Stéphane Dion wants to spend the summer selling the idea of a national carbon tax on fuels that damage the environment. His top advisors are telling him that he still has work to do convincing Canadians to buy what he is selling and the summer would give him time to craft a campaign narrative.
Yes, the summer barbeque circuit, didn't we hear the exact same thing last year?? Seriously, last spring, all the talk was about getting Dion out there, touring the country, establishing a dialogue with Canadians. A new wrinkle if this summer brings some policy, but basically the same theme.
The summer break is traditionally very hard for opposition leaders. The public glare of parliament gone, people distracted by vacation and such, nobody really paying attention, it's tough to get any press, nevermind establish a narrative. Concurrent with that struggle, the government is free of scrutiny, able to make the odd announcement, it really is their best season. With all that in mind, I'm hard pressed to see the summer break as savior, an environment that will improve our fortunes.
I would argue that the summer brings more risk than reward, as the recent problems of the government fade, we allow them the lion's share of coverage, all of it scripted. Quiet is the government's best friend, and I fully expect a LONG summer break, similar to last year. Dion can tour the country, but he doesn't do so alone, and he operates in a controlled environment.
It sounds great, bide our time, allow Dion to get out there and sell the Liberal vision. However, if history is our guide, Dion will mostly be forgotten in the summer, it will really amount to nothing. Nobody disputes that the government tends to get more negative coverage when parliament sits, nor does anybody dispute the challenges for the opposition during the summer break- those two realities make the summer of love scheme more wishful thinking, than sound strategy. Anything could happen, but I'm willing to bet things don't look any better, possibly worse, than they do at this exact moment, come the fall. The summer is rarely the friend of the opposition, certainly not the season to sell a vision, your audience is entirely distracted.