Posts Tagged ‘politics’

My response for Option Nationale, Sol Zanetti, Quebec and Scotland

September 12, 2014

solRecently, I came across a video message by Option Nationale Leader Sol Zanetti, directed at the citizens of Scotland. With Scots voting on independence, Zanetti decided to take the position of Savant on the subject, and tell the Scottish how Quebec has screwed things up by staying a part of Canada. Personally, I found the video repugnant, self-serving and full of inaccuracies. While I have no illusions of how my sparsely updated blog is irrelevant on the Canadian political landscape, I have to say something. In fact, I feel my angst over the video subsiding with every keystroke.

To start, as a communications professional, I should know better. When a political party is a non-factor, you shouldn’t give it the light of day. Option Nationale is a party that is trailing even other niche provincial parties. But when the message pretends to represent all of Quebec, it strikes me at my core.

To begin with, Zanetti and his propaganda pals title the video An important message from Quebec for the Scottish, which, unless he is producing a satire video, he can’t get away with. There are literally 250 other public figures in Quebec that are more qualified to represent Quebec in such a message than Sol Zanetti.

Although, I will give him credit, his English is good. His work with a razor? Not so much.

So let’s tackle some of the elements in his message to Scotland.

– Zanetti references the 1980 and 1995 Quebec referendums, and says “Based on our experience, you will be worse off if you vote No.” How, exactly? Prior to 1980, Quebec was an English bastion for big business. While I am against anything that breaks up Canada, I will admit that the two referendums did serve a very valid purpose – they brought the majority French-speaking population of Quebec more respect and more laws. I refer you to how minority languages today are deemed a threat to French Quebec if their menus aren’t French.

-He talks about how Quebeckers were promised so much prior to the referendums, and that they were lied to. He references how healthcare funding hasn’t kept pace with the Quebec population. There’s only one problem with that latter point – an independent Quebec wouldn’t be able to pay for healthcare anyway!

-Conveniently, this video omits the incredible and disproportionate power that Quebec has held within Canada, essentially electing the country’s opposition party in the early 1990’s and then again in the last federal election.

-Sol Zanetti threatens the Scots by saying that they were will the laughing stock of the world, like Quebec has become. The issue with that? Quebec has made embarrassing headlines SOLELY for enforcing language and other laws that target non mother tongue Francophones. In what universe was this because Quebec is a part of Canada? He takes it a step further, saying that they will be the laughing stock according to him as well. Another problem – who is Sol Zanetti? Until CJAD gave him the greatest gift he could have ever asked for by mentioning this video, the man was as anonymous as the good ideas in his party’s platform.

-Finally, by uttering the phrase Mind your own business towards the end of the video, Zanetti implies that the majority of Quebeckers want to separate, and anyone who disagrees should go away. Here’s the reality – when your party polls at less than one percent (down a percentage point from the previous election), it means that whatever you say isn’t the business of 99 percent of the population, literally.

As a proud Montrealer, Quebecker and Canadian, and one of the MAJORITY in the province that has ZERO interest in leaving Canada, if Mr. Zanetti is so insistent on speaking for everyone, I have an idea. I’d like to recommend that he find an uninhabited island and start his own new sovereign nation. Who knows, maybe some of his one percent will join him.

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If you’re English and you know it, clap your hands – then vote!

November 21, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

As an anglophone residing in Montreal, Canada, I am afforded many great luxuries in life. I have free access to healthcare, crime is fairly irrelevant and my education was more than affordable. But there’s one element that has always been a battle for me and for all 13% of us English-speaking Quebeckers: our right to speak our own language in public.

For many years now, it has become increasingly harder to function in our own tongue. You can’t call any government service, provincial or federal, without getting a unilingual francophone on the other end of the line. The last time I checked, no referendum on sovereignty was passed as of yet and a new country was not declared. As long as Quebec is a part of Canada, they too must be a fully bilingual province just like every other province. Imagine, living in a country, no matter where, and not being served in one of the official two languages.

Now comes word with the Quebec provincial election approaching, that the separatist Parti Quebecois wants to make things even tougher for English people in the province (read this article ASAP) – and English businesses too for that matter. Citing the erosion of the French language as carte blanche to continue to violate the rights of English people in the province, the PQ are acting as though if they get into power they are saving the French language from the big, bad English people.

These are the same people that brought us a funded language police, allowed to go around to stores and shops and fine businesses for having any English signs or lettering that is the same size as French lettering. They have also managed to ensure that any non-Quebec born English person living in the province has to send his/her children to French schools. Riiiiight, and the French language is the one eroding. Makes sense.

The upcoming December 8th election in Quebec could actually determine the fate of English people in the province for the next decade. If somehow the underdog PQ overtake the incumbent Liberals for control of Quebec, they will continue their systematic dismantling of everything and anything English.

With Montreal hosting this year’s CFL Championship termed the Grey Cup, thousands of Canadians have flocked to the city. You’d think Quebec would be welcoming of the tourist bump, roll out the red carpet for visitors and make them feel at home. Wrong. The city couldn’t even mandate bilingual menus at public festivity food stops – no doubt the work of the meaningful language police.

Bottom line, let’s hope the Liberals win the election so us English folk are allowed to continue practicing our crazy way of speaking. If not, I may be forced to translate this blog into French and perform several hundred hours of community service. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if indeed Quebec did separate and I simply missed the memo. “Sigh,” I miss Canada already.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Going Negative

October 7, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

In marketing and communications, you try and always spin things in a positive way. You try and ensure that your company or entity is always looked upon in a positive light. Makes sense, right?

Well, in politics, the notion of positivity is second to the notion of going negative. Each side, no matter how many times they initially say they are above attacking the other, eventually goes negative. It’s not enough to merely dispute an opponent’s claim or to refute a claim by the other side. Instead, the flavour of every election is to go for the throat as many times as possible – no matter what side you’re on.

It happens in Canadian politics and it certainly happens in American politics. No matter how many polls reveal that the general public doesn’t enjoy seeing negative ads, everyone invariably goes negative. Why? Well a different survey comes to mind. A couple of years ago, CNN conducted an experiment. They tested the subconscious activity in the brain when subjected to various types of political messages. The results were quite interesting. Even though we all believe that negative ads are simply cheap and hit below the belt, we apparently are affected by them – and in some cases, influenced by them as well.

But the Republicans in the U.S. and the Conservatives in Canada already knew this. Their usage of various scare tactics have become legendary over the years.

Recently, the Conservative Party of Canada has been running ads portraying their chief rival, Stephane Dion, the head of the Liberal Party of Canada, as a risky choice that would raise taxes and be too unpredictable for the country. Down south, GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently accused Barrack Obama of “pal-ing around” with dangerous world leaders. In both cases, the insinuations are mostly off-base, but it doesn’t matter.

These scare tactics are effective, regardless of the messages’ merit. It’s incredible to think that simplistic mud-slinging can yield such great results. But unfortunately, many voters in North America think simplistically when it comes to how they view their leaders.

The problem with the left wing negative ads, is that for the most part, their attacks usually focus on the narrow-minded thinking and potential dangerous decision-making of their right wing opponents. Everyone knows the usual risks with right wing candidates. Tell us something we don’t know.

The bottom line is that right wing parties on this continent are good at what they do. They use voters’ fears as fuel to lasso as many votes as possible. Usually, the key for them is to identify the biggest fears of the time and craft their attacks around these issues.

In 2004, 9/11 was still on the minds of voters and so the Republicans focused their efforts on their seemingly tougher stance on terrorism. It worked. In 2008, the chief issue WAS the war in Iraq. Now, it’s all about the economy. And with more and more Americans identifying the GOP’s de-regulation ideals in finance as the root cause for America’s economic meltdown, it appears as though Democrats finally have enough fuel for their most effective negative ad campaign in years.

Time will tell if another issue trumps the economy prior to the U.S. election in November. For John McCain’s sake, he certainly hopes so.

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

The American People: An unbelievable Perspective

August 3, 2008

A recent poll found that more Americans would rather have a president that is slightly overweight than one that is fit. They want someone they can identify with, rather than someone they should aspire to be. To me, that’s just an unbelievable perspective for the American people to have. It’s ridiculous is what it is.

Democratic nominee Barack Obama is known to be somewhat of a fitness freak. He doesn’t eat any junk food, works out several times a week (some days more than once) and has a strict diet. He quit smoking and has a slim, healthy appearance. But apparently that’s not a good thing for voters to witness. They would rather their leader have many faults – including less than stellar health habits. Amazing.

But while this poll’s results may seem unbelievable, we shouldn’t really be surprised. After all, you think about the lack of concern on the part of the voters in ’00 and ’04 for vice-president Cheney – a walking billboard for impending death. In fact, throw in the endearing reaction the American people had for W when he nearly choked on a pretzel and we should expect what this particular poll yielded.

We all remember the satire at the expense of the then chubby Bill Clinton in the 90’s, as SNL had him stopping into fast food restaurants and gobbling up greasy food at will. But how in the world, knowing all we now do about the effects of poor diet and lack of exercise, can we still be enamored with a leader who disregards his health?

These findings are consistent with the whole ‘elitist’ controversy that enveloped Obama a few months back, and that still lingers whenever he exerts an ounce of intellect or displays progressive judgement in public speaking or in his own health. Like John Stewart said a while back, “Shouldn’t we want a president that is better than us?” Okay, that’s taking it a little far for comedic effect, but the question is appropriately raised.

Back in the senior Bush years, Arnold Schwarzenegger was put brought on board to promote fitness and health in America. Fast forward to 2008 and the American people are poo-pooing someone that actually gives a hoot about his health? This befuddling state is just another reason why the Democrats have failed to lock up the impending election – they are running a rational campaign, something the Republicans know won’t work.

Wake up DNC – and try to understand what is going on in your country. Whatever it is, it sure isn’t logic and reason. If that were the case, then this race for the White House wouldn’t even be close.

Unbelievable, how are they still hanging around?

June 27, 2008

By Matthew Ross

Can someone please explain to me how the Republican Party is still hanging around in the polls several months before the upcoming general election? Every single talk show makes fun of George W. Bush as though he is the biggest joke on the entire continent. Audiences laugh at the zings at every turn. But, just who exactly is voting for the GOP? Can someone please explain this to me?

These hypocritical people that make fun of the party and then vote for them are just unbelievable. They used a sitting Republican Governor in Florida to win the election in 2000, used scare tactics to discredit an opponent in 2004 and are now bringing back the same scare tactics again for Obama.

According to John McCain, a vote for Barack Obama is a vote against national security. But how come we don’t hear about how the war is single handedly putting the country into more and more debt and draining focus and resources away from bigger problems at home. And let’s not even get into the lives lost. Scare tactics prey on the fears of voters in the lowest way and apparently Democrats just don’t seem to have an answer for it.

And I just love the notion that Obama talking to enemies is going to ruin America. Give me a break. McCain taking a “nuke them all” attitude is what people should be afraid of.

Or, how about McCain hammering Obama for not taking public funding for his campaign? A blatant attempt to try and even the fundraising field with sour grapes. Obama has the support of millions of donors and McCain is left begging the usual lobbyists for a nickel here and there to keep him relevant. Riiiight, like voters are really going to be upset that their tax dollars are NOT going to be spent by Obama. Good strategy McCain. 

But perhaps the best part of this election that has amused me so far – the revelation that John McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer. I love it. The next leader of the free world will carry around a pad and a pen and have his wife open files for him on the computer. Now that is what the U.S. really needs. I wonder if he still mosy’s into town on his trusted horse and pushes open those saloon doors to find a trusted barkeep who can tell him where to get the best underground moonshine.

Indeed, Republicans strategize for a campaign significantly better than Democrats and the fact that the polls are still close is huge indication of this very sad fact. The only hope for Democrats is that their huge edge in spending helps them to win the battleground states. Stay tuned ….

Matthew Ross runs www.contentservicing.com, a content provider for everything from marketing text to media relations.