Ontario’s governing Liberals don’t just have a new leader, they’re also speaking a whole new language.
The cabinet office is circulating “style tips” to bureaucrats with “preferred” phrases and language the new government has been using since Premier Kathleen Wynne took office.
And by the way, it’s “the new Ontario government,” not “the Wynne government.”
The memo includes a litany of catch-phrases Wynne has used since she became Liberal leader, including her ubiquitous: “We must engage in a respectful dialogue/conversation.”
The premier’s proclivity for the word “conversation” has become so pervasive that NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s favourite comeback is “there needs to be a little less conversation and a little more action.”
The style and tone of the new government includes a “can-do attitude” and “rousing enthusiasm,” according to the memo obtained by The Canadian Press.
Speeches should incorporate about 10 per cent of French, “personal anecdotes/stories (i.e. family history)” and the use of “active language — bold and direct.”
The government “likes to wrap speeches with ‘thank you and meegwetch” — or “thank you” in Algonquin _ something Wynne has been doing since she became the Liberal leader.
Other recurring phrases include “I’d like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of xxxx (at the start of most speeches)” — another sentence the premier uses frequently.
Do not forget: the preferred style includes short sentences and “limited use of contractions.”
Some bureaucrats are asking their staff to incorporate the language in both internal and external communications, including emails and correspondence to ministers.
I miss governments with strong ministers and MLAs. We elect them and not the Premier’s Office.