Card tricks

Attack ads outside of an election campaign? That gives off an aroma closer to the refined essence of desperation than a choking cloud of cheap cologne. And the environment card? Really? Attacking the Liberals on their environmental record? Really?

Now, the Liberal’s failure to make any significant effort to combat climate change is truly appalling, but when you’ve spent the past decade claiming that Kyoto’s meagre targets were unreachable and that climate change science was bunk, maybe it’s best not to bring up the past at all. What’s the Conservative motto here? “They were almost as abysmal as we would have been!”?

As for the question “Do you think it is easy to make priorities?”, I’m not really sure where the Conservatives are going with that. I’d have to say no, it isn’t easy to make priorities, given the myriad problems facing our country and the limited resources of government to address them. I can’t imagine the process that generated the Conservatives’ list of priorities – tax breaks, cancelling daycare spaces, abandoning international treaties, abandoning First Nations treaties, gutting Status of Women Canada, killing the Court Challenges Program and Law Commission of Canada, and finding time for yet another vote on SSM – but I’m sure it wasn’t “easy”. Surely not that. Surely it’s not easy when your priorities force you to miss the International AIDS Conference when it’s being held in Toronto.

Attack ads play by their nature on fear, anger and stupidity. So really, I suppose, it’s just playing to their base.




  1. O'Smiley said,

    Monday, 29 January 2007 at 10:42 pm

    I don’t quite understand the shock and disdain for political attack ads in general. If you believe that your opponent is particularly bad for one reason or another, should you not make your electorate aware of it?

    I do agree that in politics advertising your strengths is very much more important (albeit generally less effective), but hey, if your opponent is the devil should you not say “Hey! My opponent is the Devil!” or if your opponent is an idiot, should you not say “Hey! my opponent is and Idiot!” or if your opponent is incompetent, should you not say “Hey! My opponent is totally incompetent and not capable of leading a nation!”

    Now that said, I do think it is strange that the Conservatives are pulling out their election campaign a little prematurely.

    One last note, Gnomes, I completely disagree with your assessment of Conservative priorities, and your assessment of the difficulty of setting party/government priorities. When you are the leader of your party, not to mention the government, it is your job to set priorities and see them through.

  2. Gnomes said,

    Tuesday, 30 January 2007 at 11:13 am

    It is the job of a leader to set priorities, but that doesn’t mean it is, or should be, an easy job. What did Dion mean by that statement? Well, it’s certainly impossible to tell from the clip. But we aren’t meant to think about it, we are meant to take a single, completely out of context statement and form an hysterical, reactionary opinion based on it.

    Likewise, we aren’t meant to think about whether the Cons would have “got it done” with respect to the environment were they in power during the Liberal reign. I certainly don’t recall them calling the government to task and demanding action on climate change, but I can check Hansard. And speaking of bad environment ministers, how quickly did they think we would forget Rona Ambrose’s year-long spectacular failure in the portfolio?

    While I agree that criticizing the flaws in an opponent’s position is necessary in politics, it should be done in an intelligent manner that actually speaks to issues, rather than smear campaigns, scare tactics, and other similar propaganda. The Conservative ads, much like the Liberal “soldiers in the streets” campaign from the last election, are designed to provoke emotional responses based on fear or ridicule. They aim to suppress reason. They are an assault on, and insult to, intelligent political discourse.

    For example, if one wishes to suggest that one’s opponent is a weak leader, one should offer some evidence. One could say, for example, that he is deceitful and undemocratic, bypassing Parliament to quietly implement reforms he could not get done if they were reviewed by the people’s representatives. Or one could suggest that he is undependable, having reversed his positions on joining the Iraq war, pulling out of Kyoto, not taxing income trusts, and scrapping the Canada Health Act. But perhaps he’s just having difficulty setting his priorities.

  3. huh? said,

    Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 6:17 pm

    When was the Canada Health Act Scrapped?

  4. Gnomes said,

    Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 9:26 pm

    It wasn’t, hence the reversal in Harper’s position.

  5. huh? said,

    Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Ok, then when did they NOT pull out of Kyoto?

  6. Gnomes said,

    Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 6:11 pm

    When they chose to merely disregard our obligations under the treaty, rather than formally withdrawing from it by giving notice to the UN. It’s a page borrowed from the Chrétien/Martin playbook.

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