When is the truth a ‘channel-changer’?

Why would anyone get excited about the Premier of Ontario wanting to keep her job? She likes her job and she has done it better than many of us expected. When a bored Global Television reporter asked a standard question yesterday about forming a coalition to stay in power, she answered honestly. Of course she would consider it—if she had to. She would not be doing the job unless she did.

Why would an honest answer help her opponents? Why should the Global reporter think this answer is a ‘Gotcha’? And why would a blogger bother to take up blogging space with a mention of it that does not come up to the measure of a tweet?

Frankly the public opinion polls on which the media have to rely are currently running well behind the facts. Kathleen Wynne showed a level of restraint yesterday when asked about a minority government. Her party’s insider polls are probably telling her of the likelihood of a Liberal majority. It is just not something she can discuss.

When the pollsters catch up on the facts, she can appear pleased in the confidence shown and be humble. Two weeks before the election is over, she knows that circumstances can change and her job right now is to keep on plugging on the campaign trail.

The major challenge left for Premier Wynne will be the television debate next Tuesday for the three party leaders. It is obvious that, as front runner, she will be under ferocious attack from both Andrea Horwath and Tim Hudak. The truth is, she is getting inured to these attacks and her opponents need fresh material.

When you stop and think about it, Wynne’s opponents are much more vulnerable to attack than her. Andrea Horwath is having interesting problems within her own party and a solicitously asked question about these attacks might just turn the Pillsbury Dough girl purple. And a brief analysis of the facts about unemployment in Ontario could be helpful for Timmy Hudak. This type of tactic has to feel right at the time and it would be interesting to see if Wynne can carry it off.

Alternatively the federal leadership of those parties are also vulnerable to some strategically selected questions. This tactic is best used to throw opponents off their game plan. It also tends to break the tedium of these events that are mostly just bad television.


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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