October 7, 2015


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Capital Chronicles

If a leader fell in your forest, would you change your vote?

The federal parties put a lot of time and energy into the leaders’ tours. Not to mention money.

In 2008, the Conservatives spent $2.4 million on the tour, the NDP $1.7 million and the Liberals $1.2 million.

CBC comedian Rick Mercer has an interesting piece in Macleans this week about his time on the leaders’ tours. His description of the party leaders aside, the sense that the leaders tours are perhaps a nostalgic ode to days gone by which may no longer have a real purpose in modern elections is certainly food for thought.

The three national party leaders have all stopped into Winnipeg in this campaign. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was there three times, NDP leader Jack Layton twice and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper once.

The likelihood that any of their visits attracted attention from any Winnipeggers who aren’t hard core committed partisans to each party is small.

Surely we in the media would have made a big deal out of it if one of them had skipped us. (As U.S. state department officials correctly noted we do have an inferiority complex in Manitoba you know).

But are you any less likely to vote for the Green Party because Elizabeth May didn’t give Manitoba the time of day this campaign? Are Winnipeggers going to break down the big red door in a rush of support because Ignatieff was here the most?

Yes. Those are rhetorical questions.

If leaders’ tours initiated electoral gains Calgarians should watch out for a Green crush. The only party leader who touched down in Cowtown in the campaign to date was Elizabeth May.

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