Gerard Kennedy's rather inert campaign got moving in a big way today with his renewed push for female equality. I'm feeling too lazy tonight to get analytical, and anyway there's a good discussion at Far & Wide of the details. But for me the most important item on his to-do list is:
A commitment of 0.7 per cent of GDP to childcare and early learning programs in Canada by 2012. In Canada, the share of GDP devoted to total public expenditures on formal daycare and pre-primary education is 0.3 per cent compared to the OECD average of 0.7 per cent.
Good stuff in theory, but Gerard will be up against skepticism within the Media and general public as to how seriously a Liberal can be taken on these issues. For, while the original RedBook promises re. Daycare were contingent upon economic performance, in the later years of the Chretien regime, and throughout the whole of Martin's dismal span, the party fell down pretty badly on this topic. For me, the hardest part of voting Liberal last time around was watching Martin come out and promise the moon again on Daycare. He just assumed that female voters were like Pavlov's dog; they'd drool at the sound of a bell, even if no real food was being offered.
So I would advise Mr. Kennedy that he should, right now, stake his fate as PM (should he ever become PM) on a set of concrete proposals to be passed into legislation during the first session of his Liberal Majority/Minority government. That way people will know he's straight. Otherwise, its all chin music
Because it is possible for a party to "lose" an issue even if it has held that issue for decades. This happened during the 1990's with deficit/debt reduction. A Conservative strength became a Liberal one after 10 years of Mulroney's corruption and mis-management and, in Ontario, after 10 years of Mike Harris' miraculous ability to slash programs while achieving Zero in savings.
If the Libs don't act in a substantive manner on Daycare soon, it won't be "theirs" for much longer.
Tommorow's first post: Maine Mutant Comes To Canada. With pictures of naked dead mutant. See you then.