Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Republican Karl Rove Says Conservatives Need More Than Simplistic Slogans

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Republican Karl Rove Says Conservatives Need More Than Simplistic Slogans

Article excerpt

Slogans not enough, Rove tells conservatives

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OTTAWA - Legendary Republican campaign strategist Karl Rove, known for his no-holds-barred approach to American politics, has some advice for Canadian conservatives: simplistic, bumper-sticker sloganeering isn't enough.

Rove on Friday kicked off the annual Manning Networking Conference, a gathering of this country's most influential federal and provincial conservative thinkers, strategists and politicians.

This year's event comes amid a political uproar over allegations of interference in the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin by Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, and just seven months before Canadians head to the polls.

Rove talked about the rise of populism in the United States that led to Donald Trump's election as president in 2016, as well as how distaste for Trump's "coarseness" and personality has since driven college-educated surburbanites, particularly women, away from the Republican party.

"All of these things sort of tie together in an imperative for the conservative movement in my country, and I suspect the conservative movement in your country as well. And that is we gotta take the proposals of the opposition seriously," he told several hundred conference attendees.

"We need to take these proposals seriously. We can't mock them, we can't dismiss them with a cute phrase, we've gotta take them on and explain to the American people why they're bad policy, why they're not in keeping with the values of our state or our country. And finally, we've got to go out there and begin to describe -- which is hard for conservatives in my country to do -- what it is that we do as an alternative."

In the U.S., he said, it's particularly urgent for conservatives to propose alternatives to universal health care advocated by some Democrats. …

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