TORONTO - The courting is done. It’s decision time. Now what?
Mike Marzolini, founder of Pollara one of Canada’s most influential and consistent pollsters, until his retirement several months ago was fond of saying (to me at least) that a political pollster’s primary task is to identify where the 5% - 10% of the voting public that moves from election to election is going in the current one. Presumably that is why we hold campaigns.
His observation, supported by years of experience in analyzing and devising hundreds of polls, was that Canadians generally can be divided according to the following range: Conservatives and Liberal (32% -35% each), NDP c. 20%, Others (including Bloc, Greens etc.,) 5%- 10%.
Remarkably, heading into the last weekend before decision day, Monday, when another approximately 13,000,000 Canadians will cast a ballot for who should form the next federal government there is as yet no clear, obvious choice. No Leader has enunciated in concise clear terms WHY their Party should be Canada’s choice. No one has moved that 5% to 10%.
There has not been much by way of debating issues of relevance to Canada’s future. Everyone shares in the responsibility: Press/Media, Leaders and their entourage. The finger-pointing would be interminable.
No one has “broken away from the herd”. Issues have been reduced to sniping about personal failings, questions of judgement, and perception of relevance on the international stage. The focus has been on a plethora of minor issues that no one has pieced together – they are all so important that they have become like snowflakes in a snowstorm.
Not one leader has broken down large economic issues like Trade, Natural Resources development, or indeed Infrastructure Programs into any cohesive digestible picture attractive as a vision for the future. Campaign teams have concentrated on snippets of policy: catch phrases and put-downs.
They have had plenty of opportunity to make their positions clear. The Corriere Canadese has pestered them for interviews and statements (not talking points). It offered to co-host (alongside the National Ethnic Press and Media Council) a debate on issues relative to the 7.7 million Canadians who speak a language other than English or French. We could not get their attention.
Our newsroom tracked the number of self-identified Italian Canadian voters in Ontario and in Canada, published the lists for all candidates and compiled a chart for our readers indicating constituencies – 33 in total! - where more than 10,000 residents claimed Italian origin. They were ignored by all parties.
Elizabeth May fizzled quickly; Francois Blanchet speaks only to Francophone Quebecers; Jagmeet Singh remade himself into a “defender of the little guy”. The two heavyweights are encumbered by cloaks of apprehension (Andrew Scheer) and disappointment (Justin Trudeau) that they have donned.
Corriere Canadese has done what it could to inform. Maybe those 33 constituencies will tip the scales in one direction or another. If not this time …