As of now, the Canadian election is on track to produce a a roughly status quo result.
According to threehundredeight.com projections, the Conservatives are currently running in the lead, with 149 seats, six ahead of where they were at the dissolution of Parliament but still some distance from the 155 seats required for a majority. The Liberals are at 77, up one from dissolution of Parliament, the Bloc is even at 47 seats and the NDP is down 2 at 34.
Where is the Game-Breaker?
Let's face it, a strengthened Conservative minority is not going to be a satisfactory result for progressive Canadians in this election. Each year that Harper holds the reins of power, he explicitly manages events so as to increase his party's appeal to targeted interest groups, he creates new interest groups and influence centres that are beholden to him, and he makes further inroads on subverting the mainstream media and the social media.
Given this artificial encroachment of Conservative support, the country cannot afford a strengthened Harper minority. The campaign to-date has featured wave after wave of news items negative towards the Conservatives. Also, it must be said that Layton and Ignatieff have both been above expectations in their campaigning. Harper, if anything, has been below expectations, except in the debates, where he was impeccably prepared. You could see, though, in the French debate, that his stone walling and rope-a-dope would probably not endure another go-around with the three amigos.
However, for all of Rick Mercer's hopeful tweets to the contrary, there will be no third debate.
So, what is needed is a game-breaker.
Iggy's call for Canadians to "Rise-up", Jack's groundswell of support in Quebec, the Conservatives' terrible police state tactics have all combined to barely suffice to counteract the pro-Conservative media bias that has given the Harper campaign the only life it has had from Day 1.
Can strategic voting be the game-breaker? If progressive Canadians would buy into this conscientiously, strategic voting could turn the day. Even though many ridings seem to be strategically pre-sorted (i.e. B.C.'s Skeena - Bulkley Valley, where the Liberals are running a parachuted-in youngster, avoiding any amount of vote leakage from the incumbent NDP member) there is a significant number of ridings where a targeted swing of progressive voters will remove a Conservative MP. No question about it.
Strategic Voting Only Option Now
As of now, this is the game-changer people have to run with. Progressive Canadians need to realize that another Conservative term in office will have dire consequences and may effectively block any removal of the Conservatives in the foreseeable future. For that reason, with time now running out, progressives need to engage in strategic campaigning and voting.
Check out sites like Swing33 and Project Democracy to locate the ridings where a shift in votes on the progressive side will make a difference. It is imperative to take advantage of every vote to remove the Conservatives from office.
With no other game-changer on the horizon, strategic voting is the best hope.
That doesn't mean that we don't cast around for other possibilities. For example:
Fair Canadian Pricing
* Liberals promise to enforce fair retail pricing if elected re U.S. vs. Canadian prices for the same item, given the strong Canadian dollar. Very timely, would definitely resonate, easy to say - but tough to pull off (and possibly vulnerable to attack). Maybe someone will pass this concept along to Iggy.
* There are Conservatives on campuses, but this has to be a boost for progressives. Social media obviously plays a major role.
Focus on One or Two Conservative Weak Points
* One of the problems with this campaign is that there have been so many scandals and the public just doesn't have the time or engagement to absorb any of it. Perhaps a coordinated effort could bring public wrath to a head on one or more issues.
Drive Home Inept Conservative Fiscal Management
* With input from former PM Paul Martin, this issue can turn a misrepresented supposed Conservative strong point into a Liberal winning point. Flaherty's failure to see the recession while we were already in it is the tee-off and you could easily play 18 holes.