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Cheek

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As eyes turn to the resumption of Parliament today, the Conservative party is funding a spate of radio ads frightening Canadians over the possible revival of a coalition between the Liberals and the NDP.

Though in the ad they press hard on the fear button by claiming the coalition includes the Bloc Quebecois.

The ad features two women exclaiming shock that a coalition would still be in the cards. “Now? In this economy?” they cry, followed by a male announcer encouraging Canadians to tell their politicians to stop playing political games.

I remember this ploy. It used to happen in high school all the time:

Stevie’s sitting at the back of the class, chewing gum and blowing bubbles that make loud popping sounds.

The teacher stops writing on the chalkboard, whirls around, and demands, “Alright. Who’s chewing gum?”

Stevie looks around, flashes that devilish grin of his, and points his finger at shy quiet bookish Stephano, who is promptly sent to the Principal’s office.

When it comes to playing political games, the sorry fact is that the Conservative Party played the role of Stevie in that adolescent classroom we call the House of Commons last December.

It all started with a fiscal and economic update that everyone expected would be a mini-budget, focused on minimizing the oncoming recession before things got worse.

Instead, the Conservatives tabled an update that was duplicitous about the sizeable deficit facing Canada (one economist called it microwaving the numbers), that played petty politics by trying to remove public funding for political parties, and that did nothing to stem the economic crisis.

In fact, the Conservatives’ antics created an economic crisis by leaving Canadians to blow in the wind for months without help from their government.

Their antics created a political crisis by imploding Parliament.

Their antics fostered a unity crisis, thanks to the fear-mongering attacks on the Bloc and Quebec.

And they created a constitutional crisis -- it’s not every day the Prime Minister hides behind the Governor General’s coat tails to save his own skin.

The Conservative Party failed the test of grown-up politics miserably last fall. They have one more chance to get it right and to stop the political games.

But this weekend’s radio ads, and the popping sounds coming from the back of the House, aren’t a good signal of what’s to come.

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