Meet the New Boss
In addition to his Vancouver speech, Mr. Ignatieff this week will go campaigning in the riding of New Westminster-Coquitlam, where there will be a by-election on Nov. 9, before heading off to Regina to meet high-school students and then to Thunder Bay.
"They're all essential things that an opposition leader must do, but they are not sufficient," said Mr. Donolo of the Strategic Counsel.
In addition to putting the government on the hot seat in Parliament, Mr. Donolo said, the Liberals need to create a buzz around their policy positions, in particular in Mr. Ignatieff's speeches.
"He needs to find issues that have sharp edges to them and that serve as really sharp wedges between him and the government. And he needs riskier events to do that."
Sounds good to me.
On the whole, I like this move. I can't say I know enough about Peter Donolo to know how effective a chief of staff he'll be, but what I do know is:
1. He saw the Chretien PMO in action, so he knows how a well run office operates.
2. He was also in Chretien's office during the opposition days, when things were not all peachy in Liberal land. Given that, I tend to think he won't be overwhelmed by the current situation, and might have a few ideas on how to turn things around.
3. While working at Strategic Counsel and acting as a pundit in the media, Donolo has been able to look at politics from a distance. I think it will do a lot of good to get someone in charge who has some objectivity towards Ignatieff, and can disect his strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest problems you often see in leaders offices is an inability to see fault in the person they're serving - I don't see Donolo having that problem.
4. Donolo's background is in communications, an area of obvious weakness for the LPC in recent years.
If nothing else, this gives Ignatieff a "reset", which is what's desperately needed. It also should temporarily silence some of the criticism about Ignatieff's office, and gives him the opportunity to begin turning the narrative around.
I don't expect Peter Donolo to work miracles, and it's foolish to think the problems facing the LPC right now are all the making of Ian Davey. But Donolo strikes me as the right kind of person to have running the show at this time.
Labels: Peter Donolo