Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Missing in Action: 99 Conservative MPs

Canadian voters need a visible and credible alternative to Paul Martin. Now. Not in 6 months or 2 years. Now. Today. But where are the Conservatives? It's as if they all left the country. Martin and the Liberals are eminently vulnerable to well-placed criticism today. Now is the time for the Conservatives to be tearing their political hides to shreds but there's not a Conservative to be seen. Anywhere! it's as if they struck out in the first inning and gave up before the game had barely started. (The great irony of this apparent copout is that the job of acting as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is falling to Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quéecois! And actually, they're doing a very credible job, too!)
If the Conservatives do not step up to the plate immediately and start making themselves heard in a convincing manner, then we probably are better off not having an election this year. Or maybe for several years.
I do believe more people than ever are willing to consider what the Conservatives have to say but what are we hearing about important stuff like policy? Nothing right? Nada. "We'll turn the tapes over. We won't turn the tapes over. We'll turn part of the tapes over. We'll bring the government down. We won't bring the government down. We'll vote against the budget We'll vote for the budget." Certainly, changing circumstances have necessitated changes in their strategy. But the average voter's grasp of political nuances and limited attention span can't handle what we're getting from the Conservatives.
Monte are you reading this? (Can someone please copy him on this?) Cause this one's for you, Bud: "You're a nice guy and all that , but where's Harper? Where are the other 98 people we elected? Isn't there ANYBODY who can speak for your party when Harper is otherwise occupied?"
What do they do all day? Wait for Harper to tell them when to pee? Where is MacKay? Solberg? Richardson? Which brings up another point: Most Canadians would likely be able to name 8 or 10 Liberal MPs before they could get beyond Harper and Mackay. Marketing experts know that one of the simplest ways to sell almost any product is by making the advertising ads as irritating as hell. It doesn't matter that you hate it - it matters that you remember it. Get your name in the paper. Get your face on TV. Over and over. There's no such thing as too many times!
So where are the Conservatives? Has anybody seen one recently? They've got tons of ammunition and no one wants to pull the trigger. Apparently, no one even wants to hold the gun! The fact is they need help big time and they must get their act together now if they expect to have any credibility leading into the next election. They could do a lot worse than importing a few consultants from George Bush's campaign team who could teach them some real political savvy so they could shoot straight and stop looking like Boy Scouts.
These guys can't even seem to organize a good press conference for Heaven's sake. How in the world do they expect to run the government? Why should we believe that they'll be any better than the Liberals? The road to hell is paved with good intentions and it's a safe bet that the incumbent Liberal-dominated civil service will roast them alive within months if they win the next election but get to Ottawa without a ruthless intensity and single-minded sense of purpose.
Unfortunately, there may be a simple explanation for this apparent lack of initiative: that there is a power struggle brewing or there ought to be a power struggle brewing. The symptoms point to a dysfunctional organization at the highest level. So, if that's the case, for the sake of Canada, let's get it over with guys. Do it. Whatever it is that needs to be done, just do it!

Barring a change in the current state of affairs, the Green Party could pick up support due to the popular perception of the traditional parties as being self-serving and preoccupied with the proverbial porkbarrel. In that vein, electing even a couple of MPs whose primary motivation is not a Cadillac pension, might be good for stirring the political pot in Ottawa - which is something that the Conservatives are never going to get a chance to do, if they don't get their act together while we still remember who they are.


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