Gerry Nicholls

Entries by Gerry Nicholls

What's Worse Than an Attack Ad? A Syrupy Sweet One

(6) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 5:11 PM

Pundits, academics and media experts are always condemning negative political attack ads.

Just recently, for instance, National Post columnist Andrew Coyne fumed about how "they pollute debate, and coarsen the culture."

But to my mind, there's actually something much worse than a nasty negative attack ad,...

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Can Trudeau Handle Political Punches?

(20) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 11:00 PM

As Senator Patrick Brazeau knows all too well, Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau can duke it out in a boxing match.

But can Trudeau also handle himself in a political brawl? Can he take a 30-second TV attack ad punch? Can he mix it up and get scrappy...

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The Latest Sun News Endorsement Is Out of Line

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 4:01 PM

The National Citizens Coalition is an organization that, in theory at least, is supposed to stand for the conservative principle of "more freedom through less government."

But it has recently taken on a cause that promotes the exact opposite.

It's true.

Recently, NCC "Director" Stephen Taylor sent out...

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Can Harper Do Anything Right?

(39) Comments | Posted August 28, 2012 | 8:06 AM

Here's a free political lesson: If you want to attack an opponent you have two basic options. You can attack them for a) all the bad and dangerous stuff they do or b) for all the good and harmless stuff they do.

Yes, that's right, in politics you can actually...

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It's Not An Attack Ad if It's True, and Other Things Partisans Say

(6) Comments | Posted July 19, 2012 | 11:59 AM

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is negativity. At least, that's true when it comes to so-called negative attack ads.

What I mean is, whether or not you view a political ad as "negative" often depends on your partisan political point of view. For...

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The Conservatives' Love Affair With Communists

(23) Comments | Posted July 14, 2012 | 7:06 AM

Canada's intellectual and political elite have a dilemma: how do they deal with Dr. Norman Bethune's legacy?

On the one hand they desperately want to praise Bethune for his so-called "humanitarian" and innovative efforts as a surgeon, but on the other hand there's that nasty little historical fact...

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10 Terrible Pundit Predictions

(2) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 4:04 PM

As we all know by now, the vast majority of political pundits (including yours truly) completely misread the recent Alberta election.

We all thought the Wildrose Party would bloom; but instead it got cut down by the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party lawn mower and thrown onto the compost heap of...

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The Ad That Will Make You Vote Wildrose

(23) Comments | Posted April 23, 2012 | 11:51 AM

When it comes to political communication, the advent of YouTube and other video-sharing websites has been a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, YouTube allows both political campaigns and advocacy groups to inexpensively and quickly get their messages out to a potentially wide audience.

In other words, TV is no...

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Mulcair: Not Your Father's NDP Leader

(16) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 8:46 AM

For the first time since 1960, Canada's federal New Democratic Party is really new.

And when I say "new" I mean "different."

In electing the fiery Thomas Mulcair as their leader over the weekend, the New Democrats dramatically changed the nature of their party.

Just think about how his victory...

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Why Harper is the Teflon Robot

(64) Comments | Posted March 13, 2012 | 8:24 AM

A lot of people expected the so-called "robocall scandal" to inflict some serious damage to the Conservative government's standing in the polls.

As NDP MP Pat Martin put it, "This is the kind of thing that brings governments down."

And it's easy to see why Martin and others...

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Alberta's Wildrose Party Must Embrace the "Dirty Harry Gambit"

(13) Comments | Posted February 15, 2012 | 7:27 AM

A lot of people are wondering if the upstart Wildrose party can win the upcoming Alberta election.

I think it can.

But to win the Wildrosers will need to do three things.

First, they absolutely must stick to their conservative principles. It's the party's ideological orientation, after all, which distinguishes...

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C'mon, Is Our Democracy Really in Peril?

(50) Comments | Posted December 17, 2011 | 11:17 AM

Canadian democracy is in grave danger.

Or so say lots of pundits, journalists and academics who keep warning us about how the politicians in Ottawa are slowly eroding away our traditional parliamentary democratic institutions.

They point out, for instance, how the Conservative government is severely limiting parliamentary debate, and how...

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The Scrooge Side of Occupy Christmas

(21) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 11:08 AM

It's Christmas season, a time of joyous fun and festivities.

And if you believe that then you have clearly been duped by multinational corporations, working in conjunction with the Tea Party, the CIA and Fox News.

In reality, Christmas, with its crass commercialization, is a nightmare of capitalistic exploitation, decking...

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Harper: Not as Scary as Advertised

(47) Comments | Posted December 4, 2011 | 11:22 PM

Better polish your jackboots and practicing goose-stepping because Canada is in the grips of a democracy-hating, military-glorifying, censorship-loving right-wing reactionary.

Or so implies columnist Lawrence Martin, who recently warned about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's brand of "right-wing nationalism."

Martin says Harper's brash ideological style "contributes to fears of...

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Harper the Counter-Revolutionary

(16) Comments | Posted November 25, 2011 | 3:44 PM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not just a Conservative politician; he's also a counter-revolutionary.

Or at the very least, he's extremely sympathetic with Canada's counter-revolutionary movement.

And yes, believe it or not, we do have counter-revolutionaries in Canada. The revolution they seek to counter...

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Harper Betraying His Principles on Free Speech

(11) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 8:12 AM

Prime Minister Stephen Harper used to believe in free political speech.

Back in the days before he was prime minister, while he was still serving as president of the National Citizens Coalition -- I worked with him for five years -- he vehemently opposed government attempts to...

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Time to Privatize the CBC

(125) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 12:27 PM

Canada's cultural elitists are getting mighty nervous these days.


Because word has it the Conservative government may trim the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's budget.

Now for regular TV consumers, who mainly watch non-CBC programming, the possibility a CBC budget cut probably ranks somewhere below getting a hangnail on...

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7 Reasons Why the Liberal Party Is Doomed

(79) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 11:28 AM

Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert recently pondered the federal Liberal Party of Canada's future or lack thereof.

As she put it, "Watching the receding Liberal tide, one can reasonably wonder whether the party as a major national presence has reached the point of no return."

Well she...

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The NDP's Applause Line Problem

(1) Comments | Posted October 7, 2011 | 9:38 AM

Contenders in the upcoming federal NDP leadership campaign will all face a similar problem.

And that problem has to do with "applause lines."

Applause lines are those bits in a speech designed to get an audience cheering and clapping with approval.

It's also the part of the speech you hope...

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Pondering the "Layton Effect"

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 4:34 PM

Jack Layton might be gone but he won't soon be forgotten.

In fact, I dare say Layton's legacy will dominate Canada's social democratic movement for years to come.

After all, the circumstances of his death -- his popularity, his courageous battle against cancer, the outpouring of adulation, his famous last...

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