Nice to know we have a set election date – October 19 – for our next decision on which party we would like to control Canada for the following five years. Not so nice to realize that, throughout what we hope will be a glorious summer, we must now suffer months of boasting or complaining about what the current government has achieved, or failed to achieve, since May 2011 when a skimpy 61 per cent of eligible voters gave Stephen Harper a Conservative majority and the authority to steer the ship of state.
So, with a day of destiny still four months away we are out on the track with a bang, nasty TV commercials already on display and many promises of glories yet to be if only the voters will pay attention, believe, and vote for the most persuasive snake-oil seller.
Prime Minister Harper’s Conservatives were the first with the clever TV snigger campaign commercials questioning the youth of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for daring to reach for the keys to 24 Sussex Drive at the tender age of 43. If he became Prime Minister in October he would be 44 – three years younger than Prime Minister Harper when he moved in to Sussex Drive.
Joe Clark, Conservative, was 39 when he became PM, Brian Mulroney. 45, Kim Campbell, 46 – Liberal Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, was 48.
If we jump across the Atlantic we find a really young chap holding the highest political office in the United Kingdom at the age of 24. Fellow by the name William Pitt – better known as Pitt the Younger. “The Younger” was to distinguish him from his father “Pitt the Elder” who had served as PM years earlier.
But back to that TV Commercial with the “he’s not ready” punch line written by somebody lacking political smarts. When just about every other political activist in the country is appealing to young people to get involved in the political process, to participate, to become party-active as well as vote, Conservative recruiters are warning young folk aren’t quite ready. It’s an appeal with dangerous backfire potential
A bit like the old saying of Herbert Hoover when he was President of the USA; “Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.” A truth – and as funny as urging young people to get active in politics and vote (preferably Conservative) – although even at age 44 they’re not quite ready for responsibility.
There will, I’m sure, be other miscues silly accusations and sillier responses as politicians of all stripes torture us through what will prove to be the hazy day’s summer. Among the best – or worst – will be the slow awakening of the Conservatives that for the first time in any Canadian national election – the Liberals, young and old – will not be their traditional rivals for the right to rule.
For sure it could still shape up to be a fight between the historic old party contestants, but in the early rounds Prime Minister Harper and the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair are in the centre ring. It could get ugly in the final rounds with the young Liberal leader and his people positioned in the unusual role of kingmakers.
Any betting on which way uncertain Liberals would swing if the current three-way fight becomes a Conservative-NDP duel come the Fall? No call yet from this corner. Just watching events unfold knowing only one thing for sure: politically we are living in interesting times.