising taxes, etc. But it does so by putting those broken promises in better context, using messaging that I'm sure will convince some that they were necessary.

McGuinty's 'black & white' messages are succinct and clear. I think he, and the party machine, should be congratulated for admitting the obvious (promises were broken, hopes raised to very high levels in 2003 have been dashed).

Such an admission might actually garner a lot of respect from some voters.

The Liberals have made progress on a number of key policy areas, especially improving public education and health care. The problem is most voters don't seem to know it. When we remind voters that waiting times for knee replacements and cataract surgeries are way down, or that primary school class sizes are dropping, many just shrug.

This new strategy of admitting broken promises but highlighting the strengths and accomplishments of the government in the same breath, and making Dalton the main spokesman for this message (thus hopefully reminding voters that Dalton is just an ordinary, hard-working guy like them) could very well do the trick of getting the Liberal government re-elected.

As it stands now, I'm still betting that McGuinty's Liberals will be reduced to a minority government. It will take a very aggressive and effective campaign by the Grits, combined with a weak campaign by John Tory, to help secure another majority. And I'm not betting that John Tory's campaign is going to be weak.

3 comments:

Matt Foster said...

I will admit that hitting the issues head-on as Mr. McGuinty did on this website is certainly direct, however when he's made as many broken promises as he did, did he really have a choice? If he didn't deal with them (the many many of them), the opposition would have a field day reminding Ontarians about what took place and exercise more control over the agenda during the campaign. The voters will certainly remember the 2004 budget and the imposition of the health tax that they have to pay but actually receive fewer health services covered by the government.

As for predictions, I think we'll end up with a Tory minority right now as I can't see voters running enthusiastically in droves to any of the three parties, albeit I also believe that the NDP will pick up quite a few seats as well.

Mushroom said...

"McGuinty is a very, very scripted guy. Nothing is off the cuff. Everything is calculated."

Sounds like the PM in Ottawa, except that Dalton cannot have a mean bone in his body due to him being the consensus candidate in the 1997 leadership.

At the same time, I am wondering whether Dion needs to or can be off-the-cuff.

Matt said...

I agree that Dalton is not inspired by pettiness and cannot be described as mean like Harper.

I've seen Dion off the cuff many times, he's definitely less scripted than McGuinty, which I think is a good thing. Dion's problem is his personal style hasn't evolved yet from cabinet minister to leader/possible PM but I'm hopeful he's moving in the right direction. He's going a lot faster than McGuinty ever did - in 1999, after 3 years as leader, McGuinty's campaign effort was so amateurish he completely blew it and handed Harris another 4 years despite concerns in the public about the Harris first term. Luckily for us, McGuinty learned from his mistakes and by 2003 he was in great form and won. I wonder if the McGuinty Liberals will give Dion 7 years to get ready to be PM, including one blown election campaign...