As an average Canadian, living in an regular in a blue collar neighborhood I was feeling pretty good about the way our government had been conducting itself lately. I was happy to see that our two major parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, seemed to be working if not hand in hand at least in tandem in this time of economic turmoil that has so many Canadians scared about the future. It was nice, for a change, to have a government that seemed to be focused on actually governing the country and doing what we elected them to do, instead of focusing on vilifying the opposition to solidify their grip on power.
All that is about to change... According to the Glove and Mail the Tories are getting ready to air attack adds against Michael Ignatieff. The are apparently going through every bit of paper, footage and literature that Mr. Ignatieff has written, been quoted or featured in with a fine toothed comb in order to find something embarrassing he may have said in order to brand him, the same way they did Dion.
“The failure to brand him in the way we did Stéphane Dion is actually worrying some people — that maybe we've missed our opportunity to brand him negatively in the eyes of Canadians, and that an impression of competence is now sticking.
“So the pendulum is shifting back — that we should attack a bit more.” (A government insider quoted on the G&M)
Why must politics always be about vilifying the other guy? Are the Tories going to complain about his time spent as a Harvard professor when he was at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy? Or when he was lecturing at Oxford and hosting shows for the BBC? Or his many books that demonstrate a deep understanding of how the world works? I'm not saying that Mr Ignatieff is flawless, I'm simply stating that trying to attack his intellect may very well backfire... because in the intellectual resume category he clearly has Harper beat.
Overall, I'm interested on seeing how the Tories will brand him, but what I'm even more interested in, is how the Liberals will counter these adds. Will they fight back in the same way or will they counter with messages putting a positive spin on Ignatieff's career? Will the negative adds hurt the Tories image more then it will hurt Ignatieff's numbers in the polls? All that remains to be seen.
If there is an election in the near future I'd like the challenge the candidates to run a campaign focused on the issues: on health, education, the environment and the economy. I don't want to see a campaign that is run on negative press and attempts to dismantle the credibility of the opposition. Sadly, I'm pretty sure that this challenge will go unanswered and that next time there is an election, like most Canadians, I will leave my polling station with am uneasy feeling in my stomach because so little time will have been spent talking actual issues during the campaign that I won't be exactly sure what I voted for.