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Canadian federal election: Stepping back to survey the week

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The most interesting, and heartening, event this week was the Green Party being admitted to the leader’s debate after public protests of the initial exclusion. I heard leader Elizabeth May interviewed on CBC’s The House (MP3 available here:, and the woman is a breath of fresh air. She’s smart and articulate, but doesn’t hide behind that political “bull” filter that all the leaders do.

The Conservatives have campaigned effectively this week, and this point certainly look to be on a victorious path. I’m not sure any of their gaffes — the infantile Dion cartoon (I’m just not linking to it), insulting the father of a slain soldier — will really stick. But it certainly highlights to me just how mean and nasty significant parts of the Conservative crowd can be. Why so angry, folks? You’re winning!

The Liberals really weren’t very prominent this week, getting attention mostly for defending themselves against Conservative attacks. A good defense is important, but they need way more offence. It’s not as though the Conservatives haven’t left them plenty of targets. Start shooting at them, already.

The NDP, on the other hand, I’ve seen a surprising amount of. Especially this ad, which I think isn’t too bad, though it’s a bit low on specifics:

I’ll end with some favourite comments from others this week:

But the mystery is: Why did the Harper-Layton-media juggernaut back down here? I never expected it. Jeffrey Simpson says they “misread public opinion,” which “insisted Ms. May be heard.” So what? The public wants lots of things. Usually it’s just ignored. Full

— Rick Salutin, Globe and Mail

But increasingly, Mr. Harper himself looks like a deer frozen in the headlights of onrushing economic and environmental change. He insists now is not the time to risk a new course. But what does he propose?

It sounds more and more as if he is seeking a mandate to do nothing. Full

— Ian Porter, letter to the editor

On some August nights, my father, a professor of economics and a rather conservative man, would phone me (during the cheap hours) to try to explain Stéphane Dion’s plan.

“It’s brilliant,” he’d say. “The cheapest way to lower greenhouse gases. It’ll lower income taxes, which slow growth …”

My father said Stephen Harper must know that it’s a good plan. “He can’t not know. He’s an economist. He’ll have an election before someone finds a way to explain it to the likes of you and his party goes down.” Full

— Tabatha Southey, Globe and Mail

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