EDITORIAL — Media, public don’t judge Harper the same way

EDITORIAL — Now that the media are finished whining about the cost of the extra-long election campaign, we can get on with figuring out who’s best qualified to lead the country for the next few years.

CommonsIt’s certainly not evident from anything Stephen Harper has said why we must endure such a long political exercise. He says we must go by the rules, and that the other parties had already, in effect, started their election campaigns. This, from the leader of the party that has been engaging in that relentless “He’s just not ready” attack ad campaign against Justin Trudeau, and was embarking on a similar one against Thomas Mulcair.

Certainly, Harper’s rationale that, “It’s important that these campaigns be funded by the parties themselves rather than taxpayers,” is a strange one. Adding weeks to the campaign will cost Canadians money, a lot of it. Elections Canada estimates the cost of a typical 37-day campaign at $375 million. This one, among the longest in history, will be 78 days.

The pundits were quick to get out their calculators and start adding up the prime minister’s “real” strategy, suggesting it might have to do with the fact his party is estimated to have at least double the war chest of either the Liberals or New Democrats. A long campaign gives the Conservatives a big advantage on that score.

Firing the starting gun now also blunts the amount of money third-party critics of the Conservatives can spend. And, it gives the Tories more time to use their most effective of all strategies — the attack ad.

The media seem more concerned than the public about such things. One editorial cartoonist published a likeness of Harper posing with a big-game rifle over the carcass of Cecil the Lion. On the vanquished beast’s corpse was the word “Democracy.”

But all the media- and Opposition-generated controversy over Harper’s muzzling of civil servants, anti-terrorism bill, “Fair Elections Act” and message-control measures have fallen on deaf ears with Canadians. They will forgive Harper for costing them a few hundred million dollars to interrupt their summer vacations with politics, and they’ve already forgiven him for much else. Even Mike Duffy has become old hat.

Harper is reading the situation right — the issue will be trust in the experience and ability of leaders to maintain relative stability, not in how much the election is costing them or how well he gets along with reporters. And if he wins on that, he wins another term.

About Mel Rothenburger (8243 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL — Media, public don’t judge Harper the same way

  1. Mar 22, 2016
    We are certainly seeing how MUCH the Liberals are costing us. Talk about leaving debt for the grandkids!!!
    This Liberal government needs to be ousted…we just can’t afford them.

  2. lee kenney // August 4, 2015 at 7:02 AM // Reply

    The 2015 election, Harpers contempt for grandchildren , they inherit the financial and ethical deficit . Raffi has the right idea ,Vote !

  3. Sean McGuinness // August 3, 2015 at 2:13 PM // Reply

    I’m sure many Canadians do not follow the rattle and din of the media. Lot’s of people are blissfully unaware of what Harper does or doesn’t do. We are trusting souls. Sometimes I think the average Canadian is the kind of person who would go and live in cave for a while if their govt instructed them to do so. Of course, Harper knows this and is taking full advantage of it. At the same time, if opponents, media or whoever raise their voice, it doesn’t matter so long as he can continue to hold the 30% or so of the electorate which typically vote conservative. The next 80 days will be about trying to get a chunk of the 10 % of voters who are either undecided or who have waffled on voting PC. This is American-style politics, except that in Canada, the situation is worse — here if you capture more than one third of the electorate, you form the next govt.

    After this election, I think their might be a lot of support for the idea of having the liberals and NDP merge into one party. The NDP have now moved enough to the centre to the point where their policies aren’t radically different from the Liberals. However, the Conservatives remain far to the right of these parties. If people are tired of having 35% of the country dictate for everyone, then this might be a viable option.

  4. Pierre Filisetti // August 3, 2015 at 8:51 AM // Reply

    It is not so much the money, it is the hideous nature of politics/policies conservative-style that irks many people. Canada is lesser because of it. Hopefully that will end soon.
    The attack ads could be rendered pretty useless if they are accompanied by truthful opinion pieces and quality editorials by the nation’s journalists.

  5. I think/hope you are wrong on this one. I think there are a lot of people fully aware of what Harper is doing and how much it is costing us.

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