Sunday, March 21, 2010

How do we overcome voter ignorance?

It seems many Liberals want to have an election on Parliamentary Supremacy. Such enthusiasm is based on the assumption that Canadians will embrace the argument Mr. Harper is defying Parliament so he needs to be kicked out of government for it.

While I agree with the sentiment it is not an argument I would consider to be a strong one.

One reason is the ignorance of Canadians with regards to the workings of their political system. The coalition argument last year should be a demonstration of that. What I would like to see is a poll asking respondents "What is the Prime Minister and the government responsible to in our system of government?"

I would bet a sizable chunk of money that a large majority of them would respond with "to the voters", instead of the right answer which is to Parliament.

Stephen Harper exploited that ignorance last year to good effect and I believe him and his people are coming up with another campaign to do it again. It will be based on lies, but it will be easy to understand and it will sound plausible. All he needs to do is neutralize this issue in the campaign but if he can turn it against the Opposition to carry him to victory that would be gravy.

The Opposition will have the much greater burden. They want to not only keep this issue front and centre in the campaign but they want to make certain that it fatally wounds the Conservatives in the process. They have the truth on their side but as I have stated in this space before progressives always have the facts on their side but they always seem to lose arguments to the right anyway because they just cannot seem to present the facts in a way that grabs the audience. We have seen that with gun control, health care and taxes to name just three issues. I have serious doubts they will be any more successful on such an esoteric concept as Parliamentary Supremacy.

A second reason, which helps explain the first one, is successive Prime Ministers have been marginalizing Parliament for the last 40 years or so. They have concentrated power more and more in the PMO and the Executive and they have reduced the average Parliamentarian to a barking seal.

Now the Opposition wants to fight an election asserting Parliamentary Supremacy?

That is what we are faced with. I have yet to see an argument put forward by Liberals, either at the official or grassroots level, that would be able to overcome voter ignorance and what will be a very concerted effort by Mr. Harper and the Conservatives to exploit that to their benefit.

Until that happens I just will not be as enthusiastic about fighting an election on this issue as many other Liberals seem to be.


Blogger wilson said...

If you watched Rae and Dewar on QP today, and as Oliver noted,
they are waffling on forcing contempt of Parliament and it's supremacy.....

March 21, 2010 1:00 PM  
Blogger RuralSandi said...

Oh Wilson, you just keep trying don't you.

Did you hear what was said? They have a process and until such time as the Speaker makes a decision, not much they can do.

March 21, 2010 1:05 PM  
Blogger wilson said...

Well listen to it here Sandi, Craig Oliver charactorizes the Rae and Dewar's comments around the 3 min mark.
They are waffling, looking for a way around pressing the parliament is supreme thingy.

March 21, 2010 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy to read~ thank you!........................................

March 22, 2010 1:01 PM  

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