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A detail form a Conservative TV ad released Jan. 17, 2010.
A detail form a Conservative TV ad released Jan. 17, 2010.

Attack ad nauseum Add to ...

Misplaced hysteria is never lonely in Ottawa. In fact it might be its home base.

On Monday, the Conservative Party launched a series of so-called "attack" ads. Whoop-de-do! When your political opponents are out touring the country taking shots at you and beating the election drums, as seems to be the case with Michael Ignatieff, you don't sit with your finger up your buttocks wishing they'd be nicer. But just because you push back and question the motivations of your opponents hardly means you're gunning for an election.

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In fact when your political strength and appeal with voters comes from the fact they give you good marks for leadership and economic management, why would you mess with a winning formula? Particularly when those same voters aren't howling to the high heavens for another federal election. It makes too much sense to make sense to many among the political class for whom Parliament's fall and winter preseason allows for a super-nova of speculative hysteria over the always coming but rarely arriving "certain" federal election.

Never let the history of the Prime Minister's risk management of his opponent's offensive assaults enter the election calculation either. No fun doing that because that will cut into the rip-roaring good time that is political predictions. Speaking of which, isn't it a tragedy Paul the Octopus died? Paul became a star picking winners at last summer's soccer World Cup. Imagine what he could have done with the to and fro of Canada's minority politics?

Sorry back to the drab history lesson. Shortly after Stéphane Dion won the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2006 and began talking bravely about forcing an election, a similar series of ads were launched by the Conservatives. It would be almost a full two years later before there was an actual campaign.

In the fall of 2009 Michael Ignatieff was jacked up on Red Bull or just plain bullish - either way he started chortling about the need to go to the people. Again the PM's team came out with a round of tough commercials and there was no poll dance.

Minority Parliaments involve constant campaigning on the part of all sides; it is just the nature of the beast. However, not every action the government takes is about forcing an election - despite the blizzard of analysis that suggests otherwise. Why I am sure right now some young wannabe analyst is playing the Tory ads backwards in slow motion to uncover the secret coded messages that share the election plans.

Who I am to cut into people's January fun anyway? Canada's damn cold this time of year. This stuff just heats us up.

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