.....which only contains pictures of himself (see above) and his clique of loser friends
All Harper, all the time on new website
Mar 13, 2009 04:30 AM
OTTAWA—To survey Prime Minister Stephen Harper's collection of understated ties, the website the federal government opened this week to apprise Canadians of its progress in fighting the economic crisis is a good place to start.
Its home page features no less than five pictures of Harper and he is sporting a different tie on four of them.
That's a good thing because very little else differentiates the pictures from each other and they take up most of the page.
Its focus is squarely on Harper as an action man rather than on the government's action plan and the rest of the website fully lives up to that advance billing.
In less politically mature countries, it could be construed as an effort to substitute a cult of the personality for solid policy dialogue. Here, it is just the latest silly production of a muddled Conservative brain trust.
Every link leads to more pictures of the Prime Minister.
On the page devoted to so-called real action, the government's web masters have actually managed to fit in a dozen postage-stamp-size shots of Harper.
It is not clear whether they were trying to draw a subliminal parallel between Harper's current travails and the 12 labours of Hercules or just trying to make sure no one was under the impression that someone else could single-handedly lead Canada out of the recession.
One caption in particular captures the spirit of the exercise. It describes the Prime Minister and Premier Dalton McGuinty announcing major improvements to the GO transit system. But alas for the Ontario premier, only the GO train that served as the backdrop to the joint announcement made the cut.
When all is said and done, the Canadian website is a caricature of the Barack Obama initiative that inspired it. It seems the only feature that its Canadian imitators tried to duplicate was the American focus on the president.
In fact, the website of the Obama administration features only one picture of the president. But it does offer a state-by-state breakdown of jobs expected to be created by the president's plan and breaks down his initiatives by agency. Those two features are noticeably absent from the Canadian website.
While the website offers no tools to evaluate the breadth of the government's progress, it does provide a revealing glimpse into the current mindset of the Conservative brain trust and the growing internal concern over the loss of Harper's leadership edge over his Liberal competition.
Since the new year, Michael Ignatieff's ratings have been going up steadily and Tory strategists have been obsessing over the necessity to find a way to turn back the tide.
So far, they have come up empty. With its unsubtle insistence on showcasing the government as a one-man show and its emphasis on pictures over words, this website will not advance the issue.
Ironically, if Conservative spin doctors were not so wedded to their partisan games, they would realize that Harper's best weapon is his own considerable intellect and his demonstrated capacity – when he so chooses – to engage effectively on issues of substance.
Those assets were in evidence on the Prime Minister's recent visit to the United States and they earned more notice for not being laced with the partisanship that attends and, frankly, unduly diminishes his domestic performances.
The site is at: http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp
Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:33 AM