By CHARLES ADLER, QMI Agency
The Canadian dollar is rising. The Canadian economy is humming. Job creation is happening virtually everywhere.
You would think this is a time when the prime minister of such a fortunate country would be a happy warrior, above the parochial fray and well on his way to a very big victory on May 2.
But when you see the PM these days on the campaign trail, he looks tired and irritable. When you see his chief opponent, he looks like he is having the time of his life. This isn't some namby-pamby, lefty spin job. I am simply doing my job, telling the truth to people who are reading the words of someone who did the CBC compass test and was officially declared conservative.
I am not saying the sky is falling for the Conservatives because the prime minister is looking like he needs a good night's sleep and/or a bottle of happy pills. But there is one fact of life in the age of TV campaigns, as shown a half-century ago during the Kennedy-Nixon debates. Voters listen with their eyes. If they see a knight in shining armour brimming with confidence, they tend to react positively.
Michael Ignatieff may not be anywhere close to the second coming of John F. Kennedy. Stephen Harper may not be the man Oliver Stone would ever cast as Nixon. But three facts are clear:
1) Harper is presiding over a successful economy in troubled times. That's a car you don't have to sell. You just have to put it in the showroom and online and then stand beside her.
2) From now until May 2, Harper has every reason to congratulate the Canadian people for performing like troopers and creating robust economic growth. In doing so, ordinary Canadians fought the headwinds created by doom merchants like the PM's political opponents and many members of the media, including some in the business media.
3) Harper has every reason to be happy about the country's great accomplishments since he became prime minister. For anyone who doubts how well this country is doing, take a quick trip to Florida, California, Arizona or Nevada and ask anyone if the price of their home is worth much more today than it was a decade ago. While many middle-class people in the U.S. have lost a decade in family-wealth creation, Canadian families have prospered. As they say in some parts of the U.S., "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Canada has earned its bragging rights.
When John and Mary Canadian Tire watch the prime minister on the tube for the next four weeks, they should be seeing a happy and proud papa. He should be looking like a young father whose kid just scored the winning goal in the most important game of the season.
Stephen Harper needs to step up his game right now. His loyal supporters are counting on it. If the PM doesn't get happy in a hurry, his coalition nightmare could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.