Where Would You Go …

If you were a politician looking to garner the love and admiration of the Canadian voting population?

The Toronto Star is doing an interesting series on the face of politics, particularly in the wake of new and unique marketing tools for voters.

Here are links to Part I and Part II.  The series is expected to continue tomorrow.  I look forward to continuing to read about what they have to say.

I have many thoughts on the whole piece and the direction it’ll probably take.

The first thought is that if I were running as a politician, I would NOT go to a Tim’s OR a Starbuck’s or even a Timothy’s.

Instead, I would pick every single farmer’s market between Tofino and St. John’s and make sure I bought at least one tomato or piece of corn at each one.  I would deliver a message that local and grassroots is more important than generic and processed.

Here’s another broader concept:  Canadian politicians and advise-givers are tipping on a perilous edge of a thunderous mistake when it comes to our country’s democratic future.

They are treating politics like it’s a business and a marketing game.  Voters are becoming ‘targets of campaigns’.

They are treating Canadian democracy like it’s something that can be made in China and marketing.

They are trying to generate want.

Want is the only thing we were good at producing in the 20th century and we’ve failed at that today.

Understanding need will be the most important task of any politician in the 21st century.

Do we need clean water?  Yes.

Do we need to ensure that our health care system continues to be reliable?  Yes.

Do we need a reliable digital infrastructure to sustain a knowledge economy?  Yes.

Do we need carbon taxes or some kind of response to stem the catastrophic decline in the quality of our environment?  Yes.

Do we need to throw cash at failing / ailing manufacturing industries like the automobile?  No.

Do we need more roads?  Definitely not.

Do we need tax cuts on consumption taxes?  Absolutely not.

Priorities change when you consider a campaign in terms of the needs of ALL Canadians as opposed to trying to mimic a model that no one actually fits into.

‘Targeting’ Canadians to ‘segmented campaigns’ that are all about ‘conversions’ is archaic double-speak for treating us like cattle.  In fact, the use of war-related terminology is insulting and annoying, to say the least.

Politicians and their advisors need to wake up and realize that they have hopped on the communications bus about a century too late.

The good news is that there’s another bus at the terminal and the politicians of tomorrow will use today’s tools and engage with Canadians in a very real and genuine way.

Here’s an example:  I won’t vote for Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals because every time he’s quoted, he uses phrases like ‘I enjoy talking to Canadians’ or ‘when I talk to my people …’ like he’s the only one who’s entitled to have an opinion.  The nuance he should consider using if he’s going to at least get my attention:  ‘the last time I spoke with …’  He needs to use his language to show that he’s willing to have a conversation.

And it has to be natural.

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Leave a Reply