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Pointing out Conservative failures in Liberal speeches and ads is not going “negative”

I know there’s been some debate going on as to whether the Liberals should be going negative and if so, what type of “negative” we should be doing. I for one, think that the Liberals are doing the right campaign tactics when they are very tough on the Conservatives on such issues as the listeriosis outbreak:

The Liberals launched their first attack of the onrushing election campaign by accusing the Harper government of undermining food safety in the same way the Mike Harris Tories weakened water safety in Walkerton, Ont., a decade ago…Those of us from Ontario – and those across the country – remember Walkerton,” said Toronto MP Carolyn Bennett, who accompanied Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion at a news conference wrapping up a party caucus meeting here…”We remember when there was an active decision to reduce inspections and what happened to the health of those people in Walkerton,” said Bennett, MP for the riding of St. Paul’s, and the Liberal health critic. Cuts in regulatory spending by the Harris government in the mid-1990s contributed to the E. coli water tragedy that cost seven lives in Walkerton in 2000, according to the report of a public inquiry.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion on the same issue at the same press conference, calling for Agriculture Minister Ritz’s firing:

“Starting March 1, a change has been made that put our inspection situation where inspectors are more inspecting paper than meat,” Dion said. “And under the circumstances, because this change has been covered up, the minister cannot stay the minister.” Dion said that, like the Harris Tories, the Harper Conservatives “don’t believe in the role of the government” in regulating business. Dion noted that three key members of the Harper government – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Environment Minister John Baird and Health Minister Tony Clement – were in Harris’s cabinet

There is nothing “negative” about pointing out how the Conservatives ideology and averseness to government regulation may have contributed to this health crisis, as the provincial Conservatives in Ontario under Mike Harris did in connection to Walkerton. That goes for going at them over such things as their own refusal to publish details about their own environmental plan to combat Greenhouse gases. Pointing out that this isn’t showing “strong leadership”, but hiding facts from the Canadian public again is not negative, but fair ball.

Personally, not only do I want to see more press conferences or campaign rallies doing similar themes to what Bennett and Dion did, but I want to see the same thing running in the Liberals campaign advertisement ads on radio and tv when the election campaign officially get started, (presuming Michaelle Jean doesn’t throw a curveball at Harper when he visits her).

UPDATE: Want to counter those pre-election election ads on Harper’s “strong leadership”? Liberal strategists and our party would be well advised to use some of the points that Carol Goar makes to shred that claim to pieces, and all done with facts, not personal attacks. Put those facts in the LPC ads, and have Dion and other Liberals pepper your speeches with these facts.

UPDATE 2 @ 2:14pm: I agree with Jennifer Smith’s approach, which I believe is the same thing that I’m advocating.

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6 comments to Pointing out Conservative failures in Liberal speeches and ads is not going “negative”

  • kwittet

    Now I want some lefty to explain this to me??

    I have to admit that i broke down and went to the green shift web site and use the calculator…and here is what i come up with

    Couple under 65 living in ontario earnings 60,000 per year highest
    0 income on lowest as my wife is a stay at home mom
    2 kids under 18
    CREDIT $77 per month

    now i play with the numbers
    single parent ontario
    total social assistance 18000 per year
    2 kids under 18
    CREDIT $165 per month

    WHY?? I work for my money so I should get a bigger tax break?? I actually get out of bed before noon and go out side and drive my van to work and work for what i have yet for some reason libs seems to think that someone whether or not it is their fault( i dont care..they want more GET A JOB) they are not working thinks they deserve a bigger tax savings than me?? I see something very wrong with that considering I am already paying to support them.

  • kwittet

    @ALW – well said!! Even though he is a bit stuffy I dont think he (HARPER) is the right wing radical the looney left thought he was going to be so …they took every little thing and made a mountain out of it. Jesus…if the right did that every time Chretien the CROOK’s party had a new scandal the www and the internet would be so bogged down because it was never ending!!

  • Walkswithcoffee

    Don Martin goes negative, yet again. He prefers not to speak of the reality of Mr. Harper’s deregulation and death causing stupidity and capriciousness. Mr. Martin prefers to go negative on Mr. Dion, yet again, and do nothing to speak for Canadian. Is there a ballot box item to vote Mr. Martin off the island?

  • S K

    It does seem that Liberals will need to punch below the belt a bit to make gains.

    Or they could just hand it over to Obama 🙂

    http://www.BarackObamaForPM.com

  • ALW

    There is nothing “negative” about pointing out how the Conservatives ideology and averseness to government regulation may have contributed to this health crisis

    “May have” – kind of like how the Conservative ideology in Walkerton led to the private testing lab doing its job properly, and immediately informing the public utility manager, who then did nothing? If “Conservative ideology” is to blame, does Liberal ideology explain how any amount of government funding and regulation will correct human errors made by individual government employees deliberately breaking the law?

    I agree that attacking a factual track record isn’t “going negative” so much as it is creating a Liberal narrative, but the problem is that attacking things like “Conservative ideology” isn’t factual at all. It’s vague, and it merely reflects your disagreement with particular principles. (Attacking things like income trusts, the fixed-election date dodge, “in-and-out” etc are of course fair game. )

    I can see your point of view on this, Scott. To you it must seem like the Tories are getting away with it, that the public should be more upset about things. But the reason they aren’t is the fault of people like you!. You set the bar so low for Harper, i.e. that he just had to not be a radical maniac, that it’s essentially desensitized the public to your complaints. In short, you’ve cried wolf so often, nobody’s listening anymore.

    You may think I exaggerate, but this is largely the consequence of over-the-top Liberal attacks. Sure, you’ve got your 25% or so of the population that actually buys into all this conspiracy-theory guff about Harper being in big oil’s pocket and hating minorities and fellating George W Bush etc etc. But after last time – when you and your ilk ran around warning everyone that Harper was going to ban abortion, undo gay marriage, gut social spending and so on, all with the explicit goal of destroying Canada – you are not being taken seriously anymore. Why? Because none of those things came true! Which is precisely why all those old attacks aren’t being used this time – because you guys just made them up, fantasizing about crazy things Harper could do. You can’t say “we told you so” about Harper, because none of the things you’re complaining about now are the same as the things you warned everyone about last time!

    The lesson? Overreach at your own peril. But clearly that lesson is lost on you.

  • Joseph

    Highlighting the failures and misleading of the Conservative government is the only way the Liberals can win this election. That can be done forcefully and effectively without going off the deep-end. It needs to be tied into a larger theme of how government ought to operate as a whole, and how parliament should function.

    There are lots of people across Canada who have been waiting for the Liberals to go on the offense. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that it is individual’s anger on any number of issues that have held the conservatives back from gaining real traction with the Canadian public.

    A sensible policy platform is required, of course, and discussing it during the election is fine. But just laying that out will NOT be enough to win. If this campaign becomes an exercise of soft-peddling, people will not feel the impetus to change the status quo. And that ho-hum approach could play to the conservatives, who might end up with something more.

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