For the first time since last spring, the mainstream media yesterday reluctantly proclaimed that the Tories were out in front of the Liberal Party in the latest poll. While I have never leaned on polls, as they are usually skewed to produce a particular result, I am nevertheless buoyed. Over the past few days, there has been a great deal of change in the political situation in our great country.
Mr. Layton and the NDP have been reluctant to push the Liberals too hard for more goodies. Mr. Martin, for his part, has seen Jack’s bluff and called him on it. The NDP know that if they help defeat the Liberals, then their short-lived power-jacking days will be over. With Paul Martin and company now slipping in the arena of public thought, they will be more likely to grab for Mr. Layton’s lifeline. We have seen this before, and there is no doubt that Mr. Martin will grab onto anything, no matter what the cost or consequence. It is these futile acts of desperation that is letting Canadians see just what he is really made of. In a good way, the Liberals and the NDP are cancelling each other out as they sell themselves out for a little piece of the power pie. Neither leader, evidently, is very trustworthy with our confidence.
Mr. Harper for his part is finally employing some good advisors and some awesome help in the speech department. The speech he gave to Conservative MP’s and Parliament Hill staffers on Friday was the kind of speech that one would expect from a leader. It was sincere, concise, and from his heart. It blew away any doubts as to his ability to lead his party into the next election. “We are going to change the way government works in Ottawa, not just change the colour of the letterhead,” Harper said. I hope he means it. The youth of this country have a huge distaste for politics, and that is to the detriment of Canada. We must not reinforce those feelings.
Mr. Harper has promised to make sweeping reforms in the area of political fundraising and gifts. He would prohibit all corporate, union, and organization donations to political parties, ridings, and candidates. He would also ban cash donations to candidates or political parties of more than $20. The pledge from the Conservatives include many more sweeping changes which can be found on the Conservative Party’s website.
On the Liberal front, desperation is starting to not only set in, but is now very visible in the words and actions of the party and its leadership. The Liberal website is now running a smear campaign against Mr. Harper. It seems that Mr. Martin would have you believe that running the Citizen’s Coalition for four years counts as unregistered lobbying. I guess Canadians as a group are considered a corporation.
The Prime Minister sunk low as he tried to tie helping our native peoples to whether the opposition defeated his government. This is pandering at its worst. Canada’s native peoples have suffered for decades, and it is time it stopped. To suggest that the help that has been promised will evaporate if Mr. Martin is defeated is both shallow and reprehensible. Perhaps with a change of government, help will arrive faster than the four long years the Liberals are talking about stretching it over.
Our Prime Minister also tried to create a perception of a link between his government staying in power and the issues of climate change, international trade, and medical wait times. He is not the only one, but probably not in the light in which Mr. Martin wishes the connection to be seen. Conservative Joe.com has stated for months that the reason for our long medical wait times is the huge transfer payment cuts that Mr. Chretien first made when he came to power in the early ’90’s. Our medical system has been on the decline since those years. Only now is the funding being replaced, but it is too late to stop the hemorrhaging.
On the international trade front, Canada has become second class. Our biggest trading partner, whom the Liberals have done nothing but antagonize, is not willing to give our Prime Minister even an inch of compromise. In fact, Canada and U.S. relations are at an historic low and it is Canadian workers and companies who are paying the price. I guess Liberal stunts such as name calling and President Bush doll stomping just don’t work.
Mr. Martin also suggested that the ongoing trade dispute over softwood lumber is “one more reason not to hold an election before Christmas.” I challenge that thought. Softwood lumber is going nowhere precisely because it involves Mr. Martin and company. An election would only serve to expedite a solution by giving the Americans someone to deal with that hasn’t burned the bridge between the two countries down.
Climate change is also a fiasco. The Kyoto Accord has been discredited and a growing number of nations are now declaring it defunct. Mr. Martin, however, will not acknowledge this fact. To suggest that we will lose ground if this party is tossed out of office is almost laughable.
I think in the weeks to come, as the Liberal Party continues to implode and grasps at the NDP lifeline, and Stephen Harper continues to suggest a plan of action that most Canadians will gladly embrace, we will see the numbers for the Conservatives continue to rise.