Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Question of the day -- attack ads

When I was watching QP last night I had an idea for what I think might be an interesting regular blog feature. Each weekday morning, at least when the HoC is in session, I'll try to post my question of the day.

It will be the question I might ask were I an MP in the opposition caucus. Not necessarily on the biggest story of the day, but something topical. If anyone is reading from the OLO feel free to throw it into the mix. No royalty payments necessary.

Today's question:

Mr. Speaker, its midterm election time in the United States and a Republican television attack ad now airing has outraged Canadians taking notice. The ad says, in part: "Let Canada take care of North Korea. They're not busy." Well, we are busy, Mr. Speaker. In fact, some 43 Canadian soldiers have died to date in the war against terror in Afghanistan, and we honour and respect their sacrifice. Unfortunately, it seems our U.S. allies don't. Instead they're more interested in scoring cheap political points on the backs of our soldiers. I'd like to ask the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker, will he call the leader of the Republican Party, President Bush, and demand this insulting ad be pulled from the airwaves immediately?

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Jason Hickman said...

That is a great idea (seriously). Can we play along and provide a desired answer?

I thank the Hon. Member for his question.

Canada's New Government agrees that the men and women of our armed forces have a proud and distinguished history of serving Canadians at home and abroad. Our men and women in uniform don't need any lessons in bravery and deidcation from would-be congressmen, or anyone else.

Because we recognize that, we would never produce an election ad that implies anything negative about the Canadian Armed Forces, like the Liberals did last time with their infamous "soldiers with guns on our streets" smear. I am confident that this US attack ad will do no more good than the Liberals' desperation-in-motion campaign did them last January.

We also agree that domestic campaigns are no excuse for blind attacks on a country's friends, allies and trading partners around the world. That applies whether the attack ad is coming from small-minded Republicans, or from federal Liberals who copy their tactics.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Some Hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Robert said...

How interesting... the standard Caonservative response is shaping up to be an attack on the Liberals. Go figure.

That's ok. Instead of 'Standing up for Canada,' the CPC can 'Stand up for the Republican party' all they want; Canadians will remember this (or be reminded) before the next election.

Jason Hickman said...

Robert: You mean QP can be used for partisan political purposes? The idea!

And by all means, do your best to "remind" Canadians - just like you did in Jan '06. You may not want to have the ad's posted on the party website till you get the kinks worked out, but otherwise, as they say back home, fill your boots...

Oliver said...

Do you honestly think the Canadian house of commons is the place to debate political rhetoric from an AD campaign in another country?

Do you not think that there are more relevant things to discuss with our government's precious time - stuff like, oh I don't know, say health care? Poverty? The environment? The ever shrinking Tim Horton's coffee cup?

Jeff said...

Well, I guess I'm going to have to use my supplemental now aren't I?

Mr. Speaker, I'm so glad to hear my honourable colleague on the government side is now ready to take the high road, although I see he's still not adverse to dropping a few smears along the way.

But since he brings up the last Canadian election, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure he also knows that the U.S. Ambassador went as far as commenting to the media about our election when he urged that the U.S. be left out of Canada's electoral process.

Since we know from where this government takes its lead, Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Foreign Affairs instruct our Ambassador to the U.S. to deliver the same request to President Bush?

Jason Hickman said...

Since when are witless and predictable responses by Conservatives "desired" by anyone?

Witless? No way. Predictable? I resemble that remark ...

Jason Hickman said...

In response to the Hon. Member's supplementary, I have to say that being recognized by a Liberal for the ability to "smear" is high praise indeed, considering the expertise of the opposition in that regard.

To deal with the substance of the Hon. Member's question, I prefer to let that wanna-be Congressman sink back into the obscurity from whence he came. I suspect that as time goes by, this attack ad will be more of an embarrassment to him than an accomplishment.

I would venture that no self-respecting Canadian - especially our men and women in uniform - took a hit to their self-esteem from an ad that was obviously conceived without inspiratoin and boradcast in desperation. Canadians are made of sterner stuff, Mr Speaker, and quite frankly, our Ambassador, and this government, have bigger fish to fry.

Jeff said...

Actually Ti, I think Jason did a reasonable impression of the sort of non-answer, Liberals suck routine the Cons follow in QP.

Jason, just fyi, the ad actually wasn't from the congressman, who has said he thinks it sucks and wants it pulled to. It is actually an ad designed and paid for by the RNC, hence the Bush reference.

Fish to fry, though? Rising on a point of personal privelege, I think that is somehow a sexist remark, and I demand an aplogy, Mr. Speaker! :)

Jason Hickman said...

Jeff: Thanks for the kind words, though I have enough conceit to think I re-distribute the usual spin that gets broadcast to our secret Tory decoder scanners every day from Party HQ with much more panache.

Fair point re: the RNC ad's. I thought it was mind-numbingly stupid, and ineffective to boot. Sure, the Pat Buchanans of the world get riled up about "Canuckistan", but will that *really* move a lot of votes? Everyone knows that those sorts of ad's work much better when they pick on the French ;)

As far as my thoughts on GOP, and how they're doing such a fine job of handing the House of Reps back to the Demo's, I'll just pimp my own blog's thoughts about that...

Jason Hickman said...

Oh, and I'd just add that Canada's New Government takes the contribution that fish have made very seriously, unlike the Liberals, whose anti-fish behavior reached new and more arrogant heights during their 13 years in etc, etc, etc ....

Olaf said...


You guys've got the language down pat.

Olaf said...

Oh, and by the way, if you ever want to see what a real question period should look like, go here.

I noted 5 things in particular:

a) The fact that the Prime Minister actually answers questions

b) The MPs jokes are actually funny

c) They don't shout each other down when attempting to answer a question

d) The speaker actually moderates the debate

e) Although things get heated, there is little feigned outrage

It does a great job of making our question period look like an absolute farce.

Jeff said...

Shane, sorry I missed your comment. I think the issue here that is important and worthy of discussion is our ally mocking our contribution to the war on terror, a contribution that has cost the lives of 43 Canadian soldiers.