Federal politicians from the two opposition parties have a busy schedule this week even though the House of Commons is closed for a break week. This is usually a time when our MPs return to their ridings to focus on constituency work. But this week several opposition MPs are hitting the road to highlight their party's stance on the Conservative's budget bill.
What they hope to accomplish is debatable. To begin with, how many Canadians outside of the Queensway even know they are on tour? Do our MPs honestly expect that the budget debate was on our minds while we enjoyed the weather this past weekend and fired up the BBQ to celebrate the arrival of summer? How many of us while flipping burgers were bemoaning the details about the omnibus budget bill to our assembled guests and neighbours? Somehow I don't think it was discussed all that much.
For the most part when you are on a tour of this nature you talk to the people and groups who already agree with your position. It's a good opportunity to have a warm and fuzzy moment with folks who support your position, but you aren't convincing many others to change their minds nor will you convince non-supporters to suddenly show an interest in the debate.
The debate on this budget bill is just about past it's "due date." Groups or individuals who have a stake in the changes that will be implemented are rightly concerned and they have been expressing those concerns since the bill was first introduced. There are only so many times the public will listen to you say the same thing over and over again.
The NDP obviously feel they need to garner more public support for their stand against the bill and they do have a chance to use their tour to win over some anti-Harperites or Liberal supporters. That will be one of the few positives for them as they wander the country this week.
Having worked for a party that endured third-party status for many years, I am not too sure what the Liberals hope to accomplish. No matter what they do, the NDP will steal the spotlight from them on any given day of the week. One comment from Mulcair will be all it takes to bury the Liberals media hopes. It is times like this when you really begin to appreciate your weaknesses and realize how difficult the road back to power (if it ever comes) will be. For the Liberals it will be a good day if they simply get a mention in the press.
With just 10 sitting days left (plus another 10 optional days) before the long parliamentary summer break begins, it's time for the opposition parties to realize they have lost this debate and Canadians have really started to tune out. It is time for the opposition to look ahead to the fall session when Canadians will really start to see the impact of some of the items this budget bill will have implemented.
There will be lots of time to criticize the government then and with Canadians returning from the summer holiday's they will once again start to pay attention to what our politicians are saying. The opposition hasn't lost the war, but throwing everything into battle when no one is listening is futile and a waste of resources.