To me, the Romney versus Obama election looks like a dud -- boring, dull and simply, nowhere nearly as exciting as what's going on here in Canada. We have a PM who loves being the villain, a bulldog opposition leader, and a liberal willing to beat the crap out (literally!) of someone for political points.
After reneging on his anti-Bill C-38 statement, David Wilks stressed that he had no choice but to vote with the government, saying that's "how Ottawa works." But to those demonizing Harper for this, let us not kid ourselves: Harper has only improved, refined -- and has taken much too far -- the model first introduced by the Liberal Party of Canada and its leaders.
Lawrence Connelly was issued a DND birth certificate by the Canadian government when born in Germany. He now lives in Orillia, works in daycare, pays his taxes, and is married with two kids. But when he applied for a passport to go to Disney World in the U.S., the Passport Office told him they needed proof of citizenship, and that has birth certificate wasn't enough.
For some politicians, smearing an opponent and telling lies is just another day at the office. Until the Canadian public declares that this kind of cheap and gutter politics is unworthy of those that offer to stand for office, it will continue. There is something that we need to do, and it's up to us, not politicians, to enact this change.
In this week's editorial pages we got to meet Thomas Muclair, SCARY ENEMY OF NATIONAL UNITY when he railed against the Alberta oil industry. All the western premiers quickly fired back, calling Mulcair's grasp of economics "tenuous and "goofy." But some are conceding that Muclair is being pretty damn "clever" in rejecting one of the dominant pieces of conventional wisdom in post-Harper Canadian politics: that you need the West to win.
The Tories won the 2011 election by appealing to Canadians' pocketbooks, the NDP's rise can be attributed to the lack of a clear Liberal message, and Jack Layton's popularity from beyond the grave. But what are the Liberals supposed to capitalize on? Two words: the economy.
As we approach the month of June, the Liberal party will soon be making a decision on when to hold their next leadership convention. With roughly a month to go, there doesn't seem to be much interest from the public in what they do or, for that matter, what they decide. Clearly at this point in time the NDP offers voters the biggest contrast with the governing Conservatives; the Liberals still don't seem to fit in anywhere.
The NDP had the power to gain a significant concession from the minority Liberals and bend the budget to their alleged goals as the party of the working class. Plus they had a real opportunity to win huge accolades and public affection. Instead, Horwath dropped the ball and has left the Liberals to continue to pummel working class taxpayers.
This ad campaign is important as it signals that the NDP is becoming much more professional in how it conducts itself. After a dismal, and boring leadership campaign, the NDP are finally getting back into the game. This is welcome news to that large body of Canadian voters who voted against the Conservatives in the last election.
When Thomas Mulcair became party leader, outspoken MP Bruce Hyer was passed on the new shadow cabinet. Mulcair noted how, "Bruce simply feels that he's allowed to come up with his own decisions." But then again, one has to wonder if that is a good or bad thing, or a sign of how our political system is broken.
For broadcast journalists, covering a party convention is the ultimate challenge. Adrenaline surges. Competition is fierce. Reputations are made and lost. At the NDP convention this weekend Mansbridge covered politics. And relished it. And chewed it up and spat it out.
The media seem obsessed with the difficulty of creating party unity and "healing the wounds" of the campaign. I really don't get a sense there will be a lot of wounds. The opportunity for growth will surely make the party put aside their differences and work together under Thomas Mulcair's leadership.
People who live 4,500k from the Toronto-Danforth riding read in the Vancouver Sun just last month that the Liberals were in a position to win; they'll now be reading about a "lacklustre, no name, uninspiring dud" candidate who blew the Liberals right out of the water. Imagine what that does for confidence in the Liberal brand.
Like the Conservative party, the NDP appeals to the politics of fear in order to win votes -- fear of Stephen Harper. The Liberal party tried just that in the 2011 election and it didn't work. The Liberals' primary message was rebuking the Conservatives for their undemocratic practices, not one offering a compelling vision for the future of the country.
In January the NDP leadership candidates held a debate in Montreal in which every one of them refused to support the federal government's Clarity Act. It is important to note that independence by Quebec in such circumstances would not only fly in the face of the Clarity Act but stand in opposition to the amending formula of the Canadian Constitution.
The NDP leadership race is currently running neck-in-neck with Arctic Air in the contest to see who can produce the last compelling form of government-run entertainment. So the quest for our friends in the press has been to find some angle on the race beyond the traditional "Hey, who's winning?" narrative.