18 August 2007

SOL Day 53: Backdraft!

As Russell Wangersky points out, the provincial government isn't above arranging some photo ops for firefighting equipment that has already been in service all in aid of the Summer of Love 2007 undeclared election campaign.

Of course, it's also time for the quarterly polling by Corporate Research Associates so the photo ops and associated news releases come in extra handy. CRA will report its results around the time the writ for the official campaign is dropped.

If you do the math, you'll find about 84 news releases issued by the provincial government since August 1, along with some 14 media advisories of minister's attending this festival or making that announcement. overall, the releases and advisories are running about the same as last year - they always boost the good news stuff during polling season - but this year the whole little huckster game of goosing the polls seems to be taking an intensity that smacks of desperation.

Like the environment minister opening an additional 25 campsites at Butterpot provincial park on August 14, even though the season opened on the May 24th weekend. That sort of staged event just screams out as a staged political event.

Polling season plus the Summer of Love are also as good an explanation as any for the bizarre events this past week with Danny Williams chastising one of his candidates for doing what all the rest have been doing all along: telling people it's imperative to have their member sitting on the government side. Dennis Normore's only mistake: he finished off the "or else" part of the implicit threat.

The premier obviously felt a bit sheepish about having that sort of target out there in the middle of polling season. The opposition and the media would jump on it quickly, as they did.

Meanwhile, expect that the old chestnut of local politics - the threat of dirt roads, no schools and reversion to the honey wagon unless the district goes for the winning party - will still find its way into this, that, or another political conversation. The candidates making the pitch will just be sure to keep it off the airwaves and off the newspaper pages.

At least, until polling season is over.