It's not about hockey
The gender divide may be re-emerging in the Conservative-Liberal battle, as noted in a story I have in today's Star. I find it intriguing the way in which the Conservatives have chosen to respond to the Liberals' big announcements this week on child care and abortion -- by trying to turn voters' attention to... hockey. There, on the front page of the National Post this morning, for instance, is a big picture of young Stephen in hockey gear, no doubt supplied by the PMO in their bid to "change the channel," as they say. In this case, I guess it's getting Canadian voters to turn off HGTV (what will we do with this empty House?) and turn on TSN.
On this same theme, there are a number of columns today that ask the question, directly or indirectly -- how stupid do the Conservatives think voters are? Susan Riley in the Citizen and Michael Harris in the Sun are two worth reading.
They raise an issue I didn't have room to include in today's article. It's about bullying -- a word that Harris mentions explicitly. Anita Neville told me that what's turning off women voters, perhaps more than anything, are the bullying reflexes of this federal government. There are just too many examples -- and shutting down Parliament, then doing the nyaa-nyaa, no-spring-breaks thing, tell a lot about the schoolyard mentality here. Voters aren't dumb. And women voters are hardly going to support the kind of people they tell their kids to avoid when they send them off to school each morning.
Strategically, it also raises an interesting, further question-- if you do think voters are so apathetic as to be distracted from federal politics by hockey or the Olympics, what makes you think they'll get off the couch to vote for you when the time comes?