I have refrained from commenting on the election so far because I believe people have the right to make up their minds based on their own opinions. Obviously political parties will try to sway those opinions, but that's what a campaign is all about.
However, what I've been extremely disappointed about is the press. Obviously, I'm a geek who writes a political blog, so I'm pretty in tune with the political goings on of this Country: that's policy wise, strategically, and in terms of trends.
The average Canadian voter isn't. It's what's called the principle - agent problem. They don't have the time with all their work, family, fitness and general living life to be consumed with politics. They rely on our press corps to help them come to a decision on their democratic exercise vis à vis the information said corps provides.
Unfortunately, the press hasn't lived up to its role. Don't get me wrong, we all know that the campaigning and power struggle is what makes campaigns exciting, but it seems like the press has taken Kim Campbell's position that campaigns are not time for policy discussion. Copying Kim Campbell in any fashion is, dare I say, a faux pas. Instead of analyzing the policies each of the parties has put forth so far and helping citizens decipher the pros and cons of these policies, the press has been consumed with how Harper's blue sweater makes him look or how good at sreet hockey Dion is.
That's not your job, press; you're not supposed to be there to regurgitate the bull the campaigns feed us. You're there to analyze the information and help Canadians formulate educated voting choices. Given the declining voter turnout, this is especially important. Heck, the press not doing its job is probably likely to blame.
I saw on National Newswatch today that CTV's Robert Fife is being accused by a radio host of acting like of Fox news produced conservative talking head, and I wouldn't disagree. I just saw on Mike Duffy Live one of Pierre Trudeau's campaign managers talking about how Dion is not with it because he's not going negative enough -- yes, going negative works, but is this the kind of thing the press should be promoting? What I didn't hear was any substantial policy discussion talking about what's important for our country and what the parties plan to do. Further with Mike Duffy's show: all I see are old white men who were once really powerful being upset that they're no longer in decision making roles. Who knows, maybe they're right, but that's for the parties to decide, not the press. I shouldn't single out Mike Duffy's show, even though it's one of the worse offenders. Don Newman also engages in similar misguided discussions.
The press doesn't need to perpetuate the old boys' club feel of politics. They need to explain to Canadians what the issues are that they should be deciding and what each party has to offer. While I understand the interest in the chess game element of poltiics, the coverage needs to be more than just that. Most voters complain about being turned off because of the cynicism in politics, and if there's any entity to blame for this, it's the press. The parties will always play politics, but the press needs to do its job and inform the nation.