Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Rot Won't Go Away

The Conservatives have tried very hard to bury the information around their 2011 election campaign. But the rot keeps bubbling to the surface. Last week, Elections Canada revealed that Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue exceeded election spending limits by accepting free airplane transportation around his riding. And, in the same week,  Michael Sona -- who the Conservatives fingered as Mr. Robocall -- told Evan Soloman:

"All the anonymous sources in the world can point the finger at me, but I'm not going to take responsibility for something that I'm not responsible for," Sona said.

"I think that there's some people that maybe had an interest in seeing me take the fall for it."

Then he simply pointed to the size of the operation he was supposed to have spearheaded:

You've got to take a look at the options and just say, you know what, what is the more realistic option here? That some then-22-year-old guy managed to co-ordinate this entire massive scheme when he didn't even have access to the data to be able to do this, or the alternative — that this was much more co-ordinated or possibly that there were people that knew how to do this, that it was being done?"

"I don't know for sure who it could have been, but I will say this. It's interesting that you had a bunch of people come out and point the finger at me, officially to Elections Canada, only after my name was leaked to the media by anonymous sources."

Stephen Harper's people play dirty and they play for keeps. In this morning's Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin reminds his readers of how they ran the 2011 campaign:

The 2011 election was the one triggered when Mr. Harper’s government was found in contempt of Parliament. There were the vote suppression allegations, Mr. Sona’s statement and Mr. Penashue’s case. There were people thrown out of Conservative rallies because they were suspected of having ties to other parties, there were the personal attack ads, there was the bogus attempt to paint Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff as an Iraq war planner.

But try as they may, the Harperites can't make the rot go away


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

If I remember correctly the Conservatives had American Republican political operatives come and give them advice on managing elections.

Perhaps, these just lets them off the hook as it they cannot act deviously on their own.

Beijing York said...

Check out the new development on the Council of Canadians case in the comments:


We have to stay on top of this. The NDP and LPC have been cowered by recent events (Pat Martin law suit, SC Opitz ruling) so they can't be relied upon.

Owen Gray said...

Certainly they were using American firms to contact voters, Philip. In fact, one firm took photos and posted them on its website.

Those of us who live on the north shore of Lake Ontario have had a good long look at American campaign tactics -- migrating across the lake from New York State -- during this election season.

One would think that any Canadian political party would be embarrassed to be associated with this kind of electioneering. Apparently, though, the Conservatives are incapable of blushing.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Bejiing. Pogge has been particularly good on this file. I was struck by this passage from his post:

"The first priority is always to protect the leader and the party brand. At the first hint of scandal the immediate reaction isn't to find out what's really happening; the immediate reaction is to prepare a communications strategy to minimize the political damage and worry about the truth later. Sona was a target of opportunity and once his name became associated with the story it was just too easy to keep invoking it."

The folks in charge aren't interested in getting things right. Their first instinct is always to build a firewall around Stephen Harper.