Tag Archives: campaign

It’s Not the Band I Hate, It’s Their Fans

By Jay Menard,

“It’s not the band I hate. It’s their fans.” Yes, I am gearing myself up for Sloan’s appearance this weekend at the Western Fair’s Beer & BBQ Show, but that’s beside the point.

That lyric also perfectly sums up the way I feel about some of the participants in our municipal campaigns. And the danger for the candidates is that they’re going to suffer from guilt by association.

London, especially on Twitter and other social networks including our local paper’s comments section, is easily likened to a playground. Whether it’s puerile name calling or taking their figurative ball and going home when they don’t get their way, we see a lot of the worst in discourse.

I had hoped during a municipal campaign things would change, but I haven’t seen it yet. Continue reading

Wanted: The Truth Behind Mayor Wanted

By Jason Menard

The less I know about the person or persons behind the Mayor Wanted ad, the more I’m concerned.

First, a quick rundown. Earlier today, a job posting and subsequent Mayor Wanted Web site was launched ostensibly as a “job opening” for the position of City of London.

In and of itself, it was fine… until we got to the end.

What initially concerned me most, at first, was the “for community support email mayorwanted@gmail.com and we will connect you with Londoners who care deeply about the future of our city.”

I’m one of those Londoners. So I was interested. Who are these people? Who decides who they connect to.

And the answer — or lack thereof — is where I get nervous about how this information is being used. Continue reading

Responsible Government? Who Cares? Not Canadians

By Jason Menard

Awish Aslam booted from a local rally for Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of a Facebook photo? Who cares?

Ali Aref Hamadi asked to leave the same reception due to the presence of an NDP bumper sticker on his car? Who cares?

An election caused by the Harper government’s contempt of parliament charges? Arrogantly suggesting that Canadians don’t care about those same contempt charges? Previous elections called in a way that circumvented the very fixed-election-dates policy implemented? Partisan appointments to a Senate that he promised to make accountable? Promises to decentralize parliamentary power and an election campaign fuelled by promises of truth, accountability, and openness undone by an essential gag order on Ministers and a rationalization of power in the PMO?

Who cares? Continue reading

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble

By Jason Menard

It’s almost time for the bell to ring, announcing the first round of this Parliamentary battle, and the only question that remains is whether the opposition will come out swinging or if they’re prepared to feel out the competition for a while and wait for the right time to deliver the knockout blow.

As the Conservatives and the opposition Liberals prepare to go toe-to-toe in the ring over issues like childcare and taxation it will be interesting to Canadians to see whether the Grits, still licking their wounds from the spanking they received in the recent federal election, are willing to throw down the gloves and get ugly in defense of their principles.

For the Liberals, they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Allow such show-stoppers as the scrapping of the Liberal daycare plan in favour of the $100 per month per kid plan favoured by the Tories or the slashing of the GST and rollback of previous Liberal personal tax cuts, and the Liberals run the risk of being perceived as compromising their ideals. And for a party that’s reeling from the sponsorship scandal and a public that questions its integrity, this is one perception that must be shed.

Unfortunately for Canadians, the only way that can be done is for the Liberals to stand their ground, come hell or high water – or at least yet another election call.

Already, Opposition House Leader Ralph Goodale has started to hedge the Party’s bets, casting the burden of responsibility to its co-opposition members, the New Democratic Party and the Bloc. By stating that these two parties could conceivably prop up the Tories, even if the Liberal vote against these key measures, he’s effectively deflected the question of standing for one’s ideals two the smaller members of the opposition.

This will be a Parliament of perception and posturing. The NDP is on the verge of slipping from the image of being the King Maker to becoming the royal whore – hopping into bed with whomever’s in power to further their own agenda of power. If anything, the NDP should be philosophically more opposed to the Conservative agenda, especially when it comes to issues like social programs, yet they’ve been the most conciliatory speakers when it comes to consensus building in the House of Commons. The NDP runs the risk of alienating its very own traditional supporters and losing them to a newly emboldened Liberal Party – especially if Jack Layton supports a less-than-favourable Omnibus bill in order to maintain political continuity.

On the other side, Gilles Duceppe has to be a little worried about support in his own back yard. While talking the good talk about the idea of his party sweeping through la belle province, he has to be a little rocked by the fact that it was Stephen Harper who walked the walk and eroded his base of support by scoring huge gains in Quebec. Does he risk returning to the polls and testing his supporters’ patience for yet another election?

In the end, does this all embolden Stephen Harper even more? After a few missteps in the early part of his tenure, the ducks are all in a row for him to push through an aggressive first foray into this political battle. Does he gamble that the leaderless Liberals don’t have the stomach for jumping into a snap election? Does he hope that the question marks surrounding the other opposition parties mean that their preference will be to wait for a better time to act?

Harper has to decide what the more prudent strategy will be. Does he enter the House of Commons in a consensus-building manner and hope to negotiate what he wants, or does he seize the opportunity to make dramatic changes and enact a substantial – and controversial – component of his party’s political platform, trusting that the time isn’t right for his opponents to make a move. It’s a bitter pill that he’ll be forcing the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc to swallow – Harper just has to judge whether they have the stomach for it.

In the world of boxing, the boxer always has the edge on the puncher – but in the Canadian political ring, Harper has to opportunity to be both. He can come out swinging, landing the heavy blows, and out-strategize his opponents right from the opening bell. But the only way that works is if the opposition isn’t willing to step up and go toe-to-toe with the Conservatives.

The opening bell is about to ring. This is sure to be one fight to watch.

2006© Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Time for Greens to Think Big!

By Jason Menard

Many of out there would dream of supporting a political party that’s fiscally conservative, socially progressive, and committed to improving our environment. Yet, even though one party professes to have those issues at the forefront of its platform, they are no more than an afterthought for Canadian voters.

And while the Green Party of Canada can blame voter apathy and the tendency to fall back to the tried and tested when push comes to shove, the fact remains that they have only themselves to blame. In the words of the immortal Elvis Gratton, it’s time for the party – and prospective voters – to “Think Big, ‘sti!”

For many Canadian voters, the Green Party is thought of as nothing more than a novelty act – akin to the old Rhino Party. And, while they’re not advocating the concept of flying naked to reduce the risk of terrorism or turning Montreal’s Rue Ste-Catherine into the world’s longest bowling alley, they get lumped into the same fringe candidate stew as the Marxist-Leninist, Marijuana, and Communist Parties of Canada.

Yet, last election, over four per cent of Canadians cast a ballot for this party’s candidates. Despite being lumped in with the so-called fringe, they did, in fact, receive over three times as many votes as the seven other registered fringe parties, independents, and non-affiliated candidates combined!

In fact, the New Democratic Party of Canada received just 3.7 times as many votes, and the Bloc only garnered 2.9 times as many votes, yet they’re recognized as legitimate contenders, earning 19 and 54 seats in the House of Commons respectively. Yet, this is not intended to be an argument for a more representative democracy – that’s another argument for another day. But it does bring up the question as to why are some parties regarded as legitimate contenders to the throne, while others are amusing afterthoughts.

The answer? Credibility, and the Green Party to date has blown it. In fact, one could suggest that their one true chance to make a mark on the Canadian political landscape is in serious danger of being wasted.

In the last federal election, the Green Party of Canada was able to win the votes of over four per cent of the Canadian population, which entitled them to federal funding as a party. They received $1.1 million from the feds but what have they done with it?

I’m sure they’ve put the money to good use, but they’ve failed to penetrate into the social conscious. Forget being in the leaders’ debates, how about having a significant number of Canadians knowing who your party leader is?

In a recent e-mail conversation with a local Green representative, this person apologized for their lack of polish, as they are a volunteer-driven, grass roots organization. But the time is now to reach for the sky. As they say, one must strike while the iron is hot, and with the funding received from their impressive showing, the Green Party needs to get the message out to the voters.

The perception remains that the Green Party is a one-issue party. Even worse, there is still the perception that these people are nothing more than raving tree-huggers chucking their fair-trade hats into the political ring only to further their own far-left-wing causes.

Yet, when you look at the platform, you realize that, despite an overriding goal of social and environmental responsibility, there is no clear definition of “sides.” They are neither left-wing nor right-wing, but rather searching for the right answers to each and every topic as it arises.

While other parties, such as the Marijuana and Christian Heritage parties, are defined and motivated by one issue, one would be hard-pressed to look at today’s Greens and think the same thing. Perhaps in the past the accusations were fair, but the party appears to have grown up and may, in fact, be a legitimate voice for a number of Canadians. The only problem is that they don’t seem to be getting their message heard.

And that’s a pity, because it’s a message that many Canadians would take to heart. Unfortunately, the game of politics isn’t won on ideas alone – reputation, consistency, and proven ability to lead all factor into the decision, and the Green Party has yet to prove that it’s ready to make the jump from the minor leagues.

So should anybody vote Green? Well, that’s a decision we all have to make based upon policy, the local candidate, and your personal beliefs. But at least they should be in consideration as a legitimate option – not just left on the fringe, stuck on the outside looking in.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved