Monday, April 21, 2008

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

When Conservative Party officials run down a fire escape staircase to avoid reporters, and both the Toronto Star's Tonda MacCharles and CTV's Mike Duffy tell the CBC's Keith Boag that the Cons are clearly trying to frame the discussion about In and Out, it really pokes a hole about the "clean and honest" claims of the Harper Government.

To wit, MacCharles' report details how the scheme worked and gave "clear and precise instructions" in e-mails about how to wire transfer money back to party HQ. It is now clear that some Conservative candidates as well as the advertising agencies working for the Cons had misgivings about how to get around the rules but it was too late by that time; the ad space had already been purchased. (It was 65 or 66 districts in dispute, depending on who's reporting.)

Again, these are only allegations. But what really concerns me is just how much central control there was over the Conservative campaign in 2006. What makes Canadian elections work is that in many districts it's not so much national issues that matter but also local issues. As well, some MPs get elected again and again based on his or her personality no matter who winds up winning the nationals. However, what the Conservatives presented Canadians with instead was an army of 308 dittoheads who spoke from a pre-determined script which would not vary even to address local concerns; and the message was the same whether the labelling had the imprimatur of the national HQ or the local campaign chair.

As for the Conservatives complaining the Mounties seized everything but the kitchen sink -- well, if you've got nothing to hide, then it's only fair that every potential hiding place be looked at. And it's not like it's gone forever, it will be returned at some point. Running down a staircase doesn't make one look good either.

Elections Canada shouldn't take too long in its investigation, however. It's been going on for two years already. We need to know if they're actually going to pursue criminal charges before the next campaign; not during or after it.

UPDATE (10:43 am EDT, 1443 GMT): This one has really have some of my fellow bloggers talking. I was just ranting above. Check out the more polished reactions from Jason Cherniak, Scott Tribe, Saskboy, and Cathie from Canada, just to name a few.

UPDATE #2 (3:55 pm EDT, 1955 GMT): Gilles Duceppe called $tephen Harper a "control freak" which coming from the leader of the BQ is saying a lot. Meanwhile, The Star has posted the warrant here, here, and here. (The last one is a big download, about 18 MB so you might not want to if you're still on dialup.)

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1 comment:

Saskboy said...

Ha polished, I pounded out my post in 5 minutes :-)