Canada’s most boring election campaign in living memory is about to come to an end. The public was tuned out, and the contest was even more devoid of policy differences than usual. Elizabeth May’s participation in the debates was good to see. With that exception, however, the entire campaign seemed devoid of purpose and significance, a fact only driven home by the excitement of the Obama campaign south of the border.
one of the most disappointing things about the campaign was the way the media covered it. Before Michael Ignatieff went into politics, he gave a speech to a press freedom organization in Toronto (the name of which I forget), at which he pointed out the unsatisfying nature of so much campaign journalism. The press follows the politicians around in a little bubble, reporting in microscopic detail on all the day to day campaign events, while ignoring everything that goes on outside the bubble. When Ignatieff made this remark to a convention hall full of journalists and political types, they burst into applause. Yet the coverage of the campaign now ending was all bubble, all the time. The endless attention given to so many polls that barely differed, yet were treated as omens of great foreboding, was an especially numbing element.
Against this backdrop, I was interested to read Chris Selly’s roundup of newspaper endorsements:
Endorsing Stephen Harper and/or the Conservatives:
Brampton Guardian (thanks Sean)
Fredericton Daily Gleaner (”with many reservations”)
Kitchener-Waterloo Record (thanks Jenn & Olaf)
National Post (majority)
Prince George Citizen (majority)
Sudbury Star (minority)
Sun Media (Calgary, Toronto, and Winnipeg)
Vancouver Province (majority)
Vancouver Sun (majority)
Endorsing Stéphane Dion and/or the Liberals:
Given how complacent the newspaper coverage was, I suppose it should come as no surprise that so many papers lined up behind the status quo. The rote predictability of the Star‘s endorsement will shock no one, but it is good to see at least one paper break from the pack. Someday, it may not be crazy to imagine a single Canadian newspaper endorsing the NDP, Greens, Libertarians, or in some other way breaking from the endless grey conformity that now defines so much Canadian campaign journalism.