Justin's not so positive acceptance speech
Apr 14, 2013

Justin's not so positive acceptance speech

The full text of Justin Trudeau's speech can be found here. I wanted to highlight the section talking about the Conservatives and Stephen Harper. It is the first major section after thank you's, and while there are many positive things that come after this lengthy section, the gloves sure came off quickly. Note that this isn't substantive policy criticism, it is presenting a caricature of Steven Harper and the Conservatives to vilify.

At least he didn't do what Bob Rae did, and comment that the only two pieces of furniture in Sussex was a throne and a mirror. Okay, okay, I admit it is pretty funny. But it isn't positive politics, and we can't pretend it is, even if the way one does negative political attacks is to attack the negative politics attacks of the other side.

Canadians want better leadership and a better government. Canadians want to be led, not ruled. 
They are tired of the negative, divisive politics of Mr. Harper’s Conservatives. And unimpressed that the NDP, under Mr. Mulcair, have decided that if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.
We are fed up with leaders who pit Canadians against Canadians. West against East, rich against poor, Quebec against the rest of the country, urban against rural.
Canadians are looking to us, my friends. They are giving us a chance, hopeful that the party of Wilfrid Laurier can rediscover its sunny ways.
Hopeful that positive politics has a fighting chance against the steady barrage of negativity that you and I both know is coming soon to TV screens across Canada. The phone messages, our volunteers tell us, have already started.
To adapt a sentiment from the great American President Franklin D. Roosevelt: never before in this country have the forces of negativity, cynicism and fear been so united in their hostility toward one candidate.
The Conservative Party will now do what it does. It will try to spread fear. It will sow cynicism. It will attempt to convince Canadians that we should be satisfied with what we have now.
For at the heart of their unambitious agenda is the idea that “better” is just not possible.
That to hope for something more from our politics and our leaders, more humanity, more transparency, more compassion, is naive and inevitably, will lead to disappointment.
And they will promote that divisive and destructive idea with passionate intensity. They will do so for a simple reason…
They are afraid. 
But… And I want to make this perfectly clear… My fellow Canadians, it is not my leadership that Mr. Harper and his party fear.
It’s yours.
There is nothing that these Conservatives fear more than an engaged and informed Canadian citizen.

Stephen Harper, you see, is a cynical, unambitious, divisive coward, content to promote the destructive path of pessimism while quivering in his boots at the threat of Justin, and responding with unrelenting negativity.

I have no lost love for Stephen Harper, any reader of my blog knows that. And I certainly acknowledge the efficacy of negative ads in politics; I don't pretend to believe as a deontological precept that one should not be negative. But we should be honest about it, and not pretend that what is clearly negative character attacks are anything but. I had presumed we were going to have to wait till Question Period to see it quite so poignantly, not the first substantive section of his acceptance speech. The Liberals may choose, perhaps for financial reasons, not to run negative attack ads for a while. However, in everything else, there is no reason to expect anything else but the above.

Thoughts on this post? Comment below!

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greencanada said...

Well I feel a lot better now that I know exactly what not going negative means. It means carefully going negative, lol. Honestly, how could anybody take a promise not to say negative things seriously.

Anonymous said...

It means talking out both sides of your mouth it appears. And making stuff up about Mulcair.

bazie said...

Ya I focused on the Harper stuff, but what on earth was that sentence about Mulcair about. Unless he is attending a very different parliament than the one I follow, Mulcair is hardly "joining" the Cons.

Anonymous said...

Thrown? I believe it's "throne"

Anonymous said...

This is what worries me about JT. It was grossly unfair of him to accuse Mulcair about joining the Cons.

Anybody who has watched QP, and has half a brain, knows that Mulcair and the NDP had been going after Harper, in some cases, even harder than Rae and the Libs. It would appear that JT has the soft Cons votes locked up judging from the endorsements he has obtained from Mulroney and even Casey. However, he clearly needs the soft NDP votes to win.

If JT thinks he can win over the soft NDP votes this way, I think he is sadly mistaken and we are in for more years of Harper due to vote splitting.

bazie said...

I also think it is just a really ineffective attack. There is a latent belief, I think, that Harper is divisive, negative, and controlling. So even if it is hardly substantive, but alluding to these things JT at least dings a light about existing memes. But the "NDP joins con" meme just doesn't exist. It isn't an attack that makes sense or resonates with NDP supporters who might go to the Libs. It is a baseless attack that doesn't even work.

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