05.06.2013 06:46 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: valuable

When a political party strays from its core values, what happens?

Well, it dies, for starters. Political parties, more than anything else, are a vehicle for the expression of certain basic values — which are, most days, a loose amalgam of beliefs, morals and emotions.

Now, political parties are also made up of leaders, advisers, campaign teams and whatnot, but those things come and go. For any political party to be consistently successful, values have to be constant and readily understood.

I just wrote a book about this subject, called Fight The Right, multiple copies of which I encourage you to buy. In it, I argue conservatives tend to win elections because they are really good at communications, but they’re also good at the values stuff.

Progressives, meanwhile, use too many big words, and have too many priorities. And when you have too many priorities, you don’t have any at all.

Despite a smaller voter base, conservatives are successful in elections because they don’t stray from what marketers call the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

That term was invented by U.S. ad genius Rosser Reeves (who I wrote about in another book, The War Room, which you should also buy) to describe something about a product that distinguishes it from similar products.

The conservative USP is easy. You don’t need a degree in political science to figure it out. Conservatives dislike government, generally speaking, and liberals don’t. Liberals believe government can be a force for good. Conservatives don’t. If you know that, you’ll find conservative values are pretty easy to figure out.

Conservatives don’t like governments getting in the way with things like affirmative action, market intervention, environmental assessments, gun control, social security, welfare, or the United Nations. They don’t like those things.

Two of the things that conservatives consider to be at the epicentre of their values are fiscal prudence and the euphemistic “war on terror.” In this part of this century, conservatives can be seen continually asserting that they are better at (a) managing taxpayer dollars, and (b) protecting the homeland. That’s because, in the past decade or so, there have really been only two global events of significance — 9/11 in 2001 and the great recession of 2009.

Stephen Harper, being a smart conservative, knows that. As such, Harper and his Conservative Party have expended great effort in promoting this USP: Safety. With them, your tax dollars and your lives are safe. Over and over, every single day, Conservative Party ministers and minions promote the notion that, with them, your money and your family are protected.

This is why last week’s revelation by Auditor General Michael Ferguson is so huge. He found that Harper’s Conservatives have lost — yes, LOST — more than three billion in taxpayer dollars that had been set aside for anti-terrorism measures. When asked about the fact that his government had LOST THREE BILLION DOLLARS, Harper said: “There’s some lack of clarity.”

No, actually, there isn’t. What is crystal clear is this: Conservatives are the ones who claim to be smart fiscal managers and the guys who know how to fight terror. When now they are neither.

Progressives, you have been given an unprecedented opportunity to steal away a core conservative value. You have been given a chance to win the next election.

And that, you might say, is valuable.


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    !o! says:

    You’d think they’d get it. I can’t see how you can say it any clearer.

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      Cath says:

      for sure. It doesn’t appear that anyone’s listening to you who gives a poop. What too many appear to be doing here and on your previous thread on the weed man wanna-be ad more seem to want to fight you and challenge you than pay close attention.
      I’m betting many conservatives and NDPers have your book 🙂

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    Steve T says:

    As a lifelong conservative, I completely agree with your assessment. I am getting a bit tired and frustrated with this current government, and the party I thought would be a welcome change from the Martin Liberals. Instead, we just get money wasted in different ways. The Liberals had AdScam and the Long Gun Registry, but now the CPC has the G20 summit and this latest $3B revelation from the AG.

    I predict, if things continue this way, we may see another small-c conservative party emerge in Western Canada. How far we have come from Preston Manning’s vision, which I supported wholeheartedly.

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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    My guess is, calls were made to those of the previous government who were there, done that, so to speak. And the advice received was to lay off this one.

    Stands to reason that, when this gets sorted out…and it will…the Liberals, who were in charge of this for the first 6 years, and whose bureaucratic policies/practices lingered on well after their rule, could end up wearing every single critical word they utter.

    Just sayin’…

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      Sean says:

      uh huh… “just sayin'” eh? you couldn’t be more dead wrong.

      These lying, thieving slime balls have been in power for seven years and have had a majority for two years. Any *supposed* Liberal scandal, still unanswered for, is now officially, completely, totally and *willfully / deliberately* the fault of the Conservative Party.

      The pathetic excuse that “Everything which has gone wrong is the fault of a bunch of guys who were defeated seven years ago” is total bullshit and everyone knows it.

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      Al in Cranbrook says:

      To quote Trudeau from a Sun article of a couple days ago: “”Certainly in the years following 9/11 there was a great emphasis on reacting and putting money out for anti-terrorism, counter-terrorism measures,” Trudeau said.”

      That strikes me as nuanced, a bit like an excuse in advance…particularly interesting because he wasn’t a member during those last years. So from where/whom did he receive that input…or advised commentary? More to the point, why?

      Keep in mind, the last years of that government were plagued with the HRDC issues, an scathing audit of the firearm registry run totally amok and gone from a projected several millions to approaching $2 billion, and of course Adscam.

      A betting man wouldn’t take long to figure out where to lay his money on how this could turn out.

      From the “gift that potentially keeps on giving” dept.

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        Kaspar Juul says:

        This strikes me more as Al conjecture: an out of context quote, a half explained unproven argument, conjecture and cliche.

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        Cath says:

        great points Al in Cranbrook.

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      deb s says:

      the previous lib govt didnt lose 3 billion…not even close. as you can be damned sure if it had been that bad the conservatives would have been screaming bloody murder. The adscam was in the millions and it brought down the martin govt. I cannot for the life of me reason why this 3 billion error, misplaced, lost money if not recovered right quick shouldnt bring this govt crashing down too.

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    Graham says:

    The silence from the Liberals over this “missing” $3.1 billion is deafening.

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      LittleRock says:

      from Kady’s-Blog

      Missing $3.1 billion listed in public accounts? Prove it, says Lib MP

      Q-1365 — May 6, 2013 — Mr. McCallum (Markham–Unionville) — With regard to the $3.1 billion identified in paragraph 8.21 of the Spring 2013
      Report of the Auditor General of Canada, in which years and on which pages can the money be found in the Public Accounts of Canada?

      A bit of background: On Monday, both Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who fielded questions for the absent PM during the leaders’ round in QP, and Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who is ultimately responsible for the book-keeping, were adamant that, far from having disappeared down a crack in the consolidated revenue account couch as alleged by the opposition, the money had, in fact, “been accounted for in public documents presented to Parliament” — specifically, according to Clement, ” in the public accounts and the estimates in the years 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”

      He now has 45 days to prove his assertion by providing a precise reference to pages on which those numbers can be found.

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    Stephen Skyvington says:


    Waiting on the NDP

    By Stephen Skyvington

    Monday, May 6, 2013 8:44:11 EDT PM

    It’s Sunday evening as I sit down to write this. I’ve just returned from the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary in Roseneath, where I spent the afternoon learning about the common jackass.

    Did you know, for instance, that donkeys can live to be more than 50 years old, although the average is 40 to 45 years? A male donkey is called a “jack,” a female a “jennet,” and a group of donkeys is called a “pace.” And the most interesting tidbit of all? British royalty was so infatuated with donkeys, it wasn’t unusual to see one pulling a carriage instead of a horse back in Queen Victoria’s day.

    I could go on and on, but I won’t. This column is not about the common jackass. It’s about the uncommon jackass—politicians.

    For example, what is it about politicians that makes them behave the way they do?

    In the case of the McWynnety government, one can’t help but wonder: “Are they corrupt or just plain stupid?” That’s the million-dollar question—or rather, the $585-million question.

    Two weeks ago, we finally learned about the true cost of cancelling those gas plants. Five hundred and eighty-five million dollars and counting. That’s a long way from the $40-million price tag the Liberals originally put on the decision to cancel the plants, just before voters cast their ballots in the last provincial election.

    What’s especially galling, however, is the performance of Premier Kathleen Wynne, who appeared before the legislative committee looking into the “seat saver” scandal last Tuesday. Wynne, sounding a lot like a character everyone will remember from a popular TV show in the sixties, pretty much said: “I know nothing, I hear nothing, I see nothing.”

    Now, I’m very much aware of the dangers of calling someone corrupt or a liar. In the legislature, such language would get a member tossed. Outside the legislature, it would surely lead to legal action. So let me just say that while I don’t know for sure if the Ontario Liberals are liars or corrupt, I do know they’re not stupid.

    But this column isn’t even about the Liberals. It’s about Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

    Since late Thursday afternoon, when Finance Minister Charles Sousa finished delivering his first—and possibly, last—budget, the leader of the NDP has been holding the people of Ontario hostage by playing the same “will she or won’t she?” game she tortured us with following the unveiling of last year’s budget.

    Horwath says she wants to consult with the people of Ontario. So she and her party have set up a hotline and website where concerned citizens can go to express their true feelings about the Liberals and their budget. The website asks a number of important questions, although the most important question of all—”Do you want us to bring down this government and force an election?”—is nowhere to be seen.

    Which brings us back to the noble donkey. As I learned during my visit, donkeys are known to stand their ground and protect their charges—be they cattle, sheep, goats and other farm animals. A donkey will rarely take off in panic, but will instead take the time to assess a situation before deciding on a course of action.

    Politicians, on the other hand, won’t hesitate to throw the rest of us under a bus at the drop of a hat, if it’ll allow them to save themselves and hold onto power just a little longer. And that’s the problem here, when you get right down to it. Andrea Horwath and the NDP will never have as much power as they do right now, propping up what is quite possibly the worst government in the history of Ontario—if not Canada—while forcing the Liberals to cave in to the NDP’s demands.

    I’ve no idea what decision the NDP is going to make this week, although I’d pretty much be willing to bet the farm that they’ll take the coward’s way out and abstain from voting on the budget. That way the budget will pass, the McWynnety Liberals will survive another year, and the NDP will say they can’t be blamed because they didn’t vote for the budget—they just didn’t vote againstit.

    All of which brings to mind one more thing I learned at the donkey sanctuary today. It’s thought that God gave the donkey the shadow of the cross—a cross-shaped marking on his back—when it offered to bear the burden of the cross for Christ before the Crucifixion.

    Andrea Horwath and the NDP may want to pretend they’re carrying the cross for the rest of us, but the fact is, we’re the ones who’re going to be crucified if this budget passes and the Liberals remain in power any longer.

    Oh, if only the uncommon jackass was a little more like the common jackass. We’d all be a lot better off, don’t you think?

    Stephen Skyvington is the President of PoliTrain Inc. and can be reached at politrain@sympatico.ca.

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      !o! says:

      The hell is this? Spamming an article everywhere to get more views?

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      Michael says:

      Is it a wonder that this screed comes from one of the cadre of conservative angry white men?

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        !o! says:

        It’s just rude. It’s like there’s a party at Warren’s house (this website), and everyone brings something, like alcohol or food (or in this case, discussion and thoughtful opinions).

        In some cases it’s okay to mention other events going on, if it’s cool for everyone at the party— oh, there’s band x playing at the club by my place next week, anyone interested?

        It’s NOT okay to be that guy that comes over to the party, and immediately starts telling everyone about a bigger party at his house happening right now. He’s only here to bring people to his party, and comes across as big asshole.

        The fact that his party sucks is relevant, but besides the point.

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          Cath says:

          great analogy. I hate essays.

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    ok says:


    We must find the way to separated politic from power seeking and business from each other.
    From Bangladesh Islamic group and anti Israeli in Bangladesh and recent crisis and then all Loblaw building crisis because commercial building need to have building code of HPB it means high performance building It means you can bring heavy machinery to building it means you can have concert floor with metal mix under Neath that if you drive car in building nothing going to drop off and if you bring heavy machinery of sewing machinery in unstable 6 floor building you must make sure the building has code to carry that pressure and if not so many people will die and if you do not care Bangladeshi are majority of 99 percent are Muslim and if that case used to link Muslim extremist with Jewish Israeli politic to make your stock grow and get publicity even with bad or good news and increase or reduce your stock for doing so that become conspiracy theory of people doing illegal for sake of money behind scent 3 in 1 shampoo kind of business.
    Link of Hillary Weston going to see Mr. Bloomberg mayor of New York can be accidently or someone set them up or can by plan organized crime with Joe fresh and galena Weston in New York show and marrying Galen with Jewish girl and all related delisted all halal food and replaced in 2005 with kosher food instead and help of his mother of help all Jewish broker of food to replaced it with kosher food in Loblaw, some people can do anything for sake of money.
    On other hand asking Galen Weston jr who is Irish cheap man got heritage form his Irish mom not give but also asking for more he Galen never paid anybody easy compensation or pay lower unless not have choice to do and there example never paid and not expected him easy going to fix all cost to Bangladesh again unless he has more billion plan pillow under Neath of his head to made that donation from share hold cut not from his pocket cut.
    May be time for Loblaw to sell their company to better profession group or fire all board of director and Galen sr and Jr and his mommy out of scene and let other people run the show instead of him and stop those stupid ads with Galen and mix politic and business together.

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      Mauserman says:

      What the……

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    Larry says:

    WTF happened, Warren????

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      Warren says:

      You’re not who you claim to be. Bye.

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    patrick says:

    “Core values”? I think you mean “core propaganda”.

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    Brad Young says:

    Is there a link to the article, the denial/the Liberals did it worse comments would be amusing.

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    Brad Carpenter says:

    “In it, I argue conservatives tend to win elections because they are really good at communications,”

    That’s odd, since I recall the Liberal Party winning its share of elections too.

    “Progressives, meanwhile, use too many big words”

    Really? Like ‘fuddle duddle’, ‘just watch me’, or ‘yes we can’?

    “Conservatives dislike government, generally speaking, and liberals don’t.”

    That’s funny because its Conservatives who tend to like more laws, more cops, more prisons, more military, and more and more totalitarian surveillance. When liberals complain, they are called bleeding hearts. It’s also Conservatives who like bailing out their bankster friends, or subsidizing corporations.

    “Conservatives don’t like governments getting in the way with things like affirmative action, market intervention, environmental assessments, gun control, social security, welfare, or the United Nations.”

    No, but there are so many other ways Conservative governments ‘get in the way’.

    “Two of the things that conservatives consider to be at the epicentre of their values are fiscal prudence and the euphemistic “war on terror.”

    The first core value is merely their own conceit. If you Google ‘myth of tax and spend liberal’ you’ll find all kinds of proof Conservatives have been worse money managers than liberals. There are graphs and charts showing deficits and debts in Canada under both federal and provincial political parties clearly demonstrating since records were kept for budgets that liberal governments have historically fewer deficits and debts than conservative governments.

    The second core value is because Conservatives are always in a state of perpetual warfare with someone. War is the Conservative raison d’etre. War is the health of the Conservative State. Conservatives need enemies. Without war, without enemies, without militarization, without a comic book, black and white narrative of good vs evil, Conservatives become lost and confused. Even for ostensibly positive goals. The ‘war on poverty’ was originally a US Republican policy. Hence the Conservative ‘War on Everything’ mentality.

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    NoHarper says:

    Observant was obviously an unpaid con troll who kept pumping his crazy memes non-stop. Unpaid because no cons would pay him for his twisted views. A real nutcase.

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    Heather says:

    Did anyone else actually read the AG’s report? I couldn’t find the reference to having lost $3 billion. Please advise and thanks.

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