The Election Nobody Wanted© is well underway, and as was expected for an election that was called for no reason, the campaign has so far been without any major issues.
The Conservatives have yet to have their 'GST' moment, the PR splash to get a buzz going. The last time around, the Tories were still relatively new to power and unveiled a list of campaign promises that were new and different from what the other parties were offering. Perhaps hampering Team Harper is that the public already knows many of the platform promises since they were taken out of the defeated budget which set the campaign in motion.
Other Conservative promises involve the expansion of already-existing programs. It isn't a lack of ideas that they are dealing with, but a situation where what they have been doing has been for the most part effective. So far, their message has been they will stay the course.
This has caused a headache for the opposition parties looking to unseat the Conservatives. The Liberals have spent most of their time scrambling to find an issue to exploit, yet to their chagrin nothing seems to have stuck. The alleged cost overrun of the F-35 fighter jets, the Bev Oda 'affair', the politician-made 'contempt of Parliament',...nothing has inflicted any real damage to Tory armour.
Even today, when Canadians think of political scandal they think 'Adscam', not 'Bev Oda'.
Leader Michael Ignatieff has switched methods over the past couple of days, laying out Liberal policy on issues such as health care, daycare, and his vow to put 'vets ahead of jets'. But when economists are already condemning the Liberal plan as economically unworkable - meaning more or higher taxes to pay for the bag of Grit goodies - it takes the wind out of the sails. Iggy bringing up the dead-horse Cap and Trade idea is an example of self-inflicted fumbling. If you're trying to break the Conservative foundation in Alberta, the last thing you do is act proud of a program which would hammer Alberta's oil industry. Without a huge game-breaker, Ignatieff would be advised to start looking at flight schedules back to Harvard.
The New Democrats are playing this election as they have for years: promising the moon, expensive platform announcements in areas such as the environment and social programs, attack the oil industry (but not during the campaign launch in Edmonton - better to wait and do that in Quebec.). Given that the NDP will never, ever form a national government, you can tell they really have the 'nothing to lose' mindset. Unabashed socialist promises, t.v. ads attacking Harper over health care (it doesn't matter to the Dippers that health care is a provincial issue), and a steel determination to exude the benefits of far-left ideology. Nothing ever changes with them.
There really hasn't been anything buzzworthy in Election 2011. Boring would be a more accurate description. When such ultra-important issues such as arguing over a one on one debate (are the Liberals really trying to turn this into an 'election over a debate'?), Green leader Elizabeth May whining once again about being left out of nationally televised leaders chinwags, or the 'surprise' that a CBC online quiz telling you who you should vote for comes up with a default 'Liberal' answer are the top headline grabbers, you know you've got a snooze fest.
All this is just one more reason I'd like to see Harper's Conservatives claim a majority victory on May 2nd. It would save us from having to go through this again for a while.