In this election, it seems to me that the Liberals are campaigning relatively well. And that the Conservatives are campaigning relatively poorly.
The first week was all about “reckless coalitions”, which has been debunked and declared a distraction and makes them look a bit stupid, especially when quotes such as this are located:
… what will be the test is whether there’s then any party in opposition that’s able to form a coalition or working alliance with the others. And I think we have a political system that’s going to continue to have three or four different parties, or five different parties, and so I think parties that want to form government are going to eventually have to learn to work together.
— Stephen Harper (1991)
(Source TVO, via Procedure and Politics)
So why try that? Well, apart from their peek popularity having occurred when the other parties threatened to make the unpopular Stephane Dion prime minister by coalition, I also think they don’t want Canadians to remember what made the other parties do that.
For whatever reason, the Conservatives have a good reputation on the economy. They are especially proud of the stimulus package, Canada’s Action Plan. So proud they spent $26 million taxpayer dollars telling us it was wonderful. After the program was over. (More proof of their great fiscal management, of course.)
However. When last elected, as the recession was taking hold, the Conservatives presented a fiscal update that cut spending, and provide no stimulus whatsoever. Only after and because of the coalition “crisis” did we get a new budget, containing Canada’s Action Plan (with a segue through the proroguing of Parliament).
But how can the NDP and Liberals remind Canadians of that without playing into Harper’s talking points on their “secret coalition plans”? Best to say nothing.
So, maybe Harper isn’t really campaigning that badly. Maybe he’s achieved exactly what he wanted here, in poisoning another perfect valid idea to the point it can’t even mentioned. Last election carbon taxes (still a toxic subject), this election governance by coalition.
Of course, this week we’ve moved on to the Conservatives’ excesses in shutting out those who disagree with them:
- Those pictured with Michael Ignatieff
- Those who volunteer with homeless veterans
- Students trying to get young people to vote
- Those who want to do something to combat global warming
This last young woman, Joanna MacDonald from Guelph, is the one planning to start on online campaign called Stephen Harper is afraid to meet me, which I think is hilarious. And so I’m borrowing her line, since I also think something should be done to combat global warming, so I ought to be equally frightening.
Also fun? Rick Mercer’s Mr. Harper, are you on your meds? from Macleans, which takes pokes at all parties, starting with this:
The government was defeated on a confidence motion because they were in contempt of the Canadian Parliament—a vote that Stephen Harper immediately claimed did not occur. He didn’t argue about the semantics of the vote; he simply denied it happened at all, preferring instead to believe his government was defeated on the budget. There is evidence to the contrary: he was there and it was on TV, but still, as far as he is concerned, it didn’t happen.