Stephen Harper’s advice to Rob Ford (a fantasy) ( Uffish Thoughts )
I think you’ll have to agree that a lot has happened since that memorable day when, at your barbecue,
I think you’ll have to agree that a lot has happened since that memorable day when, at your barbecue, I congratulated you on taking the mayor’s job in Toronto and said that with us in control in Ottawa, two of the three great triumphs in Ontario had been accomplished.
Sadly, our forces in Ontario were not able to wrest control from the provincial Liberals.
There are some who suggest that this, given how badly they have mismanaged things, is some sort of reflection on our performance levels, but I can’t see how that could be.
Certainly, events at your city hall and my Parliament have dominated the news for months now, though perhaps some of the coverage is not what either of us would have had in mind.
In your case, it is unfortunate that municipal politics is not run along party lines and that slates of candidates do not become the cadre of easily controlled caucus members such as I have to work with.
That said, I have a few comments to make about your present situation that I hope you will receive as being supportive of your cause.
After all, your core constituency is much the same as that of my own Harper Conservatives, and it behooves us both to keep our base happy.
I note that some of your currents troubles stem from an inability to control yourself in front of a microphone.
You will observe that I have mastered the art of simply ignoring annoying reporters when it suits me. Most of my appearances in public are mere photo opportunities, and the majority of the media have been so cowed that they actually accept the photo op-only instructions.
Speaking of photographs and videos, these opportunities need to be kept under the strictest of controls so that nothing gets to the public except what you want them to see.
If you must respond to questions (as I sometimes must during question period) it is best to do so with a comment that avoids a connection to the actual query and restates some basic tenant of your political philosophy.
You do a bit of this, but you need to work hard at not letting your temper get the better of you.
My parliamentary secretary, Mr. Calandra, is a master at this sort of thing and provides comments that leave those quizzing him gasping.
However annoying that Dale fellow may have been on the other side of your property fence, it was not wise to raise the spectre of pedophilia in recounting this event.
My former cabinet colleague Vic Toews learned that this tactic did not work well when he was attempting to defend our proposed Internet surveillance legislation last year.
Unless your case is iron-clad, all you do is create sympathy for the accused, and that’s the last thing you want to have happen.
It is most important that you do not trap yourself in the corner of having to refute something you have said earlier.
I note that you had to do that just last week in the Dale matter, and must admit that I was less than careful in my initial responses to some of the issues raised in the Senate spending affair.
In the event that a friend or political ally becomes an embarrassment to you, you must not hesitate to do as I have done and thrown him or her under the nearest bus.
Some years ago, I did this to Brian Mulroney.
While he has since been rehabilitated enough to join me on my recent trip to South Africa, this was done partly so that some of the gloss from his Progressive Conservative approach to the problem of apartheid would rub off on my own Conservative Party.
We even had to have Joe Clark along on that trip, in spite of the comments about us in his recent book, for much the same reasons.
As you will have seen with my handling of Senators Wallin and Duffy, it is sometimes necessary to completely reverse yourself and discard some dead weight.
In dealing with these former media persons, I had to take care to deprive these individuals of the safe harbour provided by parliamentary privilege while retaining it for myself.
Regarding your efforts to keep in touch with the common voter, I believe you must exercise some caution there.
It is one thing to get together with a number of sound individuals and churn out a few pop tunes from time to time, but quite another to be photographed or captured on video with persons of questionable character.
By DAN DAVIDSON