Who Needs Honour When You Have Fear?
I’m starting to think that The Conservative Party of Canada is trying to exhaust our outrage meters so we’ll stop complaining about real issues and just let them do whatever they want. Take a deep breath, maybe even a Tylenol and take just a peek at this site new site put up by the “Registered Agent of the Conservative Party of Canada”. Don’t stare at it too long though, it may hurt your faith in humanity and the possibility of fair, reasonable debate. The site is called Mulcair’s NDP Team. The idea seems to be to scare people about the NDP’s true motives and plans for ruining Canada.
Maybe I missed something, but the next election isn’t for 4 years right? We are not in an election. So why are the Conservatives campaigning against the duly elected opposition party? Instead, as John Ivison and many other are pointing out, they should be allowing a reasonable amount of debate on their unreasonably long and complex budget bill; that is, correct if I’m wrong, what parliament is actually for. Has our world become so cynical, our citizens so uninterested in politics and the working of our democracy, that this is now what counts as a reasonable, adult approach for shaping policy that will affect the lives of each and every Canadian for years to come?
The answer is no. No it is not.
What this is in fact, is completely and utterly unacceptable. Unacceptable, not because the Conservatives are attacking the NDP; not even because their arguments are only half based on policy disagreements while the other half are based on fear mongering and false stereotypes.
The worst part is that some strategy committee within the party put forward a plan that was duly approved by others in the party including, we must assume, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself. Is this the kind of thing the Prime Minister of Canada is supposed to be doing these days? I suppose it isn’t actually as bad as accusing the same opposition party of being soft on the Nazi’s like the Prime Minister did two weeks ago. But that is generally agreed to be one of the lowest bars you could imagine being measured against. Come to think of it, that talking point must have come out of the same committee.
But, oh you cynical news junkie or wizened journalist, I hear you saying: “Things like this have happened before…remember the bird pooping on Dion and the Liberal’s scary Harper adds?” Yes, it’s happened before, but 1) that doesn’t make it any better and 2) this is four years before the next election!
The offensive part of this isn’t the mudslinging itself. Political mudslinging is like fighting in hockey. The game would be better without all that fighting, but it doesn’t conflict with the very nature of the game. The problem is the context in which this level of mudslinging is being used in a premeditated way to undermine future opponents.
Imagine a team that has been incredible all year, they’ve locked themselves in to the first playoff spot and they’ve still got four games left to play in the season. They could play those four games honestly and honourably, or they could target the strong players on every team they play: hitting and slashing for no reason. Even if they get some three game penalties it doesn’t matter, they’ll be back in time for the playoffs and they think the first round will be easy anyways. Then just maybe, all their rough-housing will take out enough players that in a later round they’ll have a better chance against some of these other teams if they make it through. By then everyone will have forgotten these last 4 days. What would people think of a team that did that, of a coach that publicly made this his official policy after they clinched their spot? That’s what the Conservative tactics of the past two weeks looks like.
Is there anything people can do about it? The Conservative Party wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t care how someone thought of them. So one thing to do would be to raise your voice in opposition to the budget along with thousands of other citizens. But will people remember this in four years? That may depend on if the media treat this as just another unfortunate turn towards more dirty politics instead of demanding an explanation of how the majority governing party of Canada feels this is a rational and honourable way to run the country.
Especially when you’re winning already.