The 2008 Canadian Election: Day One

It's now official. The writ has been dropped. We will vote on October 14th. And already the parties are staking out their positions. You could be forgiven if you thought the election actually started weeks ago. Stephen Harper has been playing High Noon all summer, first telling Dion to "fish or cut bait", then inviting the opposition to pledge allegiance to his agenda this fall "or else". After the charade of meeting the three leaders individually for a few minutes each, Harper visited the GG this morning to pull the plug on Parliament and start his campaign for a majority government. (Pardon me: he says repeatedly that he expects another "minority"; wouldn't want to rattle those voters still fearful of what Harper might do with a majority).

Too bad he had to break his own election promises and, some argue, a law his government enacted, to precipitate an election now when he considered the stars best aligned for good fortune for the Conservatives. In his 2006 Blue Book Harper promised:

"Elections are to be held every four years, except when a government loses the confidence of the House."

So much for that promise! But wait... this Parliament had become "dysfunctional" the PM claimed. If that's the case why is he promising to campaign on the Conservatives' record of achievements and promises fulfilled. Ironic, non?

Stephane Dion meanwhile seems to have had some difficulty in getting to the launch pad, with a rather leisurely start to the campaign. He will campaign on his environmental agenda, the Green Shift, and attack the Conservatives' record of broken promises.

Jack Layton was quicker off the mark stating that Harper had quit his job and that he (Layton) was applying for it. The NDP appears to be ignoring the Liberals and targeting the Cons in their early ads.

Gilles Duceppe of the BQ was perhaps the most honest of the bunch. He informed us that the Bloc's mission this time is to prevent Harper from getting a majority. And indeed a lot rides on whether the Bloc can prevent further Conservative inroads in Quebec.

Stay tuned!

No comments: