It's very nearly all over but the crying. The nation's future, at least for the next few months if we end up with a minority government,will be decided in a flurry of soul searching and democracy-in-action.
Perhaps, in the final analysis, it will all come down to who had the best campaign ads.
The Liberals and Paul Martin started off their campaign with a folksy prime minister apparently on the front porch of his cottage, a Canadian flag whipping proudly in the wind, speaking of his kind of Canada.
While the spots did a good job of creating a mood and underscoring the theme of the message they just simply couldn't compete with the Conservatives' waste ads. You know, the ones that featured cold, hard Canadian currency of every denomination being squandered.
The Conservatives also surely scored points with the spots that closed, “I'm Stephen Harper”. The leader came off as friendly and welcoming, astute and even statesman-like. Not at all a man with the dark hidden agenda that some of us tried to brand him.
But perhaps the most distinctive ads, and some have said the most annoying, was the series that attempted to drive home the slogan “Why not speak up when everybody is listening”. The Elections Canada spots did a great job of guilting those chronic non-voters into ‘speaking up’ when it counts the most.
So whether you cast your vote for a retooled Chretien crew with a new face at the top, a party that has been through many twists, turns and name changes to escape unpopular policies of the past, an also-ran with a new charismatic leader, a party with a healthy, green but narrow scope or one of the so-called fringe parties get out on Monday and make your mark.
Speak up when everyone is listening.