Saturday, 25 February 2012

Harper's dirty tricks squad


When I went to journalism school back in the 1970s, I met a lot of people who were there because of Watergate.

My second year, the film All the President's Men came out, and the theatres were packed with J students who then piled into Oliver's Pub to talk about the heroic efforts of Woodward and Bernstein.

I went to see John Dean spill. I attended a packed lecture by Carl Bernstein.

It was almost romantic. Journos were the white knights and dastardly politicians wore the black hats.

In the United States.

None of us could conceive of a Watergate style scandal like that in Canada. Certainly, we've had the Sponsorship Scandal but it was about money, not about power. And it was in Quebec, not the rest of Canada where we often view our politicians as flawed but not dirty.

It's now looking like we might have our first-ever dirty tricks caper in Canada. According to Elections Canada and Postmedia reports, at least 18 closely fought ridings were targeted by robotic calls sending voters on a ruse to the wrong polls. It has also been revealed that many more voters were pranked and punked by live callers whose aim was to discredit the local Liberal candidates.

This isn't good old fashioned goofing on the campaign trail.

It's fraudulent, criminal activity aimed at rigging the election last May to give Stephen Harper his long dreamed majority.

Did he know about it?

Come, Steve, give is the tapes. Surely you have 'em.

I suspect he was unaware of this activity, on purpose. Seasoned politicians all know how to create an arms' length relationship with dirty tricksters.

Doesn't matter in this case.

There have been several scandals before and after the last election involving Conservative ops. The RCMP are regular visitors to Tory campaign central.

This is probably the tip of the iceberg.

Like Paul Martin, Stephen Harper is bound to be wearing this scandal like a prized Senators' jersey.

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