Friday, December 02, 2005

Framing The Debate

After the first two days when Harper told the world he hates Canada and reminded Ontario voters of why the feeling is mutual, he has really managed to take control of this campaign. For good or bad, the entire campaign has been all about Harper. It's obvious that his GST pledge will become the talked about issue over Christmas turkey. We didn't really see a big "it" promise in 2004 and I'm really glad to see a bit of a debate on the issues, with respect to the GST.

Today, Harper has again gained control of the media cycle by going on the attack. Now...I'll admit I don't really understand how per sey Harper plans to cut wait times without injecting any money into health care or by dramatically changing the system. I'm hoping it doesn't involved faith healing because that would really hurt him in Ontario.

But, really, what's Martin going to say? "Stephen Harper is making vague promises about health care!" Honestly, I really, really, really hope Paul says something like that, because that will be so easy to make fun of. In fact, I might even pre-write the post, just so I beat Paul Wells to the punch at posting the old PMPM quotes about fixing health care for a generation and all that.

Instead of letting himself get demonized on health care, Harper is following Layton's lead in assuming that the best defense is a good offense. By attacking Martin on health care, it makes it a lot harder for Martin to go after Harper. I've always thought the opposition parties making health care an issue was risky since the Liberals are seen as the best to handle health care but, like SSM, this was always going to become an issue - at least now Harper has laid his cards on the table.

And that's really the best play for Harper. By getting all his policy out there early, he'll end the talk of a "hidden agenda". What could also be extremely problematic for the Liberals is if they don't have any policy to announce. Let's face it, a lot of Liberal policy got buried in the Roman orgy of spending and if there's nothing left to lure voters to the Liberal fold, Martin could be in deep trouble.

19 Comments:

  • The Kiss of Death;

    Gift from Canada?

    "A Harper victory may prove to be the exception to the international rule -- a rare foreign event that manages to put a smile on President George W. Bush's face."

    By Blogger steve, at 1:19 PM  

  • Yeah, if I were Harper I would definitely not make that known.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:34 PM  

  • Curiously, Harper could cost himself votes as he's beginning to look like another Liberal on health care. I wonder what he will say about Mr. Klien's "third (private insurance) way"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:52 PM  

  • How do you do it? Just take a book out of the Kirby report.

    The feds establish the wait times. If a province can't meet the times, an agency (National Wait time registry?) just books the procedure in another jurisdiction. I for one have no problem with driving to Montreal or Halifax for surgery (I would still drive to the States for an MRI).

    After that you just submit your receipts, Dingwall style, to the wait time agency (as does the other province). Next month the whole amount is deducted from the health transfers to your province. Simple and very business like. And it provides tremendous incentives to shorten wait times, lest Fredericton have to pick up my hotel bill.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 2:54 PM  

  • Meanwhile Buzz is hard at work.

    Yesterday on CAW support for the NDP: "There's a new generation of workers that aren't so open to having the union decide it's going to support a given political party."

    Today on CAW support for the Liberals: Union chief Buzz Hargrove says the record of the minority Liberal government in just 17 months shows they should be returned to Ottawa with even more seats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:04 PM  

  • quite the election. harper harvests independant public prosecuter from old law reform commission papers. and maybe health care policy from kirby. the scary thing about wonks is that they remember where the good stuff got buried.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:44 PM  

  • Have we -- and I'm writing as a CPC member who didn't intend on renewing his membership -- underestimated Harper?

    Well, it's a long campaign. Plenty of time for my guy to mess up and let the Martinites stay in power.

    By Blogger The Tiger, at 4:16 PM  

  • Agreed. The scary thing about the media is that instead of saying "Law Reform Commission!" they said "Ken Starr!".

    By Blogger matt, at 4:16 PM  

  • Paul Martin loves Canada SSSSOOO MUCH...that...
    he changed the tax laws to benefit his steamship line ...and changed his flags...and fired his Canadian crew..

    MARTIN IS SUCH A GREAT UNION GUY..

    Martin loves Canada SSSOOO MUCH!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 PM  

  • I never underestimated the guy.

    I also ignored the media.

    - QuebecHarpermaniac.

    ps. anyone notice that Harper's approval ratings in Quebec are higher than Martin's? hmmm.... and it will be a long campaign.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 4:19 PM  

  • Monday, November 28, 2005
    Martin's Hidden Agenda
    "Unlike the last election, when fears of a hidden agenda were said to have turned voters sour on the prospect of a Conservative Government, one-in-three of those polled now believe the Liberals are harbouring secrets.
    Only one-in-four now sees the Conservatives that way."

    Hmm. I wonder why that is?

    Maybe it's because Paul Martin was in favour of ballistic missile defence, before he was against it.

    Maybe it's because he was for the Iraq War, before he was against it.

    Maybe it's because he was against same-sex marriage, before he was for it.

    Maybe it's because he was against the Clarity Act, before he was for it.

    Maybe it's because he was against free trade, before he was for it.

    Maybe it's because he was against deficit reduction, before he was for it.

    Maybe it's because he was against the GST, and then kept it in place.

    Maybe it's because he rails against co-operation with the Bloc, when his Quebec lieutenant (yes, his top man in Quebec) is a frickin' co-founder of the Bloc himself.

    Maybe it's because he demonized Tory tax cuts, before unveiling even bigger tax cuts himself.

    Maybe it's because he presents himself as the saviour of public health care, when he gut it by the billions as Finance Minister.

    Maybe it's because Sheila Copps said he wanted to scrap the Canada Health Act.

    Maybe its because Sheila Copps said he wanted to scrap Old Age Pensions.

    Maybe it's because he turns a blind eye to health care privatization in Quebec. Because he attends a private clinic himself.

    Maybe it's because he declares an end to cronyism and patronage in Ottawa, and then appoints a disgraced guy like Art Eggleton to the Senate.

    Maybe it's because he says he was "Mad as Hell" about Adscam, while he hands out no-bid contracts to buddies like David Herle and the Earnscliffe Strategy Group.

    Maybe it's because he's presented three radically different budgets in the space of one year.

    Maybe it's because he condemns terrorism with his lips, and then knowingly attends fundraisers for Tamil terrorists.

    Maybe its because he deceived the Canadian public about the amount of federal money granted to his own company, Canada Steamship Lines, when he was Finance Minister. Only about $150 million by the way.

    Maybe its because he talks about slaying the democratic deficit when he goes on appointing unelected Senators. Because he stops at nothing to shield his star candidates, and then leaves Chretienite nomination candidates like Sheila Copps to the wolves. Because he dictatorially rescheduled opposition days, filibustered his own budget and ignored more than one vote of confidence this spring. Because he sent his chief of staff to buy the floor crossing of the Grewals. Because he did buy the floor crossing of Belinda Stronach. Because he scheduled a confidence vote around the surgery of a Tory MP fighting cancer. Because, in the words of the Globe & Mail, he's had the gall to "spit in the face of the Commons and call it respect.”

    Maybe it's because he's mused about using the notwithstanding clause on same-sex marriage, and then falsely accused the Conservatives of planning to do the very same.

    Maybe it's because he's opposed minimum sentences for criminials since day one, and all of a sudden has proposed minimum sentences for gun crime, just weeks before an election.

    Maybe it's because he paints himself as a patriotic Canadian, and yet has refused to fly our flag on his ships. All so he could violate Canadian labour law and pay third world wages of course.

    Maybe it's because he attacks the Tories on the environment, when his ships dump dangerous waste into the Great Lakes.

    Maybe it's because of these infamous words, that go to the to the heart of the trustworthyness of Paul Edgar Philippe Martin: "Screw the Red Book... Don't tell me what's in the Red Book. I wrote the goddamned thing. And I know that it's a lot of crap."

    I could go on, but alas, I don't have all year. Suffice it to say that Martin's core beliefs, his principles, his priorities, his agenda, has been as consistent as the solid state of an ice cube in a scorching desert, and about as clear as mud.

    In fact, he really has no core beliefs, no priorities. His is a government of endless improvisation, of expedience, of an endless obsession to stay in power.

    His agenda is so hidden even he doesn't know what it is. He has to keep looking to the prevailing political winds to find out.

    And thankfully, the Canadian people are coming to realize that. At precisely the right time.
    posted by BLL at 8:23 PM

    a la derecha


    HMMMMMM make me wonder who I really will vote for

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:30 PM  

  • That link posted at the top of the page is the sort of thing Harper must avoid at all costs. If the Liberals are able to draw a line between "Conservative" and "Republican" it's game over no matter how much 'smart' policy Harper slaps on the table.

    "Stephen Harper, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, is pro-free trade, pro-Iraq war, anti-Kyoto, and socially conservative" -bingo

    By Anonymous Bgwest, at 4:32 PM  

  • Kirby trumps Romanow every time. The electorate has caught up with Kirby.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:33 PM  

  • "Guaranteed waiting times were also recommended by a Senate committee co-chaired by Michael Kirby.

    "A royal commission headed by former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow nixed the idea of guaranteed wait times, saying it's too difficult to set terms and control costs."

    (canoe)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:48 PM  

  • I think Bush enjoys Martin more than a strong Harper... lame duck PM, all talk and no action.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:34 PM  

  • And by the way, no one reads the Washington Times... except for Rush Limbaugh and Drudge.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:35 PM  

  • Well, if the Liberals want to start trumpeting that Stephen Harper is George Bush, it may not have been wise for them to bring in Paratrooper Ignatieff. After all while Harper may be pro-war, he hasn't written books about it or paens to torture. To a certain extent that can be played down as "Ignatieff is just an individual candidate when he's entitled to his personal opinions". (Which apparantly Randy White is not) However, that's a bit of a difficult sell when the Liberal Party and its media mouthpieces has been trumpeting Ignatieff as the new "leader in waiting". Not to mention Paul Martin before he was elected was issuing warm fuzzy statements about the US and the war in Iraq.

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