Polls early this week (Decima, SES, EKOS) show Conservative support moving down, with the NDP holding, and the Liberals climbing back somewhat. Last weekend Conservative support hit a peak, just short of what is needed to elect a majority, according to EKOS.

Whether or not Conservative voting intentions hold, grow, or slip back depends on whether enough leaning, undecided, and not sure voting citizens pay attention to what the party represents from now until the election.

On policy, Conservative leader Stephen Harper is clear. He is not bound by a parliamentary decision to approve same sex marriage. Nor would his government support the international convention on climate change known as the Kyoto Accord, or the federal-provincial agreement on aboriginal issues reached recently at Kelowna.

He is ready to re-start negotiations to make Canada a partner in the American first strike missile system known perversely as missile defence.

The reason Harper favours the so-called traditional definition of marriage is not just to ensure that gay and lesbian Canadians are made to feel insulted and demeaned. He also wants to prove to the courts that the House of Commons is not bound by legal decisions Conservatives do not agree with.

Similarly, with the Kyoto accord, he can demonstrate how a Conservative government can step down, and walk away from an international treaty ratified by Canada, in order to show solidarity with the Bush Republicans, and the U.S.

On federal-provincial deals he is keeping up with a Liberal tradition. Once signed, an agreement is valid only so long as the federal government agrees. In other words, the power to terminate, or amend unilaterally inter-governmental accords lies with the federal government, no matter what the provinces might say about it, or what the best constitutional practice allows for.

Just in case anybody missed it, under a Harper government, payment of the capital gains tax will be waived if you “re-invest” the gain within six months by buying a summer cottage, a speculative property to rent out, or some more stocks.

This capital gains holiday is super expensive to implement, and worthless to society. It could, however be dangerous, having the power to provoke speculative booms, and accelerate busts. Since it will favour the wealthy greatly, it has not been subject to rigorous examination in the media

Announced for the first time with the rest of the Conservative program last Friday, the capital gains measure far overshadows the attention-getting proposed one per cent reduction in the GST, trumpeted at the outset of the election campaign as a measure of social justice.It turns out the Conservatives do favour the rich even when they pretend to be looking out for working families. Their tax policy proves it.

Apart from voting for the Conservatives, there are two sure ways to help them form the government.First vote Green. A vote for the Greens is as good as a Tory vote. In every riding it weakens the chances of whichever candidate can beat the Conservative.

Second, instead of voting NDP when they represent the best bet to defeat the Conservatives, vote Liberal. This will strengthen the Conservatives when an NDP vote could keep a riding out of their hands.

With a minority government Canada will be back at the polls in 18 months. In that time a lot can be done to ensure we have better choices.

If you thought Brian Mulroney was disliked, wait until you see how Harper affects people if he gets a majority. And we will get Mulroney again as well. He is advising the Harper campaign team.

So, to make sure we do not get four years of Conservatives, Harper, Mulroney et al there are two things you can do.

First, call your friends, and get them to go out, and vote with you against the Tories.

Second, get involved in the electoral process by helping out in your local campaign, and stay involved afterwards.

Duncan Cameron

Duncan Cameron

Born in Victoria B.C. in 1944, Duncan now lives in Vancouver. Following graduation from the University of Alberta he joined the Department of Finance (Ottawa) in 1966 and was financial advisor to the...