John Ibbitson wrote a front page feature in the Globe and Mail this morning detailing the rising fortunes of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in federal Canadian politics. Most political watchers in Ottawa are feeling that Mulcair and the NDP’s star is falling and the Liberals are reemerging as a strong political force for the centre and centre left. But not Ibbitson. Ibbitson is dismissive of the Trudeau factor (he discuses it late in the article but mainly as a means to contract Trudeau lack of experience to Mulcair’s abundance) and at odds with current Canadian sentiment on the Liberals and a country that has been under Liberal leadership for much of its history.
And why is Ibbitson writing the feature on the NDP anyway? He is a conservative. Not that this precludes him from writing on left wing politics. But it seems odd.
So what’s going on? Oh Yeah. Ibbitson, with conservative pollster Darrell Bricker wrote a best selling book last year that predicted: (i) conservatives were at the beginning of a political dynasty in Canada and (ii) the NDP were the new second party. For this to happen, the left had to stay divided between the NDP, the Liberals and the Greens. The NDP had to stay in the strong twenties in public opinion and the Liberals and Greens had to stay far behind but still gdb another 15 or so percent.
A strong Liberal assent under Trudeau would destroy Bricker and Ibbitson’s predictions. What we are seeing now in Canadian politics looks like a return to the long tradition of strong Liberal and Conservative parties, with NDP as a distant 3rd. This would totally blow Ibbitson’s prediction.
Propping up Mulcair’s reputation is the best chance of keeping the Liberals down. This is what conservatives everywhere want and Ibbitson is helping them along. Good for Ibbitson and Bricker; bad for journalistic integrity.