The opposition parties are falling over them selves to make sure their anti-Conservative message is planted early so as to give its roots time to grow before an official investigation reveals what really happened during the last federal election.
Plant the message early enough and it won’t matter if the Conservatives are eventually exonerated, the harm will have been done by then. It’s a bit like the “big lie” tactic: tell it loud enough and often enough and most everyone will believe it regardless of subsequent evidence to the contrary.
Question Period in the House of Commons today will be all about the so-called robo-call voter-suppression scandal. Despite them not having any real proof there has been wrong-doing on the part of Conservative party leaders, the opposition will claim that party broke the law.
For the few readers who may have missed it, during the last federal election, Conservative party workers in Guelph allegedly pretended to be Elections Canada officials when trying to lure Liberal voters to a non-existent polling station. And similar “dirty tricks” have allegedly occurred using “robo-calls” in 30 or so ridings.
The extent to which these practices occurred, and how high up the Tory chain of command knowledge of the activity extended are open questions that Elections Canada and the RCMP are investigating.
These are not the smart-alecky tricks so often played during elections. These could very well be serious breaches of election law and, if proven, could lead to jail time and cause long-term damage to the Conservative brand.
It is highly unlikely, however, that Prime Minister Stephen Harper—leader of the Conservative Party—knew anything about what was going on, on the ground, in Guelph or elsewhere. Campaign workers and managers seldom share such nitty-gritty tactics with their leaders outside their ridings.
And far from encouraging or condoning such risky actions, I’m as certain as I can be that PM Harper is trying to get to the bottom of this.
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this affair is the ease with which NDP and Liberal spokespersons attribute this criminal behaviour to senior Conservatives and even to the prime minister himself.
Let’s stop the barbs, the insults and the outright slandering of Tories. Let’s act rationally—dare I say fairly—and wait for the results of the official investigation by Elections Canada and the RCMP.