Prorogation has landed on the public with a muted thud. What that represents is an inability of the opposition parties to effectively grab the media’s attention. What we got was more of the same rhetoric one expects to hear from opposition quarters. A static email and phone campaign targeting Queen’s Park isn’t compelling. One needs to be creative to capture a busy mind.
I hate to say it, but most people view politicians as men and women who get paid pretty well to achieve a whole lot of nothing. Having a campaign to call MPPs ‘back to work’ is a doomed message. Most people believe a politician’s place is in the constituency troubleshooting voters’ real life problems.
Here’s how I would advise a political leader on raising the profile of the complicated and dull prorogation issue:
My first event would take place at 11 a.m. the day following McGuinty’s stunning announcement. Members of the press have been burning the midnight oil. They’re tired, hungry, probably fuelled on coffee and junk food.
My media event would be a perogi, er, ‘proroguee’ party, for the media – something a little different. I’d find volunteers in the vibrant Polish community to prepare some of the most mouth-watering varieties of perogi you’ve ever tasted.
I’d have a body of real people there bolstering my leader’s point: the senior, the student activist, those who were counting on now-defunct pieces of legislation.
The press conference would explain to the media the analogous point. And the point is? “We politicians have stuff on our plates. The legislative session went faster than this plate of perogi and the public thinks that’s wrong.”
Then lunch for press and invited guests, with cleverly packaged take-out portions for deadline-pressed reporters who can’t stay.
The press corps comes up with dandy puns, slogans and headlines. Scribes could go to town with this one, not to mention photographers and cartoonists. Using simplicity, fun and creativity, a message has sturdier legs, a better reach.
As a follow-up, while legislative proceedings idle, I would question the political junkets and trade missions that this lame duck government no doubt will continue, notwithstanding.
The leader would emphasize the “work to be done” theme juxtaposed against the image of government freeloaders at the international travel trough. Sirloin tip versus home spun soul food.
Copyright 2012 WORDS Media & Communications Inc.