Past The Halfway Mark

Whos is ahead? Who cares? The Canadian federal election is in two weeks, but are people really paying attention? Or are they more concerned with the start of school and whether the pandemic will once again force a return to online learning?

In case you missed it, here are some of the political lowlights of the past week.

The Conservative Party admitted that its candidate on the Northwest Territories not only does not live in the riding but has never even visited it. Supposedly no-one local wanted to run.

That surprises me, given that the party would, I thought, have a good shot at winning there. Still, there is precedent. In 2011 the NDP, in order to run a full slate of candidates nationwide, also had names on the ballot of people who did not live in the ridings they were contesting. Some of them won.

This week there was also a Conservative candidate who had to apologize for Facebook posts deemed racist and a Liberal candidate who had to do the same thing over a Twitter post. Word of advice to aspiring politicians: never post on social media.

There was an allegation of sexual impropriety against a Conservative candidate, who denied the charges but promptly withdrew, leaving the party without a candidate in that riding. Not so swift to leave was the incumbent Liberal in another riding who was allowed to run anyway, despite facing multiple allegations. He did step down by the end of the week, but the damage was done. And his name will remain on teh ballot. It was a reminder of how often Liberal leader Justin Trudeau takes the moral high ground except in matters involving his party. Trudeau, who had sharply criticized the Conservative party over the issue, at first defended his candidate, despite having a supposed zero tolerance for such incidents.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole continued his strong performance. He seems to be able to address tough isses, such as gun control or pandemic management, in such a way that the slurs of his oppenents don’t stick.

The NDP leader made no impression on me this week – though I think at some point he promised a national dental care program. Anyone who has had to pay high dentist bills would like that one – but where will the money come from?

I have heard several NDP candidates talk about taxing the “ultra rich” to pay for their programs. Problem is, I’m not sure who qualifies as ultra rich. I suspect there aren’t enough of them to pay for the ambitious spending program the NDP has put forward.

I’m all in favor of people paying their fair share of taxes. I can even see a case to be made that those who have more should help those who don’t. But when the NDP talk about the “ultra rich” it feels like a swear word. That concerns me – it seems as if they are trying to provoke low-level class warfare.

As for the Green Party, their leader has yet to leave Toronto. I’m not sure Candians are buying into the Green virtual campaign.

The polls continue to have the Liberals sliding slowly, but given that national polls don’t take into account the regional imbalances in party popularity, I’m not sure any credible outcome can be predicted yet.

But with the polling day rapidly approaching, I’m already narrowing down my choice. Do I want chicken wings or popcorn, or perhaps pizza as I watch the tally come in.

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