The Shotgun Blog
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Even More Next Steps for the CPC
Andrew at bound by gravity has an excellent post about the continuing unwillingness of the CPC to effectively set out and campaign on conservative policies. Stephen Taylor has also offered a five point tactical plan which seems like it could be quite effective.
Here's another quick idea. The Conservatives suffer at this point from two related problems: the public doesn't know what their policies are, and the Liberals and their client media are "defining" the CPC's positions for the electorate (I use the sneer quotes because the characterizations are often either incorrect or consist of accusations of a "hidden agenda"). Dealing with the media may be impossible to do: the CBC isn't suddenly going to start ragging on the Liberals with the same level of venom they reserve for the Conservatives. But the media can be out-maneuvered and avoided. So in the interests of addressing the first problem, how do the Conservatives let people know what their policies are?
The CPC has released their policy declaration [note: link is to a .pdf document]. That declaration should be on the front page of the CPC website, instead of buried on a subsidiary page under "The Party", but that's just quibbling. However, the declaration is nearly 50 pages long; I'm a politics geek and a CPC supporter, and, frankly, even I'm not going to wade through it.
So, what is needed? A concise, appealing set of priority policies; let's say the top five or ten policies, boiled down to their essentials. A description by the party of its commitment to pass certain legislation within the first, I don't know, one hundred days of a Conservative government. An equivalent (in spirit, not in substance), in other words, of the Contract with America. You don't hear much about it anymore, and it prompted the usual sneers from the mainstream media ("Contract on America", chortle, chortle) but it should be recalled what the Republicans were able to accomplish in 1994 on the back of the Contract with America: they dislodged the Democrats from both Houses of Congress, ending more than four decades of dominance (and, more than ten years later, they still haven't lost control); they did it in the face of consistent media bias in many ways comparable to what conservatives face in Canada; and they managed, if I'm not mistaken, to pass seven of the ten clauses. Would a comparable Canadian Conservative document send the usual suspects into stuttering paroxysms of rage and indignation? Of course. But they hate us already, so screw 'em.
Direct mail, email, websites, print ads, media appearances by MPs, radio ads, TV ads... whatever. Go around the media. Get the message directly to Canadians. And do not shut up about it. Ever. Some shmuck at CBC Radio asks a question about whether Stephen Harper is too "angry" to be PM? Cool. Respond by talking about CPC plans for reforming the criminal justice system. Or healthcare. Or R&D investment. Or whatever.
Nobody will do the Conservatives any favours, least of all anyone in the Liberal media axis (the CBC, the Star, the Globe). So every effort must be made to shift the contours of the debate. To policy. Lay out before Canadians in concrete terms what a Conservative government will mean to them. And let them decide whether they want to vote Conservative, rather than allowing the editors at the Star and the Globe to make the decision.
Or just run another set of ads about how corrupt the Liberals are. 'Cause that sure seems to be working.
[cross-posted to Let It Bleed]
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Well said. I've spoken to several people lately who have no clue what the CPC stands for. And even those who might generally be sympathetic to conservative principles have a difficult time identifying the party's policies and why they should rally behind them. The CPC has to do a much better job marketing itself, and needs to tell the average Canadian how their policies will make his/her life better. The CPC does not have to sell out, nor engage in "clientism" to do this -- it merely needs to sell the benefits of its vision, not merely its features.
Perhaps the CPC could learn from Australia:
"Australia’s John Howard has been the most successful conservative politician of modern times. His uncharismatic style has often been the victim of metropolitan condescension but his four election wins have wiped the smile off his opponents’ faces. In many ways he is a traditionalist conservative. He has been very sympathetic to the monarchy and opposed the republican campaign of 1999. He supports family values and, like other Anglosphere leaders, he has backed the war on terror. Central to this success has been his innovative willingness to prioritise Australia’s strivers, however. John Howard has understood that many richer and more libertine voters have joined the liberal left’s rainbow coalition. They have voted for higher taxes, higher regulation and draconian protections for the environment. Rich voters can absorb the cost of these policies but most hardworking families cannot. Abandoning a traditional conservative bias towards ‘big business’, Howard has consistently stood up for the ‘little guy’. Strivers – or battlers – include families who have to work extra hours if taxes rise. They include small businesses that may close because of red tape or stay-at-home mums who are penalised by family-unfriendly benefit systems."
The above is from the British site www.conservativehome.com -- we could use something comparable in Canada.
Posted by: Linda | 2005-05-22 7:12:03 PM
EXCELLENT idea about breaking down the policy document into small readable chunks and giving it higher profile placement. Maybe it needs to be rewritten by a copywriter, leaving out all jargon and legalese, include lots of "you's" to make it personal like the person is reading is being talked to in his or her own language, one on one, like someone across the table. Plus, telling the reader: what's in it for YOU if the Conservatives win. Not lots of cliche boring rhetoric, but lots of tangible real life examples on how each policy will effect every day lives in dollars and cents or whatever.
Posted by: Snowy | 2005-05-22 7:25:10 PM
Political Communication Methods in Canadian Federal Election Campaigns 1867-1925:
For example: Instead of a picnic, host a barbecue.
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-22 7:34:33 PM
And another thing...
the readable, friendly Conservative policy chunks should NOT be in freaking PDF format; there is no greater turnoff. But they should be clickable by topic, and available in printable form on a graphics free page, like a lot of news sites offer. "Print this article?" So Joe reads a policy chunk that fires him up, he can print it off, then share it with his friends.
It will be a good resource for the media too.
Posted by: Snowy | 2005-05-22 7:34:36 PM
I've been at three events where Ontario PC leader John Tory has spoken, and each time he has made a point of saying that the (provincial) Conservatives need to find five (and exactly five) issues that they will run on in the next campaign and keep hammering those five issues over and over again in the media. I think Tory is right.
Posted by: Ontario Observer | 2005-05-22 8:13:38 PM
Newt's Sweet Dreams.
Newt Gingrich and Contract with America.
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-05-22 8:35:20 PM
I've been slowly going through the CPC Policy document and chunking it up into bite sized pieces in my somewhat flippantly titled "It's the Policy, Stupid!" feature.
You can find links to the five policies I've discussed so far on the Bound by Gravity sidebar. ( http://www.boundbygravity.com ) I add a new one every couple of days.
Thanks for the mention.
Posted by: Andrew | 2005-05-22 8:47:38 PM
Thank you for wading through the policy document. I would like to comment on the 5 sidebar issues you have identified. This isn't to say that there aren't some good ideas in the document - but I think it's important to highlight whatever ideas are founded on a rational idea of cost and benefits, and not those ideas which reek of pandering and excessive reverance for sacred cows.
1) Family Tax Fairness
This is fine, it will be better than the current system. But this is a very small issue in the scheme of things. The problem is, the overall tax and regulatory burdens are too high. You can't socially-engineer a better country by tweaking this tax rate and creating that tax credit. Cut taxes, period - and everyone benefits. Money put in the pockets of people who *hire* working parents is just as valuable as money put in the pockets of the parents themselves.
2) "Equalization is an essential component of Canada's nation building efforts"
Governments don't build nations, people do. They usually build pretty good nations when they're allowed to keep what they earn, and they build shabby nations when they're paid to sit on their asses. Maybe the CPC is not the party and Harper isn't the leader, but sooner or later someone is going to have to stand up and say loud and clear, equalization sucks. It imposes extra layers of unaccountability on the taxation, transfer and distribution of wealth. Unaccountability leads to waste and corruption (as if I need to remind anyone on this blog). And like all welfare schemes, it punishes hard work and ingenuity and rewards sloth and ignorance.
"We will remove non-renewable natural resource revenue from the equalization formula to encourage the development of economic growth in the non-renewable resource sectors across Canada."
Non-renewable resource development means non-renewable jobs and non-renewable profits. Don't encourage, don't discourage, just stop taxing it and stop trying to be the God of economic development. Cut federal taxes and subsidies related to non-renewable resources and let each province try to micromanage the building of their own nickel smelters and oil refineries - if they're dumb enough to try. And if you eliminate equalization, it'll end the arguments over the formula pretty quickly. This is the perfect time to eliminate the program and cut taxes, because the Maritime Provinces are feeling their oats over their newfound petroleum riches, and separatists are boasting about how Quebec is paying more than its share into Canada. And I'm sure Manitoba will come around.
3) "The Conservative Party supports a welcoming and well-managed immigration system"
Do any of you ever wonder why Canada has an immigration rate three times or so higher than any other nation on earth? I'll you what - it isn't because employers are screaming for new workers to fill the jobs they have in their factories and farms. It's the welfare state that has given us an aging population with hardly kids and hardly any savings. Start dismantling entitlements, subsidies and all of the many disincentives against savings, investment and childrearing, and the so-called demographic challenge will take care of itself like magic. And if you insist, the relatively modest immigration which would result from the healthy growth in new jobs (real jobs - not the government make-work kind) can be, like you say, welcoming and well-managed.
4) Health Sciences Research
This seems to be a catch-all for "experiments" with health care delivery, plus more welfare for bio-tech geeks - err, I mean federal funding of life-saving new technology. Is it not clear enough yet that government delivery of health care mostly produces (in decreasing order) (i) waste (ii) sanctimony (iii) results ?? And to say that government must fund research, is to imply that private Canadian investors, researchers, doctors, pharmacists and private citizens are just too dumb, too poor and too disorganized to be able to figure out how to set up a lab and solve problems. Actually the last two are probably true, but the government could easily fix those by getting out of the way.
5) Hang'em High
I think that most justice problems will be solved by - you guessed it! - cutting down on government taxes and entitlements. The welfare state encourages those in the criminal class to feel, well, entitled. The transfer of responsibilty off the individual and onto the state infects judges, juries and lawyers with the ridiculous idea that "society is to blame" for nearly every crime, and they treat criminals accordingly. If you restore responsibility to Canadians - such as responsibility for getting an education, getting a job, saving their own money and raising their own children - then they won't feel like coddling the creeps who break into their homes, steal their stuff, and make it harder for them to do what they have to do. This is natural justice, because everyone who believes in the worth and responsibilities of the individual understands what the word "thief" means, and there is no need to add a single word to the criminal code to deal with those who don't.
That's the Justzumgai platform, as adapted from the Boundbygravity sidebar, as adapted from the policy tome of the Conservative Party. If you dressed it up in suitably speechified English, I can't see how any thinking adult Canadian couldn't find something they like in this platform.
Or am I kidding myself ...
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-05-22 10:49:30 PM
Bob, thanks for the mention. I agree with you that policy should be the primary focus and always the topic discussed.
CBC Radio: Is Stephen Harper angry?
CPC Pundit: (sarcastic tone) Anyways... (happy tone) the Conservative Party will implement a family friendly tax plan... talk talk talk for 5 minutes
Andrew, I like your policy discussions. I hope to do something similar soon.
Posted by: Stephen Taylor | 2005-05-23 12:47:45 AM
Trumpet conservative policy! That's what I've been saying for the last year. Now the question is; what exactly is it?
-Less taxation. Leave more money in the hands of the people. Start by setting the tax at the pumps to a set rate per liter, say $.20/liter. Greatly reduce social problems caused by the cradle to grave Nanny state: Encourage homes with one wage earner by giving them huge deductions for stay at home spouses (who will look after their own kids better than government run day care).
-Less government. Fewer bureaucrats. Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Get rid of the gun registry. Clean house in HRDC. Wipe out non-sensical grants and foreign aid.
-Selectively strengthen certain sectors of government spending (military, RCMP), while wiping out useless spending on the CBC, the Senate, Nat'l Film Board, the CRTC, etc.
-Bring freedom and free enterprise to health care. Do not be afraid. The sky will not fall. Two-tier, three-tier, whatever. By all means, have a public system. But the more people that get out of the public system, the less clogged it will be for the truly needy.
-Negotiate an end to the First Nation welfare state. Their leaders must be more accountable. They must see the benefits of independance from government (canadian taxpayer) money.
-Confront Quebec head on. End their status as most favoured nation within a nation. Let them run their own affairs with their own money. Call it whatever. Just don't let them continue to be the tail that wags the dog.
Steven, are you listening?
Posted by: jack | 2005-05-23 12:59:34 AM
Well, I read the first post, read part of the second and stopped.
If you (we the people) think that trying or attempting to educate a populace as complacent and as blind to common sense as the Canadian people, is a way to win the next National Election, then you/WE are all fooling yourselves.
Read the headlines people.
The headline contains "disgraceful" Belindarella's own quote. Was Volpe quoted as "racist" or "Clan Accusing" ????
Any politician worth his salt would play the Liberals same game.
Harper should call into his office with disdain both Perrin Beatty and Izzy Asper, explain to them the situation that, now just now they are possibly on the verge of forming the next Federal Government. Explain to them that, If there is not an immediate nuetralization of media presentation of both political parties to the Canadian public, both of them are gonna pay and pay dearly once Harper is on the other side of the house.
Harper should immediately SHUT DOWN the CBC, the first day of his term, screw politics, Shut down the machine. Do the math, how many voters would the Conservatives actually lose, if they shut down the CBC ??????
How many minds does the CBC poison on a daily basis and how many Conservative supporters presently listen to that propaganda machine. DO THEM MATH ..
As far as the Aspers go, use Revenue Canada to bring them around to your way of thinking. It has worked on them so far for the Liberals, and really the Aspers are not so stupid as to care as to who is pulling their strings, as long as the tent master pays them at the end of every evening.
Does the Family name Bronfmann mean anything to anyone with a brain in this country.??? Yea but to the public it means Jack SH#* !!!!
Thus your posts above !!!! Jack $#IT.
To us that "think, talk, and post in here your arguements,and dialoge make sense.
To the rest of the Country, they have neither the time, nor the heart, nor the Brains to digest this crisis, to them, PERCEPTION IS REALITY !!
THINK LIBERAL, THINK PUBLIC PERCEPTION !!!
Its the only way to be the CAT with the FEATHER IN ITS MOUTH.
PERCEPTION IS REALITY!!
PERCEPTION LIVES FOREVER !!!
Posted by: BDT | 2005-05-23 1:17:06 AM
Bob's points are extremely important -- that the public doesn't know what the CPC stands for, and the result is that the Liberals are defining the CPC. The Liberals use the MSM to do that - and that puts the CPC in the position of merely saying 'No, we're not! No, we're not!'
What to do? I'm aware of the FACT that the Liberals take whatever policy they can, whether it be CPC or NDP or.. Remember, the Liberals are NOT about policy; they have only ONE POLICY - to remain in power. That's it. That's their one policy. This should be repeated as often as possible; the Liberals will say anything and set up any 'law' as long as it enables them to stay in power.
I really, really..like that Republican Contract with America. Tremendous. Two pages. That's all it should be. No more than two pages.
Says it all. And, it's dealing with the same problems we are having now in Canada - the loss of democracy, the denigration of the rights of the people to control their gov't.
I'd suggest that the CPC print up their own Contract with the Canadian People, using many of the same themes.. Two pages. No more. Have it mailed to each and every household.
"after four decades of one-party control"
..referring to 'We wish to restore accountability to Parliament"
"restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives"
"end of government that is too big, too intrusive and too easy with the public's money"
We, the CPC, offer a written commitment with NO FINE PRINT..
Follow the same format. Set up the Major Reforms, and "within the first 100 days of parliament, bring to the floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, ...each to be made available on that same day for public inspection and scrutiny and discussion..
And set out the agenda.
# - Decentralization of Political Powers Act.
This Act will decentralize political activity and provide more funding powers and more control over finances, over service provisions and accountability for those provisions to the provinces.
(I'm completely against equalization which is destroying this country.)
#- Health Care Restoration Act
Following the models of such Health care systems as France, Sweden, ...etc, etc. which have developed health care systems with excellent care, no waiting and at lower cost than the bureaucratic-heavy Canadian system (no mention of US) - the introduction of a two-tiered health care system. This will reduce taxation to enable citizens to be able to receive BOTH privately funded health care AND UNIVERSAL public health care. Both levels are monitored for standards by their respective provincial gov'ts.
#The Common Sense Legal Reform Act
Includes scrapping the Gun Registry, more stringent police powers, more security for cities
# The Common Sense Family Reform Act
Includes tax benefits for stay-at-home parents, rejects SSM;
#The Parliamentary Reform Act.
Includes an elected Senate with limited terms; the end of patronage appoints to judgeships (must be scrutinized by the House); end of patronage appointments in the bureaucracy, etc. etc.
#The Foreign Affairs Act
Includes a focus on developing particular strengths in the Canadian military (we can't be all things and have ended up as nothing).
#The Development of Canadian Economy Act
Includes decreased taxation for corporations, small and medium size business incentives, enhanced ties with the US and other countries;
No more than two pages. Leave out the rhetoric. Make the promises.
Think. There will be many who will disagree with many issues. Yes, there are many who agree with SSM; they are not the majority. There are many who think that 'free health care' is the only answer (dear god, how can anyone even speak the words of 'free health care'; don't they understand what taxation is?)..and so on.
But, a set of policies cannot be 'all things to all people'. Such a perspective is effectively reduced to nothing. Nothing..it's so homogeneous, so open, so vaporous that, since everything is included....it's all one. Nothing.
So, the CPC has to define itself. Will the Liberals steal the ideas? Yes; they have no ethics and they have, themselves, only ONE policy. To stay in power.
But - with that White Mandate (or whatever)..already out in the public's hands..
oh- and by the way, I'm repeating myself, but I think that the Liberal attacks on the Bloc are seriously flawed and should be commented upon. What the Liberals are saying, when they are attacking the CPC for 'aligning' themselves with the Bloc - is that the views of SOME elected Canadians, are heretical and are not permitted.
Wait. The Bloc are elected representatives. So what if their policy is about separation? They are elected representatives. I, myself, don't like NDP policies, but, I can't have a parliament that refuses to dialogue, interact or even, align with them - if they and I agree on some issue. I can't say: "NO contact with the NDP; they are evil people". I have to say - They are elected representatives. On X-issue, we agree".
So- the Liberals are saying that on NO issue, is it permissable to interact with the duly elected representatives of the Bloc; they are evil. Now- that's a bit totalitarian, a bit tribal, and a lot undemocratic, isn't it?
Posted by: ET | 2005-05-23 8:07:09 AM
Just a further comment (well..it's a holiday)..
People carry assumptions with them; their perceptions; these are ungrounded, vague, unexplored..and are held only because they are assumed to be not perceptions but realities.
To assume that these same people hold onto them as truths rather than perceptions is a mistake. So- the notion that the Canadian health care system is THE best method of providing health care is a perception. What the CPC has to do is STATE the tiered option as a reality. State it as a reality not a suggestion, not a perception. People will become aware of other realities.
The tactic ought to be to set up a framework that acknowledges that other systems are real. That they can become real in Canada. The Liberal tactic is to state that only the steady-state current system is 'real'; the other proposals are invalid because they are 'not real'; they are ideals; they are perceptions; they are fantasies. They are 'unCanadian'.
The CPC has to state its policies, clearly and simply, in the form of 'What We Will Do in the First Session of Parliament". A set of Bills. This makes them real.
People will accept different ideas if they are defined as realities rather than ideals.
Posted by: ET | 2005-05-23 8:29:16 AM
Andrew has the right idea, the only way to engage people is to write the policy in simple, understandable, English and French. Canadians also should be presented with a list of 'misplaced and misused funds' and what it could mean for ONE family to have access to their share of the money paid (and lost) to Liberal Governments over the years. This is now a lost oppertunity BUT Canada is STILL a rich nation and with CPC, it should be outlined, there will be a better future for people because the CPC government won't steal money. It should be made clear about how much more of their own income people could expect to get FOR THEMSELVES, also how the % that the Liberals have been stealing and wasting could be put into roads, bridges, lower hydro costs, lower gas prices; things that count to families.
The option of staying home and raising their own childern with tax credits instead of daycare payments subsidized by gov'ts is likely one of the CPC's most well known policies because people WANT that policy to be real.
Also, the RIGHT to OWN property should be stressed over and over again. So many people would like to holler "Get out of MY house"(literally). People need to feel powerful in their own lives. All people need a place to be to be their own boss to get self worth in their own minds, a place where THEY,THEMSELVES call the shots. This has been denied people in the plastic socialistic society that the Lib/ND governments of the past have set up. In the former Soviet Union the collective farms were unproductive but the little back of the house gardens were ALWAYS tended and productive. People do not take care of collective property because they do not have individual stakes in it. People will fight to keep their own property safe, why should anyone be expected to take care of something that belongs to everyone. This goes for childern too. It is human nature.
The theft, by Billionares, of tax money from people who cannot pay their visa bills is another direct to the heart issue. Never let people forget that their money enriched those that are rich beyond the wildest dreams of those paying them (the Billionares) to keep up their grand lifestyles. A Matin or a Stronach thinks a million dollars is small change, so what does your measly 1,000 dollars in income tax mean - NOTHING - and that is just what you are to them.
Smoking Bans should be banned; this would be the end result of PROPERTY rights being reinforced. Property owners should be assured that no CPC government would dictate to them about smoking regulations in their own business's. Common sense will tell them what the regulations will be, not the government. As long as people are smoking LEGAL tobacco and the gov't is getting tax money from the sale of the same, then business OWNERS should be the people deciding to allow or not to allow smokers to smoke on their property. This law would prevent a number of people who own bars, Casino's and nightclubs from going under.
Posted by: Jema54 | 2005-05-23 11:25:07 AM
Regarding the public/private health care split that many CPCers are advocating: I don't think this will work. The public system will continue to absorb billions more dollars every year ("because we care about the unfortunate") and these dollars will continue to be scarfed away by the bureaucrats, doctors, unions, politicians' contractor buddies, etc. I have no enthusiasm for cashing in my RSPs or mortgaging my house, in order to buy the vital health care for which I've already paid once - through the nose - but which is not forthcoming from my local St. Elsewhere. To hold up the poor, government-ridden tax slaves and welfare addicts in Sweden and France as positive examples is to laugh.
Look at it this way: food is vital for you to live. The rich get better food than the poor, and it undoubtedly helps them live longer. But the poor do just fine, because we have a magnificent (mostly) free market which every year provides higher and higher quality food, in ever-increasing variety and freshness, at very cheap prices. I don't know of anyone who thinks that this system needs the government to take over and provide a parallel, free food delivery system.
Now who wants to stand up and suggest that the free market, all by itself, is capable of providing high quality health care, at good prices, for rich and poor alike? I'll give my vote and my campaign contributions to any party which has the guts to agree.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2005-05-23 11:26:50 AM
I can't believe how politically immature you people are: I am embarrassed. The CPC strategists are right. Any formal election style policy announcement will be co-opted, dressed up, and re-offered by the Liberals all juiced up with cash. Liberalism in Canada is all about getting elected, nothing else. This is a war and who in the hell goes out and devulges their war strategies prior to the battle. Only fools would give the Liberals a target to shoot at. The Liberals, as we have learned, will do anything to win, including breaking the law. And, when they do they have a largely supportive press on their side. As Anne Coulter says in Slander, the only Conservatives can win is by being nearly perfect; anything short of that gets them hung out to dry.
As far as general CPC policy. I can remember all of it from the last election and can find it on the net any time I want. So can the press and any genuine person. Furthermore, the press is by and large not CPC friendly, so giving them months to find ways of tripping up the CPC policy is foolhardy. This is a WAR. There will be minor battles, some lost like this weeks in the house, but the big D-day event will be the election. With the press looking for any reason to stab the CPC, the CPC must play it very very close to it's chest and play by its own rules. The lack of policy is an issue only because the press is baiting the CPC... and the amatures on this site are obviously too slow to pick up on that. A bunch of you have got BLOGS, so now you are pros... what a joke. Better let the big boys play at war. The press has already got some of you second guessing your party.
Posted by: DT | 2005-05-23 11:30:30 AM
These suggestions to improve the public value of a CPC lead Canada are an excerise in criticism. Nowhere has anyone suggested that this criticsm is an unfaitful act. The above links to Canoe show that any criticsm of Liberal thoughts and actions are unfaithful not only unfaithful to the Liberals but to being a decent Canadian. Only by continuing to berate the thevies and liars in the positions of power in our country while repeatly putting solid binding promises of alternatives out in the public eye can positive change be made.
Don't be so general on the condemnation of all those receiving welfare benefits. The diseased and injured on benefits must be looked after better. This is a very important issue. Please create room for these persons outside the generalization of "welfare is only for the lazy'.
Posted by: larry | 2005-05-23 11:56:17 AM
Not one commentary or response over the past few days on CPC next steps and policy has addressed a conservative or CPC position/option/idea/approach to Quebec. (Other than Jack who basically says, screw 'em) Go ahead and hate the fact that they control much of the national agenda, if you want, but it won't change a thing. Quebec does and, because they represent one quarter of the country's voters, should have a big say in government. Further, many Ontarians are swayed by a federal party's position on Quebec. Witness the backlash in Ontario against Jack Layton in last year's election for some of the stupid things he said about Quebec.
As these postings have shown, most here are pretty much in agreement on the bulk of core CPC policies they would like to see. But the CPC will never get elected to run a country that has a significant separatist threat without developing a cogent, coherent policy on Quebec. Period. And borrowing ideas from US conservative icons won't help here.
Posted by: TB | 2005-05-23 12:19:37 PM
DT: You are correct, this is a WAR and we, like you, know what CPC stands for but many Canadians do not because they listen to MSM instead of reading news on the net.
Most people under 30 cannot remember a time when they were not brainwashed with the mushy,mean,socialist dogral of the Lib/ND outfit from cradle to mid-life. We are not doing a "Belindadit-arounold" here, we are addressing a VERY REAl problem: getting our message to Canadians because the MSM will not convey anything positve about anyone but the left and far left. Why is that? I think it is because most MSM reporters really are not capable of critical thinking and would not have a job if they did not regurgitate what their Socialist masters feed them. They don't want to start working now, so we can't expect any help from them!
When I went to school we were taught how to to voice and write our own opinions and ,at the same time, to consider what could be someone else's opinion, on the same topic. The Liberals have killed this process - people do not know that there is an alternative to Lib/ND government. We must find a way to tell others about Conservative ideas without depending on MSM.
The Liberals would love to steal the wind from our sails but I don't think they will find any 'air time' here. The ideas we are disgussing are as old as the hills.
Posted by: Jema54 | 2005-05-23 12:59:08 PM
Too many wonks writing too many ten dollar words and doing it ass-backwards: Identify your six major voting blocks/regions. Establish one policy for each block. Then, establish a unifying theme that ties in the sub-policies. Smile and repeat often.
Posted by: MGK | 2005-05-23 1:18:32 PM
DT- it may be a war but if the nature of the war is via a ballot box, then, those who go to the ballot box must have some idea of the issues. At the moment, they hear only ONE voice; that of the Liberals - who inform them of both their own Liberal policies and also, the policies of the CPC. That's the problem. How would you deal with that?
TB- there have been a number of comments over the months about Quebec. The problem, as I see it, is bilingualism, which has set up a governmental structure which effectively imbalances fiscal and decision-making power in Canada in favour of Quebec. The reason? It is that about 75% of the anglophone population in Canada is barred from high-level decision-making in Canada. That's because, of the 80% anglophone population, only 10% are bilingual. After a generation..and that ratio is 'locked'. It isn't going to increase. However, of the 20% francophone population, about 45 to 50% are bilingual; and that ratio is increasing. That means that, in Canada, you have half the Quebec population able to move easily into high level governance positions and less than 10% of the rest of the population.
That's a serious democratic flaw in governance.
My answer is decentralization. More powers to the provinces or regions. Quebec is one of them, only one of them, and looks after itself, rather than being bonded to the federal governance and financial trough. End official bilingualism as you limit and decrease the federal central powers.
OK - that's in the future, and I hope, near future.
How to deal with it now? Acknowledge the Bloc. Acknowledge the reality that Quebec, like Alberta and the other provinces..wants a new federalist structure.
Note that the Liberals do not acknowledge the Bloc as having any electoral legitimacy. Comment on that in the House and the Press. Comment on the fact that the Liberals are rejecting alliances with, working with - any member of the Bloc. That is outrageous. It is effectively denying the FACT that these members were elected by the people of Quebec in a legitimate federal election. But the Liberals refuse the right of other elected members of the House..to work with them. Now - if that isn't a violation of Quebecer's democratic rights - what is?
So- accept the Bloc. Most Quebecers have no desire for a full separation. They couldn't financially handle it anyway. But they do want a different federal arrangement - and I think they are 100% accurate. Centralism is dead and the Liberal/NDP agenda of maintaining it is dangerous to our economy and social stability.
Decentralize. Set up a new federalism focused around Power of the Provinces/Regions..with most fiscal and social powers focused in the provinces. Get rid of centralist federalism. Quebec will be looking after itself..and will be a constructive collaborator in a new decentralized federation.
Posted by: ET | 2005-05-23 1:52:27 PM
TB: A short rebuttal regarding my view of Quebec. It is certainly not "screw 'em". Au contraire, it is give "them what they want."
Europe has worked out and is working out ways for various nations to collaborate together. Why not English and French Canada? It is mainly Ontario that gets uptight about this approach. Why? Because letting Quebec cut loose and self-govern makes "Central Canada" that much less imposing to the rest of the country. We in the West say "bring it on".
Posted by: jack | 2005-05-23 2:19:00 PM
Errh...how about the next step being the one where the CPC wins the byelection tomorrow?
Anyhow, I've written about it here at my new blog, in an article titled "If you can't fix it, feature it", or "If you're out of guns, today, you'd better be sellin' butter!":
Posted by: Dan Carroll | 2005-05-23 6:14:54 PM
ET: I'm afraid that the CPC will have to sing the same old refrain again and again in order for the MSM to print one ounce of it without the so called "balance" that they love to give it. Then, the CPC simply have to learn from Paul Martin. I'll give you an example: When asked a question, Martin always says this, "That's an interesting questions, but what I think the question should be, and what Canadians want to know is....blah blah blah." He does that every time and will not even discuss a valid question; Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.
Why bother answering every MSM question when all they look for is an opening to shoot you with... and the more you say, the more they have to shoot at. And, they'll manufacture issues if they can't find legit ones.
Any decent open-minded person can go onto the net and find CPC policy right now... so why rely on the press at all. The press are the enemy and must be treated as such. Every word going to them must be so concrete and simple that the average grade 8 can clearly understand it.
Remember last election: how much fuss was made over the CPC plan on healthcare, how there was no money, how it was too ambitious.... well, turns out that the CPC could have afforded what they promised and more. The point is, the MSM was more critical of the CPC health platform than the Liberals were. The MSM is and remain as much the enemy as the Liberals, so treat them with complete suspision at all time, although with a smile and a hard fast party line. Loose Lips... sink ships.
And for crying out loud... keep in mind that all the pontificating that we are doing here and elsewhere (bound by gravity), is not based on insider knowledge. We are yapping away with only a limited number of facts. It's like the support troops behind enemy lines always griping about what the front line troops are doing.
Imagine the asset we could be if when election time comes, the CPC ridings are over-run with volunteers... now that's putting money where our mouths are. I honestly have to laugh at myself sometimes, and others, on how complicated we can make simple things. Some of the greatest political successes of any age came about on the back of very simple ideas.
Posted by: DT | 2005-05-23 10:49:54 PM
We may not be insiders, but we're grassroots. I believe in Conservative ideals, as mentioned above. We want a real (capital "C") Conservative party. Not a Stronach-style liberal red-conservative party. Locally, many of us have the ear of our MP and local party insiders.
Posted by: jack | 2005-05-24 12:52:19 AM
I have spent the last week pondering what we should do with regards to federal politics in Canada? I am dissappointed that we are not in election mode but I am not a lemming and willing to leap as the result of a setback. Everyone has very good advice for Mr Harper and his party.It is as if not taking down the Lieberals in the confidence motion is percieved as the ultimate failure. Minority governments are exactly that. They live on the edge. The CPC did not loose an election. They where unsuccessful in mustering sufficient votes to force an election. They were also very successful in exposing the desparation of the Liberals. Much was learned about the Liberal tactics.The 22 day billion dollar a day shopping spree ( and no election )to me looks like great ammunition with which to hold the Liberal's feet to the fire.
What the CPC needs right now is the visible support of all Canadian's who feel that the time has come for change. Mr Harper will be a terrific leader. By giving air time to all of the various sub plots flying around all we are doing is taking our eye off the ball. We can cry and whine about the CBC , Sinclair Stevens , and even Belinda Stronich but all that does is paint a picture that gains the CPC nothing.
Our efforts should be focused on the support of a political party whose time is fast approaching. Communicate what the party stands for to all that will listen. Build momentum for serious democratic reform. These all need to be done so that our country can once again stand as truly a proud democracy not a political fifdom!
Posted by: EL | 2005-05-25 12:14:39 AM
>Our efforts should be focused on the support of a political party whose time is fast approaching. Communicate what the party stands for to all that will listen. Build momentum for serious democratic reform. These all need to be done so that our country can once again stand as truly a proud democracy not a political fifdom!
I think you are 100% correct. What are your specific ideas for "serious democratic reform" that could be packaged into a positive message?
I've been thinking that "Let's grow democracy" would be a great conservative theme -- as that seems to be what Canada needs most. Canadians need to wake up to how undemocratic their government really is.
Posted by: Snowy | 2005-05-25 6:08:34 AM
The current campaign for control of economic and political power in Canada is well underway. I'm maintaining that the PowerCorp/Desmarais group are heavily involved in the operation of this campaign.
1)Why would a group of high-power men, including Mulroney, Pere Sronach etc make a choice - to put someone as ignorant and uneducated as Belinda Stronach in power? This wasn't an act of her own; she has never, ever, achieved anything on her own. So- why, why?
The only answer has to be, since it isn't for what she, herself, has to offer, but for what she, herself can be made to so. She's a robot; she can be programmed. She'll flip to whatever program you, The Boss, want.
2) Because Canada is not a democracy. The electorate has lost control of the political system, which is now run by a non-elected oligarchy. This collapse of the democratic system developed over the last 40 years and has specifically emerged in the last 15 or so years.
There are several causes.
I'll maintain that bilingualism is one cause,a major cuase, because it inadvertently removed the majority of the population from direct control of the political system.
Another cause is equalization which disables 'growth' sections of the country, preventing them from using their own surplus and disables 'no-growth or steady-state' sections of the country, driving them into dependency rather than enabling them to maintain stability.
Another cause is centralization, which is linked to the first two, which further removes power from local control and puts it into the hands of an increasingly isolate and unaccountable and self-replicating bureaucracy.
3)Put these three together, and you have a structure that will, as the population grows, crack. Centralization can't function within a large population and one functioning within the geographic diversity of Canada. So- first, the political structure is dysfunctional as the population increases..and..a second thing happens. Corruption. Inadvertently, you've set up an infrastructure which can rapidly be taken over by a non-elected clique. And that is precisely what has happened. Two things are the problem. The central mode is wrong for population mass and spread;..and...corruption has set in.
It is vital for this non-elected oligarchy to retain control of the political system. The difficult thing with corruption, when it takes over, is that its actions are never 'up front'.
Chretien was/is part of this group. He lost power - but this was due not to Martin, who is also part of the Cabal but is a weak person, but more to the growing awareness of the faults of the economic and political system that has developed (centralization, equalization morbundity, loss of electorate power to govern).
That is - the Cabal began to lose power - because the electorate began to complain about this loss of power and the unfair system. The CPC has played THE major role in this growing public awareness. Plus, blogs, magazines (like the Western Standard). This is not an awareness of the Cabal and corruption but an increasing awareness of the faults of the system that 'fronts' for the Cabal. The faults of centralization, equalization moribundity, loss of electoral power.
Then- came Sheila Fraser and her accountability. That's been the smouldering fire that has started the flames. The political system has been shown to be not only flawed but corrupt.
Who are the Bad Guys? The Liberals have worked very hard to first - prevent Fraser's activities, to prevent the public revelation of these situations.
Chretien left, to let Martin take the heat. And, hoped he would lose the election. At the same time, the Cabal moved Stronach in, to be the leader of the CPC, in case Martin lost..and the CPC won. She didn't get the leadership of the CPC, despite all the Cabal's money.. And, Harper is not corruptible.
So- the Cabal has had to continue to prop up Martin. This was a worry because the Liberals were reduced to a minority - even before the Gomery revelations.
They've denigrated Fraser, and denigrated the Gomery Inquiry. And, made several attempts to sideline the Gomery..and will continue to do this. The Liberals have attempted to explain the activities as done by a few 'rogue elements'. They now have their 'slush fund' to repay 750,000. Hmm. It's millions, not thousands. So-the corruption has to be sidelined and dismissed.
Then, the control of the political system has to be maintained. (There's NO agenda to reform the system for decentralization and having the electorate regain power would end the control of the Cabal).
So - the Cabal has to continue to control the next election.
4)Why did they move Stronach to the Liberals? To take over from Martin.
They must work on several agendas. They must destroy the CPC and Harper. You've seen how the MSM are busy chattering about how Harper must go, how the CPC is divided about Harper, etc, etc. This tactic of denigrating the leader of the CPC is important.
Then, the must set up the CPC as 'evil'. They do this by defining the 'separatistes' as akin to terrorists - with evil agendas of breaking up/destroying the country. And, the CPC is 'aligned' with the Bloc. The fact that it was only for this one vote? And, remember, the Bloc are duly elected by Canadians. It's the Liberals who are heretical in rejecting collaboration with them.
This denigration of Harper and the CPC will continue and escalate. They control the MSM.
Then - there's Stronach. They'll move her more and more into the front of publicity. Martin will be moved into the backrooms and Belinda into the front. Why? She's an attractive woman, she has money, she's our very own 'American Idol'. The fact that she hasn't a brain in her head is quite irrelevant. She's the poster girl for the Liberal Party...and her agenda is to ensure that the Liberals are returned to power.
And so, the Cabal lives.
Once, Canada was a democracy....
Posted by: ET | 2005-05-25 7:11:28 AM
>Once, Canada was a democracy....
Good start for an ad (or series of ads):
Once upon a time ... Canada was a democracy...
....over XXXX years of history, the non-confidence vote has been part of Parliamentary procedure; [explain why and what it's about.]
[Then the SHOCKER]... May 19 2005 was a dark day in Canadian history. On that day, Prime Minister Paul Martin defied XXXX years of Parliamentary tradition by not calling a vote for nine days, while he bargained.... etc.
People of Canada, don't let your freedom be subverted by people who place personal ambition above the traditions of your government.
Stirring chords of O Canada! We stand on GUARD for thee!!
Appeal to people's EMOTION, sense of justice, get them riled up at the REAL threat Canada faces.
Posted by: Snowy | 2005-05-25 9:28:42 AM
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