All the parties are attacking each other, as was predictable. The usual target of attack are the leaders, as was also predictable. The odd thing is, there is not one word, not one ad, for the local candidates. This has become usual, unfortunately, even though we can only vote for the local candidate. It always surprises Americans to learn that our Prime Minister is simply a member of Parliament. He, or she, as we did once have a female Prime Minister briefly, is the leader of the party who has the largest number of seats in the House of Commons. The PM has a few privileges, but not that many, all things considered. The recent centralization of power on the Prime Minister's office is not in our constitution, if not actually unconstitutional.
Speaking of unconstitutional, there is the leader of the third party, Jack Layton, who has been outlining his platform. Unlike Harper, whose platform is that he is not Ignatieff, and Ignatieff, whose platform is that he is not Harper, Layton's platform consists of two categories: 1. he is neither Harper nor Ignatieff; and 2. Promises. While I could support him inasmuch as he is not Harper nor Ignatieff, he is still Layton, and therefore unfit to rule, as can be seen by his promises.
He is promising, among other things, to get more Doctors into Canada, to help with our Healthcare system, and to lower the prices of drugs and medications. It sounds great except for one tiny problem: It's unconstitutional. Healthcare is a provincial responsibility, not a federal one. While it is true that healthcare was started by the federal government in the '60's, it was worked out between the federal government and the provinces. Anything he could hope to do would have to work through the provinces, so his promises in that field are null and void, as he would not have the power to fulfill them.
Another problem is a promise to help Canadians with their debt load by forcing credit card companies to lower their interest rates. This is an example of how a stupid idea can sound like a good one. First of all, even if the credit card companies did roll over and lower their rates, history has shown that when a government forces a business to lower its fees in one area, it will recoup its losses by raising them in another. So, in short, the gain would be zero, but that's not the worst part of the problem. The worst part of the problem is that it would only make matters worse.
This solution fails to take into account human motivation. If the interest rates are lowered, it would make debt more palatable, and thus encourage people to go further into debt, not make their debts less. While the interest rates on credit cards are indeed near larceny, and would make the local loan shark blush, they do serve a purpose as a brake to spending. People, knowing that they will pay huge interest rates on a purchase, tend to think twice about making that purchase. With lower rates, they may go ahead. If Layton wants to help Canadians with their debt load, he should try and convince that they shouldn't have so much stuff in their houses and lives, not convince them that they should have all this and more on a silver platter.
For a better explanation on how lower interest rates can actually be a bad thing, I end with these two gentlemen. Listen carefully to the bald one.