Friday, December 09, 2005

2006 federal election - episode 1

Warehouse Election Central


The Warehouse election desk is officially open. Over the next few weeks, our distinguished correspondents will provide their own spin on the current campaign. Local fights, historical perspectives, commentary, criticism and advice...we don't claim to be fair and balanced, we just claim.

This week: lots of links and the start of our time-warped coverage.

The four men who will fight with Angelina, J. Lo and Jennifer for space on the front of your morning read: Paul Martin (Liberal), Stephen Harper (Conservative), Jack Layton (NDP) and Gilles Duceppe (BQ).


Get To Know Your Parties
Elections Canada has links to the 12 registered parties for the January showdown...but we're going to save you a few clicks by providing them below.

Bloc Quebecois
Canadian Action Party
Christian Heritage Party
Communist Party
Conservative Party
Green Party
Liberal Party
Libertarian Party
Marijuana Party
Marxist-Leninist Party
New Democratic Party
Progressive Canadian Party

Elections Canada lists several organizations with "eligible party" status...no guarantee you'll see any of these banners on your ballot.

Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party
First Peoples National Party
Western Block Party

Alas, we no longer have the Natural Law Party to kick around any more. No more rolling in the aisles at their 24-page newspaper inserts.

Music, Music, Music
Politicians know that people love a toe-tappin' tune. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, you can now enjoy some of your favourite campaign songs on your iPod...at least you can if you're a Bloc Quebecois supporter.

Mediawerks
Looking for coverage from your favourite TV network, when you don't have a TV? Fear not...CBC, CTV and Global have the bases covered. For coverage en francais, go to Radio-Canada and TQS (TVA only appears to carry individual news items).

As for other channels, did you think CPAC would be left out of the festivities?

1979 Election Update
We're digging deep into our research library (one shelf of books!) to take a look back at the '79 campaign through the mirror of Macleans magazine.

Before dropping the writ, the Liberals had a slim two-seat majority. Three other parties made up the balance, including one with a charismatically-challenged leader, one whose party previously propped up the Liberals and one who includes representatives with a slight Quebec nationalist streak.

Plus ca change...and gives us an excuse to quickly profile the party leaders.

Parliamentary Makeup Before Dissolution
LIBERALS 133
Leader: Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister since 1968. The bloom of Trudeaumania is long gone, as the public perceives an air of superiority and boredom in the man they don't care for. Not helping matters is a brand new autobiography from estranged wife Margaret, Beyond Reason. In an interview with the Daily Express, she says that "he crushed me, he gave me nothing to do, he treated me like the most worthless woman ever hatched on this earth". (Macleans Mar 26/79)

PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVES 98
Leader: Joe Clark, who succeeded Robert Stanfield in 1976. First campaign as leader. Not regarded as being particularly charismatic, but he hasn't dropped any footballs lately either. Given public distaste for PET, this could work to Clark's advantage. Tagged with nickname "Joe Who?" Among his slate of candidates is 84-year old former PM John Diefenbaker, who promises this will be his final campaign. Dief is still miffed at party brass for not letting him take a more active role in the past three campaigns.

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY 17
Leader: Ed Broadbent, who succeeded David Lewis in 1975. First campaign as leader. Like Clark, not regarded as being too charismatic. The party's seat count dropped in the last election (1974) after the Liberals reaped the benefits of policies pushed along by the NDP while propping up Trudeau's 1972-74 minority government.

SOCIAL CREDIT 9
Leader: Fabien Roy, who succeeded several temporary leaders earlier in the year. The party is still reeling from the death of Real Caouette in 1976. Representation in parliament is strictly within the socially conservative party's Quebec wing - no MPs have been elected outside the province since 1965. Roy was new to federal politics, having sat as a Quebec MNA for most of the decade. Receiving help in Quebec from the Parti Quebecois, which indicates where the Socreds stand on the national unity debate.

There were also 5 independents and 2 vacancies.

Here are excerpts from current receiver of libel lawsuits Peter C. Newman's first editorial on the race, "a lively struggle between Marlon Trudeau and the Tricycle Kid".

"They're off! Our cover boldly proclaims. But the election has been so long in coming that about the only emotion most Canadians have left concerning the May 22 polling date is one of bored anticlimax. That's a pity, because few previous electoral contests have had so much riding on them."

"Ed Broadbent at last has a national pulpit from which to expound his earnest vision of the country's future; Joe Clark has a chance to absolve himeself from past gauches and stake his claim to greatness; for Pierre Trudeau, it's a gutsy, final round in his crusade for national unity."

"This election is about one essential issue: which of the men capable of forming a national government can best be entrusted with the nation's future? At this early moment in the campaign, the national mood was probably best caught by the kid parading outside a Conservative rally with the hand-lettered sign: A VOTE FOR CLARK IS A VOTE AGAINST TRUDEAU".
- Peter C. Newman, Macleans Apr 9/79
More from the wayback machine next time. - JB, PI

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