The Canadian Election 

The Canadian Election

Polls show the Conservatives in the lead.

As much as anything, Prime Minister Paul Martin looks and acts old and pathetic--moreso than Chretien ever did. He's only five years younger than Chretien.

A fake blog in the Toronto Star--a pro-Liberal paper--has Martin constantly saying "I'm so tired. I need a nap. I wonder when I'll get some down time. Stephen Harper looks so young and energetic."

Ideas? Perhaps. Martin and his team seem to think people were scared of Harper before, so they will be again. Low taxes, tough on crime and social issues: that's U.S. politics, which doesn't belong here. "Not our values."

Except: Harper is proposing very non-dramatic tax cuts; lots of people have an appetite for tough crime measures in the wake of the shootings in Toronto; and Harper isn't all that far to the right on social issues.

One writer in the Star or Globe (both require registration, the Globe charges) points out that Martin has had plenty of opportunities to move to the left on social issues before this campaign, but he chose not to. Like Chretien before him, he allowed for free votes on gay marriage. Many Liberals voted nay, and it was only the votes of the NDP and Bloc that allowed it to pass. Now, when Harper speaks of a free vote, this proves he hates gays, whereas Martin loves them? Martin has to save the Constitution by eliminating the "notwithstanding" clause at the federal level?

Harper has said repeatedly he won't campaign for the pro-life cause, and he won't commit to doing what pro-lifers want if he is elected. He has said this in Reform and Conservative gatherings where it probably took some guts to say it--especially if you were ambitious. What has Martin done?

Harper wants to re-consider Kyoto and some recent $5 billion deal for First Nations. So do a lot of other people.

Locally, Belinda Stronach may lose to Lois Brown of the Tories. Belinda won hard-fought race (heavily financed on her part) for the Tory nomination against Lois in 2004; this is a real grudge match.

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