Monday, June 07, 2010

Re-frame the question: Who will make Parliament work?

Interesting watching the fall-out of Ignatieff's clarification on coalitions, and the predictable Conservative response of fear mongering and doomsday prophecies.

In the latest return-fire from unnamed Iggy spokesthingy, I see the seeds of a promising way to turn the narrative on this and reframe it on better ground:
The Ignatieff official says that their plan – “repeated many times” – is to form a Liberal government.
“So there you go. We’ll run to form a Liberal government. And we will work with everybody – Conservatives included – to make Parliament a place where respectful and meaningful debates happen, not the disgraceful Bairdesque circus Conservatives seem to love so much.”
I like where this is going. We need to pivot back to prorogation and the Conservative abuse of Parliament, an issue the Conservatives took a serious hit on.

We're about making Parliament work, and the Conservatives aren't. Unlike the Conservatives, you can trust the Liberals to respect the will of Canadians and to work with members of all parties in the best interests of Canadians. The Conservatives have shown they're unwilling to respect the democratic will of Canadians -- they've locked the doors of Parliament twice to avoid the accountability of the people's representatives -- and believe Parliament is just a nuisance to be swept aside at a whim. We believe differently. That's why we need to elect a strong Liberal government. Because you can count on us to respect you votes and be ready to work with anyone -- even the Conservatives -- for the betterment of Canada.

Something like that. But shorter. Flip the issue around and re-frame it.

Since I slagged him the other day, I'll say Scott Reid had it right on Power and Politics tonight. We need to stop being so dammed frightened of Conservative talking points, or what they'll say in their scary ads. Man-up, get on the offence and take it to them for a change.

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Steve V said...

Couldn't agree more. We need to turn this question back to a discussion about Harper's failure to unite people, frame him as the divider and Ignatieff as the one who can reach out. Ignatieff isn't the career politician, he isn't the hyper partisan, we can actually use his past to advantage here, he can share Canadians disgust at how Parliament operates, how he wants to make it work, in a way we can be proud of.

I'm actually excited about where this is going, people are growing accustomed to this coalition talk, it's less of a boogeyman everyday, we just need to move from defence to offence and place Harper as the real obstacle to good government. The buck stops there, he's lead the most divisive Parliament in our history, Ignatieff can play the "unifer". That word might just be the most important one he's uttered to date, it will resonate, it speaks to the mood.

Gayle said...

"...people are growing accustomed to this coalition talk, it's less of a boogeyman everyday, we just need to move from defence to offence and place Harper as the real obstacle to good government."

Exactly. There is no reason why the issue of a coalition should not be dealt with straight on, and in the way Ignatieff has done.

People are getting sick and tired of the game playing. The liberals just have to make people hold the conservatives responsible for those games.

Mark said...

I couldn't quite understand your post from the other day. You slagged Scott's column and then more or less agreed with all that it had to say. Glad to see your focus is where it should be: bringing our numbers up and subjecting Harper to the kind of scrutiny that will - in time - bring his down.

Much preferable to the Chicken Little types who are getting up every morning with a new theory on how we're doomed and must therefore follow whatever desperate path to the government teat looks good this week.

MississaugaPeter said...

Re-framing the question is much easier with buckets full of cash or an MSM that is willing to report your beliefs.

If this what we will run on, let's do that. But let's shout it from the mountain tops until all hear and understand it. Half-assed messages are the easiest to attack.

Jeff said...

Mark, Scott had wanted a post-election coalition ruled out. I did not.

He also seemed under the impression all we need to do is wait for Harper to fail, and we'll reclaim our rightful place in the corridors of power. I think that's the kind of dumb-ass thinking that has contributed to our continual slide into mediocrity.

Mark said...

How could you possibly draw either of those two conclusions from the piece?

Here's a direct quote on your first point:

"Post-electoral coalitions of a formal and informal nature have populated minority parliaments frequently over the past century and Liberals have often taken part. Consideration of such coalitions should definitely be maintained in future.

The idea of a coalition formed in advance of an election is quite a separate matter."

I couldn't find anything in the piece that remortely suggested we sit around and "wait for Harper to fail", but I did see this:

"There is an obvious and superior alternative: Do better. Improve the effort, sharpen the message and bring the fight."

Maybe you should have spent a little more time reading the article and a little less attacking the author.

Jeff said...

Perhaps, Mark, he could try making his point more clearly. He spends 600 words trashing the very idea of any kind of coalition, sticks in one line about how maybe they're not so bad (just shut up about them, apparently) and then ends with don't worry, be happy. While I agree with some of his points, I disagree with more of them, including some of what he said last night on P&P.

I don't have a problem with Scott Reid. I'm sure he's a swell guy. But I have a problem with the sort of Liberal mentality that Scott has come to embody, rightly or wrongly, as he did on P&P (and Ian Davey did in his clueless op/ed): that we're Canada's natural governing party, that our spell out of power is an aberration, that we don't need to do any deep-thinking besides a little better strategic execution, and because god loves us we'll be back in power once Canadians wake-up and realize Stephen Harper us evil.

I exaggerate for emphasis, but the point is this is the old thinking that has dominated in this party for far too long, it's delusional, and we'll continue to spiral into the abyss until we wake the hell up.