EDITORIAL – Parties unveil campaign slogans but voters need one too


An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

“MOVING FORWARD” is, without doubt, the most hackneyed phrase in politics. Every politician utters it at least a dozen times a day.

It should be no surprise, then, that politicians can think of nothing more original to put in their campaign slogans as we gird for the Oct. 21 federal election.

Justin Trudeau and his Liberals are asking us to “Choose Forward.” As opposed, obviously, to choosing backward with the other guys. The other guys, the Conservatives, are telling us we can “get ahead” with them.

The NDP are expected to announce their slogan next week but it’s not going to be the one they used in 2015 — “Ready for Change.” Going from Official Opposition to a dismal third wasn’t the kind of change they’d hoped for. (Speaking of which, the Liberals promoted “Real Change (Now)” last time.”)

The Greens, who went with “A Canada That Works. Together” in 2015 are now employing a clever spinoff from the “forward” theme with “Not Right. Not Left. Forward Together.”

There’s nothing left in campaign slogans that somebody else hasn’t already used. Joe Clark’s version in 1979 was “Give the future a chance,” and he won a minority government with it.

The secret to campaign slogans isn’t to dazzle voters. No, the trick is to make sure you don’t come up with a really bad one that turns people off.

Barack Obama knew this in 2012. He kept it simple: “Forward.” Can’t go wrong with that.

In 2005, the Labour Party in the U.K. advised, “Forward, Not Back.”

I think the voters should have a slogan of their own. How about borrowing the one the U.K. Conservatives used that same year — “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?”

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7953 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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