What is Paul Martin doing?

Paul Martin is set to address the nation tonight in a rare Prime Ministerial address that is usually reserved for times of national crisis.

So, I have to ask… what is Paul Martin doing?

First of all, this doesn’t look good on his part. For those that watch politics this has the optics of an act of desperation. Prime Ministers have historically reserved national addresses for times of national crisis. Is the nation facing a crisis or is this ‘crisis’ and desperation merely the aspect of turnover of a corrupt government that has finally run its course? I’m not particularly more anxious about my personal well-being than I was, say, last fall. However, I am doing my taxes next week so perhaps I’m a little miffed at where some of those dollars have been going. But crisis? No Paul, this is your crisis, not ours.

Perhaps this is merely symptomatic of the Liberal mindset that the government is synonymous with the the Liberal Party, and by extension of their logic, with the people of Canada themselves.

So, what is Paul Martin doing? Will he attempt to set the tone for the upcoming inevitable election? Will he take a swipe at the Conservatives? Will he try and give birth to the election issue and name it ‘healthcare’?

If he does, it will fail. Canadians already know what the next election will be about and it’s not healthcare.

So, what is Paul Martin doing? He has already promised to get to the bottom of the Sponsorship Scandal. One year later and here we still are. Gomery got us closer to the bottom of the pork barrel, but we’re finding that Paul’s been waiting there all along. Will he claim success? This seems absurd.

He will stress that Gomery needs to finish his work. Testimony is set to wrap up soon and Martin asks that we await the judge’s verdict. Trouble for the Liberals is that we’re absolutely certain whom Gomery isn’t going to vote for in the next election. Indeed, we will all render our verdict upon the Liberal party soon enough, whether we’re “ready” or not.

Speaking of being “ready” for an election… that biased media question that crept into polls and became the main Liberal talking point for the past two weeks. Ah yes, we’re not “ready” for an election. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the half hour out of my day to vote because I don’t require much mental preparation given what we’ve been learning from the Gomery commission. In fact, it’s the Liberals that aren’t ready to face the music and lose their grip on 12 years of power.

This “address” must have been planned for a while. So why do it on a Thursday? At 7:45pm? Is it really going to be that bad? While it’s best to release good news on a Tuesday before 4pm so that it can cycle through the rest of the week, bad news is usually released after 4pm on a Friday because Saturday, and indeed the weekend, commands the smallest of audiences in the news market. But this is a television address at 7:45pm on a Thursday. This timeslot commands the highest television audiences (on other networks). Yes, Paul Martin’s awkward address to the nation on CBC/Newsworld will be wedged between Joey, Survivor, the O.C. and C.S.I., the four most popular shows on television. If Paul Martin wanted people to watch his address, why is he starting it staggered between two television timeslots and during the Must See TV Power Hour? Is it really that bad? Or is this address merely a gesture so that people (who won’t watch it) will have the general feeling that he addressed the issues? Also, the PMO didn’t request mandatory time from the networks. He wouldn’t want to pull people away from the Immunity Challenge after all.

There is no press either to be present either. Therefore, this will be a carefully crafted message without scrutiny from the press.

So, what is Paul Martin doing? Is he trying to take control of the message from the news media as the PMO claims? Or is he trying to appear to be in control while hiding out on Newsworld and CPAC while Canadians watch Survivor?

This is not a Prime Ministerial address. This is a muted act of desperation veiled by an image of control.