Pity the Conservative minded Canadian voter. Tired of waste, secrecy and mismanagement they finally got hold of the big prize in Canadian politics...and were forced to watch five years of Stephen Harper.
- Five years of funding for dubious projects, the most recent example being revelations about spending on the G8 Summit in Huntsville. (STORY HERE)
- Five years of withholding information from Canadians like the Veterans Health Services Review. (STORY HERE)
- Five years of watching a 13 Billion dollar surplus turn into a massive record setting deficit.
Yet despite the scandals, controversy and all that red ink, a significant minority of Canadians still seem willing to vote for Mr. Harper's party. Why?
Part of the reason is attributable to the Tory war chest and their ability to turn voters off of Michael Ignatieff. In something of a juvenile move, Harper's machine managed to convince the kids on the playground that the new guy wasn't cool. Not exactly classy, but effective.
Then there's the perpetuation of the myth that Harper's government has done a good job managing the economy. Granted Harper did inherit a very stable balance sheet, and Canada was better poised to withstand an economic crisis than our neighbours to the south. But none of that was the doing of Harper's Conservative governments. In fact, Brian Mulroney deserves more credit than Stephen Harper for putting this nation on solid financial footing....but perception always trumps reality in politics, especially during an election.
So where's a disgruntled Tory to turn? The Liberals??? Yeah right...not with that globe trotting egg head in charge. The NDP? Oh yeah, right!!! Green?!?! Let's be serious.
And then of course you have those who fill the fundamentalist pews every Sunday who are thrilled at having one of their own in the Prime Minister's office. Sure he hasn't done anything about outlawing gay marriage and about putting abortion back in the criminal code...but give him a majority and then we'll see what happens.
In my opinion Michael Ignatieff needs to talk more about the need to return to surplus, and the path he intends to take to get us there. Grandiose national programs are all well and good, but first let's get our financial house in order. In Ralph Goodale the Liberals have a strong card to play against Jim Flaherty's dismal performance.
There are plenty of Conservative voters out there who are less than pleased with Harper, with good reason, and many who fear a Conservative majority. Dirty politics and smear have kept many on-side, but a strong end to the campaign could yet still bring some around.
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