The Conservatives target the swing voters sick of Trudeau — but wary of change

DM

When Erin O’Toole released the Conservative Party’s list of election promises last month, at least one experienced political strategist was stumped. “I saw nothing that would help them win the election,” David Herle, the well-known Liberal adviser, told Politico. “No big tax cut. No serious affordability initiative.” O’Toole’s people would no doubt quibble with such a broad dismissal. The 83-page document is full of bullet points, and nearly every section is presented as a “detailed plan” to address one concern or another. But Herle was not wrong when he saw a certain lack of eye-catching content. Of the dozens of commitments contained in the Conservative platform, it would be hard to identify one as dramatic or defining. With the possible exception of an increase in health transfers to the provinces, no big or sudden moves are being promised. In 2019, for example, the Conservatives promised to implement a permanent cut in income taxes for all Canadians and to fully repeal the federal carbon price. Two years later, O’Toole is offering neither. But any big promises might have undermined what O’Toole seems most anxious to project during this campaign: reassurance.

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