(Thrugh Rose-Coloured Glasses)
Thank you, folks, for bearing with me, this biased and un-official Election observer/agitator.
For the record, I have already voted in a special Advance Poll, in my riding, a few days after the Election was announced. That’s because I have to visit the West Coast (actually staying in Elizabeth May’s territory) for a while, and won’t return to Ontario in time to vote on May 2. (Believe it or not, we were not the first ones to cast the ballot; there was already another couple before us.)
This has been an interesting 4 weeks. The last minute NDP surge is a strong indication of the disillusion and revulsion of ordinary Canadians, with the Harper government. People have to choose now in this last week of campaign. They rose up from their couch and assess the situation, have a hard and serious look at the candidates/parties (i.e. actually we are talking about the leaders here, as broadcasted by the media, daily).
Harper is out, so who are we going to vote for?
Ignatieff is damaged goods; his image is long tarnished by the Conservative attack ads. Iggy has only himself to blame. He did not mount any counter-attack and try to correct the harm done, and to reveal his true passionate self. Now it is a bit too late. With all the town hall meetings every night for the past 4 weeks, he cannot reverse his image as ordinary Canadians see him, as projected on the TV screens, constantly for the past 2 years. Sometime you have to fight back when confronted by a bully; a nice and quiet gentleman usually lose out (time and again, especially in politics). Look at John Turner, Joe Clark, just to name a few. Nowadays, people like nasty personality. Look at Charlie Sheen and his nauseating performances. (Today, the so-called Whiz Kid, a main player in the Conservative campaign, was caught red-handed passing fake photo of Ignatieff to the media, was forced to resign. Another dirty smear campaign of Tory’s tricks exposed. Is this enough to save Ignatieff?)
Layton is the alternative. His performance is quite impressive, especially during the debates. Without doubt, people are having a second look and are leaning towards the NDP. What other choice do we have, anyway?
I have known Jack Layton a long time ago. First met him years ago, when we were launching a Chinese magazine in Toronto, he and Olivia Chow, his then girlfriend (now his wife), attended our banquet. He even brought his two young kids, because he couldn’t find babysit. They are very down to earth and approachable, great leader material. His ambition then was the Mayor of Toronto, now a shot for the Prime Minister. He sure comes a long way.
My only concern is his team. In the election, we are not just voting for the leader, but the team members. As reported in the G&M and the Star, one of his Quebec candidates was from Ottawa and she is taking a vacation in Vegas during mid-campaign. A Star reporter was trying to locate another NDP candidate in Ontario with no luck. She doesn’t even have an address or a campaign headquarter. Are we going to vote for these newbie and expect them to represent us in Parliament? No wonder Harper is sitting tight and smiling.
Still remember Bob Rae? His unexpected win of the race from Peterson’s Liberal. As soon as he became Premier, in the middle of a recession, he poured tons of money into the Ontario economy (actually, Harper did just that too, except Rae did not inherit billions of dollars of surplus from previous government). That didn’t work out. He changed direction, and cut, cut, cut. Even his supporters, the unions were against him. Those were the years of reign of chaos in Ontario, by an inexperience government.
We are in a dilemma.
If voters are fed up and stay home, just like in 2008, we are running the chance of handing out a majority to Harper. Voter Suppression, this is what he was hoping for in the beginning of campaign, telling us this is an un-necessary election. Why vote? If you stay home, he wins.
On the other hand, he is also smiling, with this in-fighting. Liberal, NDP and the Bloc grabbing vote from each other, and the Conservative will squeak through the middle. Again a majority.
That is why Harper is fighting so hard against a Coalition, the banding together of the opposition parties, and made it sounds like some evil act. That is the tactic of divide and conquer. That is why he is so afraid of Strategic Voting (http://www.projectdemocracy.ca/ , http://catch22campaign.ca/ ), the only way to prevent a Harper majority, or even a minority and the only way to vote him out of office.
Vote Swapping (Vote Pairing) is also a movement growing fast during this federal election. It is a variation of Strategic Voting. Go to their sites to find out more.