Once again, to my mind, Stephen Harper is taking exactly the right tack. I think he has by now revealed himself as, with the possible exception of Mackenzie King, the best political strategist ever to head a national party in Canada.
In response to Martin’s warnings about the supposed dangers of electing the Conservatives, he is pointing out the more substantial dangers of once again electing the Liberals.
Conceivably, Paul Martin might still win this election. Most polls suggest the race is “tightening.” It is important to quickly shift voters’ attention to this.
For Martin’s tactics are sowing a whirlwind. Win or lose, he has poisoned the tone of political discourse in this country. If he loses, he goes. If he wins, Canada would have to carry this, like a tin can tied to its tail, until the next election.
"You have seen their campaign. [If the Liberals] are re-elected we will not have any kind of direction for this country. We will never find the money taken in the sponsorship scandal. The scandals, the cover-ups, the investigations will continue. We cannot have our country go forward like that."
Blogger M.K. Braaten:
“Paul Martin’s attempt at keeping power is despicable. … He should be labeled the worst Prime Minister Canada has ever had. He is embarrassing our Country every time he opens his mouth. He will say and do anything to stay in power. He will stop at nothing to protect his interests. He does not care about Canadians, he only feigns for power for the sake of having it – it’s quite disturbing.”
The Liberal campaign is "deeply offensive ... to all Canadians…”
Anonymous comment, Andrew Coyne’s blog:
“You wonder looking at him [Martin] if he indeed still has a soul ...”
Another anonymous member:
“I'm with you. I was watching him today and he's just - empty. His mouth opens, words come out that make little or no sense (either that or they are outright lies). Creepy.”
This is not a man who would be able, post-election, to bring us as Canadians back together. There would be hell to pay.
Martin would now, after a month of extravagant America-bashing, have big problems dealing with the US.
He has committed himself to a few nutty policies, like taking the notwithstanding clause out of the constitution.
Alberta will be fit to be tied, being snubbed by Central Canada once again, especially after Martin’s and his top advisors’ openly anti-Alberta comments in the rest of Canada.
So will Quebec. If the rest of Canada sticks by the Liberals, while they have been massively rejected in Quebec, the message will be that federalism itself means corruption.
So will Catholics. Martin has portrayed anyone who has the slightest reservation about either abortion or gay marriage to be a dangerous extremist. The Catholic Church is openly opposed to both; and 40% of Canadians are at least nominally Catholic. Of course, any of the rest who are Evangelical Protestants—or, indeed, devout Muslims—will be equally offended and alienated.
If Martin gets back into power now, we would be saying to all politicians, and to our young: it is okay to cheat. It is okay to abuse power. It is okay to break rules. That’s the way to win.
If Martin gets back into power now, frankly, it will be a nightmare for Canada. We will be an uglier, less kind, less gentle, more cynical country. It would be a watershed, a loss of innocence.
Andrew Coyne is my favourite pundit. He always does the math, and he stays away from empty invective. He notes that the lowest popular vote the Liberals have ever gotten is 28%. They are just about at that in the polls now.
An unscientific online poll run by the Metis National Council shows 70% support for the Conservatives. This is despite the fact that the Metis National Council itself has endorsed the Liberals.