I've got to hand it to our PM -- no-one plays with public concern quite so adroitly as he. I only wish that was higher praise. Consider:
Day Two into a 36-Day election run, and what are the talking points for our three contenders for the PMO?
Stephane Dion (Lib): Carbon Tax (link). Is this playing well with anyone besides bicycle couriers? Speaking from my lofty rural perch, Dion's emphasis on environment has single-handedly removed him from the farming vote. Assuming for the sake of argument that the "Green Shift" is enforceable and sustainable and beneficial to everyone across the nation, Dion still doesn't have the first clue how to sell it. Farmers (and the rest of us) hear Dion saying he's got yet another tax to wallop 'em with. One alternative is to sell the "Shift" as a means to law-enforcement, punishing the nation's worst offenders. But no: it's a sophisticated package, conveniently summed up in 48 pretty pages for voters to give their most serious consideration before October 14. Lessee, that's slightly less than two pages a day ... what are the odds on a general populace LOC?
Jack Layton (NDP): Halt Alberta Tar Sands Approvals (link). That's just Hogtown-stupid. Even if Layton, by some miracle, garnered a landslide victory into the PMO a "halt" simply would not happen because it cannot happen. Jesus could return in clouds of glory over the skies of Alberta and personally command a halt to tar sands approvals and nobody would lift a finger. Oil is the god we're bowing to at the moment; Jack and Jesus will just have to wait their turn until we run out.
Getting back to Layton, his platform demonstrates not just a personal unwillingness but a genuine incapacity to speak seriously about what central power can and cannot do. The man is determined to keep his party in the fringes of power. Voters will decide for themselves if this is a good thing.
Finally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (PC): Cut Excise Tax On Diesel (link). We have a winner!! Since most of Canada's goods are shipped by truck this will mean a temporary halt on across-the-board inflation, and a gentle upward nudge on an economy fated for a downturn. That should help voters forget all this foolishness about the environment.
Oh, also this: The Pooping Puffin (link). Harper's party came up with it, and he saw fit to apologize with a shrug and a "It's beneath me." Dion, on the other hand, spluttered with indignation and took aboard the maximum amount of umbrage. Winner: Mr. Pink*. That is, uh, Harper.
Oy: 34 more days of this....