There is an interesting tension underneath the robocall story, the debate about resonance, "legs", staying power, inside, outside, how much impact this scandal is truly having with the general public. Everyone will look to the next batch of polls to denote the impact, others already pointing to specific avenues of public expression, we will seek concrete reassurance to confirm what our sensibilities tell us. One caveat, as Kinsella shrewdly points out, rash judgements may not fit this particular scandal model, "tarnish" may be hard to ascertain short term.
I keep hearing the "trains on time" argument, all we care about is the economy and competence, this scandal, like many others, will simply fade as a vote motivator. I understand the logic in a certain sense, but I also see it a bit too simplistic and one dimensional in verdict. This scandal is simple at the heart, not some complicated scheme in the sense that it boils down to fairness and CHEATING. Nobody likes a cheater, when we watch a sport we leap out of our chair at a dive, when somebody butts in on a lineup we furrow our brows, tsk, tsk. The notion of fairness manifests itself everywhere, in our lives we confront it everyday, this isn't some abstract concept or complicated undertaking, it's a very elementary belief system.
If I care about the economy, it doesn't mean I absolve usurping my democratic right, it doesn't mean I condone people cheating to win an election. Whether or not the Harper government won handily anyways is utterly irrelevant, and I suspect people comprehend this fact. What matters isn't the overall outcome, but the attempt to influence any outcome using voter suppression, taking away that singular right we all have, attempting to nullify the core tenet of a democracy. To argue this issue doesn't matter is to say Canadians don't care about their individual rights, their system, the idea that we compete fairly and ethically. To date, the only people I see condoning the alleged behaviour are hopeless conbots and their media water carriers, the reality based community is largely aghast. Again, a simple digestion, people may have CHEATED during this election, people may have attempted to OBSTRUCT your democratic expression, people may have tried to STEAL an election.
This the most serious election related issue Canada has ever faced, there is no precedent for any of these allegations, it will force a re-examination of our political process. Much of the debate now is how much will stick, can the Conservatives maintain separation, can the stench be isolated down the chain, that will be important moving forward. However, admissions are already acknowledged, which means certain Conservatives have done things untoward, everyone admits CHEATING has taken place, the "who" still in question, the WHAT firm and no in dispute.
Conservatives CHEATED during the 2011 election, rogue, organized, isolated, pervasive, systematic, amateurish, whatever, Canadians merely see that one word and that it ties to a certain partisan expression. Nobody likes a cheater, simple as that...
What I find even more unpalatable then despising a cheater is the bombastic outrage of denial followed by ravings of "but, but the other guy!" a cheater may employ when confronted with charges of wrong doing. Prime Minister Harper would serve himself well by displaying even a smidgen of humbleness when dealing with this issue, but I am thrilled that he is apparently incapable of doing so. Carry on, Sir.
Steve, I agree that this is going to have legs and impact on more than just the next election - Canadians do have integrity at their core.
I hope you are right, but then Harper showed way back in the Grewal fraud how he would act whenever CPC hands were found to act in a criminal manner and then the fraud was exposed, he blamed that all powerful Liberal war Room and Liberal media for creating it all, no CPCer had done anything wrong. Well, we know that was bogus, that Harper at best covered up after the fact the identity or identities of who edited the recordings, not to mention somehow missed hearing obvious edit points that were immediately jumped on from all quarters when the recordings were released with his personal guarantee of them being complete uncut and unedited. I made such a stink for so long afterwards precisely because of what it revealed about Harper's willingness to embrace any and all means to destroy an enemy including fraud, and his willingness to cover it up instead of show any accountability, and that if he would do that in Opposition as PM he would be far worse positioned for such. Well, here we are and that point has certainly been proven given this current election cheating scandal we are seeing unfold.
You are quite correct at how easy this one is to see, and what is really disturbing for many I suspect is how heavy handed and blatant elements of this cheat were. One might be willing to excuse pretending to be members of another party to annoy them and sap their will (I wouldn't but some might) but to deliberately misdirect people to fraudulent polling sites by claiming to be Elections Canada, well that is really impossible to brush off as anything other than what it is, blatant cheating and corruption of the process we use to select government and transfer it's power and legitimacy. Many people accepted the last outcome not because they are so in love with Harper and the CPC but because we trusted the integrity of the system and that he got it "fair and square" and that there would be other elections where he could be defeated. That belief though is part of what is attacked by this scandal, and many people that don't vote still need to be able to trust the system is fair and reasonably honest to accept the actions of the government it creates.
So yes, I agree that this is very easy, my concern is though the level of voter/citizen apathy has been so high that it may be too late for even something this serious and obvious to make much difference. I hope and pray I am wrong about this, but watching the last decade and especially the past six years does not leave me feeling all that hopeful in this regard. These days it is easier on my health to assume the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to expect better from my fellow citizens and instead repeatedly be crushed.
A simple point. If the only thing Canadian voters cared about was the "trains on time" stuff (economy, competence, etc) then Paul Martin would still be prime minister right now.
Obviously Adscam meant something or else Harper would never have progressed beyond leader of the opposition.
Canadians care quite a bit when their governments become corrupt, arrogant and riddled with scandal.
A much as I thought Harper was going to ride this out, I'm beginning to see the general public is indeed taking notice of the 'robocall' issue, and I'll guess that's helped in large part to the media driving it. Vikileaks hit a nerve too, and the right is equally upset about bill C-30. Likewise the cuts to OAS have the potential to undercut many of Harper's supporters too.
It now appears the Harper Government©® is resembling the Mulroney administration circa 1990; or the Trudeau government circa 1983. They have over 3 years to correct the situation, but likewise this 'Robocall' scandal (with 30000+ complaints before EC) is likely to last as long (or longer) in the courts.
I now agree with Warren Kinsella's observations on this; "...could be 31,000 cases, or it could be 31. Any way you slice it, your team is well and truly fucked."
I mentioned that fact to Nichols, and he said it was incompetence, not the scandal. That's a tough one, considering all the polls showed Libs fine on economic management, it was ethics that killed them. Harper came to power based on scandals, that seems to me an ethical fact and the plummet in the polls with the RCMP revelation serves as proof positive.
You know, the Leafs just fired their coach and the last straw was when the home crowd would not stop shouting "Fi-re Wil-son" over and over.
Perhaps a round of "CHEATERS!" greeting every CPC MP who rise to lie about this would be appropriate. That's unparliamentary of course, so we need something more imaginative.
Cheater gate, robo scam, there are plenty of nice sound bites to toss about "liberally".
And we need a visual. How about a photoshopped "dogs playing poker" with Del Maestro slipping the ace to Harper?
This does seem to have traction but with a politically disengaged electorate, an ineffective opposition and the next election years off Harper has decent odds of riding it out.
Somewhere there's a potter's field packed full of scandals Harper has buried quite successfully. That said, he can't defy gravity forever. This could be the tipping point for Harper and the public but it's got a long way to go.
I think the way to look at this scandal, every government has a "shelf life" and this has the capacity to move up the best before date.
Look at this article by Jim Harries @ WWW.hiffingtonpost.ca titled Harper Conquers Canada one Robocall at a time. just posting one paragraph of this story.
The widening "robocall scandal" is deeply disturbing -- as is its media coverage.
The language we use to describe a situation, the words that a journalist uses in their coverage of an issue, literally frame the issue and how we think about it.
This isn't a story about "dirty tricks," it's about election fraud. This isn't "stupid," it's illegal. This isn't "folly," it was a deliberate, systematic, strategic, targeted campaign to steal the election. This isn't "voter suppression," it's stealing democracy.
We should not treat this as some petty misdemeanor. This is a grave threat to our very basic freedom. This is a threat to our democracy. This is corruption.
Great thread Steve and excellent responses.
This story has been to big to contain, but people should be under no illusions that there still are media headwinds, I've been amazed to see how many people are downplaying. This aspect is something to be quite weary of moving forward, because if not for the snowballing element to this story, it very well could have been "contained" by the water carrier crowd.
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