Wednesday, September 02, 2015

On reasonable responses

Let's offer a quick reminder to the Libs' spin machine, and particularly to the people who should know better who are choosing to echo it.

No party is under an obligation to reflexively attack or belittle everything another party proposes in its election platform.

If a platform plank or general principle raised during the campaign can't reasonably be opposed, the appropriate response is to at least recognize that fact before trying to start spinning. And one Lib spokesperson roughly followed that course in addressing the NDP's push to fund women's shelters to ensure nobody in need of a safe place gets turned away.

Another did not. And it's no excuse to say that Ralph Goodale chose to respond to a specific idea by ignoring the subject at hand, and instead reverting to his party's most tired, off-topic talking points.

It's absolutely true that the goal of combating violence against women should be so obvious that no reasonable public representative could pretend it doesn't matter. That leaves plenty of room for response to any proposal - including general agreement in the context of the wider campaign, an offer of alternative solutions, or pointing out a valid reason why the proposal fails to meet the purpose.

But if Goodale or any other politician is so caught up in negativity as to pretend both a policy and the undisputed issue it addresses don't matter, surely the fault lies with him - not with the party pointing out his unreasonableness.


  1. This isn't really a ton of spin on the part of the Liberals. Their dig against Mulcair for refusing to attend a debate on woman's issues when Harper refused is his own fault for, well, refusing to attend a debate on woman's issues.

    Attacking the NDP for making promises that can't be paid for and balance the books at the same time is a bit more of a stretch but still within bounds since the NDP hasn't produced its costing just yet, and more so since Mulcair has been vague about how much he'd raise the corporate tax rate. Maybe this wasn't the best time or issue to bring up the NDP platform cost issue, but it isn't really out of bounds as far as election criticism goes.

    1. Leaving aside whether Goodale's response is a valid criticism (where it's far better seen as aiming for truthiness rather than truth), my point is that it's at best non-responsive to the actual issue raised by the NDP's proposal. It's one thing to talk about broader budget issues when asked about broader budget issues, but quite another to evade any talk about violence women entirely because one's preferred talking points don't fit that subject area.