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Bloggerel from Mike O'Brien, weak 1

As we roll into the second week of the federal election, I’m basking in the weekend glow of Tina Fey’s spot-on impression of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. I’m left wishing that a) Fey was Canadian or B) Elizabeth May believed the dinosaurs lived on earth 4,000 years ago.

Speaking of dinosaurs, Canada’s two traditional ruling parties spent the first week of the campaign defining what this election is really about: makeovers.

It’s the sweater vest against the snowshoes. The former is being used to demonstrate that Stephen Harper is an un-frightening, average guy who knows a thing or two about cotton-poly blends. The latter is meant to show that Stéphane Dion is not a gawky professorial, uh, professor, but an avid outdoorsman, who is so confident he can save Canada from global warming, he’s already stocking up on winter-wear.

Harper says Dion’s Green Shift tax will ruin Canada’s economy and even revive the national unity debate. Wait, this just in, now he says it will cause whooping cough in newborn oil executives and re-animate the dead (so there’s still hope for the Liberal campaign, then?)

Jack Layton pitches himself as the guardian of working families. He has promised to investigate gas prices and cellphone charges, limit credit card interest rates and ban ATM fees. And, come to think of it, how come stamps are going up a penny? Didn’t they just go up a penny last year? Staff inside the NDP war roo— sorry, peace room are busily clipping out coupons out for Layton to pass around.

The Bloc Québécois is throwing the “n” word around. The new Bloc TV commercial compares Harper’s 2006 recognition of Quebec as a nation, to an empty gift. Fine. Makes sense. “Ou est le boeuf?”

However, in the ad, the invisible present is handed to a Quebecer, depicted as a mime.

A French mime? Were the lumberjack and pastry chef busy shooting other commercials?

And while Canadians have made it clear they care about the environment only so long as it doesn’t cost them anything, they will protest efforts to prevent the Green Party leader from talking about it. That passion paid off, as public pressure led to Elizabeth May’s inclusion in the televised leader’s debate. The cost to the public is negligible (one podium rental: $36.50) and if it gets dull, we can always flip over to the vice-presidential debate on the U.S. channels - where Sarah Palin will remind us why we love Tina Fey as Sarah Palin.

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