The hypothetical election
I don't know who was the first PR flak to tell a politician "Just say you don't answer hypothetical questions" as a way of getting out of an awkward situation. Whoever that genius is, I hope he/she is rich, because it's one of the most overused dodges in the interaction between reporters and politicians.
But the dodge is off this election, have you noticed? We're all time-travellers now, journeying to the future (and past) to see what heaven or hell awaits us if we go down one hypothetical path or the other.
First, to our intense annoyance, is the hypothetical coalition. If the election result is unclear, what would all the parties do? What would they not do?And what about 2004? What if Paul Martin's government had fallen and Adrienne Clarkson took Stephen Harper up on his letter/offer?
And now today, from the Conservatives, we get the hypothetical budget. Actually two hypothetical budgets: there's the 2011 one, which was released and never passed, which the Conservatives promise to implement if they are re-elected. Then there's the new 2015 budget, which will contain income-splitting for families, IF the Conservatives are still in power then, and IF the deficit is slain by then.
Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien liked to shrug off hypothetical questions by saying "if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a bus." I guess we might say that if this election campaign had wheels, it might look something like this: