Over the last few years the Liberal Party of Canada has paid the worst kind of political price - the price for trying to be too honest. When he Sponsorship scandal became a real issue the Liberal Party did not pretend it was an "accounting" problem, but instead they made it a public issue and through an inquiry made the entire process of scandal and illegality a genuinely public crime. If instead, like the Conservatives have done, the LPC had just maintained denial and claimed that the real problem was simply one of public perception, then we would have seen another four years of PM Martin. Unfortunately the Conservatives, and I am sure the Liberals have learned from this mistake and we will probably not, in our lifetime, see another public inquiry into a potential misstep of a sitting government; it just won't happen again.
But it should be clear to anyone who is not just blindly partisan for the Conservative Party that the present so-called 'in and out' scandal is just as bad, and arguably worse, than the sponsorship scandal that brought down the last Liberal government. If you listen to a number of the Conservative candidates who were seeking election at the time and whose accounts were involved, it is very clear that this was an intentional attempt to get around the election laws of the country in order essentially to win an election illegally. And unlike the sponsorship scandal in which a handful of insiders tried to cheat the system to make money for themselves (an petty criminal activity that seems to go on everywhere all the time), the 'in and out' scandal goes to the office of the Prime Minister and his most senior advisors who intentionally subverted democracy for political gain.
But all of this probably doesn't matter because a large portion of the Canadian public (like the 'public' everywhere) just doesn't really care about their government being honest or legal as long as there is enough wealth for Bay Street. Just look at the recent questionare that revealed that many Canadians believe that people who are poor are in that situation because they are lazy or simply don't want to work. This misperception is parroted even by people who appear on the NDP Blogs website. This misperception is wrong in so many ways that it hardly seems worth discussing but it is also so widespread that it obviously needs to be discussed a great deal. The vast majority of people in Canada who live below the poverty line have jobs, many of them two or more jobs, and they work hard. In many cases they work harder than those of us who are not below the poverty line. And giving people a helping hand in almost all cases doesn't make people lazy or careless. If you believe that to be true you are either blindly ideological or you lack the empathy and real world experience to understand people's lives.
This recent poll and the fact that the Conservative Party continues to maintain any significant public popularity suggest that Canada is slowly becoming Americanized in the worst way and the Conservative efforts of the past few years to create a more selfish, more brutal, less compassionate society is working. If the Conservative Party is reelected in the next election despite the Prime Minister himself attempting to subvert democracy then it will be clear that the future of this country is very dark indeed.