Here's his rant from tonight. I couldn't open the video, so I'm posting the transcript.
Rex Murphy's Point of View, Thursday, April 14, 2008
Elections Canada raids Conservative headquarters.
This is the headline out of last week, when Elections Canada and RCMP officers in plain clothes - showed up at Conservative Headquarters to seize documents and files.
Raid is a bit exuberant. I think of police raids from old movies and the Untouchables. Breaking into the illegal booze shops, or hitting the local bordello, or busting some drug ring. I'd say last week's "raid" was executing a search warrant, but "executing a search warrant" is hardly the language for Question Period, so the Opposition are very happy with "the raid."
Ralph Goodale, who should know better, calls the story "the biggest electoral scandal in Canadian history." Mr. Goodale has a very short memory. Last election the announced RCMP investigation into the income trust leak, in mid-campaign, may well have changed the outcome of the election was much bigger story. And, IF, politically motivated, a far more worrisome scandal than his one.
That said, if the Tories attempted and succeeded in defying the Elections Act, if they played the rules or broke the rules, and gave themselves a forbidden million dollar advantage in ads in the last campaign - they should be nailed for it. A government that ran on "accountability" and savaged the Liberals for their lack of it, have no grounds for crying now, if the magnifying glass is on their behaviour.
The Conservatives, like Mr. Goodale, have very short memories too. In Opposition they were relentless.
If the circumstance were reversed, the Conservatives - Mr. Kenny, Mr. Van Loan, Stephen Harper - would be grinding the Liberals with the same half-confected merciless glee the Liberals are now turning on them.
Their attempt to 'manage' this affair couldn't have been been more inept, more dismally wrong-footed - if they'd handed the file over to their enemies.
Last Sunday - Sunday mind you - they invited selected members of the press - for example, CTV but not CBC, the Toronto Star but not Canadian Press - to what were ludicrously called "private briefings." This was the public relations equivalent of standing at the bottom of a skyscraper and paying someone to drop a grand paino on your head from the 100th floor. Stupid is far too kind a word for it, although if you join stupid up with 'perverse', 'self-defeating', 'embarrassingly amateur', 'witless', and 'what in the name of God where they thinking', it begins to earn its keep.
Stephen Harper's much vaunted communications strategy is now in much the same state as Rome after the Visigoths, or to bring a nearer illustration, the Liberals after Paul Martin's post-sponsorship apology tour. Poking the press with a stick, it may shock the PMO to learn, is not actually a strategy at all: it is, actually, not much more than an improper use of a good stick.
This contest/scandal with Elections Canada episode reveals a government that that has lost its fundamental political instincts, is losing ground on the great theme of accountability that brought it to office, and is so weary after 2 years as a minority, that in some matters - let's brief half the press and bar the others out - it simply can't think straight.
For the National, I'm Rex Murphy.
Posted by The National on April 24, 2008 03:19 PM |