From the editor’s desk
Covering elections is difficult in the best of circumstances. The best circumstance, in my mind, is that of a daily paper with dozens of reporters, dozens more editors, and a multi-million-dollar budget – the type that can afford the $3,500-a-day price tag for a media bus ticket that the campaigns charge. Less than ideal circumstances are two-writer/editor outfits on a monthly schedule. The trick is to write something original (that is correct) and relevant (not old news by the time it gets into your hands).
We have attempted to achieve this. We cover some of the stories no one else does, such as: the election of Mississauga-Erindale, Ont. MP Omar Alghabra, about whose nomination was claimed a victory for Islam; the possibility of euthanasia being revisited; the reaction of socially conservative groups to the election result; a list of the winning candidates and their positions on life and family issues and my analysis of the election results.
The analysis is difficult, because that is where The Interim reports what happened and what kind of impact it will have on our issues and how our issues affected the election.
To quote Paul Martin, “the fact is” social conservatism – contrary to the media line that it is an albatross around the neck of politicians – seems to be a benefit. Pro-life Liberals are re-elected at a rate better than the rest of the party. In the last two elections, more than 50 Liberal incumbents have lost their seats, but only two of them were pro-lifers. In both cases, they lost to another pro-lifer. You won’t read that anywhere else.
If you read the Toronto Star and watch the CBC, you’ll hear how social conservatism is to blame for the inability of Conservatives to make inroads in the big cities. To believe this, you must ignore the pro-life Liberal MPs in the Greater Toronto area (Tom Wappel, Dan McTeague, Paul Szabo), for whom standing up for moral principles has not been an impediment to getting elected (and re-elected). You must also ignore the fact that for the most part, Conservative candidates in the big cities are socially liberal.
It is notable, however, that the candidate who came closest to his Liberal opponent in the city of Toronto in both the 2004 and 2006 elections is John Capobianco, a stellar pro-lifer. He lost to star Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff by a mere 2,500 votes in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. This result begs the question: did he lose because he was socially conservative or was it close because he attracted a social conservative vote that might have otherwise stayed at home or voted on other issues?
No other media are addressing these issues, choosing instead to a parrot each other: “abortion cost the Conservatives the election.”
Election analyses should be a little deeper than that