Annals of Re-branding: From "Canada's New Government" to "Harper Government"

Have you noticed this over the summer? The federal government, in its press releases, is 're-branding' itself. With increasing frequency, it's no longer the “Government of Canada”, it's now the “Harper government” as in:

You'll recall that in its first days, back in 2006, the Harper government decreed that the “Government of Canada” be referred to as “Canada's New Government” in its press releases, a phrase that continued to be in use nearly two years after “Canada's New Government” was installed in January, 2006::

Not sure why we're back to this re-branding exercise at this point (Calls are in to the appropriate individuals) but, given the fact that we're likely within 6 months of the next general election call and given the fact that the Conservative franchise, at this point, lives or dies with its leader, Stephen Harper, I wonder if this is a slightly insidious way of using government press releases to remind voters who's behind the 'good news' in each release.

6 thoughts on “Annals of Re-branding: From "Canada's New Government" to "Harper Government"”

  1. Good comment David. Strongly suspect whenever election comes (and in my view it cannot come soon enough), I suspect the Tory campaign will feature Harper as the provider of 'good' (?) things; and the horrors of a coalition government

  2. It's just a way to get journalists to talk about meaningless nonsense instead of important stuff that might hurt the Conservatives at the polls. They are, after all, masters of distraction.

  3. Ok, I also posted on your “Eye on the Hill” site, but perhaps you could explain why you used “incidious” (s/b “insidious”, try using Spellcheck) instead of a less emotive or subjective word such as “subtle” or “indirect”.

  4. This is a stale topic. Susan Delacourt posted on this topic in July 2009. 

    And because I'm so vain, here's what I wrote there at the time: 

    “Umm, the practice of referring to the X (insert appropriate PM's or Premier's name) government is a standard form used by most journalists. 

    For what it's worth, some googling results: 

    Results 1 – 10 of about 207,000 for “the McGuinty government”

    Results 1 – 10 of about 161,000 for “the Harper government”

    Results 1 – 10 of about 61,900 for “le gouvernement Charest”

    Results 1 – 10 of about 15,600 for “the Trudeau government”

    Results 1 – 10 of about 12,900 for “the Chrétien government

    Results 1 – 10 of about 3,030 for “Paul Martin's government” 

    Results 1 – 10 of about 13,600 for “the Obama government” 

    Just look at the number of references to McGuinty … Sinister, ain't it? 

    Today I googled various “governments” with the following results:
    “McGuinty government”: About 193,000 results (0.29 seconds)

    “Harper government”: About 228,000 results (0.30 seconds)
    “le gouvernement Charest”: About 342,000 results (0.29 seconds)
    “Trudeau government”: About 47,400 results (0.25 seconds)
    “Paul Martin government”: About 233,000 results (0.39 seconds)
    “Chrétien government: About 39,300 results (0.23 seconds)
    “Obama government”: About 107,000 results (0.26 seconds)
    “Charest government” wins the “sinister” prize today.
    You people in the media set the standards first, and now you're complaining PMO staffers have adopted your format?
    I thought imitation was the sincerest form of flattery.

  5. Nice strawman. David's point wasn't that journalists do this, it's that the government is doing it. So none of your examples are relevant. The Ontario government for example, doesn't refer to itself as the McGuinty government. I'd bet the only governments that routinely refer to themselves as the government of their leader are dictatorships.

  6. Oh, but they ARE relevant. If everyone and his uncle uses that kind of reference, if it's a common practice, why depict it as a significant switch? Kind of a “chicken and the egg” argument — which came first?

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