A quick recap of the big push. A who's who of major Conservative figures to visit Guelph in the past weeks:
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
Government House Leader Peter Van Loan
Environment Minister John Baird
Health Minister Tony Clement
Secretary of State Jason Kenney
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley
Oh, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper
All this prior to the by-election call. How can anyone take the downplaying seriously??
The local candidate also had a campaign office open months ago, from a good source, apparently funded by the national party.
Further evidence of a national push to win this riding:
More than 50 youth volunteers from ridings across Canada will be in Guelph this weekend in support of candidate Gloria Kovach.
This is the second time that the group has been in Guelph. They were first in the City in mid-June.
The Conservatives can say what they like, but what we are seeing in this riding is actually unprecedented for a by-election run up. The Conservatives will pour money, volunteers and energy into Guelph, which rightly makes this a "litmus" test for them, as much as the onus is on Dion. You don't get to fight this hard, and get away with "we don't expect to win". Actions speak LOUDER than words, so the media needs to keep perspective.
On a side note, I had to drive through Guelph last evening and the amount of signage present on the streets, only hours after the announcement, was staggering to say the least. All the campaigns look ready to go, this will clearly be anything but your garden variety by-election.