Sunday, November 30

Avoid the bait, Harper is already cornered

Today’s media events revealed the CPC releasing a transcript of a phone call into the NDP’s caucus meeting teleconference that was held yesterday. The party is trying to spin some kind of scandal out of the fact that Layton revealed that they had had earlier discussions with the Bloc regarding working together in common cause. Who cares! They are both opposition parties dealing with a minority government so this is just normal procedure. This is not proof of “secret, shady meetings to reverse election results” or a plan to launch a “massive power grab” from the ruling Conservative party.

I couldn’t believe the words coming out of Pierre Poilievre’s mouth. They were easy to remember because he just kept repeating the same talking points and they were ridiculous. Unfortunately, the progressive voices on the web are getting fixated on whether listening to, taping and distributing the tape to the media is an illegal action. I think that such a focus is exactly what Harper and his strategists were hoping for.

I don't disagree that it's unethical to tape and leak it to the media even if you were invited to listen in on the proceedings. And if you were not invited, there is definitely a cause to pursue an investigation since wiretapping still remains illegal. But word of advice: any actions the NDP take with respect to the legality of obtaining the tape or the ethical bankruptcy in distributing it, should be undertaken quietly and after the Harper government has been toppled. If their actions were criminal, the crime won't go away.

The media will be more than thrilled to have a scandal to focus on and will have a field day over some “wintergate” or “coldgate” event. Such a focus would detract from the current impression that the opposition parties are committed to making government work for Canadians while the Conservatives are not.

Harper is going back to his Rovian book of dirty tactics. But this time I think most Canadians are more likely to see them as signs of desperation. We don’t need to hurl accusations of illegal wiretapping to bring Harper and his Conservatives down. Demonstrating that the opposition parties have no recourse but to lose confidence in Harper’s ability to govern is key.

The opposition parties have successfully convinced the public that their concern is not only with his proposed changes to party election financing and union rights, but with his overall lack of vision or commitment to present an action plan to deal with the economic hardships that Canadians know they are facing. That’s why they didn’t back track when Harper stated that that these new policies would be shelved. Harper is spinning his wheels to find a way to hold on to power and so far, his flaccid attempts to stop the opposition have failed.

Giving the media a chance to focus on an impending lawsuit only serves Harper in my view. I'm sure Harper and his supporters are probably hoping the media and blogosphere gets in a tizzy over the NDP demanding an investigation.

The bottom line is that Harper is better equipped at handling accusations of scandal than those of ineptness. He's been like teflon on every other scandal raised in the past two years because he recognizes that a steady non-reaction is better politics than an over-reaction. Chretien is also gifted with the same reflexes.

An angry Jack Layton is the worst thing that could happen when the idea of a coalition government is picking up momentum. The Winnipeg Free Press (fairly right wing) closed today’s snapshot poll reporting 69% in favour of a coalition government.

Having the media spend the week focused on whether the taping was illegal, unethical or inept (on the part of the NDP) would be a shot in the arm for Harper. It's bait and the whole news item should be buried as fast as possible.


At 9:22 p.m., Blogger fern hill said...

I think you're right, Beijing York. The media is soooo distractable.

At 9:37 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Bright shiny objects always appeal to the living in the moment types, fern hill :-)

That's why this news is even better than great:

NDP, Liberals reach deal to topple minority Tory government

This will hopefully become the new focus for the media. (Damn, it seems like the opposition parties have not only developed a spine but a solid strategy to counter Harper's spin and manipulation tactics.)

At 10:11 p.m., Blogger Simon said...

Well said Beijing !!! The horrible Cons would love to keep us focused on their ratty doings instead of sticking to the high road and offering Canadians help and hope.
If we do that the Cons will look even more ratty and crazy and we can't lose.
Now pinch me I can't believe it :)

At 6:50 a.m., Blogger mauser98 said...

Gerry Ritz is angry too.

At 8:04 a.m., Blogger Phyl said...

I agree -- the important thing now is to throw the neo-Cons out of rulership first. Then deal with the illegalities of their spying on fellow citizens. Just toss them out of government first, and we can toss them in jail later.

At 8:23 p.m., Anonymous Paul said...

I agree. Still, it doesn't hurt to point out that there is a pattern of criminality here:
- trying to bribe a dying Chuck Cadman for his vote
- breaking Elections Canada's spending laws
- invading the privacy of another party's conference call

These characters don't appear to know right from wrong.

At 9:41 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Paul, I agree that the Conservatives use dirty, if not illegal, tricks to get their way. But I think the time to really take them to task is when they are out of the seat of power.

The coalition members have managed to do a stellar job on keeping the media focus on their message and it's working better than anything we have seen from individual opposition parties. Harper wanted the NDP to go ballistic over the tapings and keep that the main story in my view. Instead he was thwarted by their consistent and calm media messaging about every stride made in putting into place an effective coalition government.

At 7:01 p.m., Blogger Mentarch said...

"Harper is going back to his Rovian book of dirty tactics."

You called it, BY.

What else can he do? ;-)

At 7:40 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Hi Mentarch! I think that his failure to gain traction is driving Harper nuts. He is moving into stark raving mad territory.

I couldn't believe his performance today in the HoC during Question Period (what little I caught). He has completely lost the facade of being a considerate, level headed and moderate leader -- like the man in the blue sweater vest in those election commercials. The insults he was hurling and allowing his caucus members to hurl had the shrieking quality of a pack of rabid dogs. Remember, this is the same CPC leader who carefully kept his wingnut MPs on a short leash with muzzle.

At 2:26 p.m., Blogger Mentarch said...

Which proves the old saying:

Chassez le naturel et il revient vite au gallop!


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