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Announce now . . . deliver later

Posted by cwaddell under Election 2011, Election 2011 Campaign strategy, Election 2011 Faculty links, Political Strategy

Christopher Waddell

The Conservative plan to introduce income-splitting for some families but only when the deficit is eliminated, isn’t the first time in recent elections a political party has used the ‘announce now-deliver later’ strategy but nether the Liberals nor the Conservatives want to mention that.

In the 1993 election the first Liberal Red Book election platform document included a conditional plan to spend $720 million in a three-year program that would establish 150,000 new child care spaces across the country.

But there was a catch. It would only happen in the future when the economy was growing at three percent. With 1993 growth at about one per cent , the Red Book projected the new plan would start in 1995-96.

Of course it never happened and that’s why the Conservatives don’t want to mention the concept’s been road-tested in a previous campaign. For the Liberals any mention of it is just reminds people that they have announced but not delivered child care plans before.

Instead of child care, after they were elected the Liberals introduced widespread spending cuts in Paul Martin’s 1995 budget in a plan to eliminate a deficit of more than $40 billion. Sound familiar?

Christopher Waddell is director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. He is a former reporter, Ottawa bureau chief for the Globe and Mail and a former CBC-TV parliamentary bureau chief and executive producer-news specials for CBC TV News. You can follow him on Twitter @cwaddell27