Archive for category Robocalls

Conservative Grass Roots Rising in Canada

Last week Harpers’s former Communications Director Geoff Norquay made some stunning comments on how the Fair Elections Act was an act of vengeance on Elections Canada for charges that were laid against two conservative MP’s for the “in and out” scandal.

A lot of people took Norquay’s comments stemming from cynicism of a Conservative party supporter. Norquay is a political communications expert, and I’ve had a hard time believing that his comments last week weren’t anything other than deliberate to possibly insight rage within the grass roots of the party. A week later and all of a sudden, the Conservative wing of the Senate has big issues with this bill suggesting several amendments, and Conservative MPs are getting an earful from their constituents.

One of the main reasons why Harper was elected leader of the party and then Prime Minister, was to bring in accountability into Government. The fair elections act looks to most as inside baseball and political positioning, rather than actually bringing in accountability to the democratic process. This past weekend Conservative MP Rob Sanders lost his riding nomination in Calgary to former Alberta MLA Ron Liepert. Anders had a lot of controversy behind him, from sleeping on the job, to calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist. Conservative cabinet Minister Jason Kenny threw his support behind Anders endorsing his nomination. Liepert stated:

“The motivating factor was wanting changed representation.”

“It may be some people who have been life-long Conservatives who couldn’t stand to vote for Rob Anders one more time.”

So let me get this straight. Lifelong conservatives have been unhappy with Anders’ representation and conduct. The message Liepert decided to send to the leadership of his party, was to stay out of riding nominations:

“People do not like to be told how to vote. And that’s what the attempt was, and I think it’s inappropriate for a senior cabinet minister.”

Question is; why would Kenny be supporting Anders at all at this point for a government that was supported by the grass roots on accountability, knowing problems Anders has had in the past even staying awake on the job, let alone the controversy surrounding him.

Move on to this week, and we have yet another problem with accountability in the Conservative party regarding the Wright/Duffy affair. The RCMP has completed its investigation into Nigel Wright and will not be laying charges. To many Canadians the prospect of brown bagging money to cover up political misdeeds and getting away with it, is something I don’t think any party could see as good news on the optics of accountability, law and legislation. The Wright Duffy affair from what I’ve read over the past few months is also something the Conservative base wants the Government to get to the bottom of.

Yesterday on CBC’s Power and Politics Norquay was back on as a panelist, and sated the following with respect to Harpers involvement in the Wright/Duffy affair:

“You know what? At the end of the day, to be blunt about it, given that there are gonna be no charges, who cares? It really doesn’t matter. I think–it doesn’t really matter what he knew. The Prime Minister said from the beginning he did not know about this. That is guaranteed, and so it really, really doesn’t matter.”

The RCMP evidence points in the direction that Harper did know what was going on here in e-mail from Wright awaiting direct authorization of payment to Duffy from Harper. What is guaranteed is that it is widely expected that Wright will fall on his own sword for Harper since that is part of the job description of a PMO Chief of Staff. Canadians will most likely not know if Harper was directly involved, unless Wright breaks the ranks and starts talking. Either way this ends up, it doesn’t end well for the Conservatives on the accountability issue their base seems to be planting the seeds for the next election.

Leadership interfering with a party nomination in which an MP has been acting like a complete twit; changing the laws to avoid accountability on investigations such and the “in and out” scheme and avoiding accountability on “robocalls”, plus Wright being exonerated by the RCMP; it’s hard not to see how the grass roots are becoming more vocal and fed up with Harpers Conservatives. If the Conservatives win the next election, I think it’s a safe bet that a vote for Harper will be a vote for an appointed Prime Minister that has yet to be named, shortly after an election win.


Twitter: @jkoblovsky

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Will Moby Dick Survive The Onslaught of Canadian Politics


There’s an old tail once told in English literature that was written by Herman Melville in 1851 about an old sea captain called Ahab that goes nuts hunting down a whale (Moby Dick) that took his leg. In the end Captain Ahab became so consumed with “vengeance” that he became careless which cost him his life. Over the past few days a clearer picture is starting to emerge on the reasoning behind the fair elections act put forth by Government.

Another tale of political “vengeance” has surfaced in the Hill Times with Conservative MP Jay Aspin suggesting that the severing of Elections Canada investigative branch was in response to leaks the agency provided the media on the robocalls investigation. Couple that with the comments from Harper’s former Communications advisor Geoff Norquay on the CBC regarding the Conservative party taking “vengeance” on the Chief Electoral officer with the fair elections act due the “in and out” scheme; the tails of Moby Dick come to mind.

The Conservatives with their spears in hand on our electoral process seem to be heading towards a leadership crisis internally. We have MP’s and former Conservative advisers all painting the picture of Harper acting like Captain Ahab, which seems to be super bad for the party image. It strongly suggests to me there are a lot of very angry people in the Conservative party right now at their leadership, or their just not cognizant of the damage there are causing due to the blindness of vengeance on being held accountable by Elections Canada. Considering Norquay commented on this who’s expertise are in communications, I would have to believe a lot of people see problems with having Ahab at the helm.

Stripping Elections Canada’s ability to investigate independently, most experts on electoral reform and almost everyone outside of the Conservative whip believe would be a grave mistake, and put our democratic rights at risk. This may also put us in a constitutional crisis 18 months before an election. On the other hand, some Conservatives may face possible criminal charges if the Elections Canada gets more powers to investigate due to the robocalls scandal which the government has been stonewalling election officials on for months. This looks like a lose/lose situation to me. This has effectively backed the party up into a corner, with Captain Ahab at the helm and significant problems remaining with all parties not following the rules, to which will most likely not be fixed by the Conservatives who are currently under investigation.

With a two week break coming up after this week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a good old Canadian proroguing, because that’s about the only option Harper has here to reset the slate, and save face not just on political capitol, but with internal divisions in his own party on this issue. As Conservative MP’s hear from their constituents over the next few weeks, those divisions could end up being a lot more visible, and a lot more deeper when Parliament resumes on the issue of electoral reform.


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