The first week of the 2008 election is drawing to a close and what a week it was. I spent mush of it at the Toronto International Film Festival, so I haven't been able to be as on top of things as I'd like. But now that time's on my side again, I can reflect on the week that was.
Tuesday dawned with a new Flash gag on the Conservative's Not a Leader website, which introduces readers to "Professor Dion," and makes fun of the Liberal leader's past vocation as a university professor and further belittles Dion by calling him an "inaction figure" and inviting you to check out the "Policy Slot Machine." Oh, and what was that other thing...
...right, the bird pooping on his shoulder thing. If Stéphane Dion "isn't a leader" than what kind of person Federal politician approves of Police Academy-level humour to belittle his rival. Not only does this stink of the golden era of "reptilian kitten eater" attacks on Dalton McGuinty in the 2003 campaign, it's just plain nasty.
Now, it's worth remembering that Harper later apologized saying that the ad was “tasteless and inappropriate.” It was then changed; the bird just flies by without "making a deposit" as it were. A Harper spokesman said the ad was the work of an “eager web designer,” but really, no one in the Conservative war room had to look at this before it went live? Either way, I think Dion's answer was correct: that the affair said more about the PM then it does about him.
Then there was Harper's declaration on Tuesday that he'd choose to be a fruit. Wow, for a guy that was against gay marriage... But seriously, he made the comment in front of a pile of vegetables at a truck depot announcing that he'd cut two cents per litre from the excise tax on diesel fuel if re-elected. He was asked by a reporter, if he were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would he be. Harper looked at the options behind him and answered, "I would choose to be a fruit — because they're sweet and colourful, like me." Well, that's a lot of bizarre revelations for one day so let's move on.
On Wednesday, the word came in that Elizabeth May would get to debate after all, following Monday's announcement that she was being dealed out because Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton refused to debate in her presence. But do to an overwhelming public outcry, she was dealt back in. Layton folded first after being hounded two days by Green protesters and impudent media questions. He said that the matter had become a "distraction" as he was constantly "debating about the debate." Harper lifted his objection later the same day, and May was in. The debates will take place in Ottawa on Oct 1 and 2.
Wednesday also saw another salvo in the war of words between NFLD Premier Danny Williams and the Prime Minister. He told a business audience that a Harper majority government would mark the darkest era in Canadian history, and that he's stoop to anything and promise much in order to implement his hidden "right-wing, Conservative-Reform party" agenda.
Is that all?
"'This is a federal government willing not only to break their own promises, but they go so far as to break their own laws and call an election even though they mandated fixed election dates,' Williams said in a speech televised nationally."
"'There is nothing Harper will not do in order to win a majority government. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a party who purportedly offered a terminally ill MP a life insurance policy to get his vote,' he continued, referring to the so-called Chuck Cadman affair."
It seems like there's one more thing...
"'On behalf of all Newfoundland and Labrador puffins, I ask Stephen Harper to leave our provincial bird out of his nasty, disgusting, personal attack ads,' Williams said as the crowd applauded. 'The people of our province don't appreciate being used by you for our votes the last time. And our birds don't particularly like being used by you either.'"
Ah, yes. That bird last seen pooping on Dion was a puffin, a native bird of Newfoundland. It really makes you think: is there anything that Stephen Harper won't do... to piss off Danny Williams?