Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Just Like New

How long is a government "new"? Harper's speech today was riddled with references to "Canada's new government". The government isn't new, but Harper's terminology is no accident. We're just getting started, things are different now, not the old, give us a chance. It's actually pretty astute to use the reference, although it increasingly looks ridiculous. Canada's new government, prepares to deliver its second budget, just sounds odd.

New implies possibility, which is attractive. Constantly hammering the reference creates the impression that any definitive criticism is pre-mature, almost unfair. How can you pan something new, give it a chance would you, don't be so cynical. I expect Harper to continue to use the reference during the next election campaign. Do you want the old, bruised Liberals or the new, shiny Conservatives?

I have to give Harper credit, he does an excellent job of framing the picture, despite the reality. Here we are in year two, and the government has delivered nothing on GHG's, yet we are presented with anticipation. We will do this... Masking the failure with the future, as though the last year is merely a precursor to the actual governing part.

I would love to hear a reporter call the Conservatives on the "new" reference, just to hear the response. As an aside, the Juno award nominations are out, and the Conservatives are up for "Best New Government". Harper can sure sing a tune.


Olaf said...


You speak the truth. But it is ridiculous. A number of reporters have called the CPC on the "new" label, but just not to their face. Many commenters mock it, at this point, as they should. I have a feeling that were a reporter to ask about it at a press conference, they'd be forever banished.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think the whole new government thing is stupid. The reality is Canada's government is a continuous organization regardless of which party is in power. A company does call itself a new executive when CEOs change.

I liked the fact the Liberals left the partisan politics to their own party websites and sections of the Liberal party, but kept it out of the government. The Tories should do the same thing. Parties represent those that support the party so they can be partisan, but the government should represent all Canadians regardless of who they voted for.

ottlib said...

When does the new year become an old year?

When does a new government become an old government?

These questions have been confusing saints and philosophers for over 3000 years.

So do not expect Stephen Harper or the boneheads in the media to figure it out.

Canadian Tar Heel said...


Nice marketing with the "new" label, eh? I swear the Conservative PR campaigns have taken pointers from Luntz himself. *hint of sarcasm*

I'm not sure that the media will identify, on the record, the convenience of the CPC's label for themselves. After all, the reader/viewer is supposed to decide for themselves. Journalists are only there to repeat what's said. Making assessments as to what's true and false is not up to them. So, we're relegated to a he-said, she-said press corps. Sounds like high school to me.

Steve V said...

Still waiting for the "brand" post :)

Anonymous said...

When does new become old?

In the hyperbolic world of advertising, branding, marketing and PR that Harper's Conservatives seem to have embraced, there is no such word as old. Each product is, and can only be, forever and ever, new. Sorry, I of course meant NEW!!!

After a product has been NEW!!! for some length of time (the exact duration determined by learned swamis of great wisdom and an Eight-Ball), it is re-launched as... yes...

NEW and IMPROVED!!! Examine your current brand of laundry detergent and see if I'm not right.

After another length of time and another session with the Eight-Ball, the product is launched yet again as... as... NEWER and MORE IMPROVED!!!

So... soon, very soon says my swami, we will be treated, nay, dazzled, with Canada's New and Improved Government, now with greater Get-things-done-icity!!!


Steve V said...

The hardly been used government!

Anonymous said...

Likely the New Glide government, with new and improved greasing and anti-bacterial properties. All the rage in certain places, showcasing at the next Gay Pride Parade.

Scotian said...

What else would you expect from a leader that uses Frank Luntz's experience and tools, hmmm? As I have noted before the similarities between the GOP message control and framing and that of the CPC is striking, and this is just another example of it IMHO.