If you want to really know what's driving the Harperites these days, Devon Black writes, consider the tactics they are using:
Twice in the last three months, Conservatives have sent individuals into Liberal events in the hopes of deliberately instigating missteps — while secretly recording the whole thing for release later.
The latest example concerns retired general Andrew Leslie, who criticized Israel's tactics in Gaza, but who also recognized Israel's right to defend itself:
So, every nation has the right to defend itself. Every nation has the right to defend its people. So keep that as a thought bubble.
Then there’s this little Chinese gentleman about 2,700 years ago who said, in Cantonese: ‘Never do what your enemy wants you to do.’ So, just keep that as a thought bubble . His name was Sun Tzu.
So what does Hamas – who’s actually guided and directed by [whos has] funding and the leadership provided mainly by Iran and Syria – what did they want Israel to do? They want Israel to, essentially, fall into the trap of igniting world opinion against them, by killing civilians.
Of course, the Conservatives exploded. Joe Oliver called Leslie's response “deeply disturbing” accusing Leslie of “(placing) blame on Israel for defending itself.” And immediately a fundraising letter went out to the party faithful.
These tactics are much like those used by Republicans in 2009:
Memories are short in politics, but for anyone who was watching U.S. politics in 2009, these tactics probably seem familiar. That was the year ACORN, a collection of organizations best known for running voter-registration drives in low-income communities, was put out of commission. Two conservative activists — posing as a sex worker and her boyfriend — tried to get ACORN staff to make damaging statements while the conversations were recorded on hidden cameras.
The selectively-edited footage, and the furor it raised in the media, forced ACORN to shut down — even though several subsequent investigations cleared ACORN of any wrongdoing.
The Conservatives are running scared. And that, writes Black, should worry all Canadians:
The first sting saw Liberal MP John McKay criticizing Justin Trudeau on tape. In the second, retired general (and Trudeau advisor) Andrew Leslie was caught holding a nuanced position on the conflict in Gaza. Neither incident seems to have held the public’s interest.
But unlike the ACORN scandal, which was triggered by activists working on their own, these two Canadian incidents appear to have been carried out by Conservative staffers: one by a former intern to Health Minister Rona Ambrose, and the other by a parliamentary assistant to MP Rob Anders.
Rather than developing a strong platform, based on reasoned principles, the Conservatives have instead focused their energies on tearing down enemies — which they apparently have in abundance. Sometimes the targets are obvious — though you have to wonder if we really need any more anti-Trudeau attack ads at this point. The Conservative base must be so well-conditioned by now that just playing that clip of Trudeau stripping probably elicits a Pavlovian response.
But when Harper lashed out at Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin earlier this year, it seemed less like calculation and more like a tantrum. Harper could have taken his government’s repeated losses before the Supreme Court with a pinch of humility and learned from the experience, the way adults do. Instead, he took cheap shots at one of our nation’s most respected institutions.
They have run out of ideas and are running on bile. You can smell their desperation.