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Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on March 1, 2011. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on March 1, 2011. (CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS)

Bright, shiny Liberal objectives Add to ...

I just don't know what to make of the federal Liberal strategy in Question Period and on Parliament Hill in general these days. It seems to be about focusing on the brightest, most shiny object of affection in sight at any one time. Blinded by the trinket of the moment's light, they come across as unfocused and disconnected from the voters they desperately need to connect with to win.

Certainly my Conservative friends have given the Liberals plenty of things to glare at over the last couple of weeks - though none of them likely will be cause to eclipse federal Tory fortunes. While Bev Oda's 'not,' the Elections Canada kerfuffle, the debate about the stylings of certain government communications and a wrongly directed fundraising appeal are titillating targets for Question Period, they aren't game changers. It is even hard to put them together in a coherent narrative that could undermine the government and inflate Liberal prospects.

As Conservatives discovered in opposition - in the pre-Twitter world - that it takes years of boring repetitive effort on certain dedicated themes to challenge the credibility of your opponent. It isn't done by taking an attention-deficit-disorder, hyperactive approach to opinion movement.

Two weeks ago the Liberals were after the government on Bev Oda. They abandoned that earlier this week and switched to the Elections Canada tale. Then in Friday's Question Period they went to the misdirected Jason Kenney fundraising letter, while occasionally deviating into a riveting dialogue about government lexicon. Who can follow all that - particularly when it is not clear how it is directly relevant to the average voter? The swirling is exhausting, lacks a coherency of purpose and focuses on issues virtually absent from the chatter of Canadians: the economy and uncertainty around developments in the Middle East and North Africa.

Moving from on new, bright object of affection to the next in rapid succession makes for good headline chasing but not much else. Today's headline used to be tomorrow's litter-box lining; now its just a lonely forgotten tweet in the cyber dump. Meanwhile Canadians continue to go about their business.

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