Monday, December 12, 2005

Election Week 2: ban popcorn, buy beer and handguns for your kids

Two weeks down, just six (or as they say in French, six) to go. Just shoot me now.

And "now" is the operative word, 'cause if the Liberals are re-elected, busting a cap in my ass or anyone else's is gonna get a whole lot harder to do.

Or that's what we're supposed to beleive. Actually, if you read the fine print of the Liberal handgun ban policy (well, the fuzzy print that will become the fine print if and when there is fine print), you'll see that the plan is not quite to ban the little bastards. Rather, it's to "amend the criminal code to allow the provinces" to ban them. Not pointing any fingers (say, to the oily rich kid in the cowboy hat one province to the right), but we all know that's not going to happen.

And just how, apart from my decades-old dream of a concrete and barbed wire wall blocking all mountain passes, would the government stop the East to West movement of handguns if BC bans them and Alberta doesn't? Exactly. Did I mention that the concrete would be impregnated with shards of broken glass?

And this little practical oversight is quite apart from the fact that the proposal -- handgun possession would be illegal except for law enforcement and legitimate target shooters -- pretty much describes the state of our gun laws now. Quite the coup of political marketing that is. Promise the people something they already have and pretend it's new. Next week's announcement: A Liberal Government will ban the annual New Brunswick puppy hunt.

Speaking of young pups, the other big issue this past week was daycare. If you're counting issues, that's guns and daycare. Or was that guns in daycares? No, but it's still early in the campaign, and the Conservatives haven't released the full details of their law-and-order policy yet.

But I digress. On daycare, Martin wants to extend the deals he negotiated with the provinces earlier this year (see "New Brunswick puppy hunt", above) . Harper, on the other hand, wants to give parents 1200 loons a year to spend on the daycare service of their choice, be it subsidized, private, or Playstation.

Or Pilsner, if you believe the Liberals. The biggest gaffe (or as they say in French, phoque-coupe) of the campaign so far came late in the week when Liberal communications guru Scott Reid attacked the Conservative cash-for-kiddies policy as amounting to giving people "25 bucks a week to blow on beer and popcorn."

The Conservatives and a whole bunch of indignant parental types jumped all over this. And rightly so. Some holier-than-thou politco has no right to imply that average Canadians can't be trusted to spend money wisely... as I'm sure the 31% of Canadians who have no retirement savings but still spend $20 or more per month on lottery tickets would agree. (Can I get a "hell yeah" from all the univeristy students blowing their student loans on weed? Perhaps a "damn straight" from the dude who stops for a $4 latte on his way to the EI office?) Exactly.

And anyway, that's a lot of carbs to impute to folks. Shame, shame.

See the controversy we get into when we try to discuss policy? The good news is that Week 3 is upon us, with the first leader's debate scheduled for Thursday. No risk of a rational discussion of ideas there!

Maybe I'll crack a cold one, perhaps fix me some Jiffy Pop -- and try to not put a bullet through my TV screen.


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