Monday, September 11, 2006

Canada's Anything But Liberal Government

Like the rebranding of Coca-Cola as New Coke, the Harper government is instructing some public servants to use the term "Canada's New Government" instead of the traditional "Government of Canada."
- The Ottawa Citizen - Sept. 6. 2006

A barely reliable anonymous source has leaked the following transcript of a conversation overheard last January in the offices of Right of Centre Communications Inc.:

"Well, it looks like the Conservatives are going to win and Steve has asked us to come up with a slogan for the government. Any thoughts?"

"Yes, we anticipated this result and we’ve been working on a few possibilities. Andrea, what did you come up with?"

"Our first thought was, hey, these guys are winning the election with a great communications strategy. They’ve got five points and they keep hammering them over and over again. So, how about ‘Canada’s Five-point Government’?"

"That’s OK but I’m not sure Steve is going to want to keep reminding Canadians about what he promised to do. And what if he ever comes up with a sixth point? Harry?"

"Well, we also thought about the makeup of the new government. Steve is from Alberta and Alberta wants in. So we figured why not call it ‘Alberta’s Canadian Government.’"

"Not bad but what about Quebec?"

"We could always translate it into French: Le gouvernment canadien d’Alberta."

"Nice but remember, Steve doesn’t win round two unless Quebec is front and centre."

"Le gouvernment canadien de Quebec?"

"Look, we’re playing with fire here. What have you got Ted?"

"Considering Steve’s political philosophy, I thought we might go with ‘Canada’s American Government’ or maybe even ‘Canada’s One-man Government’. You know, a kind of straight-shooting, truth-in-advertising kind of slogan."

"I appreciate your candor Ted, but neither of those is really going to fly. What if Steve OKs some giveaway softwood lumber agreement or agrees to send more troops to Afghanistan? No need to remind folks where his policies are coming from. Harry, any thoughts?"

"Yes, I think we can all agree that Steve is looking to reduce the involvement of the federal government and to solve the fiscal imbalance. That’s why I like ‘Canada’s Less-is-more Government.’ It says ‘neo-conservative’ with actually using the ‘N’ word."

"No, no, we’ve got to stay away from anything pointing to the Conservatives’ actual agenda. Remember, this is marketing. Keep it simple, vague and imprecise. Andrea, any more proposals?"

"Sure. We’ve got a bunch of ideas here. How about ‘Canada’s Silent Government’? Or ‘Canada’s Right Government’? Or ‘Not A Liberal Government’? "

"All good suggestions but I think we’re missing the point here. What do we do for our other clients when they’ve got a new product? ‘The car of the future’, ‘the latest in technology’, ‘new and improved’."

"That’s it! I’ve got it! Canada’s New Government!"

"Ted, you’re a genius. It’s short, it’s sweet and it promises lots without meaning anything at all. Andrea?"

"Canada’s New Government. I like it."

"OK, we’re done. But don’t forget that contract that just came in. We need a new slogan for Alberta."

"‘The Firewall Province’?"

‘’The One-party Province’?"

"‘The Fifty-first State’?"

"That’s a good start. Keep on working people and we’ll meet back here next week and do this again."

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