Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stay the course on Mulroney

A recent Decima poll says the Mulroney/Schrieber drama hasn’t yet resonated with voters or hurt Conservative support (hasn’t helped it either). That’s not totally surprising, and shouldn’t dissuade the opposition from pursuing the case

The fact is, these things take time to percolate and seep into the public consciousness, and begin to impact polling numbers. I don’t want to bring forward case studies of past scandals, but nevertheless history bears out that these things take time.

Whether it is moving the polls yet or not, there are several very good strategic reasons for the opposition to continue pressing on this issue. Although, if I can digress for a moment, we shouldn’t go all Mulroney all the time. Child poverty, cities, Afghanistan, we need to be talking about a variety of issues.

We should keep the Mulroney pressure on though, for a number of reasons. Particularly the Harper PMO’s handling of the affair and the letter/s. For one, even if we don’t gain in the polls from it, tying Harper to this is important. The Conservatives ran the last election on being squeaky clean, doing politics differently, accountability, yada yada. We need to knock that undeserved halo off their heads. Even if the public attitude is a pox on all their houses, at least the pox is on their house too, and their hypoctical holier than thouness is exposed. With that playing field leveled and arrow taken out of their quiver, we can move the debate to issues that will benefit us.

Secondly, the more we push on this, the more Harper needs to distance himself from Mulroney. We’ve already seen him forbid all ministers and MPs, including Mulroney friends like Majorie LeBreton and Hugh Segal, from talking to Mulroney until this is resolved. The more pressure applied, the more we’ll see old Reform/Alliance types saying ‘hey, I was a Reformer, I didn’t like the PCs’ and other comments distancing themselves from the Mulroney legacy. For those Mulroney loyalists and old PCers still in the CPC those comments will grate, and start to tear a the fragile seams that hold the delicate CPC marriage of divergent interests (westerners, PCers, Quebecers) together. If those seams start to tear, the opposition will begin to benefit in the medium to long term.

And the other, non-strategic reason to keep the pressure on is simply because there are important issues that need to be settled here, and questions that need to be resolved. Should $2.1M in taxpayer dollars be recovered? Might someone have broken some rules? That should be found out.

So, I hope that, regardless of what short term polls say, we keep the pressure up on this file. Because polls don’t always tell the whole story, particularly in the short term. Stay the course.

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player_hater said...

Nobody is entering into polling nirvana or winning an election on this issue. Your halo concept is quite correct, not to mention that hearings and testimony can prove to be embarrassing, just look at Gomery. Most Liberals such as myself would like Mulroney to get his due, from all the abusive attacks on Trudeau, Turner and Chretien. Also the well documented misuse of taxpayers dollars to fund a lifestyle the family was apparently use to before, billing taxpayers for shopping trips and other crap. Not to mention when the Chretien's moved into 24 Sussex, (Poor Kimmy was never given the keys) they found an empty house. Election night 1993 four or five Ryder vans cleans out the place.

Jason Bo Green said...

I think you're nuts. Unless the inner Liberal circle around Dion knows things we don't (which I grant is possible), then I'd guess this is a dead duck issue that's only going to take up valuable braintime in the average Canadian - time that Liberals should be spending on Liberal policy alternatives to current issues.

My roommate loathes Brian Mulroney and strongly dislikes Stephen Harper - even he rolls his eyes at this. If Mulroney is guilty, it has no bearing on Harper or what we're going to do regarding Afghanistan, or the environment, or any other issue.

What Dion SHOULD be doing is talking up legalizing marijuana. That's what Harper's calculating brain would do in Dion's shoes - demonize his opponent's drug stance with his new and bold idea that most liberal Canadians would quickly embrace. That'd get most Canadians listening. Get a clue - no one's listening to this. It's not AdScam, it's not going to be AdScam. It resonates with Liberals - it doesn't resonate with voters.

I strongly feel this is Dion's last chance to stop Stephen Harper from being "Prime Minister" in people's heads. If Dion doesn't counter him by Christmas/New Year's in some tangible, realistic way, then Harper will cement in people's brains as "the guy who runs the country", and Dion will be a no one.

Sure, no one's can rebound - but it's damned hard, and I don't think Dion will be able to.

Get off this Mulroney-Schreiber business ASAP and onto ideas and policy critique.

900 ft Jesus said...

BCer, I agree and am glad you wrote this post. To allow any cover up (and there is one here for sure, or the CONs wouldn't be blocking info to the extent they are) encourages more of the same, and a culture of secrecy where those in power can do what they like.

Also, as you said, a government that rides in on talk of transparency and accountability should live according to those words. Any government should.

It's a ripple effect if we don't make politicians face investigations the same way laws force most Canadians to be accountable. We let things slide and start to expect a certain amount of corruption from our government - figure it's part and parcel.

While Mulroney may be old news, he was PM, highest office in Canada, and Stevie (who appears to be blocking the investigation) now holds that office. It isn't a question of when and how much, here, but who that makes this such a serious issue.

ottlib said...

So a Conservative supporter is telling us to ignore this whole affair.

Hmmmm, interesting.

In 2003 when the first hints of problems regarding the Sponsorship Scandal arose it was news for a couple of days and then it disappeared from the headlines with nary an effect on the polls.

Remarkably, all three of the Opposition Parties kept asking questions about it and they kept submitting Access to Information requests to find more information they could use.

Of course, we all know what happened in the end.

Jeff is right. Keep this issue cooking but at a low heat. Scandals are like good wine, they become better as they age and this one will probably not be any different.

Oh yes, ignore the Conservatives and their supporters when the say to drop it as they do not have the interests of Liberals in mind.

RuralSandi said...

Oh I think the issue might be the Ontario seat projection.

The way Van Loan has figured it out, Ontario would get less a one-vote per person - fairness?

Mulroney seems to be softening up a little - why?

Jason Hickman said...

Ottlib said ...

So a Conservative supporter is telling us to ignore this whole affair.

Not that Jason Bo Green (who's the only one on this thread who's disagreed with Jeff, thus far, so I presume that's who Ottlib's talking about) needs me to defend him, but if you think he's nothing but a Tory partisan, you haven't been reading him nearly enough, either on his own blog or in other blogs' comments. He seems to be fairly independent when it comes to party stripe.

As far as I go, it wouldn't bother me a heck of a lot if the Libs decide to focus on this. If they choose to tie themselves to Schreiber - which will be a result, deliberate or not, of this strategy - they can knock themselves out doing so, as far as this "Conservative supporter" is concerned.