Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I’m already partial to that adorable, jowl-cheeked of a Prime Minister Paul Martin, so this may not be saying much, but have you seen the latest Liberal ad? No it’s not a scurrilous hit-piece about how Mr. Harper is indistinguishable from the far-right neoconservative hawks responsible for the Iraq debacle. And it’s markedly less anti-American than the latest spate of artless Liberal ads. The ad begins innocuously enough with Paul Martin side straddling an oak dresser. He’s looking pensive and unhurried, which is a change.

Doubtless a recent ad sprung together in response to criticisms over their glib anti-Americanism, this ad places the Prime Minister front and center admitting a) that Canada’s relationship with the US is valued; b) that the US is our neighbour and not our nation (ed. – I’m looking at you Stephen); and c) that the Liberal government has not been ‘perfect’ – really?. After listing off our country’s peerless values he asks for Canadians to join him on Monday to choose ‘that Canada’: the one that values socially progressive principles like….. Obligatory platitudes here. It looked like he was in a hotel room, between campaign stops, or perhaps just woken from sleep, but altogether he looked ascendant.

Yet it still seems questionable that the Conservative will form a majority government -- baring some unfortunate vote splitting in Quebec and British Columbia in their favor. A third way has become progressively more palatable, and the NDP will likely see the fruits of years and years of labor pains. Mr. Layton should unqualifiedly be commended for this turn around, as well as Mr. Chrétien, incidentally.

And yet it’s still tight in Ontario, the electoral plinth any sitting government rests on. Expect plenty of final week histrionics from all parties; and expect one of the closest federal elections in modern history -- or since the last one

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