Jean Charest’s ahead of the pack and he’s not looking back. In a Web ad for three May 12 by-elections, the Quebec premier becomes the first Canadian politician I’ve seen to mimic the hope-and-scudding-clouds meme that I’ve been pointing out in recent postings that pointed to Obama and McCain ads. This is a hell of an ad (killer line: “The best for Quebec is dreams that are big, because the Québécois people has a beautiful destiny”), but not anyone could do it: it’s a seal-the-deal ad, available as an option only to a comfortable front-runner or to a challenger who’s already closing fast (Dalton McGuinty, I’m reminded by one of his former campaign guys, ran a similar ad in the closing days of the 2003 Ontario campaign, when voters were leaning Liberal and needed to feel comfortable with the option).
I’ll tell you right now that Stephen Harper will run an all-positive ad like this in the next campaign, and that it will be well-executed. I offer no prediction about the outcome of the election, but ads like this will be part of it. They’re in the air this year.