Monday, May 07, 2007

Now the Campaign Really Starts (or, What the Hell is Going On Here)

Oh, crap. What a way to start week three.

(Hey, who wants to be the first to step up and correctly note that Thomas Steen was a prop here? Anybody? Anyone?)

If you were wondering how the Progressive Conservatives are approaching this election campaign, wonder no longer.

The NDP, so far, have offered little in the way of excitement and grand ideas (except to claim that they were already doing anything the Conservatives promise to do); their platform has been based on offering more of the same (more doctors! More nurses! More football! More Spirited Energ--whoops wait backspace backspace) and hoping Gary Doer's back is strong enough to singlehandedly carry the entire party into power again. Only Gary Doer can prevent us from losing everything! If you don't vote NDP, clearly you must hate Manitoba! Just ask the nurses!

And the Liberal platform, heavy on somewhat misguided policy and light on necessary charisma, has been the political equivalent of an an all-you-can-eat Melba Toast buffet -- theoretically good for you, but way more expensive than it has any right to be and so impossibly dry that you can't help but choke on it.

But the Conservatives? My, oh, my. Theirs has not an platform of educated policy, of sensible governance or of strong leadership; the main Conservative platform so far has been to specifically hammer at as many longstanding Manitoban psychological weaknesses as they can get their hands on. Do Manitobans fear falling behind other provinces in taxation rates? Elect us now or we'll forever be the poorest urchins in all the land! Do Manitobans fear the ongoing rises in crime, both real and perceived? Elect us now or gang members fresh out of prison for the second time will kill you in your own beds!

And today, the Tories targeted the granddaddy of them all -- the biggest, sorest collective psychological wound that modern Winnipeg sports. (Er, no pun intended.) Do Winnipeggers fear their continued decline in cultural relevance, knowing full well that the city's most widespread cultural contributions of the past decade have been a significantly unflattering Weakerthans song and the one time we stranded the Queen out on the river? Elect us now or soon Winnipeg will be known only as that place from an episode of the Simpsons!

Well, you can't say the Conservatives are aiming low, that's for sure. This is big, doubly so because the NDP is now insisting they thought of the idea first; that means it's now a race to see who can hypothetically get a team here the fastest, unwieldy economics of the situation be damned.

It also means that the Liberals picked the wrong day to once again try and make Crocus an election issue; I don't think the timing could have been any worse for the Liberals here without a lower-class Crocus shareholder popping out of a nearby building and yelling at them.

(Boy, look at the picture on that article; Gerrard sure looks like he'd be a barrel of laughs at parties, doesn't he?)

Such is the story of the 2007 Manitoba Provincial Election campaign so far; the two parties with any shot at winning are delving into increasingly more dramatic (and, in some cases, increasingly dumber -- HEY GUYS WHO NEEDS LEGAL AID ANYWAY I MEAN THE POOREST PEOPLE DESERVE JAIL THE MOST AM I RIGHT) stunts to try and get voters to pay attention for even a second, and the party running a distant third is going to remain a distant third because nobody wants to hear some old square yammer about stuff that makes your head hurt.

Don't take any of this to mean that I stand opposed to the Winnipeg Jets, of course. Far from it!

My issue is not with the potential return of the Jets, because I am totally cool with that; I think we've been over that before. No, my current consternation with the collectively careless campaign carnage (I am given to brief bouts of alliteration) runs slightly deeper than that.

See, as you'll recall from your introductory Political Studies courses -- or as I'll recall for you, if you prefer -- the classical understanding of small-C conservatism is to protect the status quo against those unsavoury pie-in-the-sky radicals that would ruin our collective society by making dramatic changes just for the sake of change. And classic small-L liberalism is based on the continued evolution of society to better the lives of the individual, rearranging whatever structures necessary to make incremental progress and keep the existing system from trodding on the common man.

With that in mind, and to recap our current Manitoba setup: the NDP platform is to guard our existing system as-is rather than risk any dramatic changes, and the Conservative platform is to change everything now now now to make things better for individual Manitobans. Oh, and the Liberal platform is to push hard for social justice and environmental rights if it means spending every last dime we have.

I don't even know where to begin with this.

Not to phrase it in a way that makes it completely impossible to answer, but -- just what the hell is wrong with our province? When did M. C. Escher drop by to design our political sphere for us?

I swear, I don't know what they're going to do if this new Jets development doesn't get people interested in the election. If the malaise continues, expect a week four pledge from the NDP to hire five hundred more doctors and a promise from the Conservatives to resurrect the Winnipeg Thunder. And Jon Gerrard will drop by to yak about bicycles or something, meaning everybody in Manitoba will stop paying attention all over again (NHL Playoffs are on, don't you know) and week five will have to be even more over the top and HOW ARE THERE STILL TWO WEEKS LEFT OF THIS

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The evening of May 21st, Hugh hosts a news conference on the 50 yard line of Asper Stadium (which Doer actually built by hand the previous week)to announce that Justin Timberlake, Spiderman and the entire cast of Laguna Beach will move to Winnipeg if he wins. Also, he trades Schuler, Goertzen and future considerations to the Penguins for Crosby.

Doer claims he has been talking to JT for years about coming to town, and responds with his own announcement involving Jessica Alba, Sanjaya, rocket cars and an intergalactic spaceball team.

While all this is going on, Gerrard gives a powerpoint presentation about phosphorus to a group of school children.