I’m feeling really grumpy about this election and the massive waste of money, attention, and human brainpower that will be diverted into it. And the other thing I’m thinking is that if the opposition can’t make Harper wear this election in a big way, then they all deserve to lose. But we don’t deserve another Harper government. How can the opposition take the fight to Harper? Let me count the ways.
1. Do an animated short of Stephen Harper as a baby — maybe Stewie of The Family Guy — in an ermine robe, banging a sceptre because the majority of Canadians who didn’t vote for him are stopping him from being king. On second thought, Stewie is much more likeable than Stephen Harper.
2. Don’t talk about how evil Harper is, just ask the question in an open ended way: Stephen Harper has been getting his way in a minority parliament. But that’s not good enough for him. How much power does Stephen Harper want? And what does he want it for?
3. Maple Leaf meat packing scandal. Hellooo! Why isn’t Harper being clobbered on this? Baird, Flaherty, now Guy Giorno — these are the guys who brought us Walkterton and now they are bringing us tainted meat scandals. (A movie trailer: from the guys who brought you Walkerton…) Yet amazingly, they actually want to loosen meat inspection and make companies inspect themselves! The opposition has been remarkably ineffective on this scandal. (What about a counter showing the number of people who have died so far?)
4. The deportation of war resisters is an opportunity to polarize out the public in a way where Harper loses. It’s not that high profile an issue yet, but it is possible to make it one. For example, if one of the opposition leaders offers someone threatened with deportation sanctuary in their house, protected by supporters who are putting their bodies on the line…
5. Memo to the Liberals: the Green Shift/Carbon Tax is the Worst. Political. Campaign Move. Ever. Tommy Douglas didn’t run on a health tax. He ran on a vision of public health care and the values of justice and fairness. If you want to create visionary change, you don’t centre your campaign on a tax, you give people a vision of a world they want to live in. What does this look like? It’s a world where we need to build massive new public infrastructure (trains, wind farms, solar farms) and provide massive subsidies for people to retrofit their homes to be energy-efficient (which means they will cost less money to heat). We want to create green technology and green industry. All of that infrastructure, retrofitting, and new technology means jobs for people, as well as helping the environment. How do we pay for that? A carbon tax could be a part of it, but it’s not your headline. Your headline is the vision. Anyway, Dion’s carbon tax won’t pay for anything because it’s supposed to be revenue neutral. And its impact on consumption can only be marginal in comparison with market forces. Much greater impacts can be created if governments expand the supply of alternatives and mandate change through regulation. Dion’s plan doesn’t talk about that. Worst. Climate Solution. Ever. (Well, next to Stephen Harper’s.) I expect Harper will slaughter the Liberals on this wonky, tone deaf campaign.