Not a lot of time so this will be a quickie.
As of a few hours ago we are officially heading into an election. No giant surprise, as the polls have been kind as of late to the incumbent Conservatives, and various scandals were threatening to become more trouble than was comfortable. In case anyone is wondering, this will be Stephan’s long awaited majority parliament, and this is why.
Stephen is, and always was, a policy wonk first. That’s why to this day he can outmaneuver all political challengers with such seeming ease. He knows the rules of parliament better than they do, and he is smart enough to apply them. He also understands, as did Chretien before him, that politics is truly a blood sport. Make no mistake, although it was the opposition who voted this government out, they simply did what Stephen told them to. He called this election by making a budget that was perfect for Conservative electioneering, while keeping opposition goodies to a minimum, and so they get to do the dirty work of actually telling Canadians they have to go to the polls for the fifth time in ten years. This leaves Stephen to do what he has always done best. Be his somewhat boring old self. Predictable. Stable. Easy to vote for.
But what about the others?
Iggy came back to Canada from a thirty year hiatus as an American professor hoping to sell himself in Ottawa as the next Trudeau. He was supposed to be the grand and worldly scholar come home to lead his misguided party, the Liberals, and their shivering masses forward, out of darkness and into his light. That kinda blew up in his face. So, after losing a leadership campaign to an even weaker personality in Dion, he assumed the role of the patient working minion of the party. It was impressive in just how plainly he wore the badge, right there on his sleeve where we could all see it. Predictably, at least for those of us who where watching, Dion self-immolated on national television, leaving the battered but determined Liberal warrior to assume the throne … and he has taken the party … where, exactly? That’s the big question, because like so many cloistered professorial monks, he assumes he deserves the power he aspires to. It seems having to publicly justify it through actual policy statements seems somehow dirty to him. I feel comfortable stating now the Liberals are likely to loose a few seats because of him, and if he doesn’t play the slip-up game well, they might loose more than just a few.
…and who would get those seats?
Well, I imagine the majority of them will go to the Conservatives, but Jack is back, and Jack is looking better than he has ever done before.
Jack Layton. The man I have always described as the used car salesman from Toronto is back from illness, and he is on a mission. Like Stephen Harper, this is probably his last kick at the can, so he is not going to allow timidity get in the way of destiny. I saw him speaking a few days ago, and I smelled less used car charisma than ever before, and that will most certainly serve him well against Stephen Harper. Harper has always been called boring, but make no mistake, he is simply being himself, and the lack of showmanship pisses off the media types. Going up against that with fake and bake sincerity is almost impossible, as Paul Martin learned so well. Layton has always been too polished for most middle of the road family value voters, but that seems to be greatly diminished, and that means the man who has earned the role of Prime Minister through doe eyes and a bit of belly fat is now losing that advantage. I do not think Layton could ever win the election (I just said Harper will get his majority) but he will leave the NDP in better shape than they have been since Ed’s day, and I would not be too surprised if they almost match the Liberals in seats. Left wingers will vote NDP, but now maybe families will too, and if he plays it right some of those blue collar workers that left the NDP for the Liberals all those years ago might return to the fold. We will see.
Quebec? Duceppe? Get off my lawn, punk. Quebec votes it’s interests, not ideology as everyone would have you believe. If Harper can offer them something of value that doesn’t make them retch, he will at least hold what little he has.
So in summation:
Harper has a comfortable lead in the polls, a track record that isn’t too evil, and some belly fat. He is really easy to vote for. His problem lies in the fact this is his third try, and people are going to ask about those family value promises from election #1.
Iggy is being called Iggy by people like me. Ivory tower intellectual who would feign to lower himself to my level and be my leader. Thanks. Go f*** yourself.
Layton. Strong legitimacy and strong motivation. Times are tough for families and his ongoing message of family first might start to resonate with people who would normally never consider NDP. He simply has to keep the flakes in his party from getting too much media attention, and he could easily put a fly in Iggy’s soup.
There you go.