Words, spoken with the elegance of a Swan Lake Ballet that come back to haunt the speakers like the shadow of yesterdays ghosts. I speak of the Throne Speech and the fallout from its aftermath.
The Liberals filled the verbal recycle bin with old promises they dusted off from their shelf of abandoned promises, things such as a national childcare program. The old promise of reforms to the positions in Indigenous issues, addressing climate change, the usual icing on the skeleton of the political cake.
They promised to continue assistance to those thrown out of work by Covid-19. What they didn’t say is it’s possible less people will qualify and those that do might well get less. I say might because we haven’t seen the details yet. Remember a Throne Speech is a collection of crafted words. Then again the reactive responses are crafted slight of hand as well. Lets review the party positions in relation to where they stand in the current mind of Canadians. The latest polling suggests the Tories might want to hold their fire for a bit yet.
The Conservatives still appear to be whining and pushing the plight of big oil. It plays well for the west. It also plays for the Liberals in Quebec. The truth is some of the positions taken by the Conservatives have merit but there has to be more than pining for change, you have to shorten the laundry list and propose some constructive changes the masses find acceptable. The Bloc was critical but they addressed the issue of Provincial jurisdiction. They raised objections and complained but it was relevant, not whining and rehashing old issues.
While the conservatives advocated for oil and the energy sector, the NDP also objected but they took a different tact. First they pointed out the shortfalls in government policy, then used what leverage they have to get a better deal for average people.
The Conservatives rejected the ideas out of hand. The NDP brokered a more positive outcome. That is the perception. In politics perception is what the game is about. Yes politics is a sport and a blood sport at that. When it comes to issues, it is important to be seen to be on the right side of history even if you don’t want to be on that side of history. Let me be cynical for a second, it is not called hypocrisy it’s called politics. and the liberals are masters of the game. That being said what is really going on? The latest poll as of September 9th give a glimpse of the ground rules. The Liberals are at 35% down a bit. Conservatives 31% up a bit. NDP just shy of 18% up. The Bloc 7%, down the Greens at 6% down. So here is my take of where the pawns are on the chess board.
The Liberals were ready to go except the second wave of the Corona Virus is starting to creep up. The NDP is in financial restraint, they don’t want an election. They positioned themselves as the deal makers. The Conservative Leader tested positive for Covid-19 and they were free to bash the government because they figured the NDP would support the Liberals. In a time of national uncertainty had the Conservatives supported the Liberals short term the perception in the public eye would have been more positive, especially in vote rich Central Canada.
As it stands now the Conservatives look like they don’t support working people in a time of workplace uncertainty which will leave the door open to criticism. You know opposed to Medicare years ago, opposed to pensions, employment insurance, opposed to family allowance whether justified or not, now opposed to paid leave and even the hint of opposed to Pharmacare. I can hear voices saying the latest, may not be true. That doesn’t matter they rejected the entire throne speech, remember it is perception that counts. If the Conservatives were smart they would have been silent or critical of parts of the direction the Liberals are going. Instead they could find themselves a long term opposition party.
Remember working people want certainty and a sense of security, implying restraint may be prudent but it is also political suicide at the moment.
The truth is in politics words are pictures on the collective mind set. Throne Speeches come and go, but the perceptions by virtue of reaction to them are the images that remain. Often as not the Conservatives and to some extent the NDP paint themselves into a corner allowing the Liberals to whisper checkmate.