View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Where does the buck stop? Cornwall Ontario – August 10, 2010

Cornwall ON – Two recent polls have showed the Liberals closing the gap between themselves and the Conservatives. Polls are always interesting of course but become more important if over time they show a distinct trend emerging.  So far we haven’t seen that.   Now if the polls in September are still showing the same numbers or worse ones for the Tories, then they have real problems.

Conservatives can take some heart in knowing that these numbers are the result of self-inflicted wounds and not due to anything the Liberals have put together. From the fake lake to the G8/G20 costs, to the census issue the Conservative communication strategy has been weak and lacking substance.

PMO controls all communications across the government. They dictate which ministers will be going out to speak on issues, when they go out and for the most part what they are going to say. PMO also approves all of the ministerial communication plans.

Remember those MEPs? Perhaps PMO Communications should be paying more attention to them too. This summer PMO failed to anticipate and plan for the backlash on G8/G20 expenses. Their answers on the fake lake were inadequate and on the census issue they have been playing catch-up from day one.

With the Prime Minister back in the public eye after a well earned rest, expect PMO communications to improve.  In the meantime, they have lost some ground that with hard work they should be able to regain against a weak opposition. The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff has to shoulder some of the blame as he is ultimately responsible for what PMO does and what it produces. Does the buck stop on his desk or will it stop somewhere down the line with someone more junior. It will be interesting to watch and see.

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.

Cafe Connectionz Cornwall DBIA

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