15 September 2008

Election 2008: Day 9

After the Rosamond Luke fiasco, the Tories have appointed another candidate, Ted Larsen. He's described as a 56-year old former reporter who now runs a rental property business. I have no idea who he is, though it's unlikely to matter as this is staunch NDP territory. The Liberals, for their part, have nominated Catherine Meade as their candidate. Ms. Meade, per the brief bio on Liberal.ca, is currently Chair of the S.O.G.I. (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Section of the Canadian Bar Association – Nova Scotia. I have no idea who she is, though it's unlikely to matter as this is staunch NDP territory. So that's the local update.

Nationally, it looks like this week is going to revolve around Stephen Harper vs. Jack Layton, as both leaders have decided that they're done patronizing Stephane Dion and will now simply ignore him. I saw some devastating polls yesterday on the "leadership" theme that have Dion in a distant third place and only marginally ahead of Elizabeth May. Because leadership has been such a key buzzword in this campaign, this is a major blow to the optimism of the Liberals as they press forward. Layton is capitalizing on the hesitance of many Canadian women when it comes to Harper (remember the whole "The Women Are Angry!" campaign?) by pledging to raise funding for Status of Women Canada and reminding voters that the Conservatives cut $5M from the administrative budget a few years ago (but was silent on the fact that the Conservatives later RAISED the SWC budget by $10M) and stating that Harper would be "devastating" for women's equality in Canada. Now, I'll be the first to admit that this government has done little to actively promote women's equality since being elected and been dipping its toe into areas that may cause controversy on abortion rights, but I do not equate cutting a government program's funding with undermining equality under the law. It's not as if they're talking about disenfranchisement or regulating women back into the home. There are many women's issues where Harper can be clubbed but Layton's rhetoric is (as usual) over the top.

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