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Brothels? Neighbourhood injection sites? Have the Cons jumped the shark? Or is the nightmare just beginning?

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Stephen Harper

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Has the Conservative Party of Canada finally jumped the shark?

That is to say, has that moment now been reached when the party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper gone so far over the top trying to terrify us all into voting Conservative just one more time that almost no one can take it seriously any more?

And I don't mean that story about the jihadis! For weeks Harper and his remarkably un-merry band of Conservatives, social and economic, have been trying to persuade us there was a jihadi with a scimitar hiding under every mattress and only the PM himself could keep him there by making sure no civil servants were ever allowed to wear niqabs to the office.

And, actually, that seemed to be working pretty well until Albertans in cheap straw cowboy hats and bandanas over their noses started turning up in advance polling stations yelling themselves hoarse and disrupting the legal right of honest citizens to vote.

That was when the snickers started, and not just among us here in Wild Rose Country who a know a real cowboy would have snatched off his hat the instant he went through the door of a polling station -- especially since it was probably in a church -- just like St. Paul told him to.

So about then the Tories upped the ante and came out with the yarn about how Justin Trudeau -- personally! -- wants to open up a pot-dealing, free-injecting house of ill repute on every corner within walking distance of your house!

Does anybody believe this nonsense? Even Conservatives? Please feel free to drop us a line in the comments section if you personally think any of these tales are true!

The brothel talk seems to have started in earnest on Tuesday when Terence Young, a Conservative candidate in Oakville, Ont., the corporate home of Ford of Canada, told an all-candidates' forum that the community was bound to soon have "legally protected brothels with madams and all that goes with that because the Liberals have promised to legalize the selling of women in Canada."

Now this claim is also showing up in official Conservative advertising, albeit only in languages most voters don't speak. And while nobody has said anything about illegal card tables and bingo games in neighbourhood coffee shops, I suppose it's only a matter of time.

The highly entertaining mandatory brothel fantasy actually seems not to have originated with Young, but oddly enough with Alberta's own Jason Kenney, the defence minister, who uttered something similar back in September on a Vancouver radio talk show. But nobody has taken Kenney seriously for years, especially Harper, so the comment passed without notice until Young started flapping his jaws this week.

Who knew? Young, who looks pretty distinguished in his campaign photos, could have been half sensible for all most Canadians knew, so the story grew legs.

But I don't think the shark-jumping moment came until Harper -- instead of saying something sensible like, "Can it, Terry, right now!" -- doubled down and started repeating this crazy talk soon after he went to a campaign rally also attended by Toronto's crackhead former mayor, Rob Ford.

Harper was overheard by a Globe and Mail reporter at this event explaining that "the other guys will claim it’s fear when all we’re trying to do is draw attention to facts -- facts they are not willing to talk about.”

Ford, a well-known Harper enthusiast and serial substance abuser, was apparently allowed into the rally without having to undergo the traditional cavity search required to get into most Conservative events. So I'm not making crazy accusations of my own here, but, seriously people, doesn’t this make you … you know … sorta wonder about how the prime minister comes up with this stuff!

If, as all this suggests, we have reached the moment when the vaunted Conservative election machine -- which like a some fortune tellers used to be reputed to be able to throw a good $40 scare into anyone, even a determined skeptic -- is producing nothing but loud guffaws about common bawdy houses, more Laurel and Hardy than Franz Kafka, then maybe the nightmare really is over.

How else could it be a story like the Liberal campaign co-chair writing emails full of free lobbying advice to pipeline companies failed to catch the imagination of the Harper enthusiasts in the mainstream media and died by the end of the day?

Or is the country so far gone after a decade of Harperism the nightmare just beginning?

I guess we'll have a better idea Monday night.

Meanwhile, as we wait, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will visit us here in Edmonton tomorrow, and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has unexpectedly turned into the man to beat in this campaign, will drop by on Sunday. Maybe they'll produce a chuckle or two of their own.

But Canada's sourpuss Comedian-in-Chief, Harper himself, is ignoring us here in his political home again. Apparently he has bigger fish to fry elsewhere -- which could be evidence of either confidence or desperation.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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