January 24, 2006


Why the Tories won (Warren Kinsella, January 24, 2006, National Post)

Call it the revenge of the hockey Moms and Dads.

The font of all Canadian wisdom, as everyone knows, is the local rink. Parents huddled on cold benches, clutching cups of coffee, swapping stories about their kids, shaking their heads about those dummies up in Ottawa. Being Canadian.

Back in November, while watching my daughter play at a hockey rink in Toronto, I posted something to my Web log using my BlackBerry. On it, I suggested that the election was going to be about hockey Moms and Dads versus the elites. With Stephen Harper championing the former, and a Westmount millionaire named Paul Martin personifying the latter.

Was I right? Well, I can now reveal that -- right after I posted that observation -- I received e-mails from two senior guys in the Tory war room. They told me that's exactly what they hoped to do.

And so they did. With every photo op (particularly the one showing the Tory leader taking his kids to an Ottawa hockey rink), with every positive statement (Harper stressing his middle-class roots), with every critical statement (the continual references to Martin's millions, and his decision to fly his ships under foreign flags), the Tory campaign was all about the revenge of hockey Moms and Dads.

It wasn't about Left versus Right. It wasn't about Urban versus Rural. It wasn't about East versus West. It was about Tim Hortons versus Starbucks.

Stephen Harper won because he told the story people want to hear. We federal Liberals had lost touch -- with Canadians, with each other -- and we deserved to lose. If you'll forgive the obvious metaphor, we deserved some time in the penalty box, and now we're going to get it.

Careful here, Mr. Kinsella, Democrats think that '94 was an aberration and they'll resume their rightful place in power any day now....

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2006 5:37 PM

The LIEberals did not get relegated to the penalty box. They were given a game misconduct!

Posted by: obc at January 24, 2006 5:46 PM

right now it seems like a 5 minute major, it'll be 2 or 3 years before it's clear if its that or a game misconduct penalty.

Posted by: Dave W at January 24, 2006 10:17 PM

Very astute article. I particularly like the image of these hockey Moms and Dads making their decisions quickly, privately and quietly ("pass the cranberries"). It is important for conservatives to remember two things--that many of the faithful are not terribly articulate politically and that they see themselves as basically open and decent and do not like vindictiveness. I've seen a lot of this during the past few years. Loud-mouthed anti-Americans vs. quiet folks who are upset by it, but really don't know how to articulate it and so just smile and say nothing. People who had profound misgivings about gay marriage, but whose distaste for gay-bashing left them tongue-tied. Part of the problem up here is the dearth of conservative writing and analysis and the way "brights" control polite discourse, but the other is the struggle to stand for decency and tolerance at the same time. The complete absence of regional whines and bitterness in Harper's campaign stood him well, as it obviously does with President Bush.

Posted by: Peter B at January 25, 2006 4:52 AM

It would be interesting to see the break down of how people voted. If I had to guess, I'd say those under 40 tended to vote conservative while older people, in the privacy of the voting booth, chickened out and voted for the status quo.

It's encouraging that in Canada, it's the hockey moms and dads, while here in the U.S. it's the soccer moms, who are the deciding factor.

Posted by: erp at January 25, 2006 9:49 AM