05 May 2012

Political Effectiveness #nlpoli

As these things go, George Murphy’s two days of news about compliance with the province’s ban on pesticides was a tidy and effective bit of political theatre.

The provincial government announced the ban in 2011.  They set May 1, 2012 as the day for the ban to take effective.

Like any enterprising politician, Murphy trucked off to a local store a day or two after the ban took effect.  He found some of the chemicals for sale.  He took some pictures and asked the environment minister about it in the House of Assembly.

The next day Murphy turned up on CBC.  The chemicals had disappeared from the first store but they were still available at one other store CBC featured by name.

“You know we have to see some action on this,” said Murphy. “If the government is going to do something, then go ahead and do it ...get to the job that's supposed to be done here, get these products off the shelves,” he told CBC News.

Simple message.

Effective delivery.

Backed with an example of a department that failed the simple task of doing what they said they would do.

For his part, environment minister Terry French looked like a slack-assed, slack-jawed goof. Here’s what he said in the House of Assembly in response to Murphy’s question:

I just want to remind the hon. member, he seems to have bought them recently. I hope they were not on the black market, Mr. Speaker. I also hope he does not use them, because if he uses them, he will be facing a significant fine.

What you don’t get there is the joking tone French had. It conveyed a sense that French didn’t take the issue seriously.  French came across dismissively, as if saying yeah, we banned it, frig off ya little twerp.

In itself, the story may be relatively small. 

Add enough of these hits together and they will have an impact.

- srbp -