Well, here we go. The federal election that almost feels American-like in its build up is finally peeking over the horizon, ready to fully engulf Canada’s media and public consciousness, if it hasn’t already. Ever since Justin Trudeau took over as the Liberal leader in 2013, it seems like federal politics have become a giant waiting game, with everyone circling October 19 on their collective calendars. Well, we’re finally “only” three months away as of this past Sunday, and the circus is about to ramp up even further.
In fact, the hysteria is even closer than you might think, with the first of several leader’s debates taking place earlier than ever, on Aug. 6.
With that will surely come the first bout of mud-slinging.
Or at least the first bout on live, national television.
In reality the mud slinging began long ago.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely seen the Conservative party’s ads bashing Justin Trudeau. “He’s just not ready”. “He’s in over his head”. They all have a similar theme.
More recently the NDP have gotten into the mix with an anti-Conservative campaign on YouTube that depicts, among other things, the senate scandal and some of the wrongdoings of ex-Conservative staffers.
The Liberals, for their part, aired an ad campaign against…government advertising. The spots bemoaned the number of dollars the governing Conservatives had spent of tax payer money to advertise their various projects.
All of this has me feeling a little bit jaded.
What happened to clean politics? Politics where candidates touted their party’s platforms to the public. Instead, we’ve got candidates wearing cheap suits and pecking at each other like a bunch of chickens fighting over scraps.
Alright, the suits are probably expensive, especially Justin’s.
Of course, the brand of politics that I’m referencing never really existed. Elections have always been about as clean as an elementary school art room after a paper mache assignment.
But maybe, just maybe, they can be.
Maybe this can be the year where one candidate, one party, stands above the fray, looks down upon the rest, lets them throw mud at each other and walks away with a clean shirt and a mandate in the House of Commons.
It’s almost impossible to envision that at the national level, where party leaders will continue to clash in the buildup to Oct. 19.
Perhaps, however, we can have a certain level of cleanliness at the local level, where Conservative MP David Wilks attempts to hold back challenges from NDP candidate Wayne Stetski and Liberal hopeful Don Johnston.
But who am I kidding? This is politics and the battle has just begun.