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Bloggerel from Mike O'Brien "Ooops"

Okay, it turns out Thabo Mbeki was not a candidate in the Canadian election.
Apparently, he’s the president of South Africa.
Or, he was. Over the weekend, he was forced to resign.
Which is precisely why I assumed he was running in our gaffe-laden election.
Let’s tally, shall we?

The most recent resignation (subject to change hourly) is Toronto Tory candidate Chris Reid, who stepped down “to pursue other interests.” I assumed he was pushed out over photos of him sporting a “faux-hawk,” but no, Reid’s hasty exit came after news spread of one of his recent blog postings. He questioned the courage of those passengers who fled to safety during the grisly killing of a man aboard a Greyhound bus this summer. Perhaps Reid will one day prove his own bravery: it just won’t be on a campaign bus.

This latest gaffe hit the Conservatives while they were still coughing up a Ritz cracker. Last week, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joked that he hoped the latest listeriosis victim was his Liberal critic. Ritz apologized, and the politicians, press and public were distracted from real issues for two whole days.

So how has this cavalcade of contrition affected the Conservatives?
Their lead over the Liberals is widening.
Clearly, the Tories have connected with a previously untapped segment of Canadian voters: the Embarassed. Every time Stephen Harper fires someone or apologizes, he strikes a chord with anyone who’s ever made out at the office Christmas party, delivered a wedding toast while drunk or mistakenly hit “reply all” on a catty email.
Finally, there’s a party for Canadians who regret their words and actions.

The lesson is not lost on the NDP.
The NewDopers were hit by the resignation of two Vancouver-area candidates. Kirk Tousaw and Dana Larsen both quit after admitting past drug use.
BREAKING NEWS: The Nudemocrats have just lost another one! (I told you it could change hourly) West Coast candidate Julian West has just resigned for skinny-dipping in front of teenagers at an environmental retreat in 1996.
Jack Layton’s Sex, Drugs and Day Care tour rolls on.

But let’s not forget the candidates whose mistakes didn’t grab as many headlines but who nonetheless still helped steer the dialogue away from meaningful issues. People like:
-Halifax Tory Rosamond Luke (quit the race to focus on her job, following media reports of her criminal record);
-Quebec city Liberal Simon Bedard (left race for suggesting army should have used force to end the 1990 Oka crisis);
-Ontario Liberal Brent Fullard (apologized for comparing Harper to Hitler – did not apologize for distressing lack of originality);
-And, proving once more that they should be taken as seriously as the other parties, the Greens dropped B.C. candidate John Shavluk for making anti-semitic remarks.

And if I’ve forgotten anyone…I profusely apologize.

p.s. Where is the Bloc in all this? Are they not serious about winning a majority?

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