Warning Shot- the Right will go after the NDP for the Sherbrooke Declaration

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KenS
Warning Shot- the Right will go after the NDP for the Sherbrooke Declaration

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KenS

On a key issue of national unity, folly from the NDP

 

No campaign yet. "Just" noting that people are watching.

This is another front around which we are going to miss Jack. And I'm not primarily meaning his capabilities of deaing with questions like this in the media. Just the fact that he would be harder to make this stuff stick on than will be a new Leader.

 

An interesting but not intentional bookend to that piece, if you had any doubts that Harper would torch even further their prospects in Quebec for a substantial gain that would at the same time alienate Quebecois:

Harper's French disconnection
High-profile Quebec Tories blast the PM for ignoring the province

KenS

When the attack ads come they wont use the words 'Sherbrooke Declaration'. They probably wont even use the words 'Clarity Act'. But those will be in the softening up narrative.

Unionist

I predict a further series of attack ads blasting the NDP for supporting unions, big government, gun control, the Taliban, big greedy grasping government, nationalization of everything, stealing Alberta's God-given energy resources or destroying them, bigger government, abortions for everyone, atheism, socialism, mega government, and uncontrolled wasteful spending.

Should we combine those "they're going to attack us" threads with this one, or have separate threads for each?

 

KenS

I'm not interested in the fact of attacks, or speculations which there will be.

I'm interested in learning from them.Which starts with learning about them.

Caissa

I say bring it on, Harper. At least one of the current NDP leadership candidates is pugilistic enough to TKO him.

KenS

Pugilism satisfies us.

Does it work?

Stockholm

There are two people running for leader who I have absolute and total confidence in when it comes to knowing the national unity file and the Sherbrooke Declaration chapter and verse and who i know can hit the ball out of the park when questions are raised on these issues - Topp and Mulcair. I honestly don't know if the others would be able to defend on these issues and actually know their stuff on them.

Caissa

I think the Right has proven the efficacy of pugilism. I'm not sure I like it, but it appears to win elections. I want to see an NDP government in 2015 not another Tory one.

KenS

Contnuing on the question of offense, Its also instructive to look at how the right is succesful. Perhaps the most spectacular success has been making tax cut in itself a good thing, and tax increases and government spending the opposite. That was not accomplished primarily with things that had a pugilstic manner. In fact, the pugilistic attack ads were only succesful after a through process of sofetning up with reasoned and civil argument.

Anyway, we were talking about defense here. Does pugilism as a defense work ?

KenS

Pugilism as an attack can work very well. The Right is proof of that. Though it does have to be pointed out that people on the left think its just a blanket thing, but the success comes with being selective, aiming, and lots of preparation.

 

JKR

Caissa wrote:

I say bring it on, Harper. At least one of the current NDP leadership candidates is pugilistic enough to TKO him.

Does the NDP have the financial resources to run a prime-time tv advertising campaign to counter the prime-time advertising campaign the Conservatives have the resources to run and have run effectively numerous times during the last 4 years between elections?

It's hard to TKO harper when the Conservatives are the only party that has the resources to run prime time negative attack ads on tv unopposed between elections. During the last 4 years the Conservatives have shown that the public is much more influenced by commercials during prime-time tv programs such the Superbowl, Stanley Cup Playoffs, CSI, the Academy Awards, etc... then they are from Question Period, CPAC, and the news media.

JKR

KenS wrote:
In fact, the pugilistic attack ads were only succesful after a through process of sofetning up with reasoned and civil argument.

 

 How are "a political coup by separatists and socialists", "just visiting", etc... connected with reasoned and civil argument?

doofy

I know Peggy Nash sure wouldn't be able to defend the Sherbrooke declaration:

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/Power_&_Politics_with_Evan_Solom...

If you allow yourself to be beat up by a moron like Solomon, proves you can't stand up to Harper.

 

KenS

 

KenS wrote:
In fact, the pugilistic attack ads were only succesful after a through process of sofetning up with reasoned and civil argument.

JKR wrote:
 How are "a political coup by separatists and socialists", "just visiting", etc... connected with reasoned and civil argument?

I was talking about the particular big picture dynamic of the Right's smashing success on turning tax cut into a halo term in its own right. But there is the general point about going on the offense with negative- and you are correct that doesnt need to have any prior reasoned and civil softening up. The common thread being that there has to be something already existing for the negative ad to play into. In the case of 'just visiting' on Iggy, that is easy free floating stuff. In the case of turning tax increase and government spending being bad things, before there could be negative ads, there had to be a systematic effort [many seperate but related ones really] to first re-cast public thinking.

That sort of long term development stuff is of course a bigger issue, but its not like the NDP lacks for easy pickup opportunities like 'just visiting'.

Making use of those opportunities dont necessarily require big budget ad campaigns [for one thing, little budget ads turned loose in social media]. And besides, you start with starting. If you only have half a million to spend on between election ads, it doesnt natter that the Cons have 8 times as much, you figure out how to best use your half million.

KenS

But still, attack and defense against attack are two different things. Does pugilism as a defense work?

Or to make it concrete- what are examples of it working, where the attack is effectively neutralized?

JKR

An article in today's Globe & Mail just happens to delve into the Conservatives very effective communication strategy:

How Harper seized control of pipeline and health-care debates

Quote:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's team has attempted to leap out in front of its opponents and shape the narrative on the hot-button issues of health-care funding and oil pipeline construction.

...

 The communications strategy bears some similarity to how the Conservatives handled the more strictly political issue of how to critically maim their opposition opponents. Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was hobbled by the “Not a Leader” ad campaign, and his successor Michael Ignatieff was never able to recover from the “Just Visiting” motto that labelled him an arrogant dilettante. Those portraits were painted by an ad campaign funded by the formidable Conservative Party war chest before Mr. Dion or Mr. Ignatieff ever had a chance to make their own first impressions on voters.

Mr. Armour says the Conservatives have put three main principles at the centre of their communications strategy: message discipline, acting on insight and opportunity.

 ...

Human-rights lawyer Paul Champ, who represents some first-nations communities, said that despite some key underlying facts about Attawapiskat, the Tories managed to shape the story about the situation.  “Even those Canadians who don't see themselves as being racist or having racist stereotypes, I think the are definitely susceptible to that frame that first nations mismanage money, or that first-nations bands are irresponsible or are wasting money,” Mr. Champ said. “I think those are regrettably very deeply rooted stereotypes in Canada. This government played on that.”

Caissa

KenS, I don't think you defend pugilistically but rather you counter-attack. An example would be Mulcair's resonse re. dual citizenship.

KenS

That is a response, but not a counter-attack.

I said it was a good response when it came up. And at least it doesnt help keep the attack moving, like most responses [and especailly the pugilistic ones].

But it was not adequate. It only ended there because the Cons are saving this for later. Earlier:

Lou Arab wrote:

Attacking Mulcair over dual citizenship plays well to the Conservative base, but it likely doesn't play well with an important group of swing voters - the so-called ethnic communities of Canada.

Someone earlier called Mulcair's response 'ju-jitsu.' That's a good analogy. This might just be a small shot taken during a leadership race. But if Mulcair wins and this attack continues, he would be well advised to push back - hard - in communities of new Canadians.

If Mulcair does that, I think the Tories will limit this line of attack to fundraising letters, and it won't be seen on too many more newscasts.

KenS wrote:

I think that is likely to be true.

And to continue the analogy- the ju-jitsu that would work best in those communities would be nothing like Mulcair's reasoned and reasonable response yesterday.

Graphic images and reminders of things many Canadians run into when travelling to the nations of their roots, overlain with comments from Harper and/or the Conservative party.

Worth noting: there is nothing in there which is going to work about Mulcair being pugilistic. And what will work in terms of carrying the attck back to the Conservatives where it hurts, could not be delivered by Mulcair himself, pugilistically or otherwise.

 

 

KenS

Counter-attacking on the subject of this thread will be a more challenging than that one.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Stockholm wrote:

There are two people running for leader who I have absolute and total confidence in when it comes to knowing the national unity file and the Sherbrooke Declaration chapter and verse and who i know can hit the ball out of the park when questions are raised on these issues - Topp and Mulcair. I honestly don't know if the others would be able to defend on these issues and actually know their stuff on them.

One can only shudder, then, to think how little the average NDP voter knows about the Sherbrooke Declaration, or how little ability they have to defend it against right-wing attacks. This makes them all the more vulnerable to the Harperite wedge strategy.

Unfortunately the party has so far failed to carry out mass education and discussion even among its own membership on the importance of the Quebec national question. The result, as I have often said, will be that the party will be torn apart by the issue.

Stephen Harper has figured that out. When will the NDP brainstrust do the same?

Unionist

Thanks for zeroing in on the problem, Spector. That lack of education (among other things) is what rendered the candidates silent last Sunday in response to Mulcair's challenge. Not that I'm sure Mulcair understands it entirely, or supports it.

 

Fidel

Counterpunchers can certainly exploit any mistakes made by an aggressive slugger. I think Harper will try to be a slugger against the NDP. Mulcair, Topp, Nash etc will make him pay for any wild haymakers. And I think Canadians are fed up with poorly telegraphed attempts to land the big one on unity issues with constitutional wrangling.

KenS

M. Spector wrote:

Unfortunately the party has so far failed to carry out mass education and discussion even among its own membership on the importance of the Quebec national question. The result, as I have often said, will be that the party will be torn apart by the issue.

Stephen Harper has figured that out. When will the NDP brainstrust do the same?

When did the Conservative Party start doing the mass education and foment of discussion among its members and supporters?

Uncle John

It's just whack-a-mole for Harper. Bash the Liberal mole down, the NDP one comes up. Bash the NDP one down, the Liberal one goes up. Harper is going to lose one voter at a time, as individual members of his constituency start to feel the effects of his policies. Kind  of how Ontario PC lost in the end.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

KenS wrote:

When did the Conservative Party start doing the mass education and foment of discussion among its members and supporters?

On Quebec they don't need to. The MSM has been infecting English Canada with anti-Quebec-nationalism propaganda for decades. NDP supporters are as vulnerable to that propaganda as anyone else.

It will not be too hard for the neo-con scaremongers to tap into that deeply-ingrained prejudice against "separatists" who want to "destroy Canada".

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I get the distinct impression Harper doesn't care whether Quebec separates or not - all he seems to be concerned about is the well-being of Alberta.

Sven Sven's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

I get the distinct impression Harper doesn't care whether Quebec separates or not...

What would happen if Quebec left Canada?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

I get the distinct impression Harper doesn't care whether Quebec separates or not - all he seems to be concerned about is the well-being of Alberta.

More like the shareholders invested in resource extraction in Alberta. Even former Premier Peter Laugheed recognizes how short term Harper's plans are.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sven wrote:

What would happen if Quebec left Canada?

Under Harper, it's more like Canada leaving Quebec.

Aristotleded24

laine lowe wrote:
Boom Boom wrote:

I get the distinct impression Harper doesn't care whether Quebec separates or not - all he seems to be concerned about is the well-being of Alberta.

More like the shareholders invested in resource extraction in Alberta. Even former Premier Peter Laugheed recognizes how short term Harper's plans are.

To say nothing of telling the City of Edmonton to drop dead over its bid for Expo 2017.

Fidel

I think Harper is pinning his government's electoral hopes on the U.S. economy to save him by 2015. If so, he's already lost. Picking fights with the NDP and Quebec won't score him many points with the rest of Canada, either. I think Canadians will grow tired of the Harper Government of Canada and their shenanigans. The shine is off for them in 2015.

Debater

If the NDP is going to present itself as BQ-lite, you can't be surprised if people go after it on those grounds.  

The NDP needs to come out in support of the Clarity Act, and a strong, unified Canada, or it risks losing its spot as Official Opposition as early as the next election.

KenS

Thanks for the advice Debater.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Sven wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

I get the distinct impression Harper doesn't care whether Quebec separates or not...

What would happen if Quebec left Canada?

Quebec would be tethered to it's sovereign debt, without the benefit of health and equaization transfers paid with dirty oil dollars.

knownothing knownothing's picture

The Clarity Act is not about national unity. It doesn't even put a number on how many people would have to vote for them to leave.

Red Tory Tea Girl

Unionist, in another thread on Sherbrooke, wrote that Quebec is a nation, free to make her own decisions, run her own affairs.

Fine. If Quebec is a nation with its own values, I can respect that. If Quebec wishes to exercise its soverignty, I can and do support that. What I can't support is the continued repression of linguistic miniorities within the nation of which I am a citizen. Let Quebec truly determine its own destiny and, if I'm Prime Minister one day, I'll go to New York to condemn Quebec's treatment of its linguistic miniorities. Reed Scowen, who did everything he could to work for the Parti Quebecois, is right, it is time to get off the pot or to do the other thing... (waxing Kennedyesque for a second, sorry)

I truly support Quebec's right to self-determination. I don't support its right to strangle all but pur laine anglos out of the right to a bilingual education, or to strangle one of the two languages of government, out of existence, while remaining in a country that, de jure, abhors such actions. And that goes for Anglophone provinces which aren't doing nearly enough, not nearly enough, to ensure that Quebecois (not Parisian French) is a political and economic language within the whole of Canada, just as Canadian English is. Either we should, as Trudeau said, spend one-quarter of the energy we currently spend on rationalizing reasons that we cannot make the country truly bilingual on making the country truly bilingual, or we should just call a fraud of a marriage what it is.

Don't think I won't fight for the country to remain officially bilingual after Quebec's secession either. There are Francophone minorities across the country that need protection that the self-appointed defenders of the language were never willing to offer... but still, there's a degree to which pluralism should not just be tolerated but celebrated and encouraged... and then there's the farce of a Free and Independent Quebec within a Strong and United Canada while one violates the bedrock principles of the other. It is, at last, a bridge too far, to deal with a nation that sneers at aboriginal rights, that is painfully cissexist, that is uninterested in the Canadian conversation.

I want Quebec to be a part of Canada. It would tear our heart out were they to leave. It would be like London separating from Britain, tearing the cultural heart out of the nation... but what divides us, seems to be no longer the majority language or a disagreement on marginal tax rates... what divides us now is greater than what divided us then, and at long last, we seem no longer to have any party interested in bridging that divide. We have nobody interested in La Beau Risque anymore of any consequence. And if we're going to sleep in separate beds, perhaps we ought to just move out.

 

torontoprofessor

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
And that goes for Anglophone provinces which aren't doing nearly enough, not nearly enough, to ensure that Quebecois (not Parisian French) is a political and economic language within the whole of Canada, just as Canadian English is.

I agree with the sentiment. But I would rather encourage awareness of all the varieties of Canadian French -- not only Québecois, but also Acadien and Métis (and maybe others I am not aware of). I don't think that there's a single variety of French that is "Canadian" (nor a single variety of English -- though I'm told that Canadian English is remarkably homogenous west of Quebec).

Bärlüer

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:

Fine. If Quebec is a nation with its own values, I can respect that. If Quebec wishes to exercise its soverignty, I can and do support that.

"... but..."

If designation of French as the official language of Quebec (and thus of instruction) amounts in your view to "repression" and "strangling" of the anglophone minority, I humbly suggest that your recognition that Quebec is a nation and is entitled to exercise its sovereignty perhaps needs to be revisited.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

KenS wrote:

When the attack ads come they wont use the words 'Sherbrooke Declaration'. They probably wont even use the words 'Clarity Act'. But those will be in the softening up narrative.

Well, what should the NDP do?  If they go back to backing the Clarity Act,  that means they'd never be popular in Quebec again, and it means the Bloc would go back to winning 40 seats there every election for the rest of eternity.  And it goes without saying that the NDP will never be rewarded anywhere in the ROC for telling Quebec to fuck off.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Debater wrote:

If the NDP is going to present itself as BQ-lite, you can't be surprised if people go after it on those grounds.  

The NDP needs to come out in support of the Clarity Act, and a strong, unified Canada, or it risks losing its spot as Official Opposition as early as the next election.

It's irresponsible to demand that anyone back the Clarity Act, since Quebec will always refuse to accept it, and with good reason.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

And the NDP has never presented itself as "BQ lite".  All the NDP is guilty of is taking the ONLY position that ever could have defeated the BQ.  Would you rather they'd backed the Clarity Act, and thus guarnteed that the Bloc would carry Quebec forever?  It goes without saying that your kind of federalism can never be popular in Quebec again, since that kind of federalism is only backed by CEO "free market" types who are antiworker and antipoor.

Red Tory Tea Girl

Bärlüer,

 

Allophones, let's not forget them. And yes, maintaining that any province that doesn't recognize that it has both a Canadian English-speaking and Quebecois-speaking population and that they are entitled to equal treatment by their governments, including provinces such as Alberta in that tally, are violating a fundamental principle of confederation is not at odds with recognizing a peoples' right to assert nationhood...

They can assert that nationhood within their own independent nation-state... I think perhaps you don't understand what a polity and a constitution are, while you are focused on defining 'nation.'

Quebec, or a similarly constituted Alberta for that matter, is free to assert that there is only one language of business and government as a free and independent nation. Quebec, or a similarly constituted Alberta for that matter, is free to be a member of confederation. To do both at the same time however, is so utterly contradictory that, for the sake of confederation, I would rather a divorce than a sham marriage. Canada is a bilingual nation and it is in no way imperialist to ask its constituent peoples to decicde to abide by that Bilingual Fact or to leave.

Red Tory Tea Girl

torontoprofessor wrote:

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
And that goes for Anglophone provinces which aren't doing nearly enough, not nearly enough, to ensure that Quebecois (not Parisian French) is a political and economic language within the whole of Canada, just as Canadian English is.

I agree with the sentiment. But I would rather encourage awareness of all the varieties of Canadian French -- not only Québecois, but also Acadien and Métis (and maybe others I am not aware of). I don't think that there's a single variety of French that is "Canadian" (nor a single variety of English -- though I'm told that Canadian English is remarkably homogenous west of Quebec).

Fair enough, perhaps simply, Francais Canadien, et Anglais Canadien?

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Great job pushing back Ken. That is the problem with making the case. Its hard to do that when the other side doesn't acknowledge there is an alternative view point.

Unionist

Red Tory Tea Girl wrote:
Quebec, or a similarly constituted Alberta for that matter, is free to be a member of confederation. To do both at the same time however, is so utterly contradictory that, for the sake of confederation, I would rather a divorce than a sham marriage. Canada is a bilingual nation and it is in no way imperialist to ask its constituent peoples to decicde to abide by that Bilingual Fact or to leave.

If all Canadians thought like you, I would be very happy to be rid of Canada - goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!

Fortunately, your backward and colonial opinions don't reflect the way workers think, once they begin to throw off the divisive and imperial stranglehold of the 1% elite.

Red Tory Tea Girl

Yeah, right, the second-generation descendant of Irish immigrants is harbouring colonial attitudes... backward no less! And also thanks for insinuating that I'm a class enemy.

Caissa

Let's look at that brokered deal called Confederation. Language had very little to do with it. Upper and lower canada in many ways were trying to escape what had been political deadlock in the old Province of Canada. Language was definitely not on NB and NS radar. More important than language was the issue of religion which is reflected in the continuance of a separate school system in Ontario.