It goes without saying that a lot hangs on the Supreme Court's review of Justice Lederer's decision to rerun the election in Etobicoke-Centre. Some claim that it's only a matter of 26 votes. But, as Michael Harris points out, a little history -- particularly the history of the 2008 election in that riding -- gives one some perspective.
Etobicoke-Centre has always been noted for its dirty politics. But in 2008 -- when Boris Wrzesnewskyj won the riding -- he was
surrounded by Tory thugs coming out of a public debate and taken to task on his stand over same-sex marriage. “Are you a fag?” he was asked. Disgusting flyers were tucked under the windshield-wipers of cars in church parking lots. Two thousand of his lawn signs were vandalized and had to be replaced. Swastikas began showing up on his material, a not inconsequential tactic in a riding where there were so many families whose parents had fled the Nazis.
Borys began to notice that bad things happened to his campaigns just before voting day. In 2008, on the Thanksgiving Day long weekend, he went to canvas three apartment buildings near Eglington Avenue. His practice was to work his way down from the top floor. He didn’t get far from the top floor before realizing that something was terribly wrong. People opened the door just a crack and stared at him silently. Finally one lady said, “You’re such a fraud.”
The building had been flooded with handouts by the Conservatives that looked like a compilation of actual newspaper stories. Though fake, the theme they retailed was deadly: Borys was missing in action in Ottawa and rarely attended committee meetings. He pulled his canvas teams and regrouped.
“They gave one example where they said I only attended 2 out of 49 meetings. I wasn’t actually even on that committee but had gone as a proxy a few times for someone who couldn’t attend. Then they made up a committee that didn’t even exist. As for the committee I was actually on, public accounts, they offered no information.”
Taken with the robocall scandal and the smearing of Irwin Cotler, the pattern is as clear as the nose on Stephen Harper's face. Something is rotten in Etobicoke Centre. But the rot is merely an extension of the rot at the heart of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Interestingly enough, Etobicoke-Centre is the riding where Stephen Harper grew up.