John Williamson’s comment about “whities” and “brown people” was indeed hurtful, unnecessary, very divisive and let’s face it just plain dumb. Fortunately John had the good sense to immediately apologize, but the damage has been done.
Even with the coverage his apology received, this doesn’t take away the golden opportunity that he has handed to the Liberals and the NDP. When the next election rolls around you can almost hear the election ad featuring Williamson’s comments as both opposition parties try to wrest the support shown by various multicultural communities to the Conservatives away from them. If not displayed front and center on your TV screen, it will certainly be whispered in community centres across the country.
If you were a Conservative MP in a multicultural riding, thanks to Williamson your time in this election year would be better spent in your riding doing damage control and reinforcing your existing relationships than taking part in the gong show that is Question Period.
As of the writing of this note, I haven’t seen any comment from the Prime Minister that would denounce Williamson’s comments and stress the inclusive nature of the modern Conservative Party. That will also play into the hands of the opposition parties who can play the “he should have said, but didn’t” game.”
The Conservatives practice attack style politics and come the next election they will receive a dose of their own medicine on this one.
Political types tend to look at every action that takes place as a win or lose situation. This is especially true in today’s hyper-partisan political environment where each side regards the other parties as the enemy, not just as competitors for the hearts and minds of voters.
In this super charged environment capturing one of the other sides MPs and bringing them into your party is a big coup. One side celebrates and basks in the limelight of success and the losers go on the attack doing their best to savage the departing MP.
It’s no wonder then that Eve Adams has garnered so much publicity, generously helped by social media which allows so many people to join the debate in real time.
This type of environment and mind set helps to explain Trudeau’s hastily organized press conference to announce his most recent catch. In today’s fast paced environment the Liberals knew that the Conservative attack machine would pounce as soon as their suspicions about Adams departure could be confirmed. This is standard operating procedure. We did it to both Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach when they defected to Paul Martin. Journalists will remember the stream of messages flowing to them with various negative quotes, even before Martin and the MPs went before the cameras.
On the day of her departure to the Liberals, political staff and operatives would have been absorbed in trying to determine the winner and loser of that day’s event. However there is always an impact on others especially MPs who on one side feel let down and on the other side quietly debating amongst themselves the wisdom of their leader’s actions in taking in that MP. That internal debate will go on for some time and always has the potential to be divisive especially with party volunteers at the riding level.
Whatever her motives for joining the Liberals, Adams and Trudeau succeeded in generating a wave of publicity that helped to split the coverage of the Prime Minister’s cabinet shuffle. A good news day for the Conservatives became one of defence and attack while trying to stay on the good news message of the shuffle.
The real winner or loser will not be determined for some months. Eva Adams is a successful campaigner having won in three municipal elections as well as one federal contest. In spite of her recent missteps since her election, Adams was considered a real catch by the Conservatives in 2011 and was made a Parliamentary Secretary almost immediately. Not bad for a rookie MP.
Unlike Joe Oliver who as Finance minister has one of the toughest and most time consuming jobs in the country, Adams can now devote herself to organizing and preparing for both the nomination fight and the upcoming election. Rule one in politics is never underestimate your opponent and the second rule should be don’t believe your own rhetoric. While the Conservative attack machine successfully savaged Adams, she does know how to campaign. At the same time we cannot predict the mood of the country when the election happens. The real winner and loser didn’t happen last week, it will be determined months from now and Canadians will have a front row seat watching it all play out.
Following up on my feature story in the present edition of Power and Influence Magazine (Latest article is out https://twitter.com/PowInfluen…/…/557206278406033409/photo/1 ) I am pleased to announce that I will now be a regular columnist with Power and Influence magazine
The latest edition of Power and Influence magazine is out. I have a feature story in it. There is no direct link but this will take you to free download from the Hill Times.
Latest article is out https://twitter.com/PowInfluen…/…/557206278406033409/photo/1