Volume 93, Issue 96

Thursday, March 30, 2000


Shinerama still in doubt

Freeze called for fifth year

CAPS recommends police make streets safer with less money

Taste of sugar linked to gene

Evolutionary link becomes loose with DNA study

Alliance needs more than a name change

Caught on campus


Alliance needs more than a name change

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

The national opposition to the Liberal party is reforming their political strategy with a new name and potentially, a new party leader. However, some Western experts are questioning the move.

Last weekend, the Reform Party of Canada announced they would discontinue the use of their party name and become the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance party. The move addressed the party's need to gain more support in Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada.

However, Western political science professor Ian Brodie said he was not sure swapping names would have an effect. "If they change the name and [Preston] Manning is still the leader, it's not going to make a whole lot of difference," he said.

Brodie said the party's problem has always been leadership and pulling the wool over voters' eyes would not win national votes. "Ontarians have had some questions about if the party is serious in it's leadership. They are going to have to look like a serious government in order to sway votes."

Professor of political sociology at Western, Ed Grabb, agreed the party's new name would not have a huge impact on the voting public. "A change of leadership is the biggest way to obtain political inroads," he said.

Grabb discussed the potential of Alberta treasurer Stockwell Day as the new CRCA leader, as well as some perceptions of Manning.

"Manning is perceived as having sort of a funny voice and being a 'Western redneck,' whereas Day is certainly a Westerner, but is seen as younger and more liberal," he said.

Media, information and technoculture professor Michael Nolan said the crux of the issue remained around the Alliance differentiating the CRCA from the Reform party.

"The new Alliance will have to survive the treatment of the [Canadian] media. They have a new name, but the media will have to explain how the two parties differ. The CRCA's success will hang on this fundamental issue."

As for Day and Manning, Nolan said the two leaders vying for CRCA leadership would have to use different strategies in order to be successful. "When voters think of this party's roots, they think of a party born out of Western protest and grievance," he said.

"If Manning wins, it will be the challenge of old leader running the new party. If Day wins, he is not well known and has had a very right wing past."

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