Who has the royal jelly?

Welcome back...
I've taken a bit of time off from the blog - Laura and I have been busy traveling to places like Niagara Falls, Edmonton, New York, Boston and Toronto.  Although it wasn't hard work all the time. In Boston, Laura and I attended a Kennedy School reunion weekend which included the usual excellent lectures on the state of the world, education, technology, politics, the media, among other stimulating subjects.
Counterfeit, Fraud and the Media
No, that's not my analysis of 'the fourth estate'....While in Niagara Falls, Laura and I conducted a media seminar for 200 participants at the 'Counterfeit and Fraud Workshop' representing police, banks, major retailers and governments. The ability to deal effectively with the media is critically important for all organizations, but particularly so when handling such high profile issues. Doing the seminar while overlooking Niagara Falls proved to be quite a challenge as we had to compete with the spectacular view!
Congratulations to our Contest Winners
Congratulations to the two winners of our pocket tips contest from my last blog posting - Manon Lechasseur Henderson from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (who selected our 2012 edition of 'Overcoming Panic and Fear: Risk and Crisis Communications' pocket tips book), and Tim Fletcher of Fletcher Consulting (who chose the 'Encountering the Media' book in our series of [2012-13 pocket tips books]
In this edition...
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Although not known to be a monarchist, I have long been an admirer of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her years of service. The word 'steadfast' is an old-fashioned word, no doubt, but to me it sums up the sheer determination and sense of service that emanates from her entire being. Having suffered tragedies and heartache on the home front - beginning with the sudden death of her father - and through the many   challenges during the 'soap opera years' of the Royal family - she has long established herself as a truly global figure who can say more with a look than most politicians with a speech. She certainly has the 'royal jelly'. So here's to you, your Majesty, for a job superbly well done!
Romney vs. Obama
With Mitt Romney having finally clinched the nomination, he seems to have found his footing as he turns his attention to his battle with President Obama. He seems much more focused on the economy - even managing the temporary derailment of Donald Trump's ongoing hallucinations over Obama's birth certificate on the very day of his endorsement. According to the polls, they are neck-and-neck, and with five months to go, each will have to define the winning ballot question and marshall their entire campaign focused on it. Over 150 days in which every day for both lies the potential 'dawn of a new error'!
Do the Liberals in Canada Have a Future?
As interim Liberal leader Bob Rae is about to throw his hat in the ring for the leadership of the Liberals (after having sworn he wouldn't), is it a race worth running and, if so, is there any future in it?
Conventional wisdom says 'no, there is no future' - that Canada is slowly polarizing into the NDP on the left vs. the Conservatives on the right. Although there is a better-than-even chance of that occurring, however, I would offer a different perspective.
Four Keys to a Liberal Resurrection
1. It's the economy, stupid. The Liberals used to be the party that took a huge deficit and turned it into 9 or 10 years of surplus before handing the keys over to Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. Funny thing, though, no one thinks of Liberals as fiscally conservative! One of the keys to the Liberal success is that they were able to convince the voters in the 1993 election that they had a plan to balance the budget and that they were more fiscally conservative than the (then) Progressive Conservatives under Kim Campbell. Every Liberal government that has succeeded in modern times at the federal or provincial level has been able to position themselves as sensible or small 'c' conservatives fiscally.
2. Re-position themselves on the political landscape. The Liberals need to stop thinking of themselves as 'NDP lite' and start thinking of themselves as 'Conservative lite'. Meaning they have to position themselves as sensible on law and order, credible on the military, reasonable on the environment and energy files, solid on the economy and balanced on the international front. NDP leader Tom Mulcair has carved out a very strong - some say strident - position on the oil sands and pitted himself against Western Premiers with his pronouncements on the 'Dutch Disease' of the petro-dollar and what it has done to Canada's manufacturing sector. It's long on theory and short on political smarts, but it will secure his base in Quebec, no doubt. Ontario? That remains to be seen.
3. Unite the party and build on their strengths. The Liberals used to be known as the 'natural governing party' but one would not know that given their spectacular fall from grace under Paul Martin, Stephane Dion and then Michael Ignatieff. It may have been the pressures from within as each leader had trouble healing the internal rifts. Nevertheless, the new leader has to truly speak for the entire party. It was the Tories who had been known for eating their young, and they realized that the public intuitively knows that if you can't run your own party, they won't trust you with the country. Gradually, the Liberals seemed to lose sight of their core strengths and began to lunge for complicated policy solutions that they couldn't explain, let alone sell. [Anyone remember Stephane Dion's 'Green Shift'? I thought not.]
4. Choose the right leader with the right team, with the right message. Should the leader be Bob Rae? He has formidable skills as a communicator and the media love him. Also, he doesn't seem to need daily coaching on what to say and how to say it. Nevertheless he has baggage as the former NDP Premier in the early 90s whose handling of the recession led to a loss of voter confidence after one term. Does the public forgive and forget? Actually, yes they do.
Given the numerous ups and downs of Jean Chretien's career before finally winning the Liberal leadership in 1990, the electorate rewarded him with three elections, so anything is possible. Former astronaut Marc Garneau? A very distinguished career with a strong personal narrative, but he has failed thus far to capture the attention and imagination of the public. Justin Trudeau? If he could lead as well as he can box, if he can translate his charisma into a sense of leadership, then he might be able to do it. However, it seems clear he needs years of experience before he could lead the country. David McGuinty? Given his brother Dalton's rocky stewardship of the Ontario economy, that would work against his chances. So who is left? It gets pretty thin, pretty quickly. Whoever wins it, he or she must be looking forward, not looking backward. People want inspiration, a message of hope in the future. Someone who understands them, and who speaks for them - not at them. And...the right team to bring it home. A leader must have the 'royal jelly' for the job, but with a common touch.

Until next time.....

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