When I posted earlier that we should keep a journal of when we came across election advertising during the phoney war portion of this campaign, I was almost certain that I could get through an evening of television without coming across an election ad.
Then I tuned into the CBC.
I guess I should have known better.
For a party wherein some of whose supporters seem to believe that Canada’s national broadcaster is out to get them, the Conservatives don’t seem to be adverse to advertising there. I guess it also puts paid to the myth that nobody watches the CBC anymore. Why else would both the Liberals and the Conservatives take the risk of advertising alongside the Rick Mercer Report rather than an episode of Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel?
The Conservative ad at 8:24 was matched by a Liberal one at 8:25, so it was interesting to compare the two head to head. Both were positive (good!). Stephen Harper sat in a television studio with a host and took a question from an average Canadian, after which he spoke of the need of not just replacing the government, but also fixing the system. The Liberals ran an ad wherein average Canadians spoke of the good economy and some of the other “30 million reasons to vote Liberal”.
Between the two ads, the Liberal ad comes off much stronger. It’s more positive, although not predictive (that was yesterday; what are you going to do for me tomorrow?), and it was professionally done. The Conservative ad, sadly, looked like it was put together by a high school production crew, and again made Harper come across as cold and wooden.
But at least their names are out there. The NDP was nowhere to be seen. And, intriguingly, this was a meme taken up by the Rick Mercer Report. If you were watching the CBC at this point, it looked very much like a two way race. If Layton wants to make inroads, I think some candid time with Mercer is in order.
I’m back at the Discovery Channel, now, where I am confident I won’t have to suffer through another political ad tonight.
A few quick thoughts on the current daycare debate. Although I have said that the Conservative daycare/baby bonus proposal trumps what the Liberals have on offer, the Conservatives didn’t need to play this card. If they were hoping to redress a vulnerability, they needn’t have worried, since the Liberals have as much credibility on this issue as they would if they promised today to eliminate the GST.
The Liberals have been promising a national day care program since 1993, and this is a promise that has been in the offing in every election platform since. The details we’ve been getting now are fragmentary, at best, and there is no sense, no reason I can see, that I should believe the Liberals are any more serious about this issue now. And I think the only reason voters haven’t harrangued them as they have over their failure to eliminate the GST is due to a sense that perhaps a national day care program should not be the priority it appears to be in this campaign.
I’m speaking as the father of a newborn daughter, and I have spent the last twelve years, and the years before that, without a national day care program. So have many voters, and most families have gotten on fine enough. If we vote Liberal, it’s out of appreciation of the fact that our pension funds are no longer a worry, and that the economy is doing better now than it has in thirty years, but we know this nation still has challenges. We need to spend $2 billion per year more than we are doing to keep our streets, sewers and subways functioning, we need to spend more on the military, we need to do more to protect our health care system, we still have a hefty debt that needs paying down, and our taxes are too high. And most of us have some understanding that all of these goals can’t be easily accomplished at once. And adding a $11 billion plus day care program to the mix makes achieving these goals that much harder.
This issue isn’t really much of a vote winner for the Liberals, and those looking for more fiscal restraint aren’t really going to find it in the Conservatives or the NDP either. We seem to have backed ourselves into the corner on this one, with no party having the courage to say “we don’t need a national day care program; other priorities need our attention.”
So Stephen gets points for coming up with a daycare plan that is more flexible and values families more than the Liberals. But he didn’t need to go there. And frankly, he’s adding another albatross around this country’s neck.
In other news, Martin’s kissing babies again. Geez, the poor kids.
You know things are rather whacked in this country when the most charismatic political leader of this nation is actually Jack Layton.
Warren’s right on this one. It’s a shame that none of the party leaders decided to commemorate this sad anniversary. To be fair to the party leaders, I didn’t realize this was an anniversary until Warren mentioned it. And I blogged about this before.
(Correction): As the commentators below noted, Jack Layton and the NDP commemmorated this anniverary with considerable respect. It’s possible Warren didn’t notice because of their low-key approach, or he just wasn’t looking.
(Further Correction): No, we weren’t looking. Courtesy of Warren “mea culpa” Kinsella: