Don’t Forget to Shoot the Messenger
By: Ryan Young
If you are scratching your head about the revolving door turnover of staff in the premier’s office over the last nine months, you are not alone. So far, we have witnessed the departure of the premier’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, director of communications, and press secretary. Certainly there is no doubt that the departing team members failed at their task of spinning the government message in a way that would be palatable to the public at large, but are the staff really to blame, or is it the message that they were asked to deliver?
How do you spin a budget like our government delivered last April? Even the top Manhattan ad houses would be hard pressed to find a way to convince voters that taking money out of their pockets every time they turn around is in their best interest. Even the most uninformed voter can understand when they are being taken advantage of, and voters have long memories. Just ask the Tories. The simple fact is that it doesn’t matter who crafted the talking points or media releases or who ordered the posters taken down from the parkway. The information they had to work with was pure crap and there was no way to spin it that would make this budget smell like anything else. They were dealt a 7-2 off-suit and were asked to play it like a pair of bullets.
Over the past few months we have heard countless stories of the real effects of Budget 2016. From seniors who have to choose between food and medications to towns having to cancel plans to hire more firefighters, to food banks who are struggling to keep shelves stocked, this budget is causing real pain to the people of this province. No matter who the government brings in to spin the changes they have made, the people have to look no further than their bank statements to know the real truth. It is much too late for carefully crafted messaging and media relations coaching. This government has lost the trust of the people and it will take more than a few info-graphics and photo-op's with big federal cheques to win that back.
The addition of a new media relations manager and a new content manager to the premier’s office should help the way that future messages are delivered, but unless this government takes a drastic turn away from the path they have chosen, there is no amount of spin doctors or media relations experts that can improve their image in the public eye. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.