Tag Archives: policy

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.

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Cracks in the Road to a Harper Majority

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Conservatives make poor public policy makers because they simply don’t believe in public policy.  Even Stephen Harper has gone on record saying that he doesn’t believe in taxes which would, of course, eliminate any funding for government.

We’re seeing how poor the Conservatives are with real genuine ‘what’s in the public interest’ public policy as we witness the rollout of the vaccination for the Swine Flu, or H1N1 virus.

Even this situation has been turned into political gamesmanship and it must end before Canadian lives are put at stake.

While Canadians have been whipped into a state of panic, the Conservatives are still spending buckets of our cash in their own ridings on roads, pipes and a few other tawdry infrastructure projects, all the while sending us ’10-percenters’ from Jay Hill who are too obsessed with Michael Ignatieff living out of Canada than creating a real action plan to protect Canadians.

ASIDE:  As a brief reminder, all of these projects are funded by ALL levels of government.  Taking full credit for this activity is akin to taking credit for a functional minority government.  Oops.  They’re doing that too.

Anyways, with the H1N1 virus, Canadians were promised that there would be enough vaccine to inoculate 100% of the population, if they wanted it.

When Dr. Sheila Bennett accused the Conservatives of playing games with this situation, the Liberals ultimately backed down and were ridiculed in the House of Commons.  RIDICULED!

Now, yesterday, we heard from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health that the rollout of the vaccine for the general population has been suspended.

By the time it does arrive, there will be no point taking it (assuming you still want it).

The flu season will be over.

I can’t help thinking there’s something very suspicious in all of this.  Why is it that we were promised one thing and we can’t deliver according to the demand?  Is Ontario getting hit the hardest?

Why are only TWO clinics open in the city of Toronto?  Why hasn’t the Rogers Centre been converted into a giant distribution centre for people that want the vaccination?

Why is the whole country not better prepared for this situation when we knew it would be a situation 6 months ago?  Where’s the ‘Pandemic Action Plan’?

The answer is simple:  Our leader and his supporters are incapable of doing things that are genuinely good for the public.  Worse off, it looks like they’re starting to play the ‘Teflon’ game by transferring all blame as issues deepen to provincial leaders (which is, admittedly, the jurisdiction of health in Canada).  This will prove to be the same disaster for Ontario Liberals as the HST has been.

I’m optimistic though.  This situation has exposed the cracks that exist in the road to a Conservative majority.  With any luck, they will turn into potholes and the Canadian public will finally understand that they need policy managers and not political mandarins running their government.

PS:  This review by the CBC is a great resource for people who have questions about the vaccination.  If you read the comments, you’ll see that most people will not get vaccinated, including me.  So … feel free to take our place in line!