Thursday, December 15, 2005

My Impression of Jim Harris, Green Party Leader

If you weren't aware, Jim Harris, leader of the Green Party of Canada was on the National last night in a town hall meeting hosted by Peter Mansbridge. That was the first time I saw Mr. Harris speak in a format like that - I know the Green Party platform largely from their press releases, but it was the first time I saw Mr. Harris present it.

Mr. Harris differentiated the Green Party from the NDP clearly, as the only party that supports the environment, with the creation of "green collar" jobs and they will not support industries they deem to be big polluters.

Jim Harris dismissed the claim that there would only be voluntary compliance for government regulations on the environment. It seems it's quite a controversial point for the current Green Party.

I think, on the whole, he carried himself well even if it at times it did seem he was not directly answering a question. I don't think it was question avoidance, in the conventional political sense, but just answering a different question then was asked. For instance, when Mr. Harris said something was "unacceptable", that meant he would eliminate or prohibit it. Say instead then "The Green Party would eliminate it".

While I think his statistics were good, I think he could tone down the X% of this, Y megatons of that, in each response as the answer to a question - what is your position and your end goal. Use the statistics to support that goal and only focus on the goal - what are you going to reduce, what are you going to eliminate, or tell us why reducing something by a certain amount will increase something good. Then say, "We're doing this because, Y megatons of this substance affects X% of Canadians."

He's not as slick or polished as the other leaders, but that's not a prerequisite for a job as an MP. And, he's got that Salesman 101 training down pat - "That's a great question, [insert name here]". :-)

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1 comment:

Erik Sorenson said...

Yeah, I saw it too. Frankly, I'd rather have a root canal at the dentist next time, rather than listen to this earnest, but un-connecting "leader of what wants to be a national party.

Last campaign there was a lot of Green buzz and excitement. This time it's completely flat. Mind you, it's hard to get a word in while the two biggies are battling it out, but the old Rhino party didn't have that problem in the past.

Advice I could give? Best wishes but don't hope for much attention this campaign, relegate Jim Harris to the back rooms, get sone smart political pros with the $1 million-plus you now get from us taxpayers, and get someone as a leader who will connect with the public and excite with vision and imagery.

I believe Jim has coasted since he got is hands on the first million. There's also been a lot of internal party dissent about how that money has/is being spent. It looks to me like Jim's taken this party as far as he can.

Time for the cold, hard realities. Give Stephen Harper a call and ask him what it took to meld a bunch of loose cannons and policies into a coherent and competitive political party.