Meh…

Count me amongst the 54% of Canadians who, according to a recent poll, rather cynically believe that the so-called “robocall scandal” is just “politics as usual” and therefore nothing terribly exceptional to be all that bothered about. Certainly nothing warranting an outraged, pant-bunching reaction such as that demonstrated on left-wing blogs for weeks now, let alone cause for actually marching in the streets…

Of course, that isn’t to say that such fraudulent electoral tactics should be condoned or go unpunished, but as Margaret Wente pointed out last week, “this fraud seems to have been engineered by the Keystone Kops.” And as, historian Michael Bliss observed, “From the point of view of anybody concerned about our political system, it’s a non-scandal.”

With regards to the parting comment of GlobalTV’s Tom Clark, not to suggest that they can’t walk and angrily gnash their teeth at the same time, but perhaps the frustrated Harper-haters’ time and attention would be better spent concentrating on the Conservative government’s “revolutionary” plans that we’re told are about to soon unfold…

54 Comments

Filed under Canadian Politics, Conservative Party of Canada, HARPER Government of Canada

54 responses to “Meh…

  1. Brent Fullard

    Meh?
    Margaret Wente as your moral compass?
    LOL
    I would suggest that instead of relying on polls or lame pundits to form your own view, how about going to the “source documents” first, as in these two robocall tapes:

    http://caiti-online.blogspot.com/2012/03/which-robocall-constitutes-fraudulent.html

  2. John

    This is actually one time I disagree with you, Red.

    The watergate break-in was planned, executed, and covered up in a keystone cop fashion as well. Yet it was still an egregious assault on the constitutional underpinnings of a civilized society.

    Most banana republics operate on clumsy operations either, but they still shackle people. In some cases they turn into exceptional killing regimes as well.

    I just think you’re buying into a dangerous mindset if you begin to go down the path of dismissing each chip at the rule of law as “politics as usual.”

    Besides, if its no big deal, an open inquiry will reveal that, will it not? Isn’t the what accountability is all about?

  3. John: I get your point re the comparison to Watergate in certain respects, but I’m reluctant to make the quantum leap to this most probably minor issue being an incipient forerunner of Canada becoming a Banana Republic or some sort of “killing regime” fraught with death squads and the like…

    My position on this “scandal” from the outset has been to let the investigation run its course through the proper authorities and then determine the extent of its seriousness based on the facts of the matter and sort things out accordingly – you know, prosecute the offenders under the law, etc., Kind of boring and methodical, to be sure, but hey, that’s the Canadian way!

    I think what’s getting under my skin is to see to much wild speculation and attention devoted to this possibly trivial matter (especially by “liberal” bloggers) that it’s taking everyone’s eye off the ball with respect to more far significant issues such as the supposedly radical budget proposals that will soon be coming down, secretive negotiations with the EU on a free trade pact, North American Security Perimeter discussions that are likewise being negotiated behind closed doors… all of which could have serious ramifications in the future.

  4. Well.

    Here’s a dyed-in-the-wool, card carrying, Conservative donating guy who also disagrees, sorta…

    I think the issue will fade, like many other “fiascos”.. but I think it’s important enough that some greater effort should be taken by the Government to get to the bottom of it – if need be, by inquiry – and if there are people found to have engaged in making knowingly false statements to subvert the democratic process, they should be made an example of.

    Too many people think so poorly of politics that they dont’ even pay attention anymore.. and it’s too important to allow, bit by bit, the democratic process to end up being the playground of the wealthy and special interest groups.

    It is a big deal if someone is using phone calls to pretend they are from another party or from Elections Canada.. it’s called “personation” – and it’s a criminal offense.

    Personation with intent

    403. Every one who fraudulently personates any person, living or dead,
    (a) with intent to gain advantage for himself or another person ,
    (b) with intent to obtain any property or an interest in any property, or
    (c) with intent to cause disadvantage to the person whom he personates or another person,
    is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 403; 1994, c. 44, s. 27.

  5. Brent: First of all, I don’t think that I ever claimed that Margaret Wente was my “moral compass” (she just happened to make a good point that the trickery in question appears to have been pretty hapless in nature — at least in terms of its effect).

    Second, while your comparative presentation was very cute, I’m not sure what the point is… That there are “robocalls” and there are fraudulent “robocalls”? Well, duh! Thanks for pointing out the blindingly obvious.

  6. billg

    I think what your forgetting John, is, that this will be investigated, and, the speculation as to what happened and how it happened and who did it is sucking so much air out of the room the important issues are being placed on the back pages. Banana republics? Shackles? Killing Regimes?
    I think you just proved RT’s point.

  7. Part of the problem is how much we trust that Elections Canada will truly get to the bottom of this affair. By hyperventilating over it, this issue is staying front and center and is helping (I hope) to keep the authorities focused on solving it.

    I would much rather that we wait until an investigation has concluded and charges laid if required, but it appears that part of our system is broken. I would be much more comfortable if a full scale public inquiry were launched as this is still a serious affair. So I’m fence sitting this one until I can get a better handle on how serious an investigation is being conducted.

  8. RT:

    If I had faith in the system to do a real investigation I would, but given the actions of the Harper government since first coming to power to replace as much of the independent system with its own loyalists I have to say trusting the system does not come so easily anymore. Watching how EC acted on the In and Out scandal as well as their initial reactions to this one also do not fill me with confidence either.

    Also, whether this is truly on a par with Watergate or not it is clearly a deliberate concerted nationwide attack on our voting process/system with a specific aim to alter the outcome. THAT is a big deal in my books whomever is responsible regardless of whether they are keystone cops or 007 in their quality of operations. While I do not subscribe to some of the more extreme reactions I have seen on this one to date I also find the attitude of dismissing this as just more of the same old thing equally offensive and out of line. Sorry Red, , I understand your weariness and cynicism being a default for you these days, but this is not something that deserves that level of dismissal in my view.

    Indeed, I would suggest that this may be a corrupted election and therefore a truly illegitimate government we have in place, something I would never have believed would happen here when I was a younger and more idealistic person who still believed that the good in human nature wins in the end. Age has cost me that watching time and again those without less than good intentions win in the end if only by running out the clock and the people that should care more becoming more and more distractible losing interest. It horrifies me that me, someone with severe ADHD, has a better concentration span than most of the public these days.

  9. Rob: How about we let the facts emerge through investigation via the proper channels and in the meantime everyone just keep their powder dry, okay? That’s really all I’m suggesting and have been since the outset of this “scandal”… And yes, it is a serious offence under the law, as you’ve expertly pointed out.

    If this “fiasco” however compels party activists and campaign managers to chasten their supporters about the importance of operating above-board (as Preston Manning sagely advised the other day) well then perhaps it’s all been for the better.

    As for too many people thinking poorly of politics, they have every right to that opinion based on the feckless, asinine buffoonery of their elected officials in many instances. Why on earth should they pay attention to complete nonsense? Bottom line is that most ordinary people, quite reasonably, just want to see the infrastructure and government services that they’ve paid for with their hard-earned taxes running efficiently and delivering effectively whenever they need to access them. Doesn’t seem like so much to ask, does it?

  10. Catelli: Perhaps I’m utterly naïve, but I have the utmost faith in the folks at Elections Canada (“EC”) to get to the bottom of this and uncover the facts of the mater. As far as I know EC isn’t beholden to anyone and is non-partisan – which, ideally, is how ALL of our civil service should operate.

    Obviously, the furor over the issue will attach more urgency to the EC’s investigation than might otherwise have been the case, but I think that impetus has already served its purpose… Street marches aren’t likely going to hurry them along in their endevours now.

  11. Brent Fullard

    Red Tory said: “That there are “robocalls” and there are fraudulent “robocalls”? Well, duh! Thanks for pointing out the blindingly obvious.”

    Glad to see that you comprehend the difference. Do you want to tell Margaret Wente and countless other equally lame clowns in the media or shall I?

    Meanwhile your thesis that persons impersonating Elections Canada officials and making calls to selected voters in the hopes of sending them to bogus polling stations is worthy of a “meh”?

    You did listen to the taped robocall conversation that I linked did you not? If not:

    http://caiti-online.blogspot.com/2012/03/which-robocall-constitutes-fraudulent.html

  12. Scotian: With all due respect, we don’t have the facts at present, so it seems a little premature to be stating that “it is clearly a deliberate concerted nationwide attack on our voting process/system, etc.” And while you may not subscribe to some of the more extreme reactions out there, I’d say that suggesting the election as whole was “corrupted” by this robocall activity and the Harper government is therefore “illegitimate” as a result is kind of… you know, extreme.

    Yes, I may well be weary and cynical (or a “boring old fart” as dunderheads like Big City Liberal would have it), but over time I’ve also come to appreciate that recklessly charging off half-cocked doesn’t usually wind up in a positive outcome.

  13. Brent: Cool your jets, man. I’m saying it’s “Meh” in exactly the same way that I do when people get shot or stabbed in my neighbourhood (which happens not infrequently, btw). After a while, you get inured to the sight of nearby houses being roped off with crime scene tape. Yes, shit happens… there are bad people doing bad things all the time. Gee, what a shocker! That said, they should be tracked down, arrested and prosecuted – and if found guilty, then suitably punished. Am I missing something from the basic “Law and Order” formula here?

    Personally, I don’t like robocalls of any kind, but being a reasonably sentient human being, of course, I can tell the difference between a “legitimate” bullshit-filled annoyance paid for by X-Party and a bogus misdirection that any half-wit qualified to vote should have recognized as being patently fake.

  14. Am I missing something from the basic “Law and Order” formula here?

    Yeah, you are. There’s an ocean of difference between a crack head stabbing a buddy for a tenner and attempts at electoral fraud. Political justice doesn’t, and can’t, stop at the court. If the only thing stopping parties from cheating their way to power is getting caught then we’re fucked.

    The real disincentive to electoral fraud is the complete routing of a political entity.When people, yourself included, just don’t give a damn and give into bullshit talk about the Ottawa bubble or begin putting quotation marks around “scandal” and “fiasco”, the strength of our institutions is undermined.

    Interesting to see you call for more attention to be paid to important matters like the budget when the exact same sort of apathy you’re demonstrating here has made the actual mechanics of parliament completely ineffective.

  15. Brent Fullard

    First it’s “meh”. Now “it’s cool your jets”. My ONLY point is that the “source documents” (in this case the offending tapes) need to be listened to before judgement is cast. Have you done so yet? Unfortunately few in the media have bothered to do so. Upon listening to this tape any law abiding citizen should be offended. Whether you would have fallen victim to this scam is totally irrelevant. There are people in our society (eg the elderly) who are prone to fall victim to such acts of fraud and in fact these criminals (we are told) indeed targeted the more vulnerable demographic segments to enhance the efficacy of their fraud. Meanwhile this is (yet to be proven) an election tactic aimed at the elderly that is employed by a government running ads on TV warning against elderly abuse. Harper’s hypocrisy runneth over.

    That may be “meh” to you, Margaret Wente and 54% of Canadians in some poll ( the likely purpose of which is to put Canadians asleep with group apathy) but it will never meet the standards that I have for fair elections and ethical conduct.

  16. jkg

    Apologies, in advance, Red, but I have been thinking about this a bit.

    In matters of governance, Harper’s ministry has been rather embarrassing (if not appalling at times), but their unseriousness does not necessarily mean they never had an agenda. If the watermark for egregious assaults on democracy as postulated by the CPC when they were in opposition during Adscam was of any merit, the robocalls should be front and center. If I recall correctly, the PR stunts behind the frustration for Adscam were just as theatrical and kabuki like despite the actual result of the investigation.

    However, robocalls have not achieved Adscam levels of indignation simply because Harper’s ministry has adopted the same nihilistic and cynical politicking as his predecessors with exception that Paul Martin was foolish enough to do a “mad as hell” tour thereby giving his opposition the backhoe, dump truck, and mountain of soil to bury him. Harper tested this cynicism early in his mandate. The reversal of income trusts by the CPC, the ironic spectre that finally sunk Paul Martin when the RCMP investigated the “leak,” had very little political fallout even though it eviscerated the multitude of savings for the old demographic only to enter the worst recession since the thirties. Those two combined factors should have at least weakened the inertia of Harper’s ministry.

    It didn’t because confidence in governance are secondary to emotional, self-interested appeals. The former required a discussion in the abstract, so when those issues were raised hyperbolically (hello NDP!), it resulted in nothing more than dismissive hand-waving by pundits, neoconservatives and the supposed, independent, critical bloggers who just conveniently are left-libertarian. The amount of pixels wasted on finger-wagging for all the silly Hitler references within the Progressive blogosphere and armchair psychology using a puerile shibboleth ripped from a shameless Fox news pundit suddenly flew out the window when, on the jubilant eve of the elimination of the LGR, many of that same dismissive constituency thought it perfectly apt that an elected representative in the House asserted that past political opponents were just like Hitler. The only response was simply a combination of “well, they (including Hitler) did it too!”

    The scrambles to feign consistency were so transparent it was rather pitiful. Asking to turf Vic Toews due to his moronic comments and his bill totally missed the point: Raising the Liberal ghost was entirely political to consolidate their base with an emotionally driven carrot before introducing that unpalatable internet surveillance bill. It ceremoniously backfired. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the same legislation has been introduced and worked on in Parliament since 2009 when Toews was not even in the portfolio; Nicholson, in fact, was in full consultation with Rogers and other telecoms. Also, since that period, Harper’s ministry has been implementing far more serious instances of misguided policies that should have had the various forms of “principled neo-liberals” up in arms (one can only imagine the reaction those maverick entrepreneurial types would be if they found out the true scope of FINTRAC that has expanded since 2006.) This all went relatively unnoticed most likely due to the promise of abolishing the LGR. With a majority government, their rage got an unspecified promise for “changes” and a “pause” and that was with the similar, sympathetic criticism from the NDP and Progressives.

    Another factor why Robocalls are not taken as seriously is because Harper’s ministry has already politically positioned his organization as “facilitators” of a free economy such that abstract, forceful appeals to democracy ring hollow. They were effective during Adscam because it was perceived as a period of relative, prosperous recovery (which later turned out to be nothing more than a reflection of a bear market correction however), and that carry over inexplicably still has some mileage. As narrative though, it was generally seductive: A governing party in the midst of economic renaissance becomes arrogant and corrupt and poisons Parliament. Currently, those loud cries of democracy in despair seem, rightly or wrongly, disproportionate. Without a clear indication of what is the most damaging without taking into account “hitting closer to home,” it will simply allow criticisms of greater importance to be muddled.

    The other factor not to overlook during this “strong arm on the till” image is the help of various “belief tanks” whose influence was to create a space in which some their ideology could be accepted within public debate and discourse. There is no doubt that Harper’s ministry took advantage of this, but all this did was reinforce the political benefits of talking about economic stability within a neo-liberal context. These were never really high-minded: His previous platform were all a mix bag of income tax credits aimed at specific activities to demonstrate that Harper was far more concerned about immediate issues than whatever was going on in the Ottawa bubble. If they bent toward the arc of the ideological, all the better, but those elements were never necessary just sufficient to advance his political goals, which on close inspection, has been largely a variant species of technocratic management (normally, I do not read Adam Curtis, but I think you might like this . I never knew Thatcher went on live TV to back track on monetarist policy).

    Pundits like Wells (and in some respects, Coyne though Coyne has all of a sudden developed some concern about our Westminster system) have always tried to frame Harper’s moves as political in the sense that the changes desired by Harper were those that could not be undone by further governments. What is strange, according to them, is that it is precisely because they are political that they should be considered benign. I would think because there hasn’t been an alternative to the proposal that some sort of technocratic version of the free market should be central to government and society (and this includes also many Progressive think tanks as well), that the optimal solution for modern governments is to use technocratic management entirely for political ends as opposed to applying in some part to governance and policy would be something a little bit more than benign.

    .

  17. Interesting to see you call for more attention to be paid to important matters like the budget…

    …and a budget that appearances suggest will be wholly banal. That breathless Postmedia puff piece contains not a shred of evidence that the upcoming budget will be nearly as “revolutionary” as CPC flacks are claiming it will be. I read nothing in that welter of blistered hyperbole that rang of anything more authentic than the strained yelps of infomercial carny barkers. Every federal budget since 1867 has been “revolutionary”; strangely, successive Ministers of Finance have proven loath to proclaim that their fiscal confections are inert redundancies devoid of creativity or invention. Why a single Canadian would care about the yet-unseen provisions of a budget conceived by the same Punchinello who saw shaving a few percent off the GST as a fiscal masterstroke of Schacht-like proportions is beyond me. Rest assured that this budget will be precisely what its ancestors were–a lukewarm stew of stuttering half-measures and graceless curtsies to the status quo.

  18. harebell

    I would have agreed with your “everyone is at it” diagnoses except:
    1) Harper and Co entered made an election promise not to indulge in lieing, cheating and covering things up. They specifically promised open and transparent government and they lied.
    2) Robo-calls are not the same as robo-fraud.

    They set the bar by which they expected to be judged and they messed it up at the first hurdle which was income trusts, then came fixed election dates etc. They have failed miserably by their own standards and are nothing but a bunch of lieing crooks.

    If I have actually sounded hysterical or panty-bunched sorry.

  19. Shiner: If the only thing stopping parties from cheating their way to power is getting caught then we’re fucked.

    Silly me. I naively thought that getting caught was the first step in the process of enforcing the laws on the books preventing this sort of abuse. But perhaps you have a different view of how the process works…

    The real disincentive to electoral fraud is the complete routing of a political entity.

    So, it seems we’ve thrown the necessary predicate of “getting caught” overboard and gone straight to “complete routing of a political entity” in your view of how the law should be enforced. That is, if you feel the law has any applicability here – apparently, you seem to think that it’s just reserved for messy underworld situations like “a crack head stabbing a buddy for a tenner.” I happen to think it has wider application to things such as the violations of the electoral regulations cited by Rob in a previous comment.

    When people, yourself included, just don’t give a damn and give into bullshit talk about the Ottawa bubble or begin putting quotation marks around “scandal” and “fiasco”, the strength of our institutions is undermined.

    Well, I never said that I “just don’t give a damn” so please don’t misrepresent my words. I do however think that dirty tricks of one sort or another are absolutely nothing new to politics and in that respect I find it difficult to work up the amount of indignant shock and hysterical outrage that some others are expressing on the matter – hence, my somewhat facetious “Meh” reaction.

    As I’ve said (repeatedly), we should allow the EC investigation to get to the bottom of the matter, discover the facts and then react accordingly with prosecutions and fitting punishments for those involved, as necessary. On the other hand, we could, as you seem to be suggesting, just slag all that nonsense, grab our pitchforks and torches and engage in the “complete routing of a political entity” (whatever that means)…

    Interesting to see you call for more attention to be paid to important matters like the budget when the exact same sort of apathy you’re demonstrating here has made the actual mechanics of parliament completely ineffective.

    Sorry, but I think you’re missing the point. It’s not a question of “apathy” but more one of measured response to the issue as dictated by circumstance and a call to prioritize and focus attention on what I believe to be vastly more significant matters at hand. This robocall fracas has absolutely nothing to do with the “mechanics of parliament” and to suggest that my attitude is somehow contributing to make it “completely ineffective” is beyond absurd.

  20. Brent: So, aside from fuming with outrage, what exactly do you suggest be done at this point in time with respect to the “robocall scandal”? You know… before EC has a chance to complete its investigations into the matter. What do you want to see happen RIGHT NOW?

  21. Harebell: It would be entirely right to hold the Conservatives’ to account for their supposed vows not to engage in “lying, cheating and covering thing up” in the last election, but in order to do so, it first needs to be proven that they’ve done what has been alleged.

  22. SF: Yes, that was indeed a fairly vapid “puff-piece” by the Postmedia hack, however, there are presumably big things afoot being engineered by the Harper government on the budgetary front if they truly expect to meet their goals of achieving a balanced budget in time for the next election cycle. Plus, as I said, there are international trade agreements in the works (CETA, TPP) that will have significant domestic impacts…

    As for every federal budget since Confederation having been deemed as “revolutionary” I think that’s a bit of a stretch. Within my own lifetime and even in the past several years, I seem to recall more than a few that were of the tinkering, “steady as she goes” (alt. “stay the course”) variety.

    But I guess we’ll see soon enough what this one holds in store for Canadians in the coming year(s), won’t we?

  23. Brent Fullard

    Red Tory asks “what do I want to see now?”

    Well, some accurate reporting would be a good start (which is why understanding the source documents is so essential as the place to start, and yet so few have taken the time to do so), rather than everyone with a vested interest immediately adopting the Conservative’s blatantly obvious campaign of obfuscation, including the following textbook tactics embraced by so many:

    -argue that this is politics as usual (which itself is another insidious tactic aimed to alienate the voters and turn them off from politics at large and achieve voter suppression, except amongst the die hard)

    – attempt to portray oneself (the accused) as the victim

    – claim that the alleged crime resulted in no real change in votes, so how could there have been an offense? (which is the mindless equivalent of saying a theft is only a crime if the thief is successful, and that attempted theft is not punishable)

    – blame the victims, since some one would have to be really gullible to fall for such a voter suppression tactic, and therefore they and not the perpetrator are to blame

    – say that the LIberals did the same thing, by lumping all robocalls into one homogeneous category, and attempt to make robocalls the issue, rather than the obvious criminal intent and fraudulent content of some robocalls versus others that are issue based and totally innocuous and completely acceptable (as the link to the actual tapes provided below demonstrates:
    http://caiti-online.blogspot.com/2012/03/which-robocall-constitutes-fraudulent.html

    -(BTW: name one news organization that has these two tapes side by side for their viewers to listen to and form their own opinion).

    – argue that everything is in the capable hands of Elections Canada and that there are far more pressing issues that need to be dealt with (blah blah blah)

    -facile attempts by persons like Margaret Wente arguing that this type of blatant voter fraud should be sloughed off, and that worrying about this kind of thing is unCanadian, which was in the title of her fluff piece (and she would know, given she spent her formative years growing up in the States, the country where she was born), and as if I need some paid news hack to tell me what my Canadian values should be?

    -I could go on, but you would accuse me of “fuming”😉

  24. John

    What I find interesting a day – and several comments – later is that the basic response you gave me, Red, still falls short.

    I never said Canada was a banana republic, or that there would be killing fields outside Ottawa in the near future. What I suggested was that keystone cop assaults of the rule of law are still assaults on the rule of law and should not be dismissed with a “meh.”

    Yet your solution is that we should all just wait until the investigations are complete. Well, as the conservatives have proven quite adept to just “processing” all their egregious scandals away, including with Elections Canada, why would it be “meh-worthy” to put pressure on a thorough, open inquiry? I have no doubt the Conservatives will gladly delay, forestall, outright refuse to hand over documents to Elections Canada as this goes on, stretching it on and on until it can all be dismissed by “agreeing to disagree” years later and seconds before the Supreme Court takes up a critical juncture.

    The very reasons governments resist special inquiries are the very reason they should be demanded at times. I’d much rather be expressing my outrage in an attempt to make one happen than stand on the sidelines shaking my head and suggesting how “foolish” those people willing to press the issue are.

    To me, that’s the same thing as handing the keys of the kingdom over to those players more than willing to create a more corrupt and less just society.

    I can appreciate your opinion, but why you would allow yourself to spread Margaret Wente’s phlegm in this instance makes no sense to me.

  25. Red Tory:

    Two quick points (as I have to head out very soon). First off I have not just voted in every federal election since I became eligible but I also have worked in almost every one too, usually as a vote counter as well as a driver for various campaigns to get out the vote, I prefer to take those jobs which help either get people to the polls or in terms of helping keep the process open, accountable and honest rather than partisan positions within campaigns (since I have no party/brand loyalty I’ve done this from within PCPC, Lib, and NDP campaigns) now for well over a quarter century, and I tell you now this is anything but “politics as usual”. Remember Red, I’ve always been far more about the process than the policy/ideology, and in no small part because of that I have put in my time actually working in the system thanks to that interest I know that what we are seeing unfold here is anything but typical “politics as usual” in our political culture and story, and I live in what has traditionally been the most corrupt patronage ridden Province in Canadian history, so I am more than familiar with our history that way.

    Secondly, I have said I have seen enough to say that this is a corrupted election, that there was clear a nationwide attempt to commit election fraud (it matters not how successful it is or not, what matters is that the attempt was even made regardless of who benefits) in the last election cycle and because we have seen that this is a corrupted process which in turn creates a corrupted result/Parliament. I’m not saying I know who did it, which campaign was responsible etc, I am saying only that there is clearly enough evidence out there that there was a concerted nationwide attempt to misdirect voters (and it increasingly appears that this was targeting older voters at that) to nonexistent polls, deliberate misrepresentations as to identity both from EC and from supposed Party functionaries calling their own supporters at hours clearly intended to annoy as well as with demeanor that was clearly intended to be off-putting in multiple ridings across the nation. Worse Red, this was not just with robocalls, this was also live voice as well, something that I think gets lost in the shuffle at times, and this is clearly sufficient to have created a corrupted process and therefore by definition creates a corrupted result. That is the problem with election fraud Red, it taints everyone regardless of who is behind it because it taints the fundamental fairness, honesty and openness of the process by which we confer legitimacy upon a government. That to me rates more than a “meh” even at the early stages.

    I would also love to trust the system to take care of it, and prior to the Harper wholesale replacement of independent arms length offices and officers with his loyalist partisans I would be much more comfortable doing so, but given the Harper record on that front over the past six years I cannot be as trusting as you in the system’s integrity and honesty anymore. This was clearly a corrupted election Red, what remains is to find out how bad and if possible who was the orchestrating parties involved, and my faith in that happening (let alone in a timely enough matter to make any real difference) given all the other abuse of power scandals the Harperites have pulled off since the Grewal fraud does not leave me very optimistic.

  26. harebell

    “lying, cheating and covering thing up” in the last election, but in order to do so, it first needs to be proven that they’ve done what has been alleged.”
    Oda is a great example of the lieing. MacKay’s response to helicopter trips falls under that category too.
    “In and out” could be said to be cheating; Vic Toew’s language to stifle debate is a form of cheating fair debate as is the double standards about staffers being represented by their masters in committee.
    Covering things up, well there is plenty of evidence of suppressed reports, meetings being held in secret, the unprecedented use of closure etc.

    Oh they are guilty of everything I listed, it just a matter of how many other things they are guilty of as well.

  27. Sheesh!I had no idea that quoting Margaret Wente would attract such a deeply hostile reaction. I don’t that much about her, but judging from the comments made, apparently, she must be a truly reprehensible character!

  28. Brent: Yes, perhaps the media should have made a clearer distinction in their news reports between robocalls that are patently fraudulent and quite literally misleading and those that are acceptably misleading and deceitful within the normal ambit of political hyperbole; that is to say, peddling flagrant lies and what may at best be described as half-truths.

    As I suggested, there is a simple solution to the problem and that is to eradicate robocalls altogether.

  29. Brent Fullard

    Re: “Yes, perhaps the media should have made a clear distinction in their news reports between robocalls that are patently false and misleading and those that are acceptably misleading and deceitful within the normal ambit of political hyperbole and untruths.”

    And which two tapes would those be? No mention on your part about tapes with individuals falsely impersonating Elections Canada officials. Not sure whether that falls withing your definition of “false and misleading” or “misleading and deceitful”, when in fact such actions are defined as “criminal”.

    Re: “Sheesh!I had no idea that quoting Margaret Wente would attract such a deeply hostile reaction. I don’t that much about her, but judging from the comments made, apparently, she must be a truly reprehensible character!”

    Your words, not mine. A better description would be paid shill or stooge in residence at the Globe and Mail.

  30. Brent: Contrary to what seems to be your indelible impression, I am not a complete fucking idiot and am therefore actually capable of distinguishing between: A) a robocall pretending to be a message from Elections Canada misdirecting unwitting voters to a non-existent polling station; and B) a douchebag politician cynically fear-mongering with half-truths about his/her opponent as a means of spurring people to vote in an irrational fashion.

    The latter is simply contemptible whereas the former is, as you noted, criminal — and it should be prosecuted as such. I’ve never suggested otherwise.

  31. Brent Fullard

    I am not of the belief that you are an idiot. Never was. Glad we agree on the contemptible nature of the conduct that was perpetrated on voters in the last election, and the need to nail these criminals, and restore the integrity of our electoral system. As for politicians themselves, restoring integrity for them as a group, is probably a futile pursuit.

  32. Brent: I have never said that the fraud in question was anything other than despicable and criminal; and moreover, that it should be rooted out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    My only difference of opinion here seems to be with the way in which the matter is pursued. Well, that and the fact that it doesn’t surprise me in the least and fails to “outrage” me to the same degree as many other folks, it seems.

  33. Brent Fullard

    This impersonation of Elections Canada officials for nefarious reasons is no different than someone engaged in identity theft or mortgage fraud or some Ponzi schemer or con artist. Not sure where those crimes reside on your outrage meter, especially given that the most vulnerable members of society are their targets, just like robo-caller targeted (or so we are told).

  34. Well, as I said previously, when someone gets stubbed to death across the street, I’m not inclined to get “outraged” about it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t regard it as a crime that needs to be addressed. Would my pointless “outrage” in any way help to track down or convict the criminal?

  35. RT – I’d be happy to forget about the Robocalls and let Elections Canada do its work, while “paying attention to the Budget”, since I’m unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. However, I suggest that there is even less we can actually DO about the Budget than there is about continuing to rant about the robocalls.. After all the Budget will be passed regardless; we all know that.

    I too hope Elections Canada gets to the bottom of the robocalls that fraudulently attempted to send voters to the wrong polling stations. But for me, it doesn’t matter whether only elderly grey haired people, like myself, were fooled into going to the wrong place. (I might have been.) It’s the ATTEMPT to mislead, and to target Liberal supporters instead of all voters that needs to be dealt with.

    The fact that Robocalls were made by all parties is immaterial. I got some robocalls myself, from Ignatieff and Rae, since they had correctly targeted me as a supporter, preaching, as it were, to the converted. It was a drag to get the calls, which I didn’t listen to, but no attempt was made to pervert democracy.

    I insist on continuing to discuss this and rant about it, because I don’t WANT to let the matter slip from public attention, as if it was just another typical slimy political dirty trick.Too many eleigible voters are staying home on election day, out of disgust, as it is, and whether politicians of all stripes do this sort of thing or not, we need to stand on guard for the democratic process, regardless of whose party does these things. I applaud Brent, who as a Conservative, is as appalled as the rest of us. This issue transcends politics. It endangers the entire concept of democracy.

  36. Brent Fullard

    Your diagnosis of outrage is precisely that, your diagnosis and/or misdiagnosis. What outrage are you taking about? I suppose any comment opposing your position would qualify as outrage, when measured against your baseline of “meh”, which speaking of outrage is outrageous in its own right, given the apathy being espoused by such a comment. Try to keep focused on the issue at hand rather than the tenor that you are erroneously reading into other people’s comments.

  37. Brent: I don’t think I’m in any way misdiagnosing “outrage” from the ferocious, terrier-like tenacity of your comments, or indeed, your indignant, fulminating posts at CAITI on the matter. Likewise, with the protesters in various cities who feel compelled to take to the streets to demonstrate their… what should I call it? Oh yes, OUTRAGE!

    If, as you claim, I’m erroneously misreading the tenor involved, well then clearly I must have a tin ear. I suspect however that I’m not… In which case, it make me wonder why you would be so defensive about my use of the term. Unless, perhaps you just like to argue for the sake of it…


    .

  38. Brent Fullard

    Sadly Red Tory when persons such as yourself are unable to defend themselves against the substance of another persons argument they often revert to attacking the form of that persons argument. Hence your fixation on the “outrage” that you are projecting onto the reasoned comments made by others (and projected from far away places such as CAITI which you sadly cite to make your case for outrage). Indeed, quite sad. You should have stopped when you were ahead and I said I was glad that we agreed on the criminality of what has clearly occurred in certain of these robocals, but you were intent on wrestling your outrage theory to the ground. The outrage is yours, and yours alone.

  39. Penny: I suggest that there is even less we can actually DO about the Budget than there is about continuing to rant about the robocalls.. After all the Budget will be passed regardless; we all know that.

    I can’t help being struck by the ironic contrast of being furiously upset about the “robocall scandal” for undermining the democratic fundamentals of our electoral system on the one hand; and on the other, the blasé resignation to any actions that may be proposed by the government of the day because they “will be passed regardless”…

    It seems to me, there’s something desperately wrong in that equation.

  40. Brent: Thanks so much for your amateur psychoanalysis. Yes, I’m completely unable to defend myself. Poor me! You might want to check out the term “projection” in this regard when it comes to being fixated about the expression you apparently find so objectionably insulting, and yet… is so fittingly suited to your emotional disposition.

  41. Brent Fullard

    No psychoanalysis being performed on my part, but rather the simple dissection of your argument (if you can call it that).

    “Projecting” in it’s simplest of meanings, as in projecting an image on a screen. The image you are projecting on comments made by me is that they are borne of outrage when nothing I have said on this Meh blog could be construed as “outrage”, as amply demonstrated by the fact that you went outside of this “Meh” discussion in your attempt to to defend that point.

    Unlike you, I live in the real world with a real name and a real identity, rather than some fantasy world like InWorldz or Second Life where I carry a fictitious name like Red Tory and the avatar of a British actor.

    That said, is it too late for me to change my opinion about whether I consider you to be a f$$king idiot (to borrow your term) or not?

  42. Brent: No psychoanalysis being performed on my part, but rather the simple dissection of your argument (if you can call it that).

    A review of your previous comments will prove that to be a flagrant LIE.

    “Projecting” in it’s simplest of meanings, as in projecting an image on a screen. The image you are projecting on comments made by me is that they are borne of outrage when nothing I have said on this Meh blog could be construed as “outrage”, as amply demonstrated by the fact that you went outside of this “Meh” discussion in your attempt to to defend that point.

    Perhaps in addition to understanding the meaning of “projection” beyond the superficial definition of casting images on a screen, you need to check the definition of “outrage”… Per Webster’s: “the anger and resentment aroused by injury or insult.” I think that’s a perfectly appropriate description of your sentiments with regards to the “robocall scandal” and I’m at a loss to understand why you find it inappropriate. Are you not angered and insulted by the allegedly fraudulent and possibly criminal tactics employed by Conservative operatives in the past election? If not, then I’ve completely misread your postings on this matter.

    Unlike you, I live in the real world with a real name and a real identity, rather than some fantasy world like InWorldz or Second Life where I carry a fictitious name like Red Tory and the avatar of a British actor.

    No, of course I don’t live in the “real world” like YOU and exist purely in a realm of fantasy and imagination. Nobody knows that my name is Martin Rayner and that I live in Winnipeg and that my bio is posted in the “About” tab of this blog. Yes, I use an avatar that amuses me and has a certain relevance (unlike the one that’s randomly generated for you), but so what? I guess that was your feeble attempt at an ad hominem attack…

    That said, is it too late for me to change my opinion about whether I consider you to be a f$$king idiot (to borrow your term) or not?

    Feel free to change your mind about that as you wish – I could care less. BTW, you can say FUCKING here without being all cutesy about it.😉

  43. Brent Fullard

    Meh

  44. Brent Fullard

    See, your indifference and apathy is infectious. Mission accomplished

  45. LOL More like you just can’t admit to being wrong.

    I’m in no way indifferent or apathetic — just calmly settled on the idea of allowing our established regulatory and legal institutions to work as they should.

  46. Brent Fullard

    Wrong about what? That you are a calmly settled person? Is that what this posting was about? I thought it was about your indifference and apathy concerning the robocall scandal, which did win over many converts, except of course me.

  47. Brent Fullard

    Urban dictionary
    meh
    Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care.
    A: What do you want for dinner?
    B: Meh.
    C: What do you think about the robocall scandal?
    D: Meh

  48. Please go hector someone else. Maybe your time would be better spent relentlessly badgering actual Conservative bloggers — and good luck with that! I’d bet they shut you down within the first couple of comments.

  49. Brent Fullard

    Like I said, you should have quit while you were ahead, but no.

  50. In retrospect, I should have ignored your pointless, time-wasting comments altogether.

  51. Brent Fullard

    You’d have been a better person for it.

  52. skeptic

    Interesting that you clearly identify this as “fraudulent electoral tactics” but then characterize it as ‘politics as usual’.

    I would suggest that while this may be seen as ‘politics as usual’ by some Tory supporters and totally disaffected nonvoters, most Canadians don’t see it as acceptable. It is perhaps an indication of why Canadians are increasingly disaffected from election politics, and a clear indication that changes are necessary.

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