Friday, October 17, 2008

The Green Shaft

I was deadset against the Green Shift gambit from the outset.

It was precisely the type of core policy you don't advance while you're in opposition. It takes the power of government to tackle something of that magnitude.

You have to be able to present a cohesive, coherent policy that you can explain in detail and at length to a skeptical voting public. That takes money and resources, plenty of both. The Liberal opposition had neither the time nor the money to take that on.

Mr. Dion allowed the plan to be uncovered weeks before it was unveiled. That allowed Mr. Harper to exploit his party's powerful financial advantage to frame the policy in the public's mind and then kick it to the curb. By the time the Dion Liberals got around to presenting this policy the damage was done, the Green Shift was fatally gored.

It's not as though Mr. Dion didn't know better. In today's Toronto Star, Linda Dobeil writes that the party's own pollster warned Dion that the Green Shift was a vote loser seven weeks before it was unveiled:

"Despite the confidential warning to senior campaign officials April 29 from pollster Michael Marzolini, the Dion team pressed ahead and, with great fanfare, announced the plan on June 19.
Johanne SenĂ©cal, Dion's chief-of-staff, emailed campaign co-chairs – Senator David Smith, Mark Marissen and Nancy Girard – that more focus group testing was required in order to sell it properly.

"Tell (Marzolini) that SD (Dion) is putting his political career at risk here and that we would be insane to let him go forward without testing the messages," she wrote in a May 8 email.

The article makes clear that Dion gambled, and lost, not only his own political career but the electoral fortunes of the Liberal Party by ignoring these warnings.

What in God's name was he thinking?


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Anonymous said...

Did you use the image of the 'other' Green Shift on purpose? Cause that's not the Liberal Green Shift; that's the non-partisan company whose image you've got posted.

The Mound of Sound said...

I stand humbly corrected. thanks.