With only 11 days to go until the Ontario election, John Tory seems to have been hoisted by his own petard. He tried to go the Karl Rove route and "energize the base" by pandering to religious fundamentalists and promising to fund their schools. He managed to chase away the remaining Bill Davis Tories and non-ideologues, most of whom will now either stay home on election day, or worse (for Tory) hold their collective nose and vote for the Liberals.
Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, who entered the campaign more or less even with John Tory, has done the smart thing and A)Connected Tory to Mike Harris whenever possible, B) Pointed and laughed at Tory over the religious school funding question and C) otherwise kept his mouth shut. It has been a winning strategy, as far as it goes.
If Howard Hampton can convince blue-collar industrial workers worried about job losses to vote in their own interest and back him instead of a corporate shill, the NDP could pick up some seats in the 905 zone around Toronto.
As the campaign come into the home stretch, the Liberals are widening the gap in their lead over the Tories and it looks like another Liberal government, perhaps even a majority.
On the electoral reform front, according to the Star, people are at least becoming more aware that there is a referendum and what it is about. According to the linked article from last week's paper, 6 in 10 voters now at least know about the referendum, up from a paltry 8 percent in June. What's more, 40% of them claim to understand the MMP system (a feat no more difficult than counting to ten with your hands behind your back) compared to the 54% who claim to understand our current system (a feat that ranks with counting to ten on your fingers and getting it right the second time.)
Accord to an Angus Reid poll taken two weeks ago, support for the MMP was at 26%, with 33% backing the current system and 38% undecided. Since MMP needs 60% to pass, things are not looking good.
A more recent poll published in the Mop&Pail reveals that while only a little more than half of voters claim to know anything about Mixed Member Proportional representation, those that do know something about it are slightly more likely to vote in favour of it than vote against it. Which is nice, but the bar to pass the change to MMP requires a 60% supermajority, with at least half the votes in 60% of the ridings. I am not optimistic that good sense will win out and we will have a change, but its never too late to shill, so all you Ontario readers get out there and vote early and often for MMP.
In terms of a possible federal election Stephane Dion, having not exactly proven himself a firebrand thus far, might be well advised to follow McGuinty lead: point out all the thing that the Harper government promised, but has not delivered (start here: Remember those 125,000 day care spaces he promised by 2010? so far zero progress); Link Steverino to his buddy George W. Bush as often as possible and point out all the egregious overreaches that have pissed non-conservatives off (the softwood sellout, sidelining Status of Women Canada, trying to back out of Kyoto, failure to set a date to leave Afghanistan, undermining of democracy through appointment of unelected cabinet ministers and 'local go-to people" etc etc etc) and sit back and let Stephen and Doris and Petey shoot themselves in the foot with every new promise and otherwise keep his mouth shut.
The Liberals and the Cons are neck and neck now. Harper thinks he can out campaign Dion, but I think a little campaign judo will allow Dion to eke out a minority government. Harper can't run as an untested opposition leader now, he's an unlikeable incumbent stuck defending his woeful record to an unimpressed populace. Plus there's that whole baby eating thing.
cross-posted from the Woodshed