Consider This
Politics, Life and Journalism in Northumberland County, Ontario

Not so great expectations

First published: June 18, 2004

Northumberland Conservative Candidate Doug Galt blasted the Liberal advertising campaign this past week calling it a American-style attack ad.

“If they have nothing better to offer than this type of backstabbing rhetoric then surely Canadians will get he message that we should be demanding for a better Canada.
The federal Liberal campaign launched a series of strong, focused ads going after the Conservatives. Liberal Paul Macklin responded by saying the campaign ads reflect “a widespread curiosity about where the new Conservative Party actually stands on many issues. He complains Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is vague.

If this is the level of debate we get from these two, it is pretty sad. Galt’s response to the advertisements does not deserve to be news. What did anyone expect? We all knew it was going to be a nasty campaign. No surprises here. He didn’t like them. Gasp!

This really wasn’t news. He did what he was expected. So what? What’s next?

The Chamber of Commerce must cringe after the debate debacle at Northumberland Mall last week. Yike, people walking by without anyone interested in what’s going on. It was not hard to imagine the enthusiasm around the boardroom table when the idea was suggested.

“Hey, let’s do the debate in the mall. The mall is the modern Acropolis where the plebes meet. It will be so democratic. Every day people walking through will stop and participate.”

Nope. But a nice try.

Only to make things worse, the format also came under criticism. The standard format for these events drew fire from Rick Arnold, a well-know voice of the left in the community. Usually, the chamber has everyone write down questions, and then these are melded together thematically. That way, questions aren’t repeated and time wasted.

Arnold blasted away at the chamber saying his questions, which are always unique and focused, didn’t get asked. Rather than a melding, he claims censorship was at work.

Tsk, tsk.

It gets one wondering where the forum for this kind of questioning takes place. What do we do? The campaigns seem to set the agenda rather than the community. The chamber cannot be blamed, since it was doing what we expect it to do. Run a debate as simply and cleanly as possible. It is like Galt’s response, we should not expect anything else.

But it does raise a good question. What do we do with the voices that do not fit?

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