Sunday, September 28, 2008

Canadian Election Watch - Day 22

What a difference a journalist makes:

Some unidentified CBC reporter: Dion says Liberals are in the middle

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion moved to locate the party firmly in the middle between the Conservatives and the New Democrats on Sunday.

Addressing a Liberal women's meeting in Toronto, he said the Conservatives do not understand that the role of the government is to help people, while the New Democrats do not understand that the role of the private sector is to create jobs and wealth.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper is an old-fashioned conservative, while NDP Leader Jack Layton is an old-fashioned socialist, he said. Dion described the Tories as having a "laissez-faire I don't care" approach.

Carly Weeks writing for The Globe & Mail: Dion lashes out at NDP, Tories

TORONTO — With sagging support and the NDP breathing down his neck, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion launched a blistering attack on his opponents Sunday, saying the Conservatives can't be trusted to run the country and that the NDP doesn't understand the economy.

The Liberal Leader tried to beat back damage inflicted on his party by the NDP, warning that Leader Jack Layton's economic platform would destroy the Canadian economy.

“Mr. Layton has an old-fashioned socialist mentality that will not work in this century,” he said.

Canwest's conservative-slanted coverage for The National Post wasn't that feisty. Just goes to show you how the same story can have a very different impact depending on who's presenting it to the public. As for the message, muddling around in the middle is not a winning strategy for winning an election that you're already struggling with. And, in case Dion has forgotten, it was dreaded "socialism" that brought us medicare and that's kept our country from turning into an even more militaristic society than it already is. Not that I'm a fan of Jack Layton but Dion would be wise mot to throw the socialist baby out with the neocon bathwater.

Speaking of Jack, I see he's promising to eliminate poverty by 2020. Haven't we been down this road before?

Unveiling the New Democrats' plan for governing today in Toronto, Layton pledged a new $17 billion child benefit plan that will reward families up to $400 a month per child.

"The New Democrats' child benefit will give every middle-class and working family in Canada a raise," he said.

"Our priorities are those of the kitchen table, not just the boardroom table."

As first disclosed by the Star, families with a household income of $38,000 or less would receive $400 a month per child.

Those making less than $188,000-a-household would get $250 a month per child.

And families earning more than $188,000 a year would receive $100 a month per child.

Can someone please tell me why a family earning more than $188,000 a year (or a family edging up on that amount) needs money from the government? What's wrong with this socialist picture? If you want to help the poor, help the poor, Jack.

While we're on the subject of poverty, it looks like Steve doesn't even want to touch it and is being criticized for not appearing in a new video posted Sunday on Make Poverty History's site.

Liberal Stephane Dion, New Democrat Jack Layton, Elizabeth May of the Green party, and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois all answer questions for the video “On the Record.”

“In all cases they have something to say about what they’ll do to deal with global, domestic and aboriginal poverty,” said Dennis Howlett, co-ordinator of Make Poverty History.

“But so far we haven’t heard anything from Stephen Harper.

“We went back and forth for quite some time with the Prime Minister’s Office media people. The final thing we got back was our questions were too specific and that he would do it if we asked more general questions ... The whole point was to get specific commitments from party leaders.

Like nailing Jello™ to the wall. If you want your questions answered by Steve, use MPH's online form (but don't hold your breath waiting for a response).

On the Green front, May ended her cross country train trip in Halifax on Saturday while asserting that she's not in favour of strategic voting, as had been reported last week. You certainly can't vote strategically in a riding like mine (Calgary East) which has basically gone Conservative since the beginning of recorded time. The best I can do is to enter a protest vote. The opposition candidates around here are absolutely invisible as are their election signs. And they wonder why they don't get more votes?

As for Gilles, well, a guy can dream, can't he?

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