Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Harper Needs To Do

Unfortunately, I think Stephen Harper has boxed himself into a corner, he's alienated his base by having no conservative policies. The ones he has in his platform, like killing the long-gun registry are a re-hash of broken promises. Not only that, he has run away from standing up for individual rights like protecting the unborn. He hasn't provided a coherent vision of the direction he'd like to see the country go.

That being said, he is the best person to run the country. The opposition is in hysterics over the stock market. But let's face reality, the vast majority of Canadians don't trade directly in the stock market, and definitely aren't making money as day traders. Canadians have their money tied to long term investments, like their house and RRSPs.

So can Harper turn around the sagging polls? What should he do? First acknowledge the turbulence in the world markets. Second, remind Canadians we have been through challenging times before, this is nothing new. We went through a recessions in the early 80's, and early 90's. There is light at the end of the tunnel. This isn't permanent. Now is the time to pay off debts, don't sell your house, and keep your RRSPs until those brighter times come.

Dion today mentioned the "stellar" record of Paul Martin as finance minister, showing the liberals are the best ones to manage the economy. Harper needs to go out and say it was Free Trade led by conservatives that provided the prosperity to reduce the deficits, so liberals effectively had to do nothing. He can use that to further bolster his case that conservatives are the ones with foresight, thinking long-term into the future.

He also needs to continuously go on the attack now. Up until this point he has been far too soft on the opposition, thinking he can some how win over liberal women with his soft talk. With the economy the way it is, now is the time for him to show his decisive leadership. Harper need to remind people that Dion is not like Martin, he is like Trudeau - who ran our country's economy into the ground in the 1970's with low growth, high inflation, and high unemployment. Either Dion will have to run a deficit, or much like Jean Chretien, break every promise he made after getting elected. As for Jack Layton, he just needs to say, that while Jack Layton claims to speak for "working families", he will throw thousands of working families out of work by shutting down the oil sands in Alberta. Harper needs to say he's the only party leader not pitting region against region in an effect to gain votes.

Up until election day, repeat, repeat, repeat this message. Repetition builds belief.

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