March 23, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 90  

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Hurry up and call an election

Apparently, a Gazette political endorsement — even a non-existent one — is a kiss of death.

The campaign team for Belinda Stronach, one of the contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, sent out an e-mail stating that The Gazette was among the “many” newspapers that had endorsed Stronach. The release referred to an opinions column in last Wednesday’s Gazette (“Stronach the tonic for Canada,” Mar. 17) in which the author stated his own personal view that Stronach was the best choice to lead the Conservatives to victory over Paul Martin and the Liberals in the next federal election.

You would think the website of a major political candidate would be able to tell the difference between a personal opinion and an official endorsement, but hey, when it’s a matter of taking whatever suits their agenda, every politican will scrounge for all the good press they can get. Nobody would ever bother to check on an endorsement from a student paper, so they’d just assume it was true.

Just to clarify, in case any other politicians pick up a future issue of The Gazette, the editorial reflects the consensus of EVERYONE on the editorial board. Opinions columns are written by INDIVIDUALS and reflect THEIR OWN OPINION. There is even a picture of the writer next to their column to help you identify these columnists, and even though a lot of these pictures aren’t flattering, they should not be ignored.

Even though Stronach lost the election to Stephen Harper, there is a silver lining. Her website provided a direct link to The Gazette article, so maybe Miss Stronach herself surfed over to and checked out some of our other material from last Wednesday. We’re sure the wacky adventures of the parachuting penguins cheered her up after her crushing defeat.

New Conservative leader Stephen Harper is pushing for a September election, claiming Canadians deserve to learn the outcome of the sponsorship scandal currently enveloping the federal government before casting their vote.

Cynics might say Harper needs more time to prepare his campaign, but Harper should be striking while the iron is hot. A lot can happen in six months; after a summer of patios and the NHL playoffs, the sponsorship scandal may die out. Even if the Tories keep bringing it up, they run the risk of appearing to beat the issue into the ground.

Of course, Harper has no control over the federal election date: that’s up to Prime Minister Martin. At the very least, Canada should have a set election cycle or an election should automatically be called whenever the governing party switches leaders. The fact that the PM can call an election whenever he wants — or whenever his polling numbers are high — is unfair.



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