Harper's election campaign has been clear from the start: promote the Liberal brand and Justin Trudeau as if it were the "opposite" of the Harper brand. This way voters who agree with Harper will stick with Harper, but those who oppose will go to the Liberals which is Harper's second choice.
Harper will promote the Liberals for a number of strategic reasons:
- The Bill C-51 vote demonstrates that the Liberals are weak in opposition, and they can be trivially frightened by "you are with us, or with the terrorists" style rhetoric. Harper knows that both Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May are adult and more seasoned politicians who aren't going to be so trivially manipulated.
- Under the current voting system the Liberals split the opposition vote, which is the most effective way for a Conservative party member to win. Harper realizes that there are only a few ridings where the Conservatives have the support of a majority, and he must prop up the Liberals in order for the Conservatives to win over the NDP or Greens in most ridings.
- Without Harper's active promotion of the Liberal brand, more Canadians might notice the polls of other Canadians and realize that it is the NDP that are more likely to win against Harper. In Alberta it was the NDP that dethroned the Progressive Conservative party, with the Liberals nowhere to be found.
- Harper wants less engaged voters to believe nothing has changed in recent decades. He wants people to either vote Liberal or (no longer Progressive) Conservative, as had been the case for decades. This distracts people not only about the changes in other parties federally (Growth of center-left NDP, and center-right Green), but the radical differences between the Progressive Conservative party and the Harper Conservative party.
I can only prey that Canadians become engaged in this election, and not fall for Harper's trap.
- If you don't like Harper's policies, then stay away from Justin Trudeau and the Liberals as they would make a very weak official opposition or government.
- Don't trust the Liberals who claim that you need to vote for them to avoid splitting the vote and allow someone else in. It is the Liberal candidates that split the vote, and who if they were really concerned would be saying something very different (Lets start with not sabotaging attempts in Ontario and BC to modernize away from the antiquated system which creates the "vote splitting" problem)
- Please pay attention, and realize that between the Liberals and the NDP it is the NDP in the lead. If your choice is between candidates from those parties, then don't split the vote by voting Liberal.
- If you were a supporter of the Progressive Conservative party, please recognize that the Harper Conservatives are a very different brand. As a past member of the federal PC party, and as someone who voted in federal PC leadership races, I do not recognize myself in the Harper Conservative brand. No self-respecting conservative Canadian should support Harper's intrusive big-government policies such as we see with C-51 : who needs a long-gun registry when far more information about all of us will be freely shared between government departments for purposes we all know will have nothing to do with "terrorism". Harper has duped you if you believed the rhetoric he abused in debates around the long-gun registry or the long-form census.