Mark May 2nd on your calendar; that is the day we vote for a new national government of Canada for the fourth time in seven years. Many Canadians are no doubt wondering why we have to go to the polls yet again when the party in power is already leading in the polls. If you are not a diehard supporter of the Conservative Party, you can appreciate the fact that the opposition parties really had no choice.
Stephen Harper’s second straight minority government came crashing down on contempt of parliament charges. The conservatives became the first party in office to be brought down on contempt charges in the history of the entire commonwealth. In the past month, the Party of King Harper and four of his top officials have been charged with election overspending and two RCMP investigations have been launched against former political staffers.
The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP both supported the Liberal non-confidence motion. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff started out on Friday accusing the Harper of undermining democracy. “A government that breaks the rules and conceals facts from the Canadian people does not deserve to remain in office” he said.
It is ironic that the Harper Government was first elected to office in 2006 on the promise of having an honest and transparent party following the Gomery inquiry that helped to bring down the Liberals’ 13-year-rule. How the tables have turned.
With no way for Harper to defend the allegations against him and his party, he has turned to good ole fashioned Republican style fear-mongering by using the threat of a coalition among liberals, Socialists and separatists to scare voters. Stephen Harper, always willing to play the role of hypocrite, tried the same type of coalition himself back in 2004 with the NDP and Bloc.
Potential voters have been bombarded with $26 million worth of (taxpayer-funded) feel-good Economic Action Plan ads over the past 11 weeks and bureaucrats were directed late last year to start using the “Harper Government” in place of Government of Canada on departmental news releases. Alas King Harper has now fallen.
While the Conservatives still maintain a wide lead in the polls at the start of this election campaign, those numbers should start to drop in the coming weeks if the opposition parties are capable of driving home their messages to an increasingly apathetic public. Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton have to find a way to appeal to Canada’s youth who traditionally vote on the left.
Unfortunately men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 have only had a 30% voter turnout in the last couple elections. Harper seems to emulate the Republican Party when best he can, maybe it’s time the Liberals and NDP took a lesson from Barack Obama who was able to mobilize the youth of the United States back in â€˜08.
The Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois and Greens are all in for a big battle, which makes us in for a month long circus. Over the next five weeks leading up to the May 2nd vote, I will be covering the different political parties, their leaders, and unlike many news organizations their policies as well. So stay tuned!