Categories for Musings
“Her supporters packed the church in St. James town….media coverage comparable to a star level athlete. In the political world, we hardly see such high profile media coverage.”
I’ll buy that.
Check out this Star story on what the Ontario Liberals are planning.
Then read this gem from the www.warrenkinsella.com archives:
“November 24, 2005 – Looking at the communications carnage in today’s papers – and recalling last night’s newscasts – I can now pass judgment. And my judgment is this: yesterday, Dithers’ government broke every communications rule in the book, to twist Sheila Fraser’s memorable aphorism.
In one short day, they:
- Stepped all over their own announcements
- Looked panicked, cynical, confused and desperate
- Could not articulate a single compelling reason for why they were announcing what they were announcing
- Lost control of the news agenda, utterly
Residential schools money; Air India inquiry; grain seed farmers boodle; labour market training agreement; immigration program dough; candidate rumours; judicial appointments – and, at day’s end, as dessert, an income trust announcement wherein the Minister of Finance was flatly contradicted by his own Parliamentary Secretary.
It was insane. It was nuts. It was like 100 monkeys on a hallucinogenic, writing cheques. (Actually, monkeys know more about communications theory. Cheque-writing, too.)
Anyway, the final indignity came when all of their hard work – all of their frenzy of announceables, to use the Ottawa idiom – came to naught. Good old Danny McTeague stomped all over every damn announcement, every billion, with his demand that rapper 50 Cent be kept out of Canada. It dominated every newscast. Blew away everything else.
I swear to God, you can’t make this shit up, even if you tried. If these guys get re-elected, it’s because God is mad at the remaining 30 million of us for something we did in a previous life.
Ta. I’m off to write 39 competing press releases, which I intend to release simultaneously, late on a Friday afternoon and just before a long weekend.”
What does it all tell you (besides the fact that I’ve been doing this stupid web site for way too long, that is)? It tells you that barfing up a ton of announcements (a) doesn’t ever work and (b) that the hapless gang who was in charge in 2005 federally is now in charge in 2014 provincially. You know: the Martin gang.
The result will be the same.
Single again. Weird.
I think I was destined grow old in the company of dogs. Anyway, carry on.
When the Quebec election campaign started, almost one month ago, the governing Parti Quebecois were in the lead, and everyone assumed they were heading towards a majority in the National Assembly.
Well, almost everyone. A certain former Liberal Prime Minister told this writer that there would be no separatist majority after voting day, April 7. “They’re going to lose ground,” said he. “Just watch.”
And so they did. In the month that followed, the PQ made four critical errors. The result has been dramatic: now it is Liberal leader Phillippe Couillard who is in the lead, and Premier Pauline Marois who is in second place.
Mistake One: they alienated their own base. The PQ are a social democratic party. They are closer to trade unions than the Liberals are, and they are effectively seen as the equivalent of the New Democrats in the province (which is why Thomas Mulcair has always been unwilling to say much that is critical of the separatists).
But by trumpeting the recruitment of Pierre Karl Peladeau, the big-business billionaire who had humiliated the PQ’s allies in the CSN (Confédération des syndicats nationaux), Marois left long-time party members angry and confused. As one of the men who ultimately owns the pro-Canadian, arch-conservative Sun News – and, full disclosure, the avowedly pro-Conservative newspaper you now grasp in your hands – Peladeau’s ideology isn’t the Parti Quebecois’ ideology. Party members noticed. The media, too.
Mistake Two: the PQ campaign was all tactics, no strategy. When their lead in the polls started to slip away, Marois panicked, swinging at everything and anything. At one point, she suggested – out loud, with a straight face – that democracy in Quebec was in peril because of English-speaking students in Montreal might vote.
When Quebeckers stopped laughing at that one, Marois smeared former Premier Jean Charest and his successor Couillard with innuendo about corruption. The Liberal leader responded with disclosure of his personal finances – leaving a flustered Marois, married to a businessman whose name has been heard on wiretaps at an anti-corruption inquiry, refusing to do likewise.
Mistake Three: the Parti Quebecois became the party of hate. Before the campaign got underway, one candidate posted “F**K ISLAM” on Facebook, and Marois didn’t object. Another PQ candidate promoted the old anti-Semitic canard about a kosher tax, and called Jewish circumcision “rape.” She apologized, but remained a candidate.
And, of course, there was the PQ’s so-called “values” Charter, which makes the wearing of religious symbols illegal. To many, the Charter recalls the policies of the neo-Nazi National Front. But Marois is undeterred.
Mistake Four: the PQ started talking about separatism again. Grosse erreur.
When Peladeau declared that he wanted a separate country for his children, the first person to clap – onstage, in front of the cameras – was Pauline Marois. When the PQ campaign immediately commenced tanking as a result, Marois commenced furiously backpedalling. Too late: the hapless PQ leader had given Couillard the issue he needed. Quebec voters may have been in the mood for a PQ majority – but they weren’t in the mood for a separate Quebec nation.
Can Marois claw her way back in the remaining days? Possibly. In order to win big, Couillard needs to have a much bigger lead among French-speaking voters. Meanwhile, Marois has been performing better in debate, and on the hustings.
But her majority seems to have slipped away – and, here at Sun News, we are genuinely looking forward to the return of Pierre Karl Peladeau.
He haunts us still.
Remember that? That line – “he haunts us still” – is the very first line on the very first page of a terrific book about Pierre Trudeau. The book won all kinds of awards and accolades, but it is that first sentence which has come to sum up Pierre Trudeau rather well.
Whether you loved him or you hated him – and there were plenty of Canadians on either side of the divide – on one thing we all could agree: Pierre Trudeau looms like a giant, still, above the Canadian political landscape. Nobody is neutral on the subject of the former Liberal prime minister. Everyone has a view.
So, too, is the case with his eldest son, who is now a Liberal Party leader like his dad. And, if the polls mean anything anymore – a big if – the man most likely to be our next prime minister.
That famous line about “haunting us” doesn’t quite apply to the son, however. He doesn’t haunt us, not yet. Instead, Justin Trudeau mainly taunts us.
Trudeau Junior defies the consensus of the pundits and the politicos. He does the unexpected. He remains more popular, durably popular, than any politician in recent memory.
I’m a Liberal type, and a student of politics, but the more I see of Justin Trudeau, the less I think I know. He is even less conventional than his unconventional father.
In the year since he became Liberal leader at a lackluster, poorly attended affair in an Ottawa convention hall, Trudeau has made enough mistakes to kill off any other politician’s career.
He made a joke about what is happening in the Ukraine. He has said he admires a “dictatorship” for being one. He has said he wants to understand the feelings of terrorists.
Along with the mistakes, there have been plenty of contradictions, too.
He has embraced pipelines and pot, almost simultaneously. He has promised open nominations, and then giddily manipulated them.
He has sounded like a Quebec nationalist in unguarded moments, and then gone on to bravely defend federalism. He has sounded blasé about a Liberal senator who was under police investigation, and then he summarily expelled 32 Liberal senators who were not.
And with all those mistakes – with all those contradictory moves – this has been the impact on his popularity:
Zero. Zippo. Zilch.
Justin Trudeau – for all his faults, for all his inexperience and his youthfulness – is overwhelmingly the guy Canadians want as prime minister. Still.
They know he isn’t perfect. They know he probably makes far more rookie mistakes than his opponents. But they don’t care. Voters want Justin. Not Stephen, and not Tom.
He’s arrogant, sure, but all the great leaders usually are. He’s cocky, certainly, but that didn’t hurt him when he faced off in a boxing ring with a Conservative senator with a black belt, did it? He’s a bit too melodramatic – but having a flair for the dramatic never hurt anyone’s political career (just ask Ronald Reagan, the actor).
Personally, I can say that Justin Trudeau occasionally ticks me off. He takes unnecessary risks. He doesn’t listen to advice too often. He frequently seems more arrogant than any previous Liberal leader, and that’s no easy thing to do.
But the fact remains Justin Trudeau is the most popular leader Canada has seen in a long, long time. And, barring a disaster between now and 2015, the experts say he is going to be our next prime minister.
He doesn’t “haunt us,” not yet. But if there has ever been a politician who defies the predictions of the political scientists and the pundits – if there has ever been a leader who “taunts us” – Justin Trudeau is it.