Thursday, March 08, 2012

Hepburn On Harper

Yesterday, Bob Hepburn publicly apologized to Brian Mulroney. He explained that Mulroney used to have no equal:

Several years ago, I wrote that Mulroney, more than any politician in modern history, is responsible for the current level of disdain and lack of interest that Canadians have for politicians and politics in general.

I based that claim on the fact that during his winning 1984 election Mulroney pledged to wipe out corruption and political patronage and bring new openness to government, but he ultimately failed voters badly.

Under his leadership, corruption, patronage, secrecy and government arrogance actually grew. The result was that, unlike any time before, Canadians in droves gave up on politicians of all parties, writing them off as simply “more of the same.”

But now, writes Hepburn, Mulroney has met his match -- and Stephen Harper has left him in the dust.  As proof, he offers the anecdotal evidence of a minister and formal NDP candidate:

I came to that realization while attending a funeral earlier this week in Leamington, a town as far away from Parliament Hill as you can get in southern Ontario.

After the service, I talked with a United Church minister who once ran, unsuccessfully, in Saskatchewan for the NDP. We started to talk about the NDP leadership race, but he quickly admitted he no longer follows politics closely. Politics today, he said, is more about sleaze, personal attacks, dirty tricks, cheating, and rarely about issues that affect the lives of people like those in Leamington.

And he pointed a finger specifically at the robocall affair, which he said reinforces the view that politics as practised today is dirty and corrupt.

The disillusioned minister gets to the core of the problem. When the investigation is over -- either from Elections Canada or a full public inquiry -- Canadians will be presented with a manual on how to steal an election in the 21st century.

Then the question becomes, "What are we prepared to do about it?"


thwap said...


What party does your MP belong to? What's the level of support for that party? How do you perceive the response to the robocalls in your community?

Because if there are enough of you, you could arrange a meeting with your MP (of whatever political stripe) and make your views known quite clearly.

See if you can build something.

I'm going to go to the rally here in Toronto on March 11th. And no matter how small, I'm going to see if I can help build something.

This sort of sleaze will become permanent and we will lose even more of what passed for democracy in Canada if we allow that.

Owen Gray said...

I live in Prince Edward County, thwap. In the last election, Daryl Kramp (the Conservative candidate) buried everyone else -- which was not surprising.

The late Canadian poet, Al Purdy, lived here and wrote a poem about the place. The poem began with the line, "Conservative since the Stone Age."

I truly like my neighbours -- and this is a beautiful place to live -- but this riding belongs to Stephen Harper.

thwap said...

Ask them what they think of voter suppression though.

Ask them if they want to get calls from all the political parties at election, all of them trying to piss them off by pretending to be obnoxious representatives of the other parties.

Ask them if they think our elections should be chock-full of scams and frauds.

See if you can get a delegation to go to your MP's office and get a clear statement from him disavowing such tactics and stating that whoever perpetrates them should be punished to the full extent of the law.

(Since the harpercons "know" that they didn't do it, this shouldn't be problematic. In reality, I've been trying for days to get even a response email from my spineless harpercon MP about this topic.)

Seriously Owen. If your neighbours are good people and they already know your politics, then they should agree that there are SOME standards we all share and stand for and they will support you.

On the other hand, they could be small-minded, partisan meat-heads and the whole thing would be a waste of time.

Owen Gray said...

People here are not happy with Harper. And, occasionally, there is a change. In fact, -- in a change of historical significance -- people here elected a local boy who became Chretien's Minister of Agriculture.

That's the key. He was a local boy. We're from away -- from Quebec -- and, for these folks, that's another country.

People here tolerate my opinions. But I am not -- as we used to say in Quebec -- "nous autres."

And that's another story.

ChrisJ said...

I hate to admit that I voted Conservative only once, for Mulroney in 1984,but am happy to say that I learned my lesson well and have never been tempted by the Conservatives since - which turns out to have been a very wise decision!

Beijing York said...

I did not receive any robo or live voter misdirection/suppression calls. However, I live in a riding where the Conservative candidate took down a long standing Liberal incumbent (Anita Neville) by some 700 votes.

I have already written to Ms. Joyce Bateman about my concerns and copied all opposition leaders. They responded and she did not. I've been reading about Fantino's by-election and some of the irregularities and I am more convinced than ever that this riding was stolen. (Local media reported complaints coming from here about calls.)

Bateman was a last minute candidate (filed her papers a month or less before e-day). Without having received a call, do you think I can lodge an official complaint with Elections Canada? The reported number seems to have stalled at 31,000.

Owen Gray said...

From what I read, Bejing, the complaints cover more than just Robocalls.

There is news today that there were lots of improperly registered voters in Eglinton-Lawrence.

And as a citizen, if you suspect voting fraud, you should have the right to lodge any kind of complaint.

There are reports that the Conservatives were training people on all kinds of voter suppression techniques.

Owen Gray said...

You weren't alone back in 1984, Chris. We lived in Quebec at the time and knew of Mr. Mulroney from his previous life as a lawyer.

The more familiar you were with him, the sooner you stopped believing him.