Friday, January 26, 2007

The Conservatives are becoming desperate

That is only reason I can think of as to why Stephen Harper turned an official government apology to Mr. Arar into a partisan event.

I am not too pleased by what he did but Maxwell House and BCer in Toronto pretty much reflect my reaction so I have nothing to add in that sense.

However, something else that struck me about Mr. Harper's statement is how politically risky it is.

Invariably when a PM issues an official government apology to a person or a people it is a good news story that lasts about 12 hours. Most people read, see or hear it, they say "good, nice job PM", and then forget about it.

Considering the story of the apology broke last night and this morning the actual apology today is already a non-story. By taking the partisan swipe today Mr. Harper has extended the story for at least one more day but he has taken a great risk that it will spin out of his control.

The story of the apology itself is spent so there are really only two angles the MSM can take on this. They will either take up the angle Mr. Harper put on it or they will take up the angle of how he made an official government apology a partisan event, possibly digging up some of his and his caucus's statements about Mr. Arar when they were in opposition. Right now it is even money in which direction the MSM will jump.

If they jump in the second direction I mentioned it will be bad for the Conservatives and Mr. Harper personally. Right now Mr. Harper still enjoys good approval ratings even as his party's support sinks amongst Canadians. His little stunt today runs the risk of sending his personal approval ratings in the same direction as his party's and it risks further eroding that party support.

So the question becomes, why did Mr. Harper take such a big political risk today?

I think you just have to look at the poll in the Globe and Mail today to find a great deal of the answer. As I already stated the Conservatives are trending downwards with regard to popular support. Then in today's Globe we hear that the environment and climate change are the most important issues to Canadians. In addition, the same poll reveals that the Conservatives are dead last amongst the national parties with regard to who Canadians think are best suited to deal with these issues and that is after all of those nice environmental programs were announced last week.

So the Conservatives and Mr. Harper find themselves in the position of going into an imminent election where the most likely ballot question will be about the environment and climate change and where they are considered the least credible party to deal with these issues.

As well, the Conservatives know they have nothing to offer Canadians on these issues and they know that they will not change the perception of Canadians regarding the lack of credibility on these issues in just a couple of months. They know that is going to put a drag on their efforts to regain political support.

So they have to resort to the only thing they can do to neutralize this disadvantage, namely take every opportunity to strike at your political opponents. The Liberals did it under Mr. Martin. We all know that they did so because they were desperate, but it was all they had, and we all know how 'successful' was the strategy.

Conservatives are very fond of making the statement that the Conservatives have accomplished more in 1 year than the Liberals did in 13. It is a dubious claim. However, it took the Liberals 13 years to reach the level of desperation that the Conservatives seem to have reached in only 13 months.


Blogger knb said...

MSM seems only to be fawning thus far. I do hope someone is honest enough to dissect the apology for what it is.

On the other hand, I am pleased that Mr. Arar has found some comfort in what he has been provided. I do not want to diminish what he has long awaited and has received, that being an apology.

IMO, he deserved more, meaning it should not have been partisan, but I expect that he and his family are celebrating tonight.

January 26, 2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger Darren McEwen said...

I haven't seen one MSM take the partisan angle and I really doubt such will happen.

I didn't know anything about the swipe until I read the blogs today. I read about the apology online on MSM news sites.

January 26, 2007 8:19 PM  
Blogger knb said...

Darren, your blog kind of surprised me today.

Your explaination of how you found the news makes more sense.

I hope you find a clip somewhere. I didn't expect it, hoped for the best, but it was disgusting.

January 26, 2007 9:14 PM  
Blogger BBS said...

You're right, how shocking that a political party could politicize an apology.

January 27, 2007 12:08 AM  
Blogger wilson61 said...

Did you hear Arar's lawyer take a long hard swipe at MSM?
The media is FAR from guiltless (including Fife)in misleading 'everyone' on Arar. They has 'secret sources' and pasted guilt directly on Arar.

PMSH is not guiltless, Lib officials are not guiltless, RCMP are not guiltless.

Hopefully, they all gave Arar a personal apology.

January 27, 2007 12:25 AM  

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