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Random thoughts on campaign so far

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I said it.

I was expecting something bigger this campaign.

I was wrong.

Most of what I’m hearing from the three leaders is stuff I’ve heard over the past two years in Question Period and in the hallway scrums.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Can anyone tell me why any of these guys isn’t saying or offering anything more bolder than cheap shots?

If they’re expecting to capture the hearts and minds of voters, they’re failing.


And I ain’t alone.

Some candidates and party handlers say this, too.

One candidate told me when out canvassing, about 60 per cent of people have no clue there’s an election campaign.

Maybe it’s because we’ve seen a municipal and federal election in the past year, and folks are electioned out. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the Jets. I know with me it’s the Bombers.

Jim Carr, a former Freep editor, Liberal MLA and now head of the Business Council of Manitoba, told me people will start paying attention to the election campaign in the last two weeks when it matters.

I sure hope so.

But at the same time do the parties want people fired up? The thinking is with higher voter engagement, the parties lose control of what vote they can control. Which means then that anything can happen voting day.


Justin, Bob and Sheila

The Liberals brought in wunderkind Justin Trudeau to fire up their campaign and plan to bring in Bob Rae and Sheila Copps to do the same.

My question: What the hell are you Liberals thinking?

Weren’t the federal Liberals eviscerated in the May federal election? Wasn’t their leader What’s-His-Name given the boot by voters and his party?

Aren’t the federal Liberals almost extinct? Aren’t they talking about snuggling up with the NDP?


At same time it’d be fun to cover Lester Pearson when the Liberals bring him to town. That’d be cool. Getting a good quote would be tough, though.


Campaign orgs

Here’s a flip-flop: Kudos at least to the tiny provincial Liberals for running the best campaign for us in the media.

Handler David Shorr gets out news releases quickly, well before his boss Jon Gerrard opens his mouth.

It helps us organize our thoughts and obviously helps Gerrard because his daily missives hit the web and radio that much quicker.

The Tories are also well organized, although they have got a few of us lost trying to find event locations.

Note to Greg Burch: Don’t assume we know the city as well as you.

And then there’s the NDP.

They have their Quick Response Unit, made up mostly of cab-com flaks, ready to jump down the throat of anything McFadyen utters.

I’ve barely sat down at my desk from a Tory presser and QRU operative Jodee Mason is on the phone ready to bombard my email with stuff like this video to spin me around.

Spin me? That reminds me of a song I now can’t get out of my head.

-- Bruce Owen / Under the Dome


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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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