Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gagging on election campaigning

Have you perchance noticed the new Conservative advertisements running on your television? The Conservatives have pulled into full election mode, with their website proclaiming "Harper Leadership '08"... except that the election hasn't even been called yet. If this was the Olympics, I think Harper would be disqualified for making a false start.

I actually have only caught the end of one of these ads, although other people have mentioned them to me. I went to the Conservative website hoping to watch a couple of them (I watched only one, but Harper sure shoves himself into a slick package). I had to hold back my gag reflex though, both in the portrayal of some kind of big softie all-around-nice-guy and in the unexpected level of venom in the anti-Dion splash banners they had everywhere (with Dion pasted in with PhotoShop to make him look dumb). I read through the "Dion's Tax On Everything" page the Conservatives have set up to slander the Green Shift plan, but it was surprisingly thin in substance even by my expectations, with about a paragraph on each page none of which actually addressed any specifics laid down in the Green Shift plan.

What made me the most sad though were two things: 1) The comments I read on the Toronto Star and CBC websites with shameless (and often inaccurate) bashing of Stephane Dion (I mean, yes, he is not the most media savvy, outspoken leader... but stupid or dishonest he is not, at least he has not proven to be thus far). 2) A new CBC poll showing that the Conservatives are poised to win an upcoming election (although the election hasn't even been called yet, and nobody except the Conservatives are campaigning... so hopefully that will turn around).

I'm really shocked where this country is at right now, where this country is ready to invest its votes, and the attitude of Canadians. If Harper wins the next election, I think I might even be sad to live here. Dion recently gave a speech in Winnipeg criticizing many of the weaknesses of the Harper administration. Although this may seem to go against Dion's policy of not going negative, most of his criticisms were on the level and accurate... which is more than be said of the mud being slung off the Conservative side.

One last thing that has caught my attention recently, is a nickname being slung around by Harper supporters on the CBC user comments, which is Lieberal. I think it's pretty audacious for people who are obviously closing their eyes to the outright lies and slander the Harper administration doles out to be calling the Liberals names, when Stephane Dion appears to be a politician of more integrity than I've seen in a politician before.

Some pre-election updates:

1) PM betrayed Canada, Dion says (Toronto Star)
Dion begins to explain why Harper should not be running our country.

2) Canadians set to vote Conservative: poll (CBC)
This is so depressing... I really hope the Liberals manage to put together one hell of an election campaign. An argument I see a lot in user comments is that Liberal supporters want to support Dion just because he is Liberal. I don't know if this is some kind of Conservative scam that is being spread around, but the reason I want to vote Liberal (and want you to vote Liberal) is that Harper is slimy, and Dion seems intelligent and nice.

3) PM authorized offer to Cadman (Toronto Star)
Harper's authorization to (essentially) bribe an MP to help bring down the Liberal government in 2005.

4) Go negative, St├ęphane, or lose (Toronto Star)
Opinion article on where Stephane should lay his punches. I have to admit, I don't actually think that there is anything wrong with showing where your opponent is weak. You just need to follow that up with how you are going to be stronger in that area. Really nasty negativity involves slander, lying, or just unsubstantiated accusation. That tends to be where I find a lot of the Conservative attacks land The article contained an interesting statement by a Toronto Area Liberal MP:
"Sure, for Dion integrity is critical and he wants to take the high road. But that's not going to work with a mudslinger like Harper."
And it also added:
"There's a dirty little secret about negative advertising that every political strategist knows all too well – and that's while voters insist they hate such ads, they work."
What does this say about us as a people? We're bad...

1 comment:

sandlot said...

The only Dion that I like is Celine Dion.