But the frenetic pace of politicking here in the past couple of weeks has allowed for a close examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the three main political parties and their leaders.
That is likely the last mock striptease in the Justin Trudeau’s career. His d’Artagnan look will likely now be shelved and he should hang up the boxing gloves. But if he becomes too conventional, he will be playing into the hands of his opponents because Canadians are desperate for a little colour in a federal political palette awash in grey.
And they can fall through a combination of arrogance, sloppiness, ethical wanderings, voter fatigue, leadership battles, backbench revolts.
While the Keystone XL is attracting the most media and political attention at the moment, the $6.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline is the Conservative government’s route to Asia, via supertankers, from Kitimat, B.C.
If 2013 is the Stephen Harper mid-term year of Cabinet shuffles, new, younger, likely female faces on the front benches and a Throne Speech in the fall, the budget document was the first obvious pivot toward the next campaign
Instead, John Baird gives a subtle nudge to Havana to continue to move in a direction that works for Canada and the hemisphere, a move which could position Ottawa well in the coming years and proof that sharp elbows are not always needed on the world stage.
Kevin Page is taking on folk hero status in some quarters, Sheila Fraser flirted with sainthood and Michael Ferguson has already made his mark on the proposed F-35 purchase.
The suspicion is that there are internal numbers buried in one of those files that kept showing up in his pictures that indicate Harper has to loosen up a bit, lose the wax figure persona and give us a bit of leg.
And if future meetings between the government and the AFN produce results, Theresa Spence will quite rightly be given credit. But last week’s final chapter was without closure.
But morally, it wouldn’t have killed him—nor would he have sold his government down the river—to admit, just a little, that his overheated defence of a discredited process went way too far.
Elizabeth May, because of her party’s impressive vote totals in Victoria and Calgary Centre, and Stephen Harper, not because he held two Conservative seats, but because any Green growth will only further split the progressive left and ease the path for him or his successor to replicate his 2011 majority in 2015.
While the number of immigrants arriving in Canada under the family class, economic and refugee programs has declined under the Conservatives, there has been a 50-per-cent jump in the temporary workers class since Stephen Harper took power.
But images of voting lines snaking for blocks, waits of up to six hours, people in Miami chanting ‘let me vote’ and Virginians still waiting to vote even as the national result had become clear, show everything that is inspirational and disgusting about the U.S. electoral system.
But the case of Kevin Page vs. the federal government is simply too fundamental to the way this place is supposed to operate, and too vital to the tracking of taxpayers’ money, that it can’t be ignored.
Even having been stung, the government’s uphill slog on the Northern Gateway project will mean it will celebrate the taps being opened on Keystone, something Harper once characterized as a ‘no-brainer.’