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“In this, the Conservatives aim to level a strategic blow to the Liberals”.

That would be Blogging Tory head/Conservative Party’s chief blogger propagandist Stephen Taylor openly explaining to any who might have doubted otherwise, that the main move behind the Conservatives/Harper/Flaherty trying to end the public elections financing system in Canada is nothing more then the Conservatives using the current economic crisis as a pretext to cripple the Liberal Party in particular and the opposition parties in general from waging any type of an election campaign the next go-around.

As NDP blogger Devin Johnston says at his site, “Given that the cost to the government is negligible and given that this move will devastate every political party except the Conservatives, I have no hesitation in calling this move a transparent attack on free and fair elections in Canada”.

Some may remember that the Republicans exploited and used the September 11 terrorist attacks for partisan gain in the 2002 midterm congressional elections against their Democratic opponents when they attacked them as being weak on terror. Their despicable tactics in exploiting the American electorate’s fear did help them gain seats and an electoral advantage at the time.  The economic meltdown is not the same scope as September 11, but what the Conservatives are doing here, or attempting to do here, is no different. Their government is under attack for doing nothing on the stimulus front for the economy as Obama and the Congress are planning on doing, and for being called out by the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer for probably running a massive deficit in the next couple of years due to their own failed economic policies. So, they’ve decided throw this red herring out there, trying to fool the Canadian public into thinking they really are doing something, while at the same time trying to use the economic situation to their partisan advantage.

What should the opposition parties be doing? The opposition parties should be forming a united front against this and condemn this for what it is – an attack on Canadian democracy.  I’d also call Flaherty and Harper’s bluff; let’s get our spokespersons out there raising the possibility of asking Governor General Michaelle Jean to allow other parties to try and form a government if this one goes down to defeat in a non-confidence vote. The argument would be that’s a much better solution then  having yet another 300 million dollar election campaign a mere month and a half after the last unnecessary one.

A united front by opposition parties may cause the Cons to back off on this outrageous proposal; staying united and threatening to bring down the government might cause Harper and Flaherty to think twice if they really want to take the gamble of G.G Jean refusing Harper’s dissolution request and instead seeking out another party/parties to form a government.

UPDATE: Devin Johnston has created an I Support Public Campaign Financing group at Facebook. Please join it if you support public financing and against this blatantly partisan and outrageous attempt to favour the Conservative Party in election campaigns, as so bluntly expressed by Stephen Taylor.

UPDATE 2: I’d link to all the Progressive and Liberal blogs that are expressing outrage at this tactic, but there are so many of them I’m not sure I’ll be able to list them all. Here are a few however, with a couple of them suggesting we send a counterproposal to the Cons. – a proposal I’ll bet they won’t take, but will show them even more clearly what they are attempting to do is not to help the country through difficult times, but to play Karl Rove/Republican type political games. Keep an eye on the Liblogs and Prog Blog aggregators and/or Rss feeds; this story isn’t going away;  it’s caused quite a firestorm on the blogosphere.

6 comments to “In this, the Conservatives aim to level a strategic blow to the Liberals”.

  • I’m all but spamming this talking point everywhere because it is well worth repeating:

    The Conservative party is the largest beneficiary of the political tax credit, which sees donations to political parties reimbursed at least 50% using public money. I don’t see Flaherty suggesting that that huge subsidy be revoked. Far from being hit the hardest, the Conservative Party will be the best situated party if this change goes through.

    Furthermore, campaign expenses at the riding level are also routinely reimbursed for the larger parties with public money.

    If the Conservatives really were that concerned about our money, they wouldn’t have wasted $300 million on a useless election.

  • James

    Mike,

    Do you really think its a vote getter for the Liberals to announce they are for sale to the highest bidders in corporate Canada and by the big unions?

    As if.

    Clearly this is a cheap stunt by Harper, but because the Liberal Party over the past 5 years has proven incapable of raising funds from grassroots members and Canadians, it has left us in a weak state for Harper to attack us. The number one focus of the party has to be to find a way to engage people to cut us small cheques like the Harper Tories are able to do.

    If we can’t motivate left of centre Canadians to actually get involved than maybe the Liberal Party deserves to watch Harper slowly strangle us to death. We should not be dependent on government funds to support us, nor should we sell out to corporate Canada and put a big for sale sign on the party.

    If the Tories can raise funds from thousands of more people than we can, we need to evaluate why.

  • Don’t you think we are getting into not only an economic emergency across the country, but also a political emergency for the Opposition and the Country in Ottawa?

    For God’s sake Liberals; get us a new leader before May. Try Jan 1. Do it on the internet.

  • I’ve said it elsewhere Scott so I might as well say it here: its time for civil disobedience.

    If the Conservatives can ignore Elections Canada rules, regulations and even Federal Election law when it is convenient for them to do so, then so can the Opposition parties.

    Meaning, take big corporate donations, union donations and over the limit personal donations.

    They want to play rough? Then play rough.

  • […] in calling this move a transparent attack on free and fair elections in Canada”, as Scott Tribe quotes approvingly.  Holmstrom calls it a “out-right attack on Canadian Democracy”!  […]

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