TO the polls: The (5th) Week in Review

A weekly election crib-note

This was the week - in theory - that the politicians took off. With the exception of Harper's transit tax break, not much in the way of exciting policy was discussed; the Liberals (perhaps taking their cue from former PM Kim Campbell that "An election campaign is no time to discuss serious issues") have yet to start releasing their planks to the public. Given this, it was left to outside actors to provide the news, and they accomplished this in spades.

Scandal was the name of the game in the sixth week of the election, and it played the Liberals doubletime. Early on in the week Ontario-wing official Mike Klandar created contreversy by comparing Olivia Chow to a dog; later on in the week, our beloved Mounties brought Liberal trustworthiness front-and-centre of the campaign by launching into an investigation of Bay Street insider trading within the Ministry of Finance.

Lately it seems as if the Liberals are, if not following the Tory playbook from 1993, at least forgetting to learn the lessons contained therein. One of the defining moments from that camapaign that put the Grits in power was the Tory attack ad on Cretein, featuring an unflattering picture of his face. The public, thinking the Tories were mocking his disability, was outraged, the PCs plunged in the polls, the Liberals won a majority.

One wonders then, what exactly Mike Klandar was thinking by posting the above picture in a semi-official capacity. No, it's not racist (it's just a bad pun) but it is tasteless, sophmoric, and paints an unflattering picture (which the opposition parties will surely jump on) of the Liberal party. It makes all the less sense that he would target Olivia Chow for such a pointless attack, when there are so many more real, relvant issues on which to deride this would-be MP who has shown nothing but a contempt and a lack of commitment to those in her ward.

Even more troubling for the Liberals is the unfolding investigation by the RCMP into Finanace Ministry leaks in advance of an announcement regarding income-trusts. The best chance that the Liberals have in avoiding this is hoping that the general public, upon hearing the words 'Stock Market' and 'Income Trust' will avert their attention, lest they become confused. Beyond that though, they could be in for a rough ride on this - having agents of the Government interfering on Bay Street could create non-confidence in the entire financial system.

What it will do is provide the opposition parties with an opportunity to hammer home their point that the government is corrupt and needs to be replaced. Goodale will find (as Greg Sobara did in Ontario) that a police investigation is a significant hiderance, and under a system of Ministerial accountability, he should resign. The longer he remains in office, the more the opposition parties will bang on about cultures of entitlement. Expect to be hearing about this over the rest of the campaign, and probably until at least the summer.

We're past the halfway point in the election now. If there's one thing we learned from this 'break' it's that even when the campaign stops, everybody is still making campaign stops.

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