Tuesday, January 12, 2010

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN - HARPER SITS DOWN WITH MANSBRIDGE

Setting aside (as we always do) any debate about the issue of proroguing – i.e., shutting down – Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a lightning rod since Christmas for all manner of editorial and pundit condemnation for the move, so what to do in response? During the holidays, Harper left it to surrogates like his Press Secretary to deliver the counter-spin. But this week, a strategic decision was made to do one (unless there was any other that I missed), high profile, one-on-one interview to talk about the Parliamentary measure and a range of other issues. The CBC’s Peter Mansbridge got the nod, and I think Harper did quite a fine job both in responding to questions on proroguing and new air security measures – while also having a clear message focus on how economic issues are number one for his government, and even squeezing in a shot on the long-gun registry issue in the context of the “wrong way” to go about dealing with potential dangers vis a vis terrorism. Overall, Harper came off as engaged in the tough issues and willing to talk about them – a stark contrast to the oft-made description of him as one who loathes any such interviews. Doing one appearance, taped in his own office, was a smart strategic move, and the execution was solid.

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