Who said Canadian politics couldn’t be exciting? After weeks at the top of the polls inching ever closer to a majority and distancing themselves from the Liberals, who were second but sliding, the Conservative party has lost a lot of support in the week after the televised debates and final week of campaigning. The latest polls have the Conservative party with 32% and liberals with 27% (the difference was something like 40% to 21% before).
I can’t help but admit that I’m very excited by this turn of events. There’s much about Stephen Harper and his conservative party that troubles me and this campaign has just confirmed my worst fears. During the whole campaign, Stephen Harper avoided any contact with the public and appeared only in made-for-tv rallies with pre-selected audience. He has used the RCMP to keep the media away from him and conservative candidates all over the country have avoided public debates when they would have to answer questions from the public. It is almost as if they are afraid of answering questions about their policies and platform. But maybe it is because they didn’t have a platform until two days ago and were afraid people would notice? I don’t know. But it troubles me to see our Prime Minister avoiding the people he works for. This is nothing new. During the past three years, the PM has not only avoided the press like the plague but has muzzled members from his own party.
He has also imported a practice that might have marked politics south of the border but was never really prominent here in Canada, which is practice to personally attack political opponents. Canadian politicians and the electorate have for long been very pragmatic in their politics, often discussing issues and skills rather than making political opposition personal. The personal attack ads against Stéphane Dion that were aired days after he won the Liberal leadership two years ago are a case in point.
But I’m still hopeful that Canadians are going to recognize that they are being manipulated. Make your voice heard! Vote on October 14th. Remember, if you are Canadian, you do not need to be registered to be able to vote. Just find your electoral district and show up with appropriate IDs and proof of residence on election day.
I have never seen anything like it in Canadian politics.