And so it goes. The Liberals last night failed to beat a man in the Vaughn Bi-election who made zero public appearances and really isn't that well liked. And this is in a riding that has been traditionally Liberal. Yes it was a close race and yes, Fantino is a known name, but as I said, not always known positively. But the fact remains, all the Harper Cons had to do was put this guy out there, and they won.
So what does this say? Some would say very little considering there was only about 30% voter turn out in the riding, which in it self could signal voter apathy. The citizens of Vaughn may be so tired of both the Liberals and the Harper Cons that it wasn't even worth their while to turn out to cast their ballot. Which is scary because it's in this kind of climate that Harper tends to thrive. He can pretty much do anything he wants and nobody cares, despite the railings of the Canadian Media.
The problem is, many Canadians see the name "Conservative" and still think Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark, Robert Stanfield, which couldn't be further from the truth. They vote for the Party name because that's what they've done all their lives. Either that or the electorate, still worried about the legacy of the dynastic Liberals are voting against them, not really knowing that their vote is being cast for a party that would do away with democracy if it meant fulfilling it's agenda. And that is hardly Conservative.
The fact remains, that the Liberals have failed to engage the average Canadian citizen. The NDP and Greens were so far back in the Vaughn Bi-election as to be non-existent while in Winnipeg North, the New Democrats were a close second. The Liberal party remains divided, in fact, it doesn't really know what it stands for anymore. It does not project the social values of the Trudeau era nor is it seen as the champion of Canadian health care anymore. All Canadians remember is the 13 years of fiscal restraint under Chretien's leadership which was, curiously, more Conservative than the Mulroney era.
Ignatieff has bumped himself up somewhat as a result of this summer's cross Canada bus tour. Be he still has not engaged the hearts and minds of the Canadian public. He remains to many, an unknown man with an unclear agenda. And the suspicion that he too, does not have the full support of his caucus does not help his cause at all.
The closest thing to a genuine Liberal was Stephan Dion. He was and remains brilliant. He had a platform, a purpose and a very Canadian agenda. But the fact remains, his English was poor and the Bulk of English Canada were not going to put their faith in another Frenchman. He was easily flustered in the House and the Reform/Conservatives were able to spin-doctor Dion's deficits into convincing Canadians and even Dion's own Party that he was a weak leader. Which of course is far from the truth. Ask most Quebecois about Dion and the National Unity issue.
So it seems at the moment, that most Canadians either don't care enough about our political process, or don't care to understand what's going on in Ottawa. For if they truly understood, it is unfathomable to think that there would be enough voter support to continue Harper's undemocratic tenure. There are just enough people, many of whom, believe Harper's spin-doctoring and lies. And in this climate of apathy, Harper the terrible thrives, and will continue to thrive until some one can convince the electorate to wake up and smell the coffee. And so far, there seems to be no one capable of doing that.