Hamish Marshall's plan to win Election 2019 for Andrew Scheer - 2019-08-08
When Justin Trudeau was hurting in the polls this past spring, the obvious tack for the Conservatives was to stick with what was working. The outcry over the SNC-Lavalin affair had the Liberals reeling. The opposition's job, it seemed, was just to keep its focus relentlessly on allegations that the Prime Minister and his aides had improperly pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould, when she was federal justice minister, to give the Montreal-based engineering company a chance to avoid a damaging bribery trial.
Yet the Conservatives opted, at least temporarily, to switch channels. They had planned—long before Wilson-Raybould quit Trudeau's cabinet and then was kicked out of his caucus—to make the federal carbon tax their big issue for 2019. So, sticking to that script, the party made news in late March with a mass text-message blast to voters in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, reminding them that the tax was kicking in on April 1 in their provinces. Some harried Liberals welcomed the change of topic.
It was a classic Hamish Marshall moment. Staying the course is what Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's campaign manager is all about. "He's got a plan. He's going to be disciplined and stick to that plan," says Matthew John, an old friend of Marshall's and a long-time Conservative insider. "It's harder than people think, because you don't know if you're right until the end." Of course, the end Marshall is driving toward is the Oct. 21 federal election, and hammering the carbon tax, no matter what distractions arise, is central to his script.