I was talking this over with a friend last night. Andrew Coyne hits it with this:

“All in all, it would be hard to pick a worse time to call an election, as far as the Liberals are concerned: divided internally, stalled in the polls, in the midst of the biggest scandal in modern Canadian political history. All of which raises a troubling question: Why are they calling an election? How much worse are they expecting things to get? If, as bad as things are for them at the moment, they would still rather go now than wait until fall or even next year — if this is the best-case scenario — what on earth do they fear is waiting down the road?”

Good point. Why are the Liberals making health care their number one priority in this election? They don’t know the first thing about it. Medicare is constitutionally a provincial jurisdiction. The only thing Ottawa gets to decide about health care in Canada is how much money they’re going to throw at it. And in that, it seems, all parties agree – they’ve all promised to restore billions of dollars in federal funding (let’s not forget who cut the billions in the first place).

So why is this a priority? It’s not. It’s a distraction. The Liberals are running scared right now, especially in light of recent polls that peg Liberal support in Ontario at 33%. At this point, the Grits will do anything to draw attention away from Adscam, the gun registry and other billion dollar boondoggles, and their relationship to their provincial cousins.

Just in case you thought the Federal Liberals were any different from their Provincial counterparts, guess who consulted with Premier Dalton McGuinty on the recent Provincial Budget. David Herle, Paul Martin’s campaign co-chair and most trusted adviser and his firm, Earnscliffe Strategy Group, did consulting and polling work for Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara.

Let me put it another way. When the provincial Liberals were deciding whether or not to break every promise they made in the run up to the last election, they consulted with our current PM’s most trusted adviser and strategy group.

Let me put it another way. Our current PM, who is making all kinds of big promises in the run up to the coming election, has as his most trusted advisers, the same group of people who advised the provincial Liberals in their recent budget. You remember, the one where they broke all of their promises.

Christina Blizzard has a great editorial today about Paul Martin’s health care policy and how it pretty much mirrors what Mike Harris was doing 8 years ago. His one roadblock? The federal Liberals and then-finance minister Paul Martin.

“When all those federal candidates come sashaying up the walk looking for your vote, remember this: Martin can scaremonger all he wants. You got more health care for less tax money in Harris’ Ontario than in McGuinty’s.”