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Harper's dirty little game

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Okay, it may be too much to speak of one bright shining moment -- but there was a time (late 2008, early 2009) when it looked as if we had a chance to see the end of Stephen Harper and see the beginning of an era when a coalition of progressive and enlightened politicians were going to be able to turn things around.

The day the coalition died, I became so disheartened and deflated that it took me awhile to get back in fighting trim. I have waited patiently for this election campaign to start and I can only hope it's the beginning of the end of Harper and the terrible legacy he has left for our country.

I watched the campaign launch this morning. Harper, sounding somewhat like an insane person, said we have a clear choice to "elect a stable majority government or a reckless coalition." In a pretty long speech, he shrouded the threat of a coalition in almost every pronouncement. His tone was, "If you're not voting for me, you're voting for the Devil."

This was to be expected.  I have to say though -- and I try to avoid media-bashing -- the Ottawa reporters are shrill and single-minded in playing Harper's game. They are loudly demanding to know if Michael Ignatieff is planning to form a coalition and, in hectoring him mercilessly, are succeeding in demonizing the idea of a "coalition" just as if Harper had written the script.

It's shocking to stand by and watch as the people running for office and the people covering them knowingly display such a misrepresentation of our system. We don't vote for a majority/minority government or a prime minister or an opposition leader. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with a coalition, we don't vote for that either. We vote for a single member of parliament who may or may not be a member of a political party.

There are suggestions from some of the media today that the "coalition" threat won't last and will peter out as the campaign goes on. Harper, who has worked so hard to make coalition a dirty word, will try very hard to keep it in the forefront every day. We can only hope the media won't be sucked into his grubby little game.

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