The next week will determine whether the Conservative robocall scheme becomes the moment at which a critical mass of Canadians become aware of this government’s repeated blatant illegalities, or whether it, like so many other crimes, will be buried beneath the weight of media complacency. This blog will make its own contribution, however small, to making sure the issue remains front and centre.
The Harper regime has three propaganda tools when there is a scandal in the offing, and they’ve already used them all. I wonder if they have a plan for what happens if the media shows a so-far-hidden display of resolve and keeps talking about the issue for more than 72 hours. I’ll bet Plan D involves scapegoats.
First, they say nothing at all beyond some vague platitudes. This has been the response from the top, including Harper himself. That right there is an implicit admission of guilt, by the way. If the people at the top of the Conservative Party suspected that the robocallers were actually Liberals or NDPers, Harper would be screaming for their heads on a plate. There is mounting evidence that serious crimes were committed. Harper’s mealymouthed assurances that if someone did it, they won’t be allowed to participate in the next election campaign don’t cut it. Either he knows his party is guilty, or he doesn’t actually know what happened but is fairly sure his agents are guilty of something and is desperate not to let whatever it is come out. These are the ramblings of a guilty man we are listening to.
The second step is to blame the Liberals and mention the sponsorship scandal as often as possible. The Conservative base, a large proportion of whom have roughly the same capacity for independent thought as a dead lemming, don’t seem to mind the fact that defending your own sins by saying they’re no worse than the Liberal scoundrels that you used to claim were Satan incarnate just doesn’t cut it. Exactly what election offences would persuade these people that the Conservatives were no longer the lesser evil? Actual ballot-box stuffing?
But that excuse is wearing thin, I sense, at least among those who are not committed partisans. And thus the Conservatives turn to their third claim: that we must not imperil the vaunted “economic recovery.” Operative Tim Powers has already been trotted out to advance this line, claiming that the opposition parties are just trying to “create a scandal” when “we (should be) talking about the economy.” According to Powers, you see, economic policy is more important than whether or not our country is a democracy under the rule of law. And our Conservative economic policy is so fragile that you can’t even stop talking about it, or the whole ghastly enterprise will pop like a balloon.
And thus the circle is neatly completed: according to the Conservatives, it doesn’t particularly matter what happened in the robocall scandal, because it doesn’t affect the economy, and after all, the economy is what is most important to Canadians, right?
Anyone who received one of the suspicious phone calls is invited to identify their riding in the comments section, or privately by email to SixthEstateCanada@gmail.com. People should also contact Elections Canada and any political party with their concerns.Tweet