(Yes, that post title is a tribute to Scott Feschuk)
I've been delinquent in updating the federal election daily posts since the debates. So here goes my analysis and comments from the first half of the campaign.
The Conservatives have driven the agenda since Day 2. The final few days before Christmas gave Stephen Harper his first real occasion to talk about the "unity debate." And he handled it like a pro. The Conservatives also didn't take ant real time off between Christmas and the New Year. Among other things, sectorial promises were made in the fields of public transportation and Canadian sovereignty in the Artic.
The Liberals have had a particularly bad first part of the election. The Mike Klander blog issue and the RCMP investigating the (possible) Income Trust leaks are only the latest problems. Revolutionary Moderation's Gaffe-o-Meter puts them in advance 21-8-3-1.
In addition to performing in the debates, Gilles Duceppe scored points when criticizing the debate format and requesting changes. He then took a couple of weeks off.
The NDP gained sympathy points when Olivia Chow was smeared and through Judy Wasylycia Leis's work in the Income Trust scandal-to-be.
What's to come?
The Liberals are going to try to scare Canadians about a possibility of a Conservative government. They did it and succeeded in 2004. It seems, according to this poll, that it might not work this time. If it worked last time, it's (among other things) because the Conservatives put their own foots in their own mouths.
They're also going to start rolling out platform planks over the next couple of weeks. (Even though they said earlier in the campaign that they wouldn't have any new promises.)
The Conservatives will continue to roll out small to medium-sized promises daily. They are also going to control their fringe candidates as much as possible; they want to look as non-threatening as possible.
The Bloc will continue to stay as mistake-less as possible and cruise to January 23rd; they have 50-ish ridings tied up. They will put a lot of energy in winning a couple of additional ridings. The Conservatives are rising slowly in Quebec which works both ways for them. They lose some votes to the Conservative but so do the Liberals.
The NDP is in a tough position. Their strategy will have to be to work particularly hard on their base in the ridings where they still have a chance. It's not a communication issue; it's an organization issue.