Next up, we have the two debates – French tonight, and English tomorrow night. L. Ian MacDonald has high expectations for Stephen Harper:
For Stephen Harper, the French debate represents a significant opportunity. If the Conservatives have really moved into the mid-teens in Quebec, as reported by the CPAC-SES Research poll last week, then the debate offers Harper the possibility of taking his support to the next level of 20 per cent, where the Conservatives would actually start to win a few seats. That could help him close the deal in Ontario, where they like to vote for parties with support in all regions of the country.
[ . . . ]
The worst nightmare for the Liberals could occur in Quebec living-rooms tonight, if viewers turn to one another and say: “you know, this guy Harper, he’s not so bad, he speaks pretty good French.” The result would be not a breakthrough, but a beachhead, for Harper.
That said, it ain’t over till it’s over. History has shown that 2 weeks before an election, results can be vastly different than on election day. I predict somewhat of a swing back from the NDP to the Liberals, as voters on the left panic about the prospect of a Conservative government. I doubt that we’ll see that happening in Quebec, however, as Bloc voters seem intent on punishing the Libs. But with the Libs and the Tories neck-and-neck, I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Paul Martin just yet.
In the meantime, I’ve discovered that the number of candidates in my riding has jumped to 8. All the major parties are represented, as well as the Green party, the Marxist-Leninist party, the Libertarian party, and the Marijuana party.
Hmmm… the Marijuana party… maybe I’ll vote for them. I mean, I don’t smoke the stuff and have no particular interest in it, but on principle I happen to agree that it should be legalized. Besides, here’s a one-issue party that has a reasonable chance of attaining its goal and makes no pretence about wanting to govern in any other area. Hey, sounds good to me!
Or then again, maybe not.
The sad thing is, I don’t feel particularly motivated to vote for any of the candidates or parties. So many choices, but in reality, so few… no wonder participation rates are so low and voter apathy is through the roof. Votes matter in precious few ridings; in the rest, the conclusion is foregone and we might as well just stay home.