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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Art of Campaign Brainwashing

At the risk of being dismissed as one of Danny Williams’ minions, brainwashed by the NL premier’s ABC (Anything but Conservative) campaign or being all too willing to “drink the kool-aid”, as they say in these parts, I've reached a point where it simply amazes me that the federal Conservatives remain as high as they are in the polls.

In the latest in a series of disgusting comments from the Harper camp, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, during a conference call at the height of the listeriosis outbreak, decided it would be fun to crack a few jokes while all across the Country people were dying of the deadly bacteria.

“This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts," Ritz joked during the call. After being informed that another death had just occurred in PEI Ritz’s only response was to say, "Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter."

Totally disgusting.

There are those who might be willing to attribute Ritz’s comments to the cold and uncaring nature of a single individual, I might have been one of them myself, were it not for a series of similar incidents coming out of the Harper camp.

When taken in conjunction with other statements and actions by Conservative members recently I believe the crude comments made by Minister Ritz are actually a symptom of a party culture that by its very nature promotes this behavior.

As with any team the rank and file look to their leadership for guidance on how to behave, what direction to take and how to succeed. It is through example that leaders lead best. The action, or lack of action, by Conservative party leader, Stephen Harper, when members of his party have crossed the line sends a strong signal to his followers, intentionally or not, that this sort of behavior is acceptable.

It’s not and Mr. Harper's quiet acceptance of such actions by his followers is not the stand a "strong leader" should be taking.

When a video tape of Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski surfaced showing him drinking and crudely pointing out the differences between himself and “homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails who spread disease…” Mr. Harper felt a public apology was enough to end all discussion of the incident. No further steps were taken against Mr. Lukiswsk and after the apology read to the press by Gerry Ritz last evening the PM now considers this issue put to rest.

I'm sorry Prime Minister but reading a prepared apology is not enough.

It’s not enough for those who have been the target of statements like Lukiwski’s, the families of those who have suffered or died during the deadly listeriosis outbeak or the Father of a slain soldier who was accused by a senior party strategist of invoking his son’s name for political gain.

And an apology isn't enough to show strong and effective leadership to either your followers or to the nation itself.

Every day the perception is mounting, or at least it should be, that there is something seriously rotten at the core of the new Conservative brand, yet somehow they still manage to retain voter support in key ridings. I have to admit to being totally thrown off balance by the situation.

This is a government that has cut funding to arts programs and women’s rights groups. A government that clearly lied about income trusts and fixed election dates. A government that destroyed the court challenges program. A government that on several occasions has abandoned Canadian citizens incarcerated in foreign lands, including one being held illegally at Guantanamo Bay and a government that handled the Maxime Bernier affair, not by addressing the national security concerns it clearly raised, but by desperately trying to sweep the entire matter under the rug.

Yet the polls show they still have more support among voters than any other party.

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture or am I missing something completely?

The Harper government has claimed that, thanks to their efforts, Canada has never been more united than it is today and that the relationship between the provinces and Ottawa is stronger than ever.

The reality is that the people of at least three provinces, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador feel as if they’ve been robbed by Ottawa over natural resource revenues.

Ontario feels it is still not getting its fair share of revenue in the federation, has had the Conservative Finance Minister state publicly that it is the last place on earth anyone would want to invest and its premier has been called the “small man of confederation” by the Conservative government.

Does this sound like a Country that is more united than ever before?

Meanwhile, as the economy is tanking in the U.S. and the impact of the collapsing U.S. economy is beginning to be felt in Canada, the surpluses that used to exist have been spent and are no longer available if needed during a recession. Job losses in the manufacturing and forestry sectors are mounting and all the Prime Minister can say about it is, “The Canadian economy’s fundamentals are strong” or that anyone who loses their job in the pulp and paper industry can simply move to Fort McMurray.

I've never seen a party survive an election campaign in Canada with so many strikes against it yet the Conservatives still remain strong in the polls.

It makes me wonder exactly who is being brainwashed here. If it's those who have been dismissed for taking an anti-Harper stance by supporting ABC or if it's those who still plan to vote for the Harper brand of Conservatism.

UPDATE: 3:23pm

The disgusting attitudes of members of the Conservative movement in Canada are coming in so fast and furiously it's getting hard to stay on top of them. Here's another just hitting the news services.

The Conservatives have issued another apology, this time for comments caught on video Wednesday by an assistant to Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Mr. Cannon was campaigning in Maniwaki, Que., Wednesday when a group of protesters from the divided native community of Barriere Lake showed up to outline their demands.

Mr. Cannon listened to their speech and then left, but his constituency assistant continued an exchange with the lead protester, Norman Matchewan.

The exchange was caught on video and broadcast as the lead item Wednesday by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

“If you behave and you're sober and there's no problems and if you don't do a sit down and whatever, I don't care,” said Mr. Cannon's assistant..."


Patriot said...

let's not forget the comment by one of Harper's MPs that the natives involved in a protest a while back should have been removed through force even if it meant killing them.

This is just too much.

secession now said...

Yet the polls show they still have more support among voters than any other party.

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture or am I missing something completely?

Why yes patriot you are. Its called Stephane Dion.

The Lone Sailor said...

It is a sad situation we are in. Our "honourable" members are nothing more then an ignorant obnoxious bunch of school yard bullies. They don't care about consequences because they know that there is no one to oppose them. Can you imagine what these people will be like if they get a majority.