Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There's a Scent in the Air

Anybody else scenting the delicious aroma of, well, giant hack?

Seems to be coming from over here.

Yep, when faced with a controversy between the Conservative Party of Canada and Elections Canada, an unbiased election body that's probably the single thing that America most needs to copy from the poutine-and-back-bacon crowd, who is she betting on?

The CPC.

Look, I know you have a big stake in Harper's continued success, because you'd rather chew glass than have Stephane Dion as the Prime Minister. I know the spectacle of Steve-o and his crew getting caught up in a scandal arguably as bad as the Liberal one you've been riding for years is a disaster scenario. And I know you want to say that if Harper and his minions get a majority then they'll change the government enormously.

But seriously:

Over the past decade, Elections Canada has gone from election watchdog to arbiter of Canada's democratic life, taking on a more central role in every aspect of federal electoral politics, including the leadership campaigns of the various parties. It has never been easier for a politician to run afoul of its regulations.

But in this affair, its moral authority is on the line.

By calling in the RCMP to assist them in executing a warrant against the governing party, election officials had to know that they were hanging the Conservatives out to dry, creating a perception of guilt that will not be easily dissipated and a sense of wrongdoing that may yet not live up to the facts.

Having forced his way into the filing cabinets of the governing party, elections commissioner William Corbett has now staked his credibility on building an airtight case.

Not only is this piece flagrant goalpost-moving that would give Sully pause in his Bush-loving heyday, but it shows that you actually agree with the contention that the scandal is somehow a little legal conflict between "Elections Canada" and "The Tories", instead of what it actually is: an investigation of election cheating.

And there's more.

But that's not even necessarily the worst-case scenario. Should the Conservatives take a hit at the ballot box on account of this affair and it then turns out that Elections Canada was not able to make a winning case against them, the episode would leave an indelible black mark on the agency's reputation.
This is like saying that the police shouldn't execute search warrants because they might not be able to make a case. Wait, no. That is exactly what she's saying.

And as for the moral aspect of Harper being caught cheating, but getting out on a technicality and an unbiased regulatory body receiving a "black mark", and what that would mean for democracy in both Canada and abroad? Or even the slightest word about the ethical implications of the subject of the investigation? Not a blessed word. That might mean the Liberals win a few seats in Quebec!


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