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John Chuckman


The article is technically well done, but it seems to me there is such an important set of facts understated in, or missing from, the article that, taken as a whole, it becomes inaccurate and misleading.

I might call it polished propaganda.

There is only one source for the election phenomenon we see now in Canada, and that source is Stephen Harper. It has little to do with “competition run amok.”

Harper is on record for admiring the American system, a system which is so dominated by big money that many astute and knowledgeable observers have said America is no longer a democracy but a plutocratic oligarchy.

Harper is also on record as hating many of Canada’s traditions in politics. His past assertions are so unpleasant and “Canadian self-hating” one wonders why he did not long ago seek a career in the United States. His total set of views and attitudes would have done him well in a place like Texas. They are in perfect keeping with politicians of the quality of Dick Armey or Phil Gramm or Tom Delay.

His major obsession in his entire political career has been to destroy the Liberal Party, the institution he holds largely responsible for the Canada he dislikes so intensely.

His basic method has been simple. Remove as much government funding as possible. Remove as much quasi-judicial oversight and rules as possible. Bend national policy in the direction big contributors want to see. Collect as much money from these special interests as possible. Lengthen the election period so that you can spend more than ever under laws you yourself have created.

Added to those structural changes are changes in practice completely learned from America’s example. Throw lots of dirt through advertising, knowing that if you throw enough, some will stick. Use third-party organizations to fund these whenever possible. Avoid direct contacts with press and interviewers as much as possible, and never answer a question in an honest and straightforward way. Use any costly frat-boy trick – such as robo-calls to misdirect voters – which might make gains for you in a swing area. Afterward, sandbag government officials investigating such matters. These approaches take full advantage of having a treasure chest full of private funds with which to play.

It is a formula guaranteed over time to badly damage Canadian democracy, and it is a formula favored by no other party.

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