An election is no time to talk about issues

Was it Kim Campbell who made this (or a variant) infamous comment? Everybody knows it to be true but you can’t say it out loud.

I think the Carbon Tax killed Stephane Dion -particularly in rural Canada and places like New Brunswick. It was too easy a target. Even my wife asked me how much more it would cost to heat my home after the Carbon Tax and I had no answer.

Imagine if Premier Graham had announced before the election that he was going to scrap early French Immersion? Would he be elected? Not a chance.

The Libs should have put the Green Shift in cold storage and rolled out the usual platitudes about economic management, tax cuts and support for industries. In fact, I would have dusted off Paul Martin’s everyone-will-be-happy-with-me-as-PM platform. Dion could have talked about how the environment would be a serious priority but I would not have rolled out the carbon tax until after becoming the government.

All the other stuff about language and articulation is just noise. Sure, some people voted against Dion because of it but likely more voted against Harper because they don’t like his personality and perceived arrogance. And his language skills in Quebec likely played against him. Likeability matters in an election but I don’t think that either one of these guys was extremely likeable (although I appreciated Harper’s sweaters and Preston Manning-like makeover).

The bottom line is that nothing will really change for New Brunswick after this election. Harper is a known quantity. He will continue to work on Ontario and Quebec – looking to mine new voters. The $400 million for aerospace and automobile manufacturing will buy him some goodwill in those two provinces.

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

I have said for a number of years now that if New Brunswick is to pull out of its long term economic funk it will need to take control of its own destiny. Relying on the Feds to throw more economic development money down here or jobs or play a strong role in attracting industry to the province was a long shot under the Libs and an even longer shot under the Tories. ACOA is likely safe in the minority government although don’t expect a lot of new money or support for the agency.