A run for your money


For the past three weeks the elec­torate has been bom­barded by politi­cians smil­ing at them from those ubiq­ui­tous signs and bill­boards lit­ter­ing the land­scape.

You can’t turn on a ra­dio with­out be­ing in­un­dated with their voices hog­ging as much air­time as mod­er­a­tors will al­low to spout their pi­ous plat­i­tudes and pie in the sky prom­ises of bet­ter days ahead, un­der their ten­der and lov­ing care of course.

The first rule of politi­cians is to get elected. Their sec­ond rule is to get re-elected. They will kiss any­thing that moves and pave over any­thing that doesn’t to get your vote. They have no qualms about buy­ing the votes of any­one green enough to be pur­chased with their own tax money.

As far as mi­nor­ity par­lia­ments go, they may serve as an ef­fec­tive way to keep a prime min­is­ter and his MPs on their toes, but they can also be dys­func­tional. They ap­pear to be in a per­pet­ual state of tee­ter­ing on the brink of fall­ing un­der non-con­fi­dence mo­tions. Their short life­span has cost tax­pay­ers at least four ex­pen­sive trips to the polls in the last seven years.

For that rea­son, which­ever party forms the next gov­ern­ment, hav­ing a ma­jor­ity, even a slim one would be a re­fresh­ing change.

Ac­cord­ing to the polls, it looks like Stephen Harper could be com­ing pre­car­i­ously close to that elu­sive ma­jor­ity he has lusted af­ter for so long.

Of course his Lib­eral and NDP op­po­nents, Michael Ig­nati­eff and Jack Lay­ton re­spec­tively would also like you to be­lieve they are win­ners, de­spite the polls. Nei­ther can be faulted for their un­bri­dled op­ti­mism.

Like any good horse race, the most in­ter­est­ing rid­ings to watch on elec­tion night are go­ing to be those where the politi­cians go neck and neck all the way to the fin­ish line.

From what we hear, our own rid­ing of Avalon could be in for just one of those nail-bit­ing races.

Con­ser­va­tive Fabian Man­ning quit a cushy Se­nate seat to chal­lenge in­cum­bent Lib­eral Scott An­drews to a re-match. To for­feit such a plum post, Man­ning must have had some con­fi­dence he could re-take his old seat.

Mr. Man­ning is a nice young man. Mr. An­drews is a nice younger man. He has taken in as many bean sup­pers, bar­be­cues and baby show­ers as pos­si­ble for a young rookie MP still not dry be­hind his po­lit­i­cal ears.

But when it came to fed­eral fund­ing an­nounce­ments it was Man­ning that Prime Min­is­ter Harper con­tin­ued to send to the prov­ince and rid­ing to hand out the loot bags - al­most acting as un­of­fi­cial MP. Per­haps some peo­ple could be for­given for be­ing con­fused over who was ac­tu­ally their mem­ber.

Be­sides his good looks, An­drews has noth­ing to thank for his first vic­tory at the polls ex­cept Danny Wil­liams’ ABC cam­paign.

The Any­thing But Con­ser­va­tive scheme was a smash­ing suc­cess for the for­mer premier. But be­sides de­priv­ing the prov­ince of a sin­gle seat on the gov­ern­ment side of the House of Com­mons or at the fed­eral cabi­net ta­ble, what did it re­ally prove in the end? All it proved was that the New­found­land and Labrador elec­torate could still be mes­mer­ized by a dem­a­gogue into his way of think­ing and vote ac­cord­ingly. Where those of you who let some­body else do their think­ing for them in the last fed­eral elec­tion any more en­light­ened than their an­ces­tors who kept an­other dem­a­gogue in power for 23 years con­vinced the baby bonus came straight from his arse pocket?

The ab­sence of coun­ter­pro­duc­tive ABC cam­paigns this time around has com­pletely changed the wa­ter on the beans.

If the races are as close as some peo­ple sug­gest, we could end up with at least two seats (Avalon and St. John’s South-Mount Pearl) on the gov­ern­ment side of the Com­mons.

But in the ab­sence of a crys­tal ball, un­til all the votes are counted, your pre­dic­tion of the out­come is as good as ours.

Bill Bow­man, edi­tor The Com­pass

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