Election 2011 Day 1

Julian Wolfe
March 26th, 2011

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks following the announcement that Parliament has been dissolved in Ottawa, Saturday, March 26, 2011.
Today commences the election campaign that may or may not change the status-quo in Canadian politics. All of the political parties are trying to get their message across, but will their messages effect the outcome of the upcoming election?

In the 2008 election, only 59% of Canadians voted marking the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history. Today’s announcements proved that Harper was a broken record and that the opposition has a firm grip on the direction that this election will take.

Throwing out the Conservative rhetoric, Stephen Harper starts attacking the concept of having a coalition which he supported back in 2004.

“Canadians need to understand clearly, without any ambiguity: unless Canadians elect a stable, national majority, Mr. Ignatieff will form a Coalition with the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. They tried it before. It is clear they will try it again. And, next time, if given the chance, they will do it in a way that no one will be able to stop.”

Stephen Harper

The Liberals pounced on the Conservatives agenda and also ruled out the possibility of a coalition government.

“This election is about choosing the kind of Canada we want to be. A Conservative vote means $6 billion for more tax breaks for the largest corporations, $13 billion to build U.S.-style mega-prisons, and $30 billion dollars to buy stealth fighter jets — all of it with borrowed money on Harper’s record deficit.”

Ignatieff then offered his alternatives which included healthcare, education, the elderly and families.

When a reporter said that the Liberals were doomed from the start because they did not release a statement sooner, Michael Ignatieff and his party laughed and Ignatieff said that it was the first time he comes on in a campaign mode and that the media was already putting him down for the count. Unfortunately, this shows a bias in mainstream media which cannot be ignored.

The New Democrats had an a coordinated rally where Jack Layton spoke about pocketbook issues such as healthcare, jobs and pensions, and slammed the Conservatives as a whole.

“After five years, Stephen Harper has failed to fix what’s wrong in Ottawa. In fact, he’s made it worse.”

Jack Layton

The Bloc Quebecois kicked off their campaign bashing Harper and the concept of a Conservative majority government. Stay tuned for a feature article on that idea called “Who is Stephen Harper” which will be coming shortly.

“The leader of the Conservatives wants to obtain a majority to impose his ideology without any limits. To get there the Conservatives won’t hesitate to repeatedly assault the very principles of democracy.”

Gilles Duceppe

The Green Party also made an announcement this morning. Not so much a vote for me, don’t vote for the other guy routine, but a plead to vote and explained how important voting is at this state in time. She referenced the environment in doing so saying “Extend Earth Hour to May 2.”

At the end of CTV’s coverage, they showed a family from Calgary and asked questions concerning the want for an election and who they would support. With no surprise, they backed the Conservative views… Go figure. What is distasteful about this is it shows a narrow view of how youth see politics. Youth either want to get rid of Harper or just don’t care.

The election has started – not without controversy and will continue to May 2, the day of the national vote.

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On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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