Friday, December 02, 2005

The near-week in review

Since the election kicked off this week I think I've been like most Canadians, too busy with Christmas-related activities to pay much attention to the goings on. Although I did love that Jason Kenny, Omni thing. Too hilarious.

The media spin seems to be that Harper has won the early days with his GST cut promise yesterday, and could carry that momentum forward with a health care announcement today. Cutting the GST sounds nice, but why by just two per cent? If you're going to mess with the consumption tax, why not kill it all together? That might almost get my vote. Well, no it wouldn't, but still, it's smart politics, and some early momentum for the Cons.

While their pre-election spending orgy takes some of the wind out of their sails the Liberals do need to fight back, and they do have a case to make. A sales tax cut will more greatly benefit the wealthy, and the loss of that revenue to the government will hurt lower income Canadians more greatly. The Liberal income tax cuts, both proposes and past, will much more greatly benefit lower and middle class Canadians. Paint the Cons as the party of the wealthy, and if they come back with trickle down economics, hit them with Regeanomics and mention the great success of Dubaya's tax cuts.

His earlier policy announcement was the federal public prosecutor, which amusingly was almost immediately shot-down by Peter McKay. Again, it's something that sounds great on paper, and on TV, but becomes highly questionable on closer inspection. Besides the cost of such an office versus what it would be able to do, all the Liberals need to do is say Ken Starr and stains on dresses, is this what we want for Canada.

In wonder about the soundness of Harper's strategy here though. I can see the thinking, soften up the ground and get the voters thinking of us as a moderate alternative. This is a marathon though, not a sprint. Would these announcements have more impact in January, when they would be fresher in the minds of voters on e-day?

The Liberals are letting him get away with it though. Where's the quick response, where's the counterattack? Yes, you don't want to empty the gun before Christmas, but if you let Harper reframe the election and built up a large lead before the New Year, it will be too late. Remember 2004? It wasn't until two weeks to go that The Board and Co. got out of their stupor and got to work, and it cost them dearly. They barely salvaged a minority. Lesson learned by The Paul Martin Team? It remains to be seen.

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