Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Following the Leader

A number of politicians have been scrambling to use their political clout to affect the outcome of the election. Some have chosen to consider what is best of thier constituents irrelevant of partisan politics and some have not.

The most active has been Newfoundland & Labrador Premier Danny Williams. Upset over changes to the Atlantic Accord, Williams has launched the ABC (Anything But Conservative) campaign. His goal is to sweep the Conservative Party out of Newfoundland. They currently hold 3 of the province's 7 seats. He has even gone so far as to register his campaign with Elections Canada. Is not having any Conservative MPs the best scenario for Newfoundland? Should the Conservatives return to power it would mean Newfoundland would join PEI in not having a voice in the governing party. Under a Liberal government Newfoudland would be hit hard by the Green Shift. Any sweetening of the Atlantic Accord would simply be cancelled out by the carbon tax.

Poll after poll has been indicating Stephane Dion has not been doing a good enough job selling the Green Shift to voters. Many voters are turned off by his challenges in mastering the English language. There have been a number of commentators that suggest Elizabeth May will need to step up to the plate to explain the concept behind a carbon tax. She is being realistic that she does not have a chance at being Prime Minister and believes that Dion will be the best Prime Minister. In the process of 'helping' Dion she is more likely to draw away Liberal supporters who are not happy with Dion.

Last year David Miller resigned his NDP membership in order to pitch Toronto's interests in the provincial election campaign. He went to hear all of the party leaders during the campaign. Reporters noted his response to Premier McGuinty was more enthusistic than the other leaders. For the federal election he has asked voters to vote for the best interest of Toronto. On a personal level he believes that the Green Party has the most to offer. There is a more important message in the Mayor's pick. If voters continue to reelect the same people time and again there is no incentive for politicians to cater to Toronto's needs. This is true at every level of government.

In the last federal election Paul Martin refused to be seen anywhere near Dalton McGuinty. It is amazing how there careers have taken different paths. This time around McGuinty seems to be taking a page from the David Miller book. He refused to endorse the Liberal platform and is urging Ontario voters to use their mass amount of seats to push the parties to take consider Ontario's needs. This may be a blessing for Dion as The Champion of Education is now faced with the possibility of a teacher's strike. In the event of a strike a McGuinty endorsement with the negative public reaction could be shifted to Dion. Is there any doubts that McGuinty would prefer a Liberal government with his brother as Enviornment Minisiter?

Jack Layton has decided to campaign to be Prime Minister. Last time he admitted the NDP had no chance to form the government and asked voters to send as many NDP candidates to office to get the job done. This change in attitude is a huge plus for the NDP. It will be even more important towards the end of the campaign when considerations of strategic voting are taken into effect.

In the big picture does a politician endorsing another politician really make a difference at the ballot box? Probably not. It is still interesting to see how politicians use the election time to promote their needs and wants.

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