For all of the confidence that politicians try to muster during election campaigns, none must be harder than the confidence one must project even when the end is inevitable and they know it. Such is the case right now with our prime minister, Paul Martin.
There have been some very clear signs that the Liberal Party is nose diving for some time now, and the earliest indicators were visible long before the mainstream pundits conceded that the Conservative Party was way out in front.
Late last summer, Prime Minister Paul Martin addressed the nation, pleading with voters to give him and his government more time. More time to govern and more time to smooth over the ripples that the sponsorship inquiry had made. Then, even before the latest campaign was officially off and running, the Prime Minister was spending money like a drunken soldier, promising Canadians the moon and extolling his party’s successes, even though proof and history would suggest there weren’t very many.
More than a decade ago, a Conservative prime minister made the unfortunate mistake of underestimating the wrath of voters against the clear arrogance that he had addressed them with. He had forgotten that it was Canadians who had given him the position that he held. He stepped down before the next election, but it was too late. His party was eviscerated at the polls in the next election.
That should have been a lesson to all politicians, especially the one’s who were politically active during that time. Paul Martin, to his own detriment, did not learn that lesson. He has come to believe that he is our natural leader. No longer does he exhibit the humility that he should, but instead has forgotten that he is there to serve us, the people of Canada, and not only those who are friends of his party.
While the media has been hammering away at anything or anyone that claimed some sort of link to or belief in conservatism, Canadians have simply been standing back taking it all in. They have watched and listened to the rhetoric, the spin, and the outright lies being espoused by the news outlets and the Liberal Party. To their credit, Canadians are smarter than those on the left give them credit for.
For so many to be claiming that the Liberals still have a chance indicates either a comeback for wishful thinking as an art form, or a certified case of mass hysteria and group delusions.
I have been stating for a while now that the Conservatives were well out in front of the second place Liberals, and I also stated that I believed the low polling numbers were simply an attempt to suppress Conservatives and to dampen their spirits. A demoralized enemy is one that is easily overcome, and the Liberals know the art of campaigning better than any.
I have also been stating, publicly and through emails to the Conservative Party, that all Mr. Harper and company had to do was to act as Canadians expect their leaders to act. That in itself would provide a clear choice for Canadians and most of their work would be done.
The Conservative Party of Canada has done better than that. It has been the first to unveil new policies, and their policies are superior to those of the Liberal Party. Their belief that Canadians are smarter than the Liberals had hoped for and counted on is correct and is paying off handsomely.
Since Christmas, I have privately toyed with the idea that Stephen Harper may form a majority government and earlier this week, in an attempt to move the swing vote to the left, the Toronto Star considered the same prospect on its front page.
In 2004, the Conservatives lost because of a concerted effort on the part of the press and the Liberal Party. What could have been a Conservative majority disintegrated into a Liberal minority, in part because the attempts to portray all conservatives as right wing nutjobs was so successful. The Liberals and the media succeeded in demonizing the right and its choice of leader. When Stephen Harper was made leader of the Conservative Party, there was an immediate smear campaign launched. It was precise and calculated and was a method of making Mr. Harper appear to be a liability to Canada before there was ever an election call. It was precision planning at its best.
By election time, Canadians were simply unwillingly to chance giving a bunch of unknown quantities a majority with which to carry out their mandate. As a result, Canadians retreated from their earlier inclinations to vote for the Conservatives.
This time, things are much different. The media has finally had to stop their all out attack on Stephen Harper. With polling indicators clearly, (yes, clearly, even though it was reported otherwise), giving the Conservatives the edge, the media risked a backlash had they continued to be so out of touch with Canadians. Also, the blogging community has been able to reach more and more people with stories that would never have been run in our press and would never have seen the light of day. The internet has given you and I an unprecedented voice. Remember that when an attempt to restrain it is unveiled. (This may later be an “I told you so” statement.)
As well, Stephen Harper is no longer an unknown variable. The voters have heard him and have considered his ideas. Paul Martin had assumed that he would simply have to scare the voters to win this election. He was wrong. As a result, his party is just now beginning to run the race, and their desperation is tangible. Not only is Mr. Martin on his way to defeat, it is his Swan Song. This will be his last election as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. Regardless of the outcome, unless he himself wins a majority government, Paul Martin’s days are numbered and that number is 11, which is how many days until the 23rd of January.
Now the mudslinging has begun and Canadians have spoken up. The latest tactics by the ruling party were expected by almost everyone, and pre-emptive measures have been taken, such as preparing the public for them. I truly do believe that there is no greater sign of weakness and desperation on the part of anyone than having to resort to trying to make your opponent look worse than you as opposed to simply showing yourself to be clearly better than your opponent is.
The Conservatives and Mr. Harper must now change gears. They must leave the talk of corruption and scandal out of their message. Canadians are well aware of the endless scandals, but constant talk of them is simply wearing voters down. The topic has reached over-saturation and is only reinforcing the negative feelings Canadians have in regards to politics and politicians. The Conservative Party must start to focus solely on the positive aspects of voting for them.
This time around the scare tactics aren’t working. The Liberal tacticians have underestimated Stephen Harper and ordinary Canadians. Canadians have proven to be far more astute than even the most experienced Liberal planner could have bargained, and Stephen Harper has finally learned how to talk to Canadians. He has simply gone back to being himself, and not what others have told him to be.
………2, 1, goodbye, Paul.