Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lies, Damn Lies and Political Lessons. . . .

Among the interesting political events of the week is the leak of the BC Liberal Memo which outlines their very crass and opportunistic plan to win quick votes through the wooing of the so-called "ethnic vote." What I find interesting about this event is similar to the sudden release by the Ontario Liberals of thousands of formerly unknown documents concerning the controversial cancellation of two energy plants.

We can truly say that other parties in Canada are not learning from the dangers of forthrightness displayed by Former Prime Minister Paul Martin when he announced an independent investigation into the so-called Sponsorship Scandal. Nor have they learned from the past six years of obsessive secretiveness of the current Conservative Government.

If the BC and Ontario Liberals had properly learned their contemporary political lessons they would never have acted the way they did. Instead of releasing the mysterious documents concerning the cancelled energy plants, the new Premier of Ontario would have had them quietly destroyed. Then refused to talk about in or out of the Legislature. And if the BC Liberals had just called their federal hero, Stephen Harper, for advice they would have quickly blamed some hired lackey for writing the memo, fired him/her, and then said to the media that there is no story here because it was all the fault of this peon who had already been fired. Again, end of story. If the government of Harper has demonstrated any political truth it is simply that the media cycle is shockingly short, it is easy to blame someone else, and that if you just keep quiet for a few days the media will quickly lose interest. The scandals of the current Conservative Government make the previous Liberal Government look like a bunch of honest guys. Yet Harper still retains power for the simple reason that a policy of blame and ignore in today's media milieu is remarkably effective.

Now for the real question - should be we glad that other governments or parties are not learning this simple lesson, encouraged that the simplistic but effective strategy of Harper's dishonesty has not taken hold? Or should we be concerned that this means that since Harper is the only one willing to undertake this horrendous strategy, we will never see the end of him?

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