PlatformWatch 2008: Seriously, does the PM ever show up on time?

UPDATE: It’s here! And in handy, easy-to-read 14.5 point font!

I can’t liveblog the launch, what with it being in Toronto and all, but I’ll do my best to update this post once Stephen Harper makes his usual fashionably late appearance. (For your files, today’s launch was supposed to get underway at high noon. It’s now 12:17 p.m.)

Feel free to use this as an open thread before, during and after.

12:26 p.m.

So — I guess maybe this whole platform launch thing isn’t that important, since he’s still not there. Every now and then, CBC Newsworld cuts to a shot of the empty stage, but for the most part, they’re just going ahead with the regular broadcast schedule, as is CTV NewsNet, from what I can see.

Whoohoo! A wide shot reveals that he is, in fact, there – at the head table, even, and we’re assured that “introductions are underway.” Five minutes, tops.

12:30 p.m.

This is so much less interesting than liveblogging from a live event. If I was in Toronto, I could be telling you all about the lunch menu.

12:32 p.m.

Wait, huh? According to Graham Richardson, the Conservatives are going to announce that they are changing their mind on C-10 – the film tax credit. C’mon now, Quebec – that’s totally for y’all. He still loves you. Won’t you love him back? Don’t stay mad.

12:34 p.m.

BTW, according to CPAC – yes, I was flipping – today’s Nanos numbers show a three point split.

The PM, by the way, is introducing all sorts of local candidates – some we’ve heard of, like Jim Flaherty and Helena Geurgis, and others who we – or at least I – haven’t.

12:36 p.m.

Let the speechifying begin!

12:37 p.m.

Um. Okay, so I’m not sure if that’s a good omen, a bad omen or what, but for the first time this campaign, a heckler just managed to interrupt a prime ministerial speech. His issue? Climate change. Make of that what you will.

Also, it’s bad to make up economic plans based on the morning papers. It’s just not prudent. Canceling tax policies as a last ditch effect to stave off devastation in a certain province that shall remain nameless, however, is just smart politics.

12:39 p.m.

Low taxes and sound fiscal management – that is the key to ensuring the prosperity of the Canadian economy, it seems, as is helping businesses “plan for success” – make plans, invest wisely, that sort of thing.

This crisis – hey, the c-word! – did not begin two weeks ago, in case you were under the misapprehension it did — it began in August 2007, and this government has been “ahead of the curve.” To demonstrate that prescience, the PM is now going to …. reread past speeches to the Economic Club of Canada. (His own, just to be clear.)

12:42 p.m.

“The fundamentals are different.” Also, presumably, sound.

12:44 p.m.

Hey, guess why they haven’t had to “panic” and announce a plan? Because they have a plan! It’s the plan. The plan is a plan.  And — I don’t know if Noah, the flood and the ark is precisely the metaphor I’d want to break out at this exact moment, given the state of the polls.

12:46 p.m.

At least he seems to be enjoying himself. That’s something.

I’m sort of hung up on the Noah analogy, though. Now, I’ll confess to not being the most biblically knowlegeable blogger, but he did get some indication that a flood was on the way, right? It wasn’t as though he was building his ark, and it just happened to come in handy, because the ark was an ark, right?

12:47 p.m.

Ooh. Sometime before the end of this campaign, he’s going to announce another big investment in the Toronto region! But not today, apparently. Doesn’t everyone love surprises?

12:49 p.m.

Money for the autospace and aero sectors! $200 million more dollars in money – that’s on top of what has already been committed. These won’t be bailouts of yesterday’s problem, but for the future.

Super flowthrough share provisions for the mining industry! Whoo! (Does anyone have the slighest idea that that is?)

12:51 p.m.

Wait, is that it? He seems to be drawing to a close – he hopes this reassures his audience that he does have a plan. (The Plan, which is A Plan, and not a Panic Ark Tax On Everything.)

Oh, and opposition party platforms? Written in invisible ink using imaginary money that grows on trees. Sue me, I liked that line. I mean, I’m not saying it makes any sense, but invisible money trees make me smile.

12:53 p.m.

And the carbon tax makes its appearance – finally – like the reverse of the gun in the first act going off in the third. A massive new permanent tax is, you will be shocked to learn, a bad idea, as per Stephen Harper — and don’t listen to all that stuff about helping people; all they want to do is tax you, and your little dog too. That’s not the direction in which this government is going to want to go.

12:55 p.m.

No carbon tax, no deficits, spend within our means. That’s the plan – unlike what the opposition offers, which is the result of “complete panic”. Hey, anyone spot a theme?

Oh wait, now we’re onto fiscal reductions – or, as fits so much tidily on a talking point, ‘tax cuts’. This government has been on ’em – for individuals and business. But what he wants to highlight now is the tax free savings account – Canadians will now be able to invest in their personal savings, tax free.They will be able to set aside savings that the government “will never be able to tax again” – and it can be flexible. Buy a new car, home, “trip of a lifetime” – and think of what that will mean, in the long term macroeconomic perspective.

That has to be the big gun, right?

12:59 p.m.

Governments should focus spending on things that make the economy, and the country better, and we are now at a fork in the road: Will we make choices that will worsen the problem in the long term, or — the other kind of choices. So – permanent tax on everything, bailouts and protection, and a thirty day economic plan that they won’t even come up with until after they win reelection? It will make Bob Rae’s Ontario look like a boomtown.

Ooh. He actually just said the words “if we’re not reelected.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard him put it quite that starkly.

1:02 p.m.

And — hey, that’s it? Really? CTV NewsNet immediately cuts to a repeat of the greenckler who nearly threw the PM off his stride, but he recovered to deliver — honestly, not the most thrilling speech that he’s given, but not a spectacular meltdown of partisan snipery and fearmongering, so let’s call it a draw.

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