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Pique N' Your Interest

Can somebody in the Conservative Party please stand up?

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Paul Martin and the Liberals have been immersed in one of the worst political scandals in Canadian history during the past two months and while it has uncovered several major flaws in the "Liberal" way of doing things, it has also exposed the Conservative Party.

It seems almost unbelievable that after a scandal of this magnitude the Conservatives are yet to offer the public a legitimate second option – because they’re still leaderless.

Everyday the public can refer to a million different views on what it takes to win an election, but regardless of how and why a political party might decide to move, the first thing they must do is react.

In other words: To make an impact in any race you must be in the race, and while there’s no doubt the Conservatives will get to the right starting line, by then Martin might have already convinced the average voter that there was really never any need to worry.

But the facts speak for themselves.

The Liberals are in the midst of an advertising scandal involving between $100 and $250 million of taxpayer’s money, which, according to Auditor General Sheila Fraser, was siphoned to Liberal-friendly advertising firms in Quebec.

The staggering aspect about this is that the only face the average Canadian has seen addressing the issue is Paul Martin.

Canadians have a long and distinguished tradition of remaining calm and collected in the face of political upheaval but the deafening silence at a time like this from a party considered the best "other" option is simply ridiculous.

Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia Donald Blake said NDP leader Jack Layton was the only political leader making the appropriate amount of noise about the scandal.

The problem with this situation is that Layton is not yet a member of Parliament and therefore does not have access to a lot of sensitive information.

"Jack Layton has been doing a lot but he’s got a long way to go before he’s really recognized," Professor Blake said. "I mean, there’s been a few articles about him but there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t have a clue who he is."

Professor Blake agreed the Conservative’s leadership race had hindered their ability to highlight this advertising scandal.

"(Stephen) Harper hasn’t said a lot now and I think that’s because he’s been preoccupied with this leadership race, but also because, I guess, he thinks he doesn’t have to because there’s going to be a judicial inquiry into the matter later on."

The other disadvantage the Conservatives have in launching any sort of sustained attack on the Liberals is that Harper is the leadership candidate who is a serving MP.

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