March 29: Campaign Digest

Posted on March 29, 2011

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Today has been a somewhat encouraging day on the campaign trail.  Firstly, there is a glimmer of hope in the polls. The Conservatives are on their way down, and the Liberals, NDP and Greens are on their way up. I can’t imagine why this might be. Maybe the Shrill Harper meme has caught on, maybe the Bloc’s line about hypocrisy is working, or perhaps the electorate has been turned off by racist campaign advertising. Whatever the reason, let’s all beseech our favourite supernatural being to make the trend continue.

Another encouraging polling result: I don’t understand all the math involved, but ThreeHundredEight‘s seat projection, in its infinite wisdom, is saying that Elizabeth May is going to win her seat. This is good news even if you are not a fan of the Green Party, because the most likely outcome of this election is another minority government. It is furthermore entirely possible that on some issues a single seat will hold the balance of power. If nothing else changes on May 2, it will at least be nice to have an independent, sensible progressive in that position.

Also encouraging is that the opposition parties have started making policy announcements!  The Liberals are promising a Canadian Learning Passport, which offers $4000 to help students pay for their post-secondary education, the NDP are proposing a limit to credit card interest rates, and the Green Party are trying to convince all the other parties to commit to high-speed rail in the Calgary-Edmonton and Quebec-Windsor corridors. All pretty good, if not entirely perfect, ideas. What is particularly encouraging about the Liberal and NDP proposals is the production value of their web announcements. The Liberals have a neat little flash slideshow, while the NDP have a calculator to show how much you will save. These presentations were probably not put together in the last four days, which means that both parties have well thought-out campaigns up their sleeves. Let’s hope that this allows them to stay on the offensive.

Shrill Harper, meanwhile, has proposed a few more token tax cuts while his smear machine continues to insist that Ignatieff is planning on a reckless coalition that will endanger all our jobs or something. I don’t share the Conservative revulsion at the idea. A coalition is the best thing that could happen to a country whose political discourse has been about as constructive lately as a schoolyard brawl. Frankly, I hope that Ignatieff is as dishonest as Harper wants us to think.

 

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