Saturday, November 05, 2005

A winter federal election?


Let's hope not. Prime Minister Paul Martin is reportedly on the defensive after polls show Harper's Conservative Party ahead of the Liberals by a 3 point margin. His emphasis is the "unfinished business" should his government fall. Not enough of a defense, Paul.

The Conservatives are behaving pretty smugly at the moment since, without having to woo them, they have the support of the Bloc Quebecois in a confidence vote. What the Conservatives are surely aware of, but wouldn't dare to whisper, is that the BQ would support a No Confidence motion for only one reason: to create chaos.

Jack Layton of the NDP isn't behaving any better. He's quick to spout off about his lack of confidence and trust in the Martin government, but he's willing to make a deal on additional social programs... if they are written by the NDP. (Funny... the Minister of Health you're pressuring is one of you, Jack. He's no liberal. He's NDP to the bone... just ask Glen Clark.)

So what is being offered? The Liberals who, despite the exoneration of Paul Martin in the Gomery Report, bear the stain of corruption and arrogance; the Conservatives who have an odour not unlike the Republicans in the U.S., complete with a corps of ultra-right wingnuts, religious jeebus freaks and navel-gazing regionalists; the NDP who, since they can never poll better than 20 percent are happy to behave like the party prostitute... as long as the liberals keep paying, the NDP keep sucking; and, the Bloc Quebecois who are little more than political vandals intent on doing as much damage as they can.

Given that any election in the next 6 months will likely produce a minority government, again, Canadians have little appetite for a winter trip to the ballot box. Winter has its own set of challenges in this country and having to listen to the cacophony of an acrimonious election campaign on the approach to Christmas is not an appealing thought.

Making us go to the polls during the winter means fewer of us likely voting and those who do will be in a bad mood. All parties and their strategists need to keep in mind that when an angry Canadian shows up on polling day, somebody gets punished.

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