Monday, May 17, 2004

Advice for Stephen Harper

Here's an article I wrote for freethought a few weeks back.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper? A year ago, I figured I’d be saying President Kucinich, Stanley Cup Champion Blue Jackets or Pope Spears before I uttered those four words. Stephen Harper may be the most boring person ever to, well, exist, but the guy is poised for greatness. Hell, I don’t even like him and I’ll concede there’s a good chance he’ll be Prime Minister within five years. He can get that job a lot sooner if he follows these five simple pieces of advice.

1. What good is family if not for cheap photo-ops?

Stephen Harper has a six year old son, a four year old daughter and a fairly good looking wife. Then why, oh why, isn’t he doing what any sane man would do and shamelessly use them to further his political career? This guy can engineer the take-over of Canada’s oldest party but he can’t understand that TV cameras like fathers holding their cute, four year old daughters. Stevie – The Liberals are going to try and paint you as “Stockwell Day: The Sequel”, a cruel inhuman monster with no feelings. Playing soccer in the park with your kids (after someone anonymously tips off the media to this) would do wonders to fighting this. Go to a Flames game with your son – show you’re a normal guy. I picture Paul Martin as more of a “hey, let’s read some Tolstoy!” than a “Go Flames Go!” type of guy – use it to your advantage.

2. Vive le Canada!

Paul Martin’s new Quebec Lieutenant co-founded the Bloc Québécois. Now, in Jean Lappierre’s defense, he can’t remember how he voted in the referendum (Good GOD! Does anyone in Ottawa remember ANYTHING?!?!), but there are federalists from coast to coast who might not like it that Paul’s in bed with the separatists. So Stevie – stand up in the House of Commons and ask Paul if he still supports the Clarity Bill. You won’t win any seats in Quebec no matter what you do but you might skim a few federalist votes off of the Liberal total and cost them a seat or two. Best of all, people outside Quebec will be relieved to know that at least one party still believes in a strong, united Canada.

3. 30 seconds to glory

If the cheesy Jamaican accent commercials aren’t your thing, then here’s all you need to do:

Contracts to Earnscliffe…60 million dollars
HRDC boondoggle…1 billion dollars
Gun Registry…2 million dollars…err…1 billion dollars
CSL government grants…130,000$...err…161 million dollars
Adscam Contracts…100 million dollars
Kicking the Liberals out of Ottawa…priceless!
There are some things money can buy. Unfortunately for Paul Martin, your vote is not one of them.

You deserve better – Canada deserves better. Vote Conservative.

There you go. Forget erasing the Canada/US border, this will go down as the greatest ad in Canadian political history. And even if you don’t like this add, the point is: hammer these guys on government spending and corruption at every opportunity.

4. Screw David Orchard

Make Peter MacKay your running mate. I know, I know – you’re dead set against two men being referred to as “mates” but it worked for the Chrétien/Martin ticket all those years and MacKay can keep your Maritime seats blue. Whatever you do, do not let Mike Harris campaign for you (although his people are welcome to). And do not get Ralph Klein’s endorsement! I can’t stress this enough. Tell him you’ll go public that he’s still off the wagon if he even thinks of endorsing you. This guy is like the Canadian Al Gore when it comes to endorsements.

5. “A campaign is no place for ideas”

Kim Campbell was crucified when she said it but take her advice Steve (she is after all one of the 50 greatest leaders in word history according to the National Geographic Society). Don’t discuss any ideas – especially when those ideas are things like private health care, abortion, the death penalty, referenda, recall, gutting of social programs, family “values”, or anything else from the Canadian Alliance playbook. Keep shouting out “Sponsorship Scandal”, “Earnscliffe”, “CSL”, and anything else that makes the Liberals appear corrupt. No one likes you Stephen – but they just might vote for you if you make the Liberals look bad enough. Hey, there’s another great commercial he could do: “I don’t like Canada much and Canada doesn’t like me…but at least I’m not Paul Martin!”.

There you go Steve – sound advice which even Conservatives can’t mess up. And make sure you know which way the Niagara River flows – you never know when that one could sink you


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