Well, if Paul Martin's latest speech is any indication (via Paul Wells, Macleans), the campaign message from Canada's ruling Liberal Party is clearly a return to the 2004, "Harper is scary" motif. Naturally, as this quarter has more than a passing interest in the vote, this inspired me to consider the flip-side of this question: how would another one-to-four years of Paul Martin as Prime Minister look?
Regarding Communist China, Prime Minister Martin has compiled quite the record on Communist China; perhaps if Canadians were fully aware of it, they might be quaking in their boots at the prospect of Martin winning, rather than Harper.
Espionage: Just this past summer, Hao Fengjun, the former official in the anti-Falun Gong 610 office who defected to Australia, revealed a Communist spy network in the Great White North that "he estimated as numbering 1000 agents" (Epoch Times). A former Canadian intelligence official estimated the economic damage to Canada at nearly $1 billion a month (CTV). However, another critical part of the espionage operation is to conduct chilling surveillance on Falun Gong practitioners in Canada. One woman who left Communist China for Ontario had her entire life revealed when Hao released her file to the media to prove his point (Epoch Times). The "scary" Conservatives demanded Prime Minister Martin take action (Hansard: One and Two). To date, Martin and his government have yet to even publicly raise the issue outside of answers forced out of them by said Conservatives (for those who worry about these things, the questioners ran right across the spectrum of Conservative MPs: from Peter MacKay to Stockwell Day). The intimidation, meanwhile, goes on to this day (Between Heaven and Earth).
Infiltration into Canadian resources: Communist China has become a large-scale investor in Canada's major resources, including Albertan oil (fourth item, Edmonton Sun), Saskatchewan oil and uranium (Globe and Mail), and Canadian held resources abroad (BBC). Prime Minister Martin and his government have said nothing, despite the obvious political gain of scoring points, as it were, against the gatekeeper of Alberta's oil, Premier and federal Liberal whipping boy Ralph Klein.
Forced repatriation of at least one Falun Gong practitioner to Communist China: You read that right. Practitioner Xiaoping Hu "was deported to China on August 5, despite protests from thousands of Canadians, NGOs and Members of Parliament" (Epoch Times). She may not be alone; Han Guangsheng - who, like Hao, was a former 610 officer who defected - may be sent back by the Canadian government (Epoch Times). Prime Minster Martin, when pressed on the repatriation, denied it had ever happened (Epoch Times).
The elevation of business interests over human rights: Now, as an American forced to see each of the last three Presidents do largely just what the bolded phrase says, I am forcing myself to pick up shards of glass on this one. However, Mr. Martin is, to an extent, in a class by himself on this. During a trade mission to Communist China that just happened to coincide with the death of Zhao Ziyang, Jason Kenney - another supposedly "scary" Conservative MP - took the time to pay his respects at Zhao's family home. Prime Minister Martin "castigated Kenney for his visit, claiming that he himself had chosen not to pay tribute to Zhao because the family had requested privacy - which was later proven to be false" (Western Standard).
Taiwan: During the last Parliament, Jim Abbott - a Conservative MP - presented a bill designed to improve Canada's relationship with the island democracy of Taiwan. Dan McTeague, Liberal MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, responded by slinging ad hominem attacks on a sympathetic committee witness that were so incoherent as to earn the wrath of Paul Wells.
Foreign aid to Communist China: At present, Canada sends over $50 million in foreign aid to Communist China (Terry O'Neill, Western Standard, details where that money goes), despite the Communist espionage network and resource grab. When International Trade critic Helena Guergis (Conservative from Ontario) demanded the "aid" stop (CBC), the governing Liberals dismissed her out of hand (Hansard).
Head tax money goes to Communist-sympathizing group: Even the Liberals' attempt to atone for Canada's Chinese head tax could not escape Communist influence. The money paid for compensation for the tax - $12.5 million - was to be sent in one lump sum payment to the National Chinese Canadian Congress, a group best known "for their cozy relationship with the CCP" (Epoch Times).
Through all of this, the Conservatives have largely called on the governing Liberals to give human rights more respect, end aid to the Communist regime, stop its espionage and economic infiltration, and establish friendlier ties with Taiwan. Anyone who considers this "opposition for opposition's sake" should take a look at this speech on Communist China's past and future, delivered to the University of Toronto (Between Heaven and Earth). The speaker was none other than the Conservatives' Foreign Affairs critic: Stockwell Day.
Whether or not Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are "scary" is something Canadians will decide for themselves, but the prospect of Prime Minister Martin's re-election is absolutely terrifying.