Jul. 5, 2019

Is there such a word as ‘Underwhelm’?

I looked up Oxford Reference and it says “fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone); disappoint”.

That’s good enough for me although purists of the language might cringe since apparently in strictest terms the word whelm and overwhelm refer to water and being completely submerged in water.

I wanted a word that describes the Leader of the Canadian Conservative Party and the party itself, if there is a difference. And that Oxford reference fits the bill.

Andrew Sheer and his Conservative Party sure have underwhelmed!

Take the latest poll from Nanos. Yes, I know, I know. Just a snapshot, blah, blah; but if one reviews the Nanos numbers over the past year, the Conservatives were only ahead twice. And over the last year, the Liberals high is 43% and low 29%, the Conservatives high 36% and low 27%.

I am sure many Canadians are asking themselves this question: how can the Liberals and the Leader be ahead in the polls now, after all the negative things the Liberals have actually done?

The poll says the Liberals have 34.5% support, the Conservatives 31.5% this past week. And Justin Trudeau is the preferred Prime Minister at 29.2% versus Sheer at 22.7%.

The policy decisions of the Liberals: on a carbon tax, driving investment away with Bills 69 and 48, the breaking of conflict of interest laws by the PM and the Minister of Finance, the obstruction of justice in the SNC Lavalin Affair, the broken promise of balancing our budget, the foreign affairs gaffs manifest in the Indian trip by the Prime Minister which not only embarrassed most Canadians but which insulted a sovereign nation in the Commonwealth, are all there to see and by any objective measure would seem to doom the Liberals in the pending election.

Not so. Pourquoi? Why?

One would have to conclude that the leader of the Conservatives, and the party, presented with such massive blunders, just dropped the ball. Underwhelmed!

They have not presented to the Canadian public, notwithstanding all the Liberal missteps, a compelling case to replace the Liberals either by leadership or policy.

Now, all of this is not complicated even though commentators conjure up all sorts of complex theories on the matter. They have their jobs to protect and they are forced to write something. I digress.

The Leader, Mr. Sheer, comes across as a nice guy. And Mr. Sheer comes across as a nice guy . . .

That doesn’t cut it in politics.

I see no passion, no commitment, no vision. Even in the SNC Lavalin affair there was “no fire in the belly” commensurate with the infraction!

And is there a team? If they were as good at leadership as they are at fund raising they would be ahead in the polls.

And policy is unclear and poorly explained. 

I suspect pandering to all groups is the order of the day, “out Liberaling” the Liberals. Politically Correctness is in vogue. The Fraser Institute says Conservative fiscal policy is getting closer to the Liberal policy. 

For example: Using that TV ad that was used in the last election of a group sitting around criticizing Trudeau, demonstrates a complete lack of expertise in ad making given the many examples readily available, like shots of the private Caribbean island that the PM inappropriately visited, appropriate clips of the Raybould affair and her appearance before the Parliamentary Committee.

Where are the Conservatives when: we are not competing with our neighbour economically according to the World Economic Forum, Investment dollars are going south that would ordinarily come here according to Stats Can, and the World Bank says we are 22 in the world at “ease of doing business”, while Trump’s America, the world largest economy and vulnerable therefore to being more cumbersome, is number eight. 

Methinks a Conservative makeover is needed.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Nanaimo in retirement.