The 2011 federal election campaign is now down to its cleverly contrived end game -- eclipsed by palace-wall-to-palace-wall royal wedding coverage expected to deny opposition parties a final kick at the electoral cat.
Who would have thought when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cunning strategists cooked up this plan and set the time clock running that it would be his own Conservatives who needed to use the moment to make a final hysterical pitch to Canadian voters?
Not the prime minister, pretty obviously. Not his undeniably capable and completely unprincipled strategists. Not any of us, come to that.
Well, the electoral gods are having their fun with the prime minister. But those of us who oppose him need to take a breath and remember that at this strange moment in Canadian history these gods may wish to have their fun with us as well.
So it is critical at this hour that we keep in mind, as Yogi Berra famously reminded us, that it ain't over till it's over.
Properly done, public opinion polls provide a scientific measure of public sentiment at the moment they are taken. But this will not translate into victory if we don't get our mothers and our fathers and our brothers and sisters (metaphorical and familial) and our children and our neighbours into the polling booth on Monday ready to take action to help build a better Canada.
And that goes for our own selves too. Us especially!
Elements of the mainstream media, naturally enough, are in full cry, loading on the baloney about the economic disaster that awaits if Canadians have the temerity to election an opposition -- or, heaven forefend, a government -- that actually speaks for the interests of ordinary working citizens.
Typical was the effort of the overwrought Calgary Herald columnist who declared that an NDP government led by Jack Layton would "cause havoc" and "cause our economy to tank" based on an interview with an obviously partisan University of Calgary economics professor whose conclusions about NDP environmental policy turned out to be wildly off base.
And if such dire economic prognostications fail to work, we can count on the media auxiliary of the Prime Minister's Office to try to cut through the celebrity euphoria abroad with an ugly last-minute smear or two in the Republican/Conservative swift boat tradition, followed by phony telephone "push polls."
The question now is how, amid the royal media clutter, any message will affect Canadian voters' behaviour on Monday.
This is more than a moment to be there or be square. It's the time to be there or be prepared for a post-election disaster of epic proportions.
Because you can depend on it that this prime minister -- if he manages to escape the trap he has laid for himself -- will be in a furious and vindictive rush to put in place measures to ensure democracy never again rears its head in Canada.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.
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