What's the deal with releasing your platform ONE WEEK before the election?
This seems to be more of the Harper-Conservative sleight of hand: propose policy after the debates, when it's too late for a full public discussion of the ramifications, but just in time to be able to claim a "mandate".
There's no question that Dion took a hit because he proposed the Green Shift months before the election, before the economy started to decline and public attention shifted from the environment to the economy. But by proposing the Green Shift early it gave the country time to fully vet the idea. It's not goign to be easy finding environmental policy that everyone can live with, and having full discussion is the responsible way to proceed.
In terms of the content of the Conservative platform, why do the Harper-Conservatives continue to be obsessed with putting young people in jail? Don't they realize that putting more young people in jail will INCREASE crime rates? Isn't the evidence clear that the US model they espouse is not working? While our jail-diversion programs and policies to target the causes of crime have given Canada a far lower crime rate and far fairer justice system? What sort of mean-spirited idelogoue would make a key part of his election platform the proposal to publish the names of 15-year old offenders?
Despite Harper's strange desire to punish Canadians more and more severely, you'd think he might balk at the enormous waste of money it is to build more prisons - that there would be some pragmatic voice mitigating his love of imprisoning youth with pragmatic considerations that jail only encourages youth to adopt a life of crime. He may not be interested in the human rights angle, but you'd think he'd care about the cost.
Most of the rest of the platform is last-minute pandering that targets particular issues Harper has faced in the campaign, but one other policy deserves special attention: reducing the tax on aviation and diesel fuel. That policy is a huge slap in the face to every Canadian who is calling for effective environmental policy. And don't think it's unimportant: if elected to either a minority or majority government, Harper will claim his anti-environment stance as a mandate from Canadians.