It always astounds me that more people are not interested in politics. Far too many dismiss it as an arcane pursuit that has no relevance in their lives, apparently confusing the recondite measures involved in the development of public policy with the human dynamics at the heart of pursuing and maintaining power. Greed, duplicity, manipulation, nobility, passion and compassion, all this and much more is at play. To dismiss politics is to dismiss any interest in the human animal. It is to sit on the sidelines of life.
That being said, I'm not sure that even as ardent a follower of human machinations as I am is ready for an 11-week campaign. The messages will get quickly repetitive, and the attacks will grow increasing dark and dispiriting. I may take the odd break from this blog to recover my equilibrium.
But since Dear Leader saw fit to visit the Governor-General yesterday as the prelude to spending even more of our money
to try to cling to power, I would be remiss not to offer a few of the media's early observations. The Toronto Star
sees the call as a blatantly cynical move:
Although Harper positioned the move as “fair,” designed to level the playing field for all parties at a time when the leaders were already out drumming up votes, it’s anything but. As the Conservatives well know, only they are in a position to fully capitalize on the much higher spending limits that come along with a longer campaign. Both the Liberals and New Democrats will struggle to keep up – and that of course is exactly the idea.
This shameless move is yet more evidence – if any was needed – that the Harper Conservatives are long past their sell-by date.Despite the tremendous spending advantages the Conservatives have, the editorial reminds us of a few facts that no slick strategy can conceal for long:
Over the next two and a half months, voters will have a chance to consider Harper’s record and decide if they want more. Among other things, they should keep in mind:
The Conservatives’ regressive social policies, pandering to their “base” at the expense of the least well-off.
Harper’s absence of national leadership on such crucial issues as health care, aboriginal issues and climate change.
The government’s misguided “tough on crime” laws that do nothing to enhance public safety.
The Conservatives’ divisive approach on national security and the dangerous measures in its “anti-terror” bill, C-51.
There’s much more, and thanks to Harper’s decision to call a vote so early, lots of time to debate it. The real issue is what’s the best alternative to this badly flawed government.Here in Ontario, a key battleground, Premier Kathleen Wynne is wasting no time in reminding people of the contempt
with which Harper is treating the province:
Voters should turf Prime Minister Stephen Harper for showing Ontario “blatant disrespect,” Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne urged Sunday in one of her strongest attacks yet on the federal Conservatives.
Wynne accused the Harper administration of naked partisanship over refusals to smooth a path for her Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and for not doing more to help develop the rich Ring of Fire mineral deposit in northwestern Ontario.
She zeroed in on the pension plan, noting Harper’s government allows the Canada Revenue Agency to provide services to provincial pension plans in Quebec and Saskatchewan.
“For him to then turn around and say, ‘Yeah, well, we have agreement with other provinces through the CRA and we’re not going to do that for you’ … it’s blatant disrespect for the people of Ontario,” Wynne said. “That has to stop.”
There is much to consider in this election, and the fact that Thomas Mulcair is now leading
in the polls is one indicator this will be a hotly-contested and vigorously-fought battle. But what is true today may not be true later in the campaign. Observes Tim Harper
The test for the NDP this time is whether Mulcair has staying power — and the betting here is that he does — but the Conservative calculation is clearly that increased scrutiny will expose a leader of a party viewed with skepticism on the economy in uncertain economic times.Finally, here is some good advice from Harper's main cheerleader, The Globe and Mail
, about the campaign:
Be a part of it. Make sure to vote. Turnout in federal elections is inexcusably low in Canada: Almost four out of 10 people don’t bother. While the leaders are doing their jobs, make sure to do yours. You can’t control the weather, but you can choose your government.