While Harper was off addressing the BC legislature, talking to them about patriotism and national pride, and all things warm and fuzzy, his team back in the office has been saying things that are anything but.
Two days ago, it was accusing Libby Davies of planning the Insite protest in Vancouver, and then yesterday it accused one of Canada’s top bankers of being a Liberal shill, and when said top banker mused publicly that he wouldn’t mind paying slightly higher taxes in order to pay down the deficit – and that most others in his position wouldn’t either – the PMO’s smear machine dubbed it proof of a Liberal hidden agenda. Seriously? That’s not only a stretch, it seems to me that it could be grounds for legal action. But seriously – does the PMO not realise that by jumping over everything and declaring it to be something akin to enemy of the state whenever it’s something they don’t want to hear, it’s actually alienating Canadians who don’t like having being taken for morons. Also, it comes across as bullying, which is turning off all those women voters they’re trying to attract with things like their sudden deathbed conversion to a commitment to maternal and child health abroad.
Speaking of said commitment, it appears that the government has instructed their spokespeople to simply obfuscate with talking points whenever journalists ask questions. A CBC producer asked a couple of very specific questions on the issue (targeted funding and the UK’s commitment to providing safe abortions as part of maternal health), and was treated to a talking point that began with “This has nothing to do with abortion, gay marriage or capital punishment.” Come again? Where did gay marriage or capital punishment enter into the picture? Oh, wait – it didn’t. But the communications geniuses at the PMO decided to further obfuscate the issues at hand by introducing that little distraction. Like a reporter will say, “Ooh, shiny!” and forget what question they asked. Um, no. Sorry, try again, and at least pretend to answer the question.
And finally, it looks like the Liberal whip may be laying down conditions before agreeing to cancelling March and Easter breaks for MPs. Conditions like getting the committees reconstituted within three days of the House returning, ensuring that Ministers are available to said committees, and the designation of supply days (and hence, potential confidence votes) in March. Of course, the Liberals say openly that these aren’t set in stone, but one can always hope that they’ll at least pretend to hold the Conservatives’ feet to the fire on things like this.