Liberal attack ads hit close to home

Just a quick blog this am on the new Liberal attack ads posted at:

http://www.liberal.ca/multimedia_e.aspx

First, I got a chance to see the ‘military’ ad before it was pulled early last night. I have to say, politics aside, that I was shocked by that advertisment. The others are par for the course, I guess, but the military one was so far over the top, I couldn’t believe it.

Now, you have to understand that I was living in the US when the Republicans ran ads linking serial killer Willie Horton to Michael Dukakis and that supposedly was the impetus for his ultimate defeat.

But the Liberals produced an ad that said Stephen Harper would put soldiers with guns on the streets of Canadian cities. The style and tone insinuated that a Conservative government would invoke martial law (a la Pinochet) in this country if elected.

Now it may be fair game to talk about being ‘pro-US’ or ‘anti-Kyoto’ but to suggest that a government in Canada would brutalize its own citizens without any context to the comments is…. What is it? I have no words.

But my main point is around the ad about Atlantic Canada. It states that Stephen Harper thinks we are lazy and defeatist and that the Liberals ‘love’ Atlantic Canada (their word not mine).

Now, I have two points about this ad:

1) For better or worse, strong opinions like this should be coming from inside the region not outside. So when Frank McKenna gave a similar speech, it was okay to most people but when an outsider says it – well, you all know how proud Maritimers are. So, this is a black mark on Harper but if you dredge up all the comments that leaders make over the years you can find a lot of crazy stuff. Somebody sent me the birthday video where Paul Martin is praising Alfonso Gagliano for being the ‘leader’ of the Liberals in Quebec and speaking in absolutely glowing terms about the man he would later crucify. The point is that these guys, like everyone else, can change their mind.

2) Do the Liberals ‘love’ Atlantic Canada? I have a lot of good friends that are die hard Liberals. I think that most Liberal politicians have tried hard in this region. I think the Atlantic Causus really made efforts to get Atlantic Canada on the national priorities list. But the facts are the facts. Under the current Liberal administration (federally), Atlantic Canada’s economy has fared worse than at any time since the Great Depression in the 1930s. New Brunswick, for example, has actualy gone into population decline and many of our rural communities are collapsing. Throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, New Brunswick faced challenges, no doubt, but at least at the population level there was incremental growth (limited). Now, we are in a population decline and there is limited serious effort to stop it.

An international organization last week called the subsidization of Canada’s aerospace sector a model for state-sponsored industry growth. However, none of that growth came in New Brunswick. Other experts have stated that the government’s support of the auto sector is one of the most comprehensive in the world. Yet, none of that growth came in New Brunswick. Canada continues to have a very aggressive agriculture subsidy system but that has limited impact in New Brunswick. The new softwood lumber bailout package? Again, limited impact in New Brunswick. How about immigrant investors? Nope. Look to BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec (and to lesser extent Manitoba).

In fact, I would ask somebody to please tell me which industry sector in New Brunswick that the federal government has supported to the level that it has become a major driver of the economy? I guess back in the 1990s they were supportive of the call centre sector (indirectly through the REDA agreement).

Maybe tourism? Hmmm.

Maybe someday, international organizations will look at New Brunswick and say that government and community leaders banded together to create significant growth in sector xx or sector yy.

But not today. Not over the past 12 years.

So the Liberals may ‘love’ Atlantic Canada. I’ll let others debate that. But their version of ‘love’ doesn’t seem to be tied to economic development.

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0 Responses to Liberal attack ads hit close to home

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think this is as far fetched as it seems, in fact I’m GLAD somebody mentioned it. The conservatives are heavily linked to right wing evangelicals in the states (actually, both parties have links now). Harper has shown that he wouldn’t have thought twice about joining the US in a completely illegal war censured by the entire world. Of course it wouldn’t be HIM fighting, and that doesn’t even get into the moral issues of the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi’s.

    Take a trip NOW through the states and you’ll see cities already living under martial law. Just ask any South American or European about that. Germany and Italy were both parliamentary democracies in the thirties, the idea that somehow Canada is a special case and bad things that happen elsewhere can’t happen here is a dangerous one to have-just ask a native.

    There’s a reason that your hero Mr. Cockburn said “I don’t think ANY country should have guns only in the hands of the government” when he publicly opposed the gun registry. I say ‘amen’ to that. Travel the world and you’ll quickly see why-it’s completely untrue that ‘people’ are warlike and states have to ‘keep them in check’, if anything, the opposite is true.

    As for home, the conservatives are even more of a ‘law and order’ party than the liberals. Ironically, it was LIBERAL legislation that turned Canada into a ‘martial law’ country. It is now perfectly legal under certain circumstances for the military to be called in without parliamentary approval-all thanks to the liberals.

    But clearly Atlantic Canada doesn’t fare well with either party, and with so few seats makes the whole practise almost pointless.

    I’d also disagree about how local members ‘try their best’. Most have ALWAYS voted on party lines, particularly Andy Scott who most benefits from the best assignments (does one have to do with the other?) The bloc and NDP both presented very reasonable legislation which the NB liberals AND the conservative voted against.

    Ironically, while conservatives claim to be the strongest supporters of ‘free votes’ they are the party which stands out as having virtually NO dissenting votes-ever. For those who argue the party line, it should be pointed out that MANY legislations saw some liberals voting against their party, why they don’t tout this statistic is beyond me. You can just go to ‘howdtheyvote.ca’ and see.

    In fact the local liberals voted against legislation that would bring some of that 48 billion surplus back to the unemployed, and say what you want about ED, at least EI is federal money and puts more change in some peoples pockets. Fortunately, many people are aware of this, I don’t know ANY liberal voter who doesn’t either vote for their local candidate or ‘against the conservatives’. That says a lot about our ‘democracy’.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am a volunteer with the local Public broadcaster Rogers Television, and Rogers TV, has produced and pre-taped the Electoral debates for Moncton, Dieppe & Riverview.

    Unfortunately… I have to say it was disappointing. No one really offered convincing answers to questions posed. Sure the standard “what would you do for business in your area” was asked but the answers as per the norm turned into feeble sales pitches and attacks on their peers comments.

    The green party’s candidate was so unconvincing and unrealistic in her goals and approach (in many key areas); it makes me wonder if they have a chance at all.

    The liberal candidate Brian Murphy offered a slightly more convincing run, but mostly re-iterated his position as the former (and implied) one of the best Mayors in Moncton.

    The conservative and NDP parties offered the same old- plagiarizing their Federal mottos not really offering anything that impacted Local very well. Though NDP was slightly more convincing then the other.

    The one that seemed interesting though probably not enough to be successful, was the fellow from the Canadian Action Party. He was very direct in his pitch to “Give the Wealth back to the People” (paraphrasing)

    The full debates are airing on the 16th on Rogers TV channels 9/10 on Rogers Cable. See for your self, and wonder if any party really has anything going for “US” in Atlantic Canada.

  3. David Campbell says:

    Thanks for that tip. I’ll be watching. It would be very refreshing to have at least one party put forward an innovative plan for economic revival (I think you know what my take on that is).

  4. scott says:

    David,

    I am not a huge fan of Stephen Harper, since he did not give any valid reason when he refused to sign the nomination papers of my good friend and former co-worker Mike Green back in 2003.(Nepean-Carleton) But dems da breaks in this bloodsport they call federal politics.

    I digress, I think that he[Harper] has realized that he has made many errors in judgement when it comes to Atlantic Canada, especially in the form of comments. But the one thing that I can say is that he has relayed a strong message for economy renewal and revival for this region. He pledged, on an interview with CTV’s Steve Murphy, that he would do everything in his power to attract more foreign investment to the region. I think since he is a very smart economist, he understands the failures of this region economically. Not only that, he understands the regions woes as his father grew up in the areas of Sackville and Moncton(our backyard). He knows why maritimers are in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto for the same reason we do, because he has lived or has roots in both regions. It is the same reason that I frown everytime I hear someone buying into that “we can’t” defeatist attitude that has grown so large over the years. Speaking from my humbled experience, I know we can because I lived it somewhere else and let me tell you it is not that hard. I am starting to pontificate so I will leave you with what I believe is should be our motto for the 21st century. Here it is:

    So let’s start today for the future of tomorrow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I wasn’t aware there were Canadian Action Party nominees in New Brunswick. They have quite an unusual, practically socialist agenda. For the greens I have often noticed that local candidates don’t even know their own party’s platform. And to be fair because the Green Party is such a loose group of environmental groups their policies change more often than other parties.

    When there are only two parties to choose from and one has been ignoring the region for over a decade, it seems another sad commentary that the only option is one who has publicly insulted you in the past. It certainly isn’t beyond Harper to ‘attend to the east’, but we have to remember that his base is in the west and they are long overdue, and if he gets in in Ontario he’ll have an awful lot of new supporters to keep happy. All the maritimes can do is hope there is plenty to go around, which doesn’t seem to be the case, but really it takes far less to make a big impact on a small population than a large one.

  6. David Campbell says:

    Scott, if Stephen Harper actually mentioned attracting industry to Atlantic Canada, they he is worth a second look. I won’t hold his culture of defeat comment against him 🙂 I don’t hold grudges. Al Hogan is now my new best friend as he is actually publishing Alec Bruce’s stuff.

  7. David Campbell says:

    When I said ‘innovative’, I had hoped for ideas that have actually worked somewhere else. I haven’t seen Canadian Action Party style policies actually lead to strong economic development. But I am no expert on the CAP.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It depends what you mean by ‘work’ and ‘innovative’. Cuba is actually a pretty decent place considering its been under an embargo for forty years. Yet they still manage univeral healthcare and far better educational prospects than Canada.

    However, CAP’s policies are analogous to the scandinavian countries whose currencis are tightly regulated by their government and most of their infrastructure is subsidized by their central bank.

    So clearly their policies CAN work, whether they’d work in Canada is another story. They want to yank us right out of NAFTA and completely fund infrastructure development through the Bank of Canada such as what happened during the second world war (which again shows that it ‘can’ work).

    Problem is that the currency would plummet which means essentially a socialist revolution since the entire economy would need to be commandeered. Personally I think that as things continue the way they are that may be exactly what people start demanding-as mentioned above, that Canada’s wealth be used to benefit the population, not the top 10%.

    I completely discounted them, however, til I did some research and discovered that the Bank of Canada DOES do a fair bit of ‘economic development’ through the creation of new money. THe Saskatchewan Minister of Finance sent a request asking for investment in some Saskatchewan initiatives and of course the usual response is “we can’t prop up the dollar or else we’ll get inflation”. However the Minister discovered that ‘pet projects’ WERE getting ‘propped up’ by the creation of ‘new money’, so the REAL question becomes-how much new money can they create without the risk of inflation? And is the whole ‘creation of new money’ argument just a big scam.