Issues and Media Coverage
Prime Minister Kim Campbell was once vilified for saying
that an election campaign is no place to debate policy.
For those following the current campaign, it looks like
she was right. The Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats
are running what pundits may describe as "perfect"
campaigns, meaning that they aren't making mistakes and
they are staying on their message. That means no campaign
will divert much attention to responding to what another
campaign is saying for fear of being accused of losing control
of the agenda. In the early days of the campaign Paul Martin
received some criticism when he responded to the daily barrage
of announcements from Stephen Harper. A consequence of daily
announcements from each of the three campaigns is that there
is little time for objective policy analysts, if there are
such creatures, to compare the positions of each party in
a critical but fair manner. A weak effort to do so emerged
in the media coverage of the effect of the Liberal vs. Conservative
tax cuts, but it quickly faded from the news as other announcements
overtook the campaigns.
is interesting to compare how major media outlets are covering
the campaign and what effort they are putting in to simulate
debate by comparing party positions on issues.
of January 5, 2006 the Globe
election site includes links to the party platforms
for the 2004 election. You will no longer find them on any
of the party sites; parties change some of the planks in
their platforms from election to election.
the past, parties have made platform documents available
during the campaign (remember the infamous "Red Books").
In lieu of platforms the Conservative,
and NDP websites
have sections titled "issues", which are the closest
we have gotten to seeing a traditional party platform.
Globe claims that, unlike Kim Campbell, it cares
about issues and is delivering that debate to its readers.
Others may beg to differ. The Globe's "VoteSmart"
coverage lists one issue per week (5 as of January 5th)
with links to its articles on those issues. The articles
are interesting but they really don't compare and contrast
election site includes an issues
page that looks like a work in progress, listing 8 issues
with blanks on some issues for all but the Conservatives.
The site includes a link to all 308 federal ridings with
some interesting demographics and voting history on each
one. Much more detailed information on every riding in the
country, including candidate photos and riding history,
can be found on CBC's
buried on their site, but CBC
provides a thumbnail sketch of the position each party
takes on major issues. A feature on its site takes reader
responses and rates, in the opinion of a CBC web programmer,
often the responder agrees or disagrees with each leader.
election site provides comparisons on 16 issues compared
to CBC's 13, and you can go directly to its issue page from
a clear link on their overall election coverage site.
coverage that you won't see elsewhere, including comments
on media coverage, links to political blogs, party sites
and other media, and summaries of election news, don't miss
Election Central. The daily online paper runs as a blog
with the opportunity for readers to comment on its stories.