Monday, April 11, 2011

Tell me why I don't like Mondays...

Well this has been an interesting day. One of those days that really goes someplace different than you had originally thought it would.

Normally the day before a debate is a comparatively quiet day, as the Leaders prepare. This should have been the case today, particularly as we no longer have a day in between the English and French debates. For the Leaders, it should have been a day spent in an intense mix of exam cramming AND rehearsing their lines for opening night.

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

As you no doubt know by now, a draft of the Auditor General's report on spending related to the G8/G20 meetings has been leaked. The leaked draft and a subsequent version are critical of the government's transparency and accuracy with respect to spending on the summits (though the language in the latter report is apparently less scathing, the rebuke and observations are clear).

Bottom line: Parliament was not given the information it needed to consider how public funds were being used, despite this being its job.

Added to this is a letter that the Auditor General sent to the government criticizing government MPs for misquoting her in a Committee report (something for which the Conservatives have apologized). If you know anything about the Office of the Auditor General, you know one thing: This is not a good thing to do.

So a day that was set aside for preparations instead became a day laden with spin, rhetoric, accusations about the use of public funds, and questions about transparency and the treatment of protected information.

Of course the simple thing, and in fact the thing all profess to want, is to release the final report (it would have been released on April 5, but the election intervened). The thing is, you need a Parliament in order to table such a report. As we currently have no Parliament, we have no report.

The result? We all start filling in the blanks.

The question is what impact all of this will this have on the narrative of #elxn41. In this case, I am looking to three blocks of the electorate.

1. The undecided

Consider this - there are somewhere between 15-20% of the electorate who are undecided. There are many reasons one is undecided, including lack of focus or engagement. This story can create engagement where there hasn't been any. This does not favour the Conservatives.

The undecided will also be comprised of those who have been engaged but genuinely do not know how they will vote. Something was holding them back, and if it was because they had some doubt about the Conservatives, today's events could have an impact.

2. The key battlegrounds

This is not an issue that is going to have a significant impact on voters in Alberta, parts of the Prairies, etc. Where the Conservatives are strong, they are strong and their voters are committed. But what about Ontario and in particular the coveted 905 area? The combination of a Liberal campaign that is exceeding expectations (albeit low ones), falling NDP support and today's developments could be enough to give lift to the Liberals.

I am also curious to see how this plays in Quebec. The Auditor General's views are taken seriously in a province not that far removed from the sponsorship scandal. Will this shore up the Bloc, and if so at who's expense?

There are also a number of ridings which were already going to be very close. When a riding is decided by 1-999 votes, issues like this can be significant.

3. The Non-Voter

Election day turn-out has been falling in successive elections. More and more Canadians, particularly young Canadians, are not voting. Apathy plays a big part. Will this change things? No. But will the series of events over the past few weeks have a cumulative impact and get this vote out? Will a younger voter start to draw a line from say the last prorogation through to today? The Liberals will hope so.


The Boomtown Rats had a big hit with a song entitled, "I Don't like Mondays". The coming days will tell us how much this sentiment resonates with the Conservatives.

So faithful reader(s), over to you:

- Will this have an impact? If so, how?
- Is this significant, or sound and fury signifying nothing?
- What do you think?

Let's have a conversation...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a comment?

Canadian Blogosphere