After watching Stephen Harper's ridiculous chamber of horrors video, that I had to spoof (I just couldn't help myself ) we get some idea of how empty his bluster is now. Our unemployment rate lower than the U.S.? So what? How about our underemployment rate?
Michael Ignatieff has been on the road again, and the media are seeing a different leader. According to Gordon Gibson in the Globe:
And he has a message that we haven't heard in a long time. Healthcare, care for seniors, plans for the economy that doesn't involve giving more money to corporations, that are bankrupting us.
Michael Ignatieff brought his national road show to Vancouver late last week. For an observer who hadn’t seen him perform for almost a year, it was quite a surprise. I imagine that, to the Press Gallery people who follow the daily actions of the leaders, slow and incremental change is no more noticeable than the turning of a sunflower. But it can add up. The Michael Ignatieff I saw has become more confident and polished in his message.
Even Harper groupie Jane Taber is impressed:
And as we whistle past the graveyard of neocon promises, I think Canadians are getting fed up, with always coming last. This next election will be about two choices. Corporations led by Stephen Harper or Canadians led by Michael Ignatieff. And that doesn't mean that I see an elimination of the NDP. No way. They keep the party of the centre from drifting to the right. A move that always gets them in trouble.
Michael Ignatieff answered the Tory attack ads Monday with a video of his own – a little vignette crafted by his strategists of the Liberal Leader skating with children in London, Ont. The contrast is stark: American-style television attack ads from the Tories compared to a true Canadian moment from the Liberals.
Says Dan Veniez in the Vancouver Observer:
Michael Warren wants the centre Liberals and Left NDP to unite without a coalition. They have to. It's that simple. Harper is trying to use the "threat" of a coalition to stir up his base, despite the fact that coalitions are common and democratic.
The vast majority of us are first and foremost proud Canadians. At election time most of us make up our minds based on what we think is the best thing for the country. A political party is a vehicle to advance public policy goals. Citizens should always be deeply sceptical of those who put parochial party interests before the national interest. At its core and throughout its history, the Liberal Party of Canada – warts and all - has most closely reflected the guiding values of the great ‘sensible centre’ in Canada.
To paraphrase Alan Wolfe, Liberals seek to include rather than exclude, to accept rather than to censor, to respect rather than to stigmatize, to welcome rather than reject, to be generous and appreciative rather than to be stingy and mean. Liberals are tolerant, open, and hopeful, and have no patience for arguments based on fear.
But the NDP have to get over this crazy notion of supporting the corporate tax cuts. It will ruin them if they don't.
Bloomberg says that Harper is planning a cross country trek with his Big Business groupies to convince Canadians that they must give the wealthy more money. They suggest that the NDP may support the budget that includes them. I will be very disappointed if they do.
The NDP had better decide who they are standing up for. Corporations or Canadians? They can't have it both ways.