Warning: This column is as biased as something you would read in the Globe & Martin.
I find it a bit strange that the Liberals, being led by Mr. Paul Martin, are going to run on their record. I can’t believe that a government that has done as little as this lot would want to go around bragging about it. What would the commercial sound like? “Well, we haven’t done a whole lot, but I think that Canadians think that is a good thing.” Or perhaps, “We have made stifling democracy an art. Not only do we not allow our members to vote how they believe, we also have found that we can stay in power by reducing and almost eliminating opposition days. After all, we are the Liberal Party of Canada. Governing is our birthright.”
Since this is a long campaign, running the same ads will be boring, so we had better come up with some more. How about a spot with Ralph Goodale. “Like my predecessor, I don’t have a very strong grasp at finances. That is why our party is the one to vote for. Think of all of the things that we can do with those huge surpluses my poor accounting creates.” How about a new issue? “Under my watch, our numbers have gone through the roof. They keep going up! The Conference Board of Canada has ranked our country 12th in terms of our economic prospects for all industrialized nations. Last year we were ranked 6th, and the year before that, we only made it to 3rd place. Yup, our numbers are a risin’.”
Mr. Harper seems very comfortable in the opposition chair. For reasons unknown to this man, he will not let same sex marriage fall into the background. He has already pledged to resurrect the issue in past statements. Starting a campaign off with reforms in the way parties are financed was shrewd, but bringing up this issue makes him look like he can’t let go. It isn’t that this issue isn’t something I want to see brought back up, because it is, definitely. The fact is though, that most Canadians stop listening when that subject is broached, and Mr. Harper needs Canadians to listen.
Here is what the Conservative’s television spot should sound like. Mr Harper: “Mr. Martin is once again pledging to run on his record. Since he really doesn’t have one, he will most assuredly resort to scaring the electorate into his corner. He has started that off by saying that the Canada that I envision is starkly different from a Liberal Canada. I don’t know why he is campaigning on our behalf, but he is absolutely right. The Canada I envision has a government that you can trust. It has policies being dealt with not immediately before the threat of an election, but when they need to be addressed. It has responsible spending, not vote buying sprees where billions are flashed around in front of your faces. A Conservative government would not overtax Canadians just so we could look good with obscene surpluses. Canada would have a health care system that once again helped Canadians. Our military would have the tools that it needs for us to once again be a proud peacekeeping contributor. Mr. Martin, you are absolutely correct. My Canada would look nothing like yours.”
I can already see what the Conservative spin doctors would do to that one. They would insert comparisons with the Liberals throughout. That sounds petty, so I had to leave it out. Canadians do not need to be reminded or told what the Liberals have done wrong. It is fresh in our minds, and we don’t want to hear it anymore. What we want to hear is an alternative. If Stephen Harper doesn’t start running ads like the one above, he is finished. The Tories must start taking Paul Martin’s accusations and turn them around on him. No one has yet learned how to neutralize the Liberal propaganda machine and I don’t get why. It would be such an easy thing to do.
Jack Layton will have some pretty nifty spots, too. “Hello everybody. Hope you are having a swell life, ’cause I sure am. Yep, during the last few months, the NDP has made the difference. We have helped make government work. We did it from the sidelines. We have been here so long, we knew we had to come up with a plan, and blackmail was the most promising of all of them. We received over $4 billion dollars in concessions from Mr. Martin. We rolled back tax cuts for those nasty old corporations, and we received commitments on affordable housing and the environment. Of course, we gave it all back by bringing down the government, but it was fun while it lasted. We are sure to do better the next time. Vote for me, and I promise I will stop wearing these ridiculous orange ties.”