The media coverage of Stephen Harper's Conservative Party has been much friendlier this time around, and the polls show the blue team* starting to pull ahead. There are still two weeks for them to fall flat on their faces, but I'm not entirely sanguine that it'll happen.
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've had just about enough of Paul Martin. I don't think he's much of a Prime Minister, but the alternative is just too scary. I don't mean Stephen Harper specifically -- his robotic appearance is scary enough, but not the source of my concern. No, what scares me is the rest of his party. They've got people calling them Tories,** but they're not, not really -- there are plenty of reformers still in the CPC ranks. They're the scary ones.
My big fear is that the Canadian public, eager for a change, will think they're voting in a CPC minority, only to find that they've contributed to a large blue wave and a CPC majority.
And then things will get very scary indeed.
The Public Service will be slashed to pay for massive tax cuts. Private health care will be invited in the front door instead of sneaking in the back. Funding for education will shrivel up. The same-sex marriage issue will be reopened (which may mean the use of the Notwithstanding clause to circumvent the Constitution). Canadian foreign and fiscal policy will be not-so-subtly aligned with that of the U.S. (no offense to my American friends, but I'd really prefer to live in an independent country)...
The last English debate starts in a few minutes. This will be ... interesting.
*note to Americans: the right-of-centre party in Canada (Conservative) is associated with the colour blue, while the slightly-less-right-of-centre (or left-of-centre, but only during an election campaign) party (Liberal) is associated with the colour red.
** Oh dear. This is more complicated. There used to be a party called the Progressive Conservatives, who were nicknamed the Tories (for obscure reasons dating back to Britain, just as the Liberals are sometimes called the Grits). Then a right-wing party arose called the Reform Party, splitting the right-of-centre vote. There were numerous attempts to "unite the right", including a few changes of name on the part of the Reform Party, and ultimately there was a merger, resulting in the new Conservative Party of Canada (note the lack of "Progressive"). In some circles, this has been interpreted as a takeover of the old PC party by the Reformers.