Federal parliament just resumed this week, the budget is almost two months away, and election speculation has already grown tiresome. In case Canadians were not already cynical enough about their politicians, a recent wave of attack ads has surely served to reinforce it.
Canadians don’t want an election right now, especially one that is sure to produce the same results as the previous two. This lack of movement in the polls can be attributed less to satisfaction with the government and more to an ineffective opposition that can’t find a wedge issue.
Just take a look at some of the issues the Liberals and NDP could have seized as viable ballot questions. How about last summer’s G20 summit in Toronto. It’s $1 billion-plus pricetag at a time of economic uncertainty made the Liberal sponsorship scandal look like a drop in the bucket, while the mangled civil liberties on display during the event were a frightening sight to behold.
Add to that the fact that the current government had the country in a deficit before the economic recession hit, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has missed every deficit target he has set since, and Prime Minister Harper has prorogued Parliament twice to save his own skin, and you have a serious case to make for change in Ottawa.
Instead, the Liberals are focusing their attack on corporate tax cuts that have been on the books for three years. The proposed cuts did not seem to bother Canadians when they elected the Tories two years ago, and are not causing much of a stir now.
The only way Canadians can benefit from an election right now is that, whatever the result, it will likely mean changes in leadership for at least three of the major parties, and maybe all four. Fresh faces are needed to establish a direction for the future, and hopefully a new style of politics in this country.