Monday, January 09, 2006

Election Canada 2006: The nasty campaign is beginning

Its down to the final two weeks in the election. And the "nasty" campaign that the media has been salivating for appears to have finally arrived. In this week's Hill Times, a top Liberal strategist is quoted as saying,

"You'll see some action this week, we have no option. You might see some incidents in which we'll try to frustrate Harper. Unlike last time when [John] McCallum and Judy Sgro were given this task and they failed to deliver, this time we can't afford not to," said the source pointing out that this would be one of the tactics the Liberals would use, on top of negative ads and aggressively dissecting the Conservative Party's policy stands."

Notwithstanding the antics of Sgro and McCallum, who embarassed themselves by personally heckling Harper on the campaign trail of 2004, the Liberals feel as though they have only one option left- fight nasty. They are down in the polls. Down in momentum. They are down in motivation.

My thesis is that I disagree with the idea that the Liberals have to fight dirty to get back in the game. Nasty need not be. Here are some reasons why:
  • The Liberals haven't sufficiently gone positive. Their ads on the radio are nice and polished. I like them. It is a working component.
  • The Liberals, as the Hill-Times article suggest, are in a vision slump. They don't have a slogan. They don't have a real comprehensive platform. I would argue that the only policy that has stuck with voters has been the post-secondary funding - an area that few people list as a "top priority." The handgun ban too registered. But, pardon the pun, it is safe to say that the policy backfired when amateur sleuths discovered that there is a practical handgun ban already in effect. And, of course, that most handguns used in crimes are illegal weapons imported from foreign nations. Conservatives have momentum because they have vision. Where is the Redbook? Where are the great debates Martin always talks about?
  • The Liberals have been way too slow in the game. If they want to catch up, they need to display some platform - now. It is probably too late to regain the support they have lost. But I reckon some solid ideas could go a long way in the home stretch.
As an aside, I think it is fully pathetic that no party seems to have released their platforms before the debates this week. A debate is a debate. How can you debate if there is a great deal of mystery in what people stand for? PATHETIC. I give credits to the Green party and the Tories for being the most forthright, however. They have given Canadians much to chew on (even if the Greens are neglected in the debates).

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