What's in a number?

By Tammy McCausland on Oct 7, 2008

During last week's federal leadership debate, Jack Layton mentioned that Stephane Dion had supported the Harper government 43 times. Forty-three became a refrain during the course of Jack Layton's public appearances last week. It can be an effective tactic because people tend to remember numbers--just check the magazine covers at the newsstand next time and notice how many times numbers appear.

Indeed, 43 times sounds like a huge endorsement of the Conservative government by the Liberal Party. Considered from another perspective though, it may actually be a good number. After all, minorities governments are supposed to foster collaboration, which would require support by other parties. Essentially, the 43 times could be spun as the number of times that Dion was willing to put differences aside for the sake of governance (whether it was good or not is a matter of opinion). Canadians weren't looking for an election -- I'm not sure they wanted this one. But I think one could give the much-battered Mr. Dion some credit.

Oh yeah, Mr. Layton forgot to mention how many times he supported the Harper government. It may not have been "43" times, but I know it was a lot higher than zero. It's an interesting use of numerics to jockey for position.

Even more interesting will be how the numbers play out on Election Day.

Syndicate content