View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Senators Patrick Brazeau & Pamela Wallin Give NDP Attack Points in Question Period – February 14, 2013

Dr EvilCFN – Finally the NDP is making Question Period interesting to watch. And they have the Conservatives to thank for handing them the issues and the ammunition.

I am speaking about NDP attacks on the Senate and the ongoing issues faced by the Prime Minister as he deals with Patrick Brazeau, and the financial questions hanging over the heads of Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy and let’s not forget robo calls (round two).

These are good issues for the NDP. First because they don’t like the Senate and many would prefer it be abolished, and second because nothing wakes the public up faster than a scandal or the hint of one.

Parliamentary privilege being what it is, all sorts of innuendo can be built into an opposition party’s questions and for the most part the government is restricted to some pretty standard defensive lines. Voters will be hearing a lot of answers from the government side along the lines of “we are investigating”, or “inquiries are being made” or “all monies will be accounted for”. It reminds me a bit of Scott Brison, then the Liberal Public works minister, repeating day after day “Let Justice Gomery do his job”. There really isn’t much else that the Conservatives can say.

Public trust in politicians being what it is, I doubt the public will every fully believe those answers. Even if the Conservative senators are cleared, there will always be that little bit of nagging doubt in the public’s mind. It remains to be seen if this story has legs or if anything else will come out from the red chamber that will feed this issue.  Right now, the NDP don’t have enough to defeat this government, not even if an election were to be called tomorrow, nor is it enough to tarnish the Prime Minister’s image. Not yet at least, but each little bit of controversy contributes to eroding trust in the Conservative brand. Add in robo calls to the issue of alleged financial impropriety by senators and you have several negative issues piling on top of each other.

By focusing on these issues and chiseling away at the credibility of the party and both its image of being good financial managers and the honesty of its appointees, the NDP is doing what good opposition parties do- chip away, chip away, chip away. The NDP has no choice but to go for the long game right now as the next election is quite far away. But every bit of negative publicity hurts.

It is often said that governments defeat themselves and it is issues like these that accumulate over time and eventually ruin your brand. The NDP are doing exactly what we did to the Liberals. No party is invincible, especially when it’s your own side shooting you in the foot.

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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  1. Despite all this white noise the fact is when 2015 rolls around there will still only be three choices; the socialist with his caucus of kiddies and the man child who has no experience in leadership or really politics and the guy who will have done the job rather well for the past almost ten years. Canadians are not going to be fooled by this Senate stuff or the F35 imaginations of the opposition and some in the media. They will re-elect the guy with the experience that is needed to run the country in these tough times.

  2. u-sed-it hollinm!

  3. Interesting article. Wish I could say the same for the commentary! As if the Conservatives have deep backbenches? Or a leader who isn’t a known liar (“I’ll never appoint a Senator”, “I’d never make taxpayers pay for a personal hairdresser”, “I’m going to clean up politics”).

    Anyways… we’ll see come the next election.

  4. There are no morals, ethics, honesty, decency nor democracy left in this country, what-so-ever.

    Canada has become a, cesspool of corruption. Harper has quite a list of degenerates who, worked and still work for him.

    The Federal election, was nothing other than a farce. The robo-call election scam, has now spread to the Saskatchewan Tory’s.

    There are very few Politicians in this country, worth the powder to blow them to hell.

    Politicians are no longer about, what is good for the country, provinces, nor the people. Politicians are all about, their own selfish goals, and to hell with the citizens.

  5. Further evidence that Mr Harper lacks judgment. Not that he cares for evidence, or for anything so much as power. But Canadians should care deeply. This is a man, who with an ideology of negativity, division and spite is not so much running the country as running it into the ground.

  6. @ hollinm

    “They will re-elect the guy with the experience that is needed to run the country in these tough times.”

    Are you saying that Chretien is going to come out of retirement?

  7. End the problem with the senators once and for all by abolishing the senate completely, wasted tax dollars in my opinion. Would like to know in the current political arena how their continued existence is of benefit to Canadians. I believe that their absence would not negatively impact our democracy.
    While we are at it why not do away with the exceptional expense of the Governor General. This position was a monarchy appointment to be the ruler of the days eyes and ears in the Dominion. Since the purpose of the Governor General was to be the rulers representative then let the current monarchy pick up ALL EXPENSES FOR THE POSITION or eliminate it and move on Canada !

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