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Stephen Harper’s Campaign Handbook

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper speaks to supports in Brampton, Ont., Sunday morning, March 27, 2011. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)It is always good to be prepared in a campaign. As Stephen Harper noted in his campaign sheet back in his Reform days, “most voters are uninformed and apathetic.” The key strategy was to dodge policy debates, ignore external questions and always distract the opposition and keep them on the defensive before they can comment or introduce their campaign and their agenda.

Below is the document that Harper made that is published in the University of Calgary Archives:

In the document, he instructs his MPs to ignore Medicare in particular and to address it as a provincial issue and claim that they have no stance on it stating:

“To avoid problems, stick to the themes and the Party priorities. Do not talk about Medicare – that is a Provincial issue. Because Medicare is not a Federal issue, the Reform Party does not have a position on it.”

He also cites Preston Manning’s tape as his main source.

He also advises his candidates that:

“The biggest problem candidates will have is when they get off our themes. Don’t fight the issues that other parties bring up. Make incumbents defend their party’s record rather than debate Reform proposals.”

This kind of outline that determines the voice and direction of a typical Harper campaign screams hidden agenda. It screams that they don’t want to address the issues because their stances are not popular – especially Medicare.

This document proves that there will never be accountability in the Conservative Party based on one fundamental statement; “Make incumbents defend their party’s record rather than debate Reform proposals.”

This is what Harper has done every time. If there wasn’t an issue to debate, create one. The iPod tax and the coalition are just examples of how the Conservatives plan to throw off their opponents in order to dodge the bullets that are aimed at them. Try talking about their scandals and they will yell, "Don’t come talking to me about integrity when you are just as scandalous.”

This method of campaigning and conducting a party and government is distasteful and Stephen Harper should be ashamed of himself and the lies he puts forth. It does Canada no favor to go into an election campaign where parties cannot plot a map for Canada’s future and have Canadians choose the Canada they want rather than always be forced to put up with bogus Conservative claims and the falsehood of their agendas.

It is time Canadians demand better and oust the Conservative/Reform movement before it’s too late.