Thursday, December 01, 2011

Demand Better

Conservatives admit they’re behind false byelection phone calls in Liberal riding

OTTAWA — The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s resignation and a pending byelection.


This is completely indefensible, only the Conservatives are doing their best to defend it:

Every political party in the House identifies its voters in one way or another,” Conservative MP John Williamson said. “This is an important part of the political process.”

Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan added that rumours of Cotler’s pending resignation have been circulating since the Liberal was first elected in 1999. As a result, he said, saying there were rumours of a byelection was a perfectly legitimate thing to tell constituents.

Cotler has asked House Speaker Andrew Scheer to investigate the matter and determine whether his privileges as a member of Parliament have been breached by the calls.

Van Loan said if such a finding is made, it would have widespread ramifications for freedom of speech.

“To say that one cannot speculate on his future,” he said, “that that form of freedom of speech should forever be suppressed, is to me an overreach that is far too great.”


This is, of course, complete hogwash (and if I had Pat Martin's mouth, I'd use harsher language).

This is NOT an important part of the political process. Just because something is rumoured, it doesn't mean you can broadcast it to voters. I've heard my fair share of rumours about some of Mr. Williamson's colleagues, but never in a phone call from a rival party. I'd also add that if Cotler's "imminent" departure has been rumoured for 12 years, that's a pretty good sign it's unfounded.

The "free speech" argument is even more absurd. Would Van Loan be alright with Karl Rove's 2000 primary phone calls which asked South Carolina voters if they would be more or less likely to vote for John McCain if they knew he'd fathered an illegitimate black child? Is that freedom of speech?

There are dozens of articles published every year asking why voter turnout rates are declining and why young people are turned off politics. After hearing stories like this, I think the better question to ask is why anyone actually takes the time to care in the first place.

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19 Comments:

  • There's a huge difference between a verbal attack against which one can make a statement of defense, and an attack against which the State will take action possibly resulting in jail time.

    To pretend there isn't is shameful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 PM  

  • The Liberals have been really bad at campaigning lately. They have been really bad at distilling complex policy platforms into soundbites easily digestible by a busy public.

    The campaign slogan in the next election should simplify it enormously:

    Harper = Nixon

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 4:31 PM  

  • And run ads like this and this.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 4:31 PM  

  • These goddamn fucking douchebags need to have their asses handed to them. I'm starting with a donation to the Mount Royal Liberal riding association. Eventually, I hope, to Cotler's legal fund as well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

  • 3.5 more years of this. At least. Awesome.

    Here's a robocall I'd like to see blasted through York-Simcoe:

    "Did you hear the rumour that Peter Van Loan [enter defamatory BS story here] ?"

    By Anonymous Lloyd Snelgrove's creepy goatee, at 6:07 PM  

  • "Did you hear the rumour that Peter Van Loan [enter defamatory BS story here] ?"

    Ah, yes, the typical Liberal response (after asking the State to take action): reply with defamation, because a rumour that someone might retire could be considered by absolutely nobody to be defamatory.

    The life of the Liberal Party!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 AM  

  • I suggest everyone reading this blog take the time out to dial up the nearest CON lying SOB MP's office and ask bluntly: "Can you tell me how do I apply for MP .... job; I hear he's leaving and he doesn't want to serve the people of ____"
    Do it from a pay phone, a cel phone, etc. Do it a couple times a day. Let them have a little taste of it because while we may not think down-and-dirty like them, we can monopolize a few of their moments and make them know something rougher may be coming down the pike.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:25 AM  

  • Ah, yes, the typical Liberal response: reply with defamation, because a rumour that someone might retire could be considered by absolutely nobody to be defamatory.

    Please list all the times that Liberals have done this. Use the space below:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:30 AM  

  • The Conservative Party of Canada's toll-free number is:

    1 (866) 808-8407

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 AM  

  • Let's all cry bloody murder over every single Conservative transgression so that people can't tell the difference between their truly horrific misdeeds and these. That ought to work!

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 12:58 PM  

  • In the scheme of things, this isn't the most agregious offense the Tories have committed. After all, there are worse things that can be said about someone, other than they're rumoured to be retiring.

    So if they'd left it as a "we messed up and we're sorry", I'd be fine letting it slide.

    But the Tory reaction is what really baffles me. "It's OK to spread rumours about your opponents - that's freedom on speech". That's absolute nonsense and they deserve to be called out on it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:27 PM  

  • Correction CG:

    But the Tory reaction is what really baffles me. "It's OK to knowingly spread false rumours about your opponents - that's freedom on speech".

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 1:42 PM  

  • Vollman, this is a very serious misdeed.

    You might let it slide.

    I sure as fuck won't.

    If the shoe had been on the other foot in the early 2000s, Stephen Harper sure as fuck wouldn't have.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:50 PM  

  • @RobertVollman,

    Robert, I managed to track down where you work and just called your employer to tell them you were likely going to be quitting.

    I hope you don't mind, but since you said this isn't a big deal I don't think you'll have a problem.

    Cheers,

    Luke

    By Anonymous Luke, at 4:32 PM  

  • Anon:

    Make a list of the things this government has done. If you need help, try ShitHarperDid.com or WhyHarperSucks.ca. Their misdeeds are very well documented.

    Then rank everything on the list by how much it bothers you.

    If this the Cotler affair somehow places anywhere in your first few pages, then you're probably the type of person whose blind hatred helped keep "Tory staff rude to girl at rally over some Facebook nonsense" on the front pages for weeks last election, consequently re-electing him because how they've grossly mismanaged this country was buried in the back pages, scarcely heard about at all.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:36 PM  

  • Luke, if the alternative was shutting down where I work, driving it into a massive deficit, or deliberately misleading our shareholders, then I thank you whole-heartedly.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 4:38 PM  

  • Please list all the times that Liberals have done this. Use the space below:

    The silence is deafening, and telling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 PM  

  • @Anon 7:14. The first example is found just above. I'm not here to catalog and classify Liberal misdeeds in the name of democracy. Not even Gomery was given such a task.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:30 PM  

  • @anon 9:30

    #FAIL

    Still waiting for one example, let alone a list, of when Liberals "reply with defamation".

    Put the fuck up or shut the fuck up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 PM  

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