If you caught CBC's Power and Politics yesterday, you witnessed maybe the harshest exchange between MP's I can remember. The NDP's Pat Martin is known for overblown rhetoric and hyperbole, but even by his standards, the exchange with Con MP Candace Hoeppner was downright nasty. Here is the segment, only because beneath the acrimony and vitrol, lies a very salient point:
Wowsers. Now, it is fair to say Martin over-reacted, engaged in behavior unbecoming of a Parliamentarian, over the top, unseemly, all valid observations. However, it is also true that Hoeppner, or more broadly the Conservative defence,is entirely inexcusable and deserving of outright scorn-maybe not in this way, but an amount of frustration and anger entirely justified.
The Conservatives keep making BASELESS ACCUSATIONS towards the other parties, the "everybody does it" defence. That is a serious accusation, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it suggests Elections Canada is biased, turning a blind eye to illegal behaviour by the NDP, Bloc and Liberals, while unfairly singling out the poor Conservatives. If true, then we need an investigation, because the organization we rely on to provide fairness, the underpinning of our democratic system, is acting with malice towards one party, while allowing others to engage in illegal activity? Can this suggestion be any more serious or worrisome if true? If "everybody does it" as the Conservatives argue, then we should all have grave concerns about Elections Canada, this government should be demanding an INQUIRY, the very integrity of the next election at stake. If you believe the Conservatives, Elections Canada are favouring certain political parties, handicapping others, directly interjecting themselves into our democratic choice.
In addition, the "everybody does it" argument offends other parties who ACTUALLY didn't do the same thing. If I am a member of the NDP and I'm being accused of illegal activity, I suppose I might react with a certain indignation at the suggestion. Assuming we can rely on Elections Canada, to make wild accusations that have no apparent basis in fact, an inexcusable line of argument. NO, Elections Canada found the Conservatives engaged in a SCAM, they didn't find the same SCAM used by "everybody".
These Conservative defences are getting tiresome and offensive. If I'm caught stealing, cheating, do I get to accuse my neighbour of doing the same without recourse? If my neighbour tells me I'm full of shit, I should be ashamed of myself, does he/she have that right? "Everbody" didn't engage in this scam, "everybody" didn't take taxpayer money, "everybody" didn't have a 1.5 million dollar advantage that probably won them some seats. The Conservatives insult Elections Canada, they insult other parties, they insult we the taxpayers, they insult our democratic rules. We should all be angry...