Three women I know had dinner in Toronto a couple of nights ago and they talked about the election campaign. In their early fifties, they’re all on the left, with a range of attitudes that we can call socialist, social democrat, pro union, anti capitalist.

One of them told me about the conversation.

They’re alienated from the Liberals because they see them as too pro business and lacking in principle.

They’re suspicious of the NDP. They think the way Jack Layton helped bring down the Martin government to trigger the 2006 election opened the door to Harper. Instead of childcare and Kelowna, we got Harper, they insist, and Layton did nothing to warn Canadians about the Conservatives.

Now they think that we’re heading for a Conservative government, either minority or majority.

They’re not very interested in the details of the day to day maneuvers of the parties on the campaign trail.

They’re split on whether they think Obama will win in the U.S.

Wouldn’t it be great, one of them said to me with savage irony, if the Americans got Obama and we got Harper.

If we do get Harper on October 14, my three friends are not going to be just alienated. They’re going to be mad as hell.

People like my three friends are going to give the professional politicians, New Democrat and Liberal alike, the shock of their lives. Next time the game is going to be played under different rules.