12.02.2008

"the pr war" for a coalition government

So "it's a PR war now," is it?

What that really means is the Conservatives are stoking and exploiting voter ignorance.

Have you seen this yet? I'm sure it's old, but since I avoid wingnuttery, I saw it for the first time on The National last night.

It's a Conservative Party website feeding their people talking points and directing them to local talk-radio shows. In other words, "Don't know what's going on? Just recite these simple lines!"

Also on The National, ignorant people expressing dismay and wonder at "childishness," "power grabs," and "overturning an election". That's what prompts Idealistic Pragmatist to ask, "And you guys make fun of the U.S. education system?".

How can it be an overturned election if every Member of Parliament who was voted in is still there? And this notion of "stop behaving like children," is just beyond ridiculous. In fact, a coalition government, where parties put aside their differences to cooperate for the greater good, is a sign of political maturity.

It saddens and angers me that something as democratic and multi-partisan as a coalition government - something that so many of us have longed to see - is being smeared with lies. But if the PR game is on, we can't refuse to play.

I assume by now you've all signed the petition supporting the coalition government. And if you haven't already, tell the Liberals and the NDP, (and the Bloc, while you're at it) that you support their accord, and their plan to topple the Harper Government.

Write a letter to your local newspaper; send the Progressive Coalition video to anyone you know who needs to be educated. Speak to people with the facts. Each one, reach one. If you write a letter or blog, each one, reach many!

* * * *

In comments, friend-of-wmtc JakeNCC alerted us that the Tories are rallying their people to contact the Governor General. Is that "done" - can we lobby the GG? I know we can, technically, because the email address is there, but is this kosher?

Contact info is here. I suppose an "I support a coalition government" email couldn't hurt, but on the other hand, it doesn't seem right. She's not an elected official; she's not supposed to be part of this fray. Although of course, she is part of it because we need her consent for any of this to happen.

Your thoughts?

17 comments:

redsock said...

It's a Conservative Party website feeding their people talking points and directing them to local talk-radio shows.

Wouldn't this pathetic strategy simply be sputtering to the choir? Do intelligent Canadians listen to talk radio or is it only the arena of knuckle-draggers (like in the US)?

M@ said...

I wondered about contacting the GG, too. Since she is the head of state, and especially because she's not elected, I think it makes sense for the electorate to let her know what they think. And she has a e-mail address and phone number that they offer for public contact.

Do intelligent Canadians listen to talk radio or is it only the arena of knuckle-draggers (like in the US)?

Surprisingly, there are a lot of progressive thought in Canadian talk radio. There are plenty of hosts who are idiotically conservative (Charles Adler and Michael Coren spring to mind), but there are others who are self-described left-wingers (John Moore). Although the right outnumbers the left, there's a more accurate mix of people than in the US from what I understand.

The Kitchener talk radio station also had the local traffic reports so we would often listen to it on the way to work when we lived and worked there. Although the host leaned right (and I mean leaned -- like the Progressive Conservative party used to) we were always impressed at how progressive the callers were. A good example is when the city withdrew funding for the local Planned Parenthood office, caller after caller was outraged at the decision and said they were going to donate. (Public donations in a few months surpassed the funding they received from the city, which had covered 80% of their budget.)

So there's still a lot of idiocy and outrage-manufacturing, but I think the public thinks differently and it shows.

Steve said...

The scary thing is that it's not just "talk radio" that are reciting some Conservative talking points. Here in Calgary, the anger among some mainstream radio disk jockeys is palpable, and they have repeated some of the "overturning an election" comments. It makes me angry that I went to school with some of these know-nothings.

Saskboy said...

I sent an email to the GG before the election was called, imploring her to give power to a coalition. I got a reply to it after the election was over.

M@ said...

Saskboy, what was the reply?

Geod said...

Over here in Ottawa on the local CFRA talk radio, the morning host is furious with the coalition, and some of the callers are saying that the formation of a coalition government will lead to the breakup of Canada. According to some callers, all western provinces are furious with the coalition also and will use the clarity act to call a referendum.

M@ said...

According to some callers, all western provinces are furious with the coalition also and will use the clarity act to call a referendum.

I, for one, am dismayed and wondering at this childishness, power grabbing, and attempt to overturn an election.

L-girl said...

I wondered about contacting the GG, too. Since she is the head of state, and especially because she's not elected, I think it makes sense for the electorate to let her know what they think. And she has a e-mail address and phone number that they offer for public contact.

Good enough for me. I'm doing it.

some of the callers are saying that the formation of a coalition government will lead to the breakup of Canada

Blah blah blah. And Free Dominioners are threatening armed insurrection. I guess they'll squeeze that in between talk-radio calls and their next double-double.

Saskboy said...

The reply was simply thanking me for the letter.

impudent strumpet said...

Pisses me off that it's becoming a PR thing. This isn't for spin! There's an economic update which is automatically a confidence motion, the opposition doesn't like it, the opposition is preparing for one of the possible outcomes of the government falling.

And if they are doing PR, shouldn't the Cons at least be trying to sell the benefits of the economic update? Trying to get citizens to tell their MPs not to make the government fall?

It's a Conservative Party website feeding their people talking points and directing them to local talk-radio shows.

Why on earth would you want to go on the radio if you can't think of your own talking points? I'll admit, sometimes I do use the form letters when email my elected representatives when I don't have a particularly unique point to make, but I can't imagine saying something publically, in the media, using your real name, when you aren't knowledgeable or into it enough to come up with your own words.

Also, does anyone know if it would be an option at this point for Harper to retract the economic statement and make another one that the other parties might like better so the gov't doesn't fall? I seriously doubt they'd do that, but would it be allowed?

L-girl said...

Pisses me off that it's becoming a PR thing. This isn't for spin!

Me too, hugely. That is the neo-con way. No need for facts. Just blitz with lies, whip people into a frenzy, goad them into attack mode.

Very USian of them, if I may say. Very Republican.

M@ said...

Also, does anyone know if it would be an option at this point for Harper to retract the economic statement and make another one that the other parties might like better so the gov't doesn't fall? I seriously doubt they'd do that, but would it be allowed?

Yes, it would, because the current fiscal update has not been voted on yet.

In fact, if the CPC had done this last Friday -- taken the huge things out of the fiscal update, promised to give a new one on Monday, and basically made nice with the other parties -- they might still be solidly in power. But instead they did their usual thing -- tried to bully parliament into accepting what they gave out. (Heck, why not? It's worked before. Every freakin' time.)

I think they didn't because they didn't think a coalition was ever going to happen. Heck, neither did I until Chretien and Broadbent met on Saturday. Once the coalition was a fait accompli, they would have no reason to vote for the fiscal update, no matter what it contained. They're in the driver's seat now.

Ankur said...

Nah, she's not a part of the fray. Send her whatever you want, her advisers will tell her to pay no heed. Or perhaps she won't even read them till later.

She's supposed to make her decision based on constitutional and legal precedents, not the will of the people (the will that can be determined by an overflowing inbox). Sending her e-mails is like sending e-mails to the Chief Justice of the SC before a decision. Where ever you stand, whatever she decides, whatever your partisan beliefs, I hope Canadians all have the sense to not politicize her position.

Lisa said...

"Do intelligent Canadians listen to talk radio or is it only the arena of knuckle-draggers " As far as I am concerned, intelligent people do not take ranting A.M radio seriously. But a lot of intelligent people that I know don't seem to get the parliamentary system that well. It's unsettling.

Man, I stopped listening to AM radio years ago simply because I hated the music. Now, it just seems to be a lot of angry ranting. I really don't remember it being that way before....sad. "there's a more accurate mix of people than in the US from what I understand." That may be true.

Don't EVEN look at the G and M comments sections..if they pissed you off before, the vast majority of it will make you crazy.

"Very Republican." The spin is making me dizzy!!

Emails to GG...good idea!

Saskboy said...

Our media is letting us down. They aren't correcting the mistakes people make in assuming Harper has a "right" to govern after he's lost the confidence of the House, and has a minority number of seats. He's a lame duck!

L-girl said...

Our media is letting us down.

They are doing what they do. Canadian mainstream media is very conservative - much more conservative than the population at large.

Lisa said...

"Canadian mainstream media is very conservative - much more conservative than the population at large."

I agree.

I can pretty much only handle CBC..and even then mostly the radio version. But apparently a lot of us listen to it...!