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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Press Review

From today's NORMAN'S SPECTATOR (with articles hotlinked).

Happy Canada Day. The editorials today are full of good cheer and noble sentiments, though all note our problems and say we can do better.

Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers reviews the election and, in my humble opinion, underestimates the damage to national unity resulting from the election campaign itself, and the regional results. Haroon Siddiqui says the government will govern from the left, and Ujjal Dossanjh will be the bridge to the NDP; if pigs could fly. Rick Anderson says Conservatives need an organizing principle, and it’s democratic reform; can Preston Manning be far behind?

The Globe and Mail fronts Ralph Klein’s health proposals; health reporter Andr預icard challenges the “myth” that Alberta is an enemy of public health care. A couple of weeks late, I’d say. The editorial board could also have been more expeditious: it calls his reforms a “damp squib.” And, for the second day running, it expresses misgivings about the NDP’s role in a Martin government; what outcome did they think they were endorsing?

Tom Axworthy wades in on the Clarity Act, Canada ’s last line of defense, and remonstrates Jack Layton not to go squishy on it again. Drew Fagan writes that Stephen Harper must drop the social conservatives and, by the way, Paul Martin faces a difficult regional challenge. John Ibbitson compares the Liberal Party to Eaton’s, says that Paul Martin should clean house and consider himself a transitional prime minister, and press for decentralization. Lawrence Martin writes that Eaton’s is the winner and it’s to Stephen Harper’s credit that he’s thinking of moving on.

The National Post, Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald front Ralph Klein’s health care announcement. The Herald also has high-ranking Tories blaming Klein for the election loss; on its front page, the Post chases the story it torqued yesterday about Jack Layton not “ruling out” a cabinet post; now, we are assured, this is being ruled out by the Prime Minister. The Vancouver Sun also fronts the story; the Ottawa Citizen wisely stuffs it to page 7.

The Sun wants Stephen Harper to stay on; columnist Barbara Yaffe wants him to move on. The Citizen comes to the defense of pollsters, and argues that it’s best to publish them and know what the parties know about the electorate. The Sun has today’s best correction: “This recipe, which appeared on June 30 in The Vancouver Sun, was missing an essential ingredient: the brown sugar. With apologies, here is the complete recipe: BIRTHDAY CHOCOLATE CAKE”.

In the Sun newspaper chain, Licia Corbella goes after Ralph Klein, as does Rick Bell who raises an interesting question—why would wealthy Alberta need health care premiums at all? Neil Waugh thinks the health reforms don’t make any sense, and he provides an answer: Klein constantly backs down in the face of union demands, and prefers to train his sights on Ottawa .

top story

Klein cost us election, top Tory laments

The Toronto Star’s TONDA MACCHARLES reports: 

Posted by Norman Spector on July 1, 2004 | Permalink


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Let's stop the recriminations and gain some perspective on the election results.

Stephen Harper has accomplished quite a lot in a very short time: uniting the Right, knocking Martin down a peg, and establishing a considerable beachhead in Ontario.

I think it's safe to say that he has done all he could do. I have several socially conservative friends who I know did not vote for Harper. Why? Too new, too fresh-faced.

There's nothing Harper could have done to change that.

The Liberal smear campaign was unfortunate and dirty, and while it had some effect, that sort of campaign preaches mainly to the already converted.

And, by and large, Adscam has not stuck on Martin. Ontario voters largely absolved Martin of wrongdoing and blamed Chretien.

There were a lot of things to like about Harper in this campaign. He ran a clean campaign; he avoided social controversy; and he clearly won the debate. Sure he's a somewhat detached intellectual. That will help him as much as it hurts him. Remember Trudeau. Everyone has their limitations.

The report on Abscam is still coming. If the Conservatives can implicate Martin in Abscam, and if Harper continues to come across as well as he did in the debate, he will be the next Prime Minister. Ontario voters are still unhappy with the Fiberals, but many weren't quite ready to trust an unknown. That can all change in another year.

Posted by: Henry Slofstra | 2004-07-01 8:29:50 AM

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