Scare tactics won’t work this time around
The federal Liberals turned political dirty tricks into an art form during the regimes of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.
They didn’t simply go for innuendos in the 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2006 federal elections—Chretien, Martin and their strategists climbed right into the gutter.
Reform party leader Preston Manning was a political extremist, Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day was “scary” and a religious zealot, and Conservative leader Stephen Harper wanted to station troops in Canadian cities to keep us all under control.
There was much, much more—of course.
Health care in our nation would be only for the rich. The right-of-centre parties would sell out to the U.S.
Drive-by smears were just routine and no fabrication was too outlandish to hurl at Manning, Day or Harper and torpedo their electoral chances.
Except for the 2006 campaign, when Harper was able to eke out a minority despite Martin’s bluster.
What about the next election, expected as soon as spring?
Well, Stephane Dion’s Liberals won’t be able to suggest it will be a nightmare world if Harper’s Conservatives win again.
Harper and his team have played a straight game, responding to the needs of Canadians at many levels.
The GST will have been cut to 5%—the Chretien/Martin Liberals broke their promise on the GST for 13 long years—families with children under six-years-old are getting their $100 per child subsidy—a helping hand a re-elected Liberal government might well abolish—our relations with the U.S. have been rebuilt and we can get practically anything we want from Washington.
After years of seeing our military rusted out—with Martin doing an assault that even made Pierre Trudeau’s anti-military stance look moderate—the Harper government is pouring billions of dollars into re-equipping our armed services.
It’s obviously no coincidence public support for our men and women in uniform has climbed dramatically in the past year.
Harper’s team has placed a real emphasis on national security, too, making Day the public safety minister, and giving him and our security services the funds to properly safeguard our nation from Islamic terrorism.
Within the past year—the Conservatives’ first year in office—there has been not a single scandal within their government.
That contrasts dramatically with scandal-on-scandal that erupted during the Chretien-Martin regimes.
So how are the Liberal strategists going to try and tarnish the Harper government when the Opposition parties bring it down in a non-confidence vote?
Obviously, they will try because they will be so desperate to get back into government and at the patronage and pork barrelling troughs again.
One thrust will be faulting the Conservatives on an alleged lack of progress on protecting the environment and failing to impose the Kyoto Protocol regulations on the nation.
The faultline here is during the Chretien-Martin years the Liberals made very little—if any—progress on the Kyoto commitment with fossil fuel emissions rising dramatically compared to the U.S.
Let’s not forget Dion was at the environmental helm during many of those years. So the Liberals will have to rethink their strategy on many levels if they’re going to oust the Conservatives.
Let’s hope they don’t do it.