Elections Operation Centre 2015

Author: Ian Capstick

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Majority, eh?

By Ian Capstick · October 20, 2015 Pollsters, pundits and political watchers will be attempting to explain this majority for many weeks, if not years. My take: Trudeau won the election by campaigning harder and smarter.
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The Final Five Days

By Ian Capstick · October 14, 2015 Five days out from election day, the media's attention is turning to two clear preoccupations and on the campaign trail voter mobilization is ramping up.
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The Problem with Polls

By Ian Capstick · October 13, 2015 Prime Minister Diefenbaker had a way with words. When asked about public opinion research he famously said, “Dogs know best what to do with polls”. A veritable Canadian cliche. Also, accurate.
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Liberals on top, niqabs and the TPP

By Ian Capstick · October 9, 2015 The election is nearly over. We’ll have a better idea of what to expect on election night after additional rounds of larger-scale public opinion polling launch 72 hours after Thanksgiving Day.
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What we’ve learned.

By Ian Capstick · October 8, 2015 As we head into the Thanksgiving weekend a few things are becoming increasingly clear. Read on to learn what they are.
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This Week on the Trail

By Ian Capstick · October 2, 2015 Trade and polls dominated headlines this week. We also saw candidates continue to be exposed for regrettable social media posts. The refugee crisis unfortunately fell out of election news.
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More gaffes, TPP news

By Ian Capstick · October 2, 2015 I didn’t think this campaign of candidate gaffes could get any weirder. Last night two CPC candidates found themselves the focus of truly bizarre allegations and proved me wrong. Read on.
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How will the TPP talks play out?

By Ian Capstick · October 1, 2015 If the TPP negotiations in Atlanta achieve an agreement in principle, my long time Power & Politics co-panelist Tim Powers thinks we may be headed into a mini free-trade election. He’s right and no one knows how it would play in the public sphere. To understand how complex the communications environment becomes in the event of an agreement in principle, read on.
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TPP takes centre stage in campaign

By Ian Capstick · September 30, 2015 The Trans-Pacific Partnership controversy is making foreign affairs one of the most important issues in any Canadian election campaign. Get all the details in today's brief.
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Wagging the dog? Polls become a story to watch.

By Ian Capstick · September 28, 2015 Conservative polling numbers are on the uptick. There is an overall softening of reported NDP vote in urban centres and Liberals are gaining traction in Ontario. Polling is going to be a massive story this week. Read on for details.
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Welcome to the edgy phase of the campaign

By Ian Capstick · September 25, 2015 This week the campaign entered the “edgy phase”, the moment in every campaign where no one really knows what’s going on. No one can predict when a campaign will dip into this inevitable moment. The pollsters of Canada all conflict with one another. The partisans are clearly getting tired and lashing out. Candidates are still […]
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Post-debate roundup

By Ian Capstick · September 25, 2015 The Media Narrative Health care, the right to die with dignity, the Senate, ISIL and the economy were all featured in the French-language debate last night. Each of the leaders projected a strong and calculated image to Canadians as a result of very solid rehearsals and preparations. The extemporaneous nature of the debate was refreshing […]
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The joust in on: Conflicting polls and pollsters ahead of tonight’s debate.

By Ian Capstick · September 24, 2015 The Media Narrative Get your crackerjacks ready! It’s inside baseball day on the campaign trail or as we say it on French debate day, “le jour de baseball intérieur”. Not really, but that’s what Google Translate says. They’re working on it. It’s a down day on the campaign and this means there’s plenty of time […]
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Today’s Special: Dog’s Breakfast

By Ian Capstick · September 23, 2015 The so-called “Media Party”, the moniker assigned to journalists by the right wing because they think journalists all report the same stories, seems to have forgotten to read yesterday’s pack journalism memo. It’s a dog’s breakfast for news out there, folks. Part of the reason is none of yesterday’s major news headlines really entered into […]
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Afterburned: the fight over fighter planes heats up

By Ian Capstick · September 22, 2015 Media attention was focused on several fronts yesterday. The NDP and LPC continue to trade barbs over, well, just about everything. The CPC found itself in hot water with the family of Terry Fox because of Conservative MP James Moore’s suggestion that they were enthusiastic about the party’s pledge to match Terry Fox Run donations […]
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Getting feisty: the post-debate spin cycle

By Ian Capstick · September 21, 2015 Everyone came out swinging this weekend in the all important 72-hour spin cycle after the economic debate. As he arrived in Newfoundland, Mulcair was forced by the LPC to apologize for twenty-year-old comments. The CPC and NDP are seizing on new remarks by Trudeau in a CTV Atlantic interview, suggesting the LPC leader told the media it was their […]
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Debate fails to connect with Canadians

By Ian Capstick · September 18, 2015 Yesterday’s media focus was all about the highly anticipated economic debate hosted by the Globe and Mail. The debate failed to connect with Canadians. None of the leaders were able to push past the predictable well-worn stump speeches and platitudes. Harper remained quiet too often, and when not silent was often too strident. Mulcair brushed […]
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Reaction to NDP ‘fiscal framework’, what to expect tonight

By Ian Capstick · September 17, 2015 The NDP needed a well-articulated and clean launch to their “fiscal framework” ahead of the economic debate tonight. The orange team will be pleased with what they accomplished yesterday. First, let’s take a look at the headline reactions: Toronto Star: NDP promises four years of budget surpluses CBC: NDP promises 4 years of balanced budgets […]
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Tough questions to come ahead of tomorrow’s debate.

By Ian Capstick · September 16, 2015 Ahead of tomorrow’s all important economic debate, the party leaders limit appearances as they prepare for the highly anticipated event. The NDP will be also busy here in Ottawa briefing the media on their platform’s cost. These events are make-or-break moments for political parties. Mulcair faces pressure from deficit-favouring labour economists and others in addition […]
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This election, the media aren’t ‘beholden’ to party announcements

By Ian Capstick · September 15, 2015 Yesterday’s highly anticipated release of Finance Canada’s Annual Financial Report can be explained with four major news headlines. Read in this order: Canada posts surplus of $1.9-billion for the 2014-15 fiscal year:Federal surplus is good political news for both Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair (CBC) This means Harper holds to prediction of budget surplus for current […]
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How to shape and watch Thursday’s Globe and Mail leaders’ debate

By Ian Capstick · September 14, 2015 Plan to participate in the Globe and Mail Federal Leaders’ Debate on Thursday, September 17, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM (EST). Live from Stampede Park in Calgary, Globe and Mail editor-in-chief David Walmsley (@WalmsleyGlobe) will moderate the debate. Political reporter Jane Taber (@JaneTaber1) will lead a panel before and after the debate. Help shape the […]
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A three-way race and photo-op galore

By Ian Capstick · September 11, 2015 The campaign hit the halfway mark this week, and we have a three-way race on our hands. So far, most of the campaign has been spent jockeying. Each of the parties have released just enough policy to get by while playing defense on candidate eruptions and gaffes. We’re seeing very different strategies from each of […]
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Get prepared for policy in this election

By Ian Capstick · September 11, 2015 Some of you may remember the awesome kids show Romper Room. At the end of the show, the host would hold up her magic mirror and look through the TV to “see” the kids watching and make sure you had a great day. I’d wait and wait to hear my name. Elections can be just […]
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Minor scandals cloud headlines, Conservatives struggle to recalibrate

By Ian Capstick · September 11, 2015 Minor scandal seems to be the media’s stock and trade these days, pushing any substantive policy announcements off the agenda. The NDP and CPC had social media eruptions and candidate scandals earlier this week. Yesterday, the LPC made news when one candidatesuggested pregnant women should smoke pot and another bravely admitted alcohol and depression was […]
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How to build momentum next week

By Ian Capstick · September 10, 2015 It’s Thursday: focus on this weekend. What do you need to do to build momentum next week? Two important to-do items: Take a few extra hours and review the elections sites of each party, the five week review by our team and some of the most recent coverage. Plan to watch one of the political […]
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Conservative message lost amid leaks and refugee crisis

By Ian Capstick · September 10, 2015 The CPC message is becoming lost to two competing stories: the ongoing refugee crisis and the emerging narrative of a Conservative campaign in panic mode. The stories intersect at the strategic level and reveal an interesting weakness in the CPC campaign. It’s important to note two key facts: Ray Novak, Harper’s chief of staff, was sent […]
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To do list: Scrub social media, tune in

By Ian Capstick · September 9, 2015 One Take thirty minutes and do a social media scrub down. As several CPC candidates and other campaign officials learned, the Internet lives forever (full disclosure: even Ian’s husband had to apologize yesterday for years old tweets). If you’re a spokesperson in this election or have contact with the media, it’s likely time you take a […]
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September 9: Media Roundup

By Ian Capstick · September 9, 2015 Tuesday’s News Justin Trudeau had his one-on-one with Peter Mansbridge last night. The CBC took the angle that the young Liberal leader “appears to be at odds with his father’s thinking” on several fronts. These include control in the PMO and the issue of which party can form government post-election – Trudeau Sr. suggested in […]
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Three things to watch this week

By Ian Capstick · September 8, 2015 Media outlook for this week: Three things to watch The state of the economy will continue to play a heavy role in the media coverage of the 2015 campaign. Several key dates and Statistics Canada second quarter indicator releases will be of interest in the upcoming weeks. BOC will release rate decision on Wednesday. Attention […]
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September 8: Media Roundup

By Ian Capstick · September 8, 2015 The Media Narrative Over the long weekend, Canada’s media focus was split between the serious and the surreal. The refugee crisis in Europe dominated media coverage. National newspapers devoted major sections to the issue, and television newscasts led with breaking stories related to Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, domestic politics became downright weird as the CPC lost […]
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Highlighting the emerging refugee crisis and impact on the election

By Ian Capstick · September 4, 2015 Chris Alexander’s appearance on Power and Politics took place only hours prior to the country learning that a young boy found drowned on a beach in Turkey may have had a Canadian connection. If it wasn’t clear from Alexander’s interview, Canada has no comprehensive strategy to bring in Syrian refugees. With the emergence of this […]
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September 4: This Week and Next

By Ian Capstick · September 4, 2015 Economics dominated the headlines and Canadians got a good lesson in “recession politics.” Canada was in a “technical recession” (GDP numbers reflect first two quarters of 2015, past tense is “technically” most accurate). Employment numbers are strong and the .01% contraction is tiny. If we weren’t in the midst of The Longest Campaign Ever™, this […]
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Q&A: Platform Development

By Ian Capstick · August 28, 2015 How does a policy make it into the platform? Each political party has their own process for deciding what makes it into their respective platform. At the end of the day, it is the responsibility of the senior strategists and campaign manager to decide what to put in front of Canadians. It has little to […]
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Week 3: This Week on the Trail

By Ian Capstick · August 28, 2015 The Duffy trial wound down this week, leaving Canadians with a major takeaway: the levers of power in Harper’s PMO were controlled more tightly than anyone on the outside could have imagined. Women’s issues were in focus briefly this week as the NDP suffered the brunt of an online barrage of criticism for skipping the […]
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Super Gay Campaign Advice

By Ian Capstick · August 28, 2015 MediaStyle’s political strategist Ian Capstick injects a little humour into the 2015 federal election with a different kind of campaign advice.
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Q&A: Tim Powers

By Ian Capstick · August 21, 2015 What has you excited about the 2015 election? So far I am not overly excited about the election. However, if there is a glimmer of enjoyment for me it is the fact that it looks to be legitimately competitive to start and one way or the other some sort of history will be made based on who wins. […]
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Week 2: This Week on the Trail

By Ian Capstick · August 21, 2015 Wright and Wrong This week won’t be remembered for what happened on the campaign trail but for the courtroom drama in Ottawa. Nigel Wright’s highly anticipated testimony dominated political coverage early this week and the equally interesting revelations of former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin capped off the week at the Duffy trail. The revelations? The […]
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Week 1: This Week on the Trail

By Ian Capstick · August 14, 2015 Week two of the campaign will be remembered for what happened off trail as the Duffy Trial resumed with a star witness: the one and only Nigel Wright, super-starconsigliere to the Prime Minister. Wright made for a sympathetic and friendly witness for both the prosecution anddefence, a near impossible feat considering the lengths Wright went to cover up the Duffy […]
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Q&A: David Coletto

By Ian Capstick · August 14, 2015 What has you excited about the 2015 election? I’m most excited about the level of competition that exists between the major parties. At this point, any of the three main parties could win the election and any of them could come third. A long campaign coupled with a highly volatile electorate and a strong desire for change means that anything can […]
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