Monday, March 28, 2011

Jason Lietaer and Stephen Harper's Tea Party Campaign Not Going so Well

I watched Power and Politics yesterday, something I haven't done in quite awhile, and despite the fact that the whole 'reckless coalition' mantra is tanking, Harper's communication point man, Jason Lietaer, suggested that it would continue to be at the center of their campaign.

A big mistake.

It took just two days for the media, with the help of Gilles Duceppe, to nullify. Stephen Harper did indeed try to become Prime Minister in 2004, with the full support of the Bloc. Duceppe is far more credible on this because he not only has the original letter, but also video and Tom Flanagan's book. It's time to move on.

This only validates what Harper's critics have said all along. That he is deceitful.

It took a lot of courage for Duceppe to go public with this, because across Quebec people are saying "you've get to get rid of Harper", so admitting that he was once prepared to be kingmaker for him is a risky move. It's also interesting that Jack Layton is stepping away from it, despite the fact that he was key to both coalitions, and instead is allowing Michael Ignatieff to shoulder all of the "blame".

But I don't want to talk about the "C" word because it's enough already. On the weekend Gilles Duceppe referred to Stephen Harper's Tories 'as a retrograde Tea Party', and I think that's one of the things the other parties should focus on.

Not only on Harper's long and deep connections with the Republican Tea Party, but his style of campaigning. Stick to a few talking points and hammer them home. This might work in the U.S. where their battle cry is "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", but in Canada, we follow the creed of "Peace, Order and Good Government".

In his five years, Harper has made no attempt to be peaceful, orderly or to provide good government. Instead it has been just a never ending election campaign, much of it at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. His caucus rarely answer questions in the House, preferring to be glib and stick to their scripts. They have a 200 page manual instructing them on how to make committees dysfunctional, to avoid accountability. And they have a vetting system for handling access to information, that would rival Joseph Goebbel's.

So pitting himself against the other parties in such a manner, only validates what his critics have said all along. That he is impossible to deal with. I also found his choice of those to lead his campaign interesting. Guy Girorno, a corporate lobbyist, who once choreographed Ontario Premier Mike Harris's every move, and Jason Lietaer, another lobbyist and Mike Harris top aide.

It was once thought that Lietaer might replace Kory Teneycke as what Kady O'Malley called Director of Uncomfortable Silences. Even Jane Taber, top Harper cheerleader, listed him as one of the lobbyists in Harper's revolving door.

Which only validates what Harper's critics have said all along. That his government is run by corporate lobbyists.

This brings me to the second talking point of this campaign. That "only Stephen Harper can lead us to economic stability". They cite the fact that we did better than most countries during the collapse, despite the fact that many in the financial world agree that it was only because of measures put in place by the former government, many of which have since been torn down by Harper and Co. However, it would appear that our economic prowess was only in the short term. Many other countries are now leaving us in their dust.

That could have something to do with the fact that we were the only ones who saw the need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on "aren't we doing a great job" ads and signs, instead of focusing on the actual economic strength of recovery.

The Montreal Gazette gives us a Reality 'cheque': Harper's claims on the economy

- Canada's economy has been improving, but not at the same rate as the leading economies. Australia and Sweden are expected to lead in economic improvement in 2011, according to the report

- "Any likely post-election government can also be expected to stay on a course aimed at deficit reduction, with only the specific mix of spending and tax policy priorities under real debate."

- The Harper government increased program spending faster than the inflation rate. Between 2006-07 and 2008-09, program spending increased by an annual average of 5.1 per cent.

And the suggestion that only Stephen Harper can handle the economy, and not the Conservatives, validates yet another criticism, and perhaps the most important of them all.

Stephen Harper is a government on one. He listens to no one, not even the Canadian people.

It took just two days to tear down the entire Conservative strategy. They'd better change the channel soon because they've still got a long way to go.

1 comment:

  1. Incidentally, Lietaer claims he has "no title" on his Twitter account. Obviously this is somewhat misleading.

    Also incidentally, Lietaer is a lobbyist who worked with a tobacco group for several years.