Harper’s Win-At-All-Costs Approach Led to Electoral Manipulation
The first wave of dust is settling from the revelation this week that a company hired by the Conservative party made fraudulent calls to voters trying to mislead them about voting day locations. We still don’t know how high up the decision was made to make these calls. I think we can all agree it was someone higher up than Mr. Scapegoat. I’m sure investigative journalists around the country are digging and searching for the next big scoop along this line and there are signs that this scandal will not go quietly as we learn more about the full scale of the electoral manipulation.
Let us begin with the obvious, it is highly unlikely Prime Minister Harper ever gave an explicit order to make deceptive calls to voters. It is even unlikely some other minister or high up staff in the PMO gave such an order. Obviously, a full and independent investigation should be called to find out what really did happen and who knew about it. If you agree you may want to support LeadNow’s call for an investigation.
That being said, regardless of the result of that investigation, it will not excuse the party or the Prime Minister for what has happened. This kind of win-at-all-costs approach flows naturally from the how the Conservative party deals with their opponents and any problems they encounter. The way the Harper government has targeted their opponents and solved problems over the past 6 years in government sends a crystal clear message to everyone who works for them.
Imagine a warmly lit inner chamber somewhere in the halls of parliament. It’s the final planning meeting before all the ministers, their aids and their staff go out to begin the “Next Big Campaign to Win X” where X is an election, a bill to get passed, a scandal to hide or the next an irrational cause to pump up public support for. The PM makes an inspiring speech, what he says in that speech isn’t important at all. Based on the actions of the party over the years, the clear message to all his followers gathered before him is something like this. (Now, remember, this is a speech by Stephen Harper, so by definition, it’s not going to be very inspiring. So if it helps, imagine he’s being played by Michael Douglas from Wall Street or something. )
“We are going to win this thing. We have been out of power too long and worked too hard to come this far and fail now just as we are about to achieveour dreams. So I want you to go out there and win.
If we have to bolt the doors of parliament to avoid defeat, so be it.
If we have to shut down organizations that undermine us, so be it.
If we have to funnel money in and out of ridings to get the money we need, so be it
If we have to renege on signed environmental obligations to the international community, so be it.
If we have to impugn the good judgement of veterans or police officers to achieve our goals, so be it.
If we have to attack internationally respected environmental groups as mere puppets of foreign interests, so be it.
If we have to confuse voters by phoning in false voting location changes or pretending to be our opponents in order to win a close riding, so be it.
If we have to compare our opponents to child pornographers, so be it.
If we have to cover up another scandal by pinning it on a 23 year old staffer and the liberal media who are irrevocably biased against us, so be it.
But we shall not go down, we shall fight, and we shall win.”
“So everyone, you know what you have to do.” Then with a wink in his eye, “And remember, if ‘what you have to do’ looks bad and you get caught, I didn’t tell you do it, I just told you to win.”
— Metaphorical Stephen Harper providing moral cover for his staff to commit electoral fraud