Loss of political strategist bad timing for Ignatieff
The news that Liberal mastermind Don Guy is leaving Pollara- Dalton McGuinty gearing up for another run in 2011 - has repercussions beyond Queen's Park. Guy, the former McGuinty chief of staff and provincial election wizard, played an important strategy role for the federal Liberals during the 2008 campaign, along with his partner at Pollara, pollster Michael Marzolini. Despite reports Guy informed Ignatieff earlier this year he wouldn't be available next time, there's been speculation among Liberals he might be coaxed to change his (master)mind come election time. His recent email to friends and colleagues that his appointment as campaign director for the 2011 provincial campaign, plus other commitments, means he's leaving Pollara, something he's done before for ethical reasons during the political season. This time, however, according to friends, it's differrent. He's "dedicating himself to Dalton" because it appears the Premier will be facing a far tougher time in 2011 than in the last two campaigns and "there's a lot of work to do" - beginning next year.
There's no way Guy could lend a hand to the federal Liberals in 2011. But - and this is probably more important - it also means he won't be around next year either. With Peter Donolo in the OLO as chief of staff, Liberals are now talking about playing the long game, as Chantal Hébert has recently observed.
The question is: will they get the chance? Will Stephen Harper give Ignatieff and the Liberals until 2011 to get their act together?
Barring a political meltdown for the Conservatives, 2010 might be looking particuarly scrumptious to Harper, what with the rosy glow expected from the Olympic Games and goodies that can be crammed into one last budget before the post-recession bell tolls for the next budget. Serious problems the government faces over Afghanistan don't appear to be sticking with voters - and they may not down the road.
Nope, no Christmas joy for Ignatieff, not this year anyway.