There was a lot of sound and fury last night about niqabs. But they are red herrings. The central question in this election is, "Who do you trust?" Michael Harris writes:
This week has seen another trainwreck for CPC credibility. How funny is it that the guy who campaigns in sweaters with ‘Canada’ on the back hires an Australian Svengali to fix his campaign? Or touts a public endorsement from an ex-hockey player and de-facto American who can’t even vote thanks to his political hero’s changes to the rules?
This week, Harper tried to enlist the Terry Fox Foundation in his crusade:
And can anyone believe the transparent, cynical and deplorable attempt by Steve the Marketer to use Terry Fox as a campaign prop? Harper’s wife Laureen and Industry Minister James Moore announced that a Harper government would match Canadian donations up to $35 million for the annual Terry Fox run.
Moore, who had enough sense not to re-offer (but not enough to keep his mouth shut), made it up as he went along, declaring that the plan had the support of the Fox family. Pure Pravda.
God love Terry’s deceased mother, who for decades maintained the purity of his work by not accepting any private or political sponsorships. Despite Moore’s hot air, the Fox family made clear that they had not enthusiastically endorsed the Conservative party’s attempt to use Terry Fox as electoral bait. In fact, the family never knew about the matching pledge caper until James and the other Great One’s Missus dropped the bomb.
But here’s the thing. After the family registered its displeasure over this classless opportunism, Stephen Harper doggedly insisted that he was asked to set up the $35 million matching plan. In other words, it was the family that had it wrong.
Harper has made a career of telling whoppers. But they're catching up with him. This week he claimed that cancelling the F-35 would "crater" the Canadian aerospace industry -- a claim that an official at the Pentagon immediately denied. It was a new twist on the fabrications Harper has told about the flying elephant:
The best the Conservative leader could do was to pass out the same baloney sandwiches he slapped together years ago. There’s only one problem. Both the former parliamentary budget officer, Kevin Page, and current Auditor General Michael Ferguson outed Harper on the real costs of controversial jet as a matter of public record. This is not staying on message — this is putting your hand in the blender and expecting a manicure.
Mr. Harper may claim that Muslim women are trying to hide behind niqabs. The truth is that he is desperately trying to hide behind one.