View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Double Dose – Iggy Express dropping into communities all across Canada &

Cornwall ON – We have a double dose of Keith Beardsley’s View From the Hill for you today!

Iggy Express dropping into communities all across Canada

This summer will see the Iggy Express dropping into communities all across Canada. If we believe the Liberal spin this will be the most extensive and agenda packed summer tour of any Opposition Leader in history. That remains to be seen.

Lots of folks, in the media and especially from the Conservative ranks have had a few chuckles over this one and frequently dub it the “Boonie Tour.” However, for once I think the Liberals have the makings of a good idea.

We must keep in mind that so called “Boonie” tours have worked in the past. Think back to the Mulroney years and yes, even the Harper summer tours. While it may be a desperate gamble on the part of the Liberals to give their Leader a new image, it does have potential.

Just as their summer tour exposed Mulroney and Harper to thousands of Canadians, it also allowed regular folks to meet the leader one on one. Never discount the impact of a handshake or a few brief minutes of conversation. It will also give Ignatieff and opportunity to learn and practice the skills he needs to work a room full of people. It will allow him to practice speaking off the cuff and give him an opportunity to rally the troops and create some personal loyalty to him from the rank and file.

These tours also have a way of humbling a leader, who once out of the Ottawa bubble gets a real earful of what ordinary Canadians think about issues that are important to them and ones that they feel are being ignored by the Leader standing in front of them. I suspect Mr Ignatieff will very quickly loose his aloft, professorial tone of talking down to people as this tour proceeds from riding to riding across the country. Ordinary Canadians have a way of bringing leaders down to earth.

There are other aspects to this tour that have been completely overlooked. Ignatieff has no real campaign experience, plus his tour team needs to jell and learn how to handle him on tour. For one thing, Ignatieff will learn the importance of message control. We all know Ignatieff tends to get off message as the day goes on, sometimes ending up with conflicting messages by the end of the day. He will learn very quickly how to stick to a script.

Election campaigns are brutal, their demands on a leader physically and mentally demanding. Going into the next election, Ignatieff will be up against a seasoned pro by the name of Harper, a campaign veteran who has learnt how to pace himself and how to conduct himself as a campaign slowly winds its way to Election Day. This summer tour will be a campaign class room for both Ignatieff and his staff. My bet is he will come out the better for it. He will have an excellent understanding of what a real campaign takes out of him personally and as the Leader. He will know which staff to use on a campaign and which ones to leave behind in Ottawa. Plus Canadians will have told him first hand what they think he should be doing in Ottawa. These are important lessons to learn prior to pulling the plug on the government.

One of the first rules in politics is to never underestimate your opponent; Conservatives should be watching this tour very closely


Here we go again! More Taxpayers dollars wasted.

There is word that Opposition members want yet another Public Safety Committee meeting this time to review the G20 and police actions and the cost of security etc. They have forwarded this request in a letter to the Clerk of the Committee.

This smells of desperation on their part. As the heat wave envelopes Eastern Canada, they have to use every tactic they can to milk some press coverage this summer. What a shame that Canadians prefer to talk about the steep rise in gasoline prices due to the HST or the heat. Both are topics that deserve more attention, than some self-serving politicians trying to keep their mugs in front of the cameras.

Part of the routine will be the usual desk thumping, feigned outrage and in the end someone will move a motion to ask someone to resign. I wonder whose head they will ask for this time.  Is it the NDP’s turn to ask for a resignation or the Blocs? Perhaps the Liberals will jump in and take a turn; surely they must want someone to resign.

The Toronto Police Services Board is going to do a review of the Toronto Police Forces actions. Rather than wait to see what comes out there, our ever vigilant opposition MPs will hold their own special form of an inquiry… a kangaroo court comes to mind for some reason.

Once again the taxpayer will be paying to bring the MPs back, plus there will be plenty of other costs involved as well. No matter how they disguise it, this is not about serving the interests of Canadians; this is about trying to keep their names in the camera lights.

Good luck to them if they think Canadians will be turning on the television to watch their gong show.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.


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