Dion, Post-secondary Education Funding and Liberal prospects
The blogosphere is predictably abuzz today with discussion of the Liberal party's platform. For personal reasons, I'm quite fond of the promise to increase funding to each of the government's three research granting councils - including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which funds my research - by 34%.
However, what struck me while reading all of the punditry about the affordability of the platform, including whether or not it was a valid strategy to use the Conservatives' economic forecasts, is that this is the first time that I've voted in a federal election when I didn't really think that those discussions mattered in the long run. I write this not out of some deep-seated skepticism about election promises (although that would also be a fair assessment), but because I have no illusions that the Liberals will get a chance to fully implement this platform. The best that I'm hoping for is that they will help hold the Conservatives to a minority government. I would bet good money that the very best most Liberal insiders are hoping for is a minority of their own - albeit with the ensuing post-election compromises that would negate their ability to fulfill many promises.
I find the whole situation rather depressing. I'm pretty certain that I won't be voting Liberal in this election, but I find myself hoping that enough other Canadians will do so to stop a Conservative majority. The problem is that I have trouble figuring out why these "hypothetical Canadians" - the "Zoe"s of the Conservative playbook - would be convinced to do so on the basis of the Liberals' TV ads and general campaign strategy. So far, the Liberal ads look like they were made by a first year communication student's class project - even the NDP's ones are slicker! Yet if the voters of Canada are convinced, it probably won't be on the basis of the "Green Shift" and the positive aspects of the Liberal platform, but out of fear of a Harper majority. I don't think that the party is in for a massacre along the lines of the 1993 election, but it must be sobering for party members to think that a Liberal majority is completely out of the cards.
So yes, some of the elements of the Liberal platform are what I think of as good policies for Canada - but I also think that the mood of the country and its assessment of the Liberals to date is such that this amounts to some nice, hopeful, creative writing.Recommend this Post