Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Blinders about the Tories

Harper has been in power for long time now. One of his main tricks for maintaining power is maintaining the illusion of invulnerability. Every question, every answer follows a script. Access to him is tightly controlled. His MPs and staff are tightly controlled. This creates the illusion of a man and party built like an impregnable fortress. So scripted and rehearsed, he's built the myth of the weird light around him that makes him untouchable.

But the past year, more so than anything period in his tenure, has shown his lack of regal attire.

So I'm annoyed and concerned when I see progressive fellow bloggers and friends talk about RCMP conspiracies to swing the election or some such other thing. Yes, sure, it's possible and likely the Tories will cheat to one degree or another. It's possible they've got enough control over any number of federal departments and agencies to help facilitate cheating (e.g. Elections Canada). But to speak as if all is lost already, as I keep reading and hearing, is to feed the myth that Harper is some kind of god.

Good grief. Stop it right now.

These incompetent numpties don't warrant anywhere near that kind of credit.

But none of that should distract from acknowledging their present disposition, which does not at all point to an election victory. Quite the opposite, in fact. Nor should it distract from a careful consideration of what it would take to cheat on a large enough scale to pull them out of their current mess. I mean, five years of majority and they've made such a big bloody mess of things that their main legacy could actually be an NDP majority and, despite their best efforts at disenfranchisement, a record voter turnout. That's not a party of capability and competence.

In reference to cheating, the more elaborate the scheme, the more people have to be let in. The more civil servants will notice odd requests and memos from their Tory appointed bosses. People leak things. Five or nine years of Tory rule in Ottawa is guaranteed to leave a legion of frustrated and disgruntled staff and bureaucrats in its wake.  Whatever it looked like to ardent ReformaTory supporters in Ottawa and elsewhere in 2006 - 2011 who might have been happy to abuse their positions to enable a win, it is not that way now.

Of course, the could still pull off a win. But I think there's a much more plausible case for a loss now. We should recognise that.


Dana said...

Boris, it's precisely because there's a much more plausible case for a loss now that I wrote the post I did.

And I'm not presuming invulnerability. I'm acknowledging the extent of the corruption Harper has wrought.

Do you seriously believe that Harper would not use the RCMP if he were able?

Well, he's able.

Dana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scotian said...

And I agreed with Dana about the possibility being a real one given how much Harper has corrupted so many arms length bodies within our government as shown time and time again. I'm not as convinced that he WILL do so as Dana, but that it could happen, that the RCMP leadership I believe to e corrupted enough to be willing to do so if they saw the chance, that I am sorry to say I do believe to be real, and as I said before that belief comes very hard for me. I have never bought into this "invulnerability" crap, but I do know that part of what has enabled Harper is his willingness to be absolutely unscrupulous in ways no Canadian politico has ever dared before, and part of why he gets away with it is that "serious" people refuse to believe that these things could really happen here. Well, it can and has already, which is the point Dana and I were in agreement on, and that others are making as well.

You said something in your closing which I found to be absolutely fascinating, because from all appearances it is based in faith, not fact. You talk about how there would be so many leaks from within the civil service if evidence of any such collusion was happening, yet haven't you noticed how generally leak proof this civil service has become thanks to the tools the Harper government has been using to silence and control it? I'm not as convinced as you are that there would be such a leak by this point, especially if since coming to power the Harperites have been systematically removing the (as they see them) troublemakers (aka honest/incorruptible) folks) from within the senior civil service and for those they couldn't have either found other ways to control them or simply created alternate com paths. Prior to the Harper decade of darkness I might have been willing to take this on faith, but after this past decade, sorry can't do it anymore.

Finally, I would point out as Dana did that for many of us our concerns are not rooted in this myth of invincibility or hypercompetence Harper tries to surround himself with (my Gods man, I've been saying for over a decade now he is no strategic genius, a tactical one to an extent sure but even that is rooted in not having any lines he will not cross as much as native ability, and in terms of actual governing I shouldn't even have to say anything given how obviously horrible it has been) but in the corruption that follows in his wake wherever he goes and in whatever he touches, and he has has now had a long time to corrupt many of the institutions we once could trust, as the record has already shown, and especially so during this majority period.

Unknown said...

Unscrupulousness, a wily ability to tack close to the wind of law and custom, contempt of Parliament - all these laid the ground for the ReformaTories anti-democratic governing. But they're not quite enough,IMHO, to take Harper's aspirations all the way. What Harper knows and what has worked so well for him in the past is the killer virus in the heart of the Canadian electoral system: that 39% of the vote can get him a majority - legally.
His vaunted "base", the ignorant and scared, and the paralysis of Harper's "Left" opponents can combine in a sickening alliance of contradictions to allow H. to win again. This time, his gloves will be off and as the song goes, "you aint' seen nothin' yet."

Boris said...

Dana, there is no evidence that he is able to command the RCMP to do his bidding like they've sworn fealty to the man. If that were so, one would think Duffy would not have gone to trial, his ministers and senators investigated and tried would not have, and so on. Nothing even remotely close to that has happened.

Scotian, my comment is not based in faith. It is simply very difficult to pull off a massive orchestrated deception or fraud without something substantial leaking or some kind of rumour spreading. It's contradictory to suggest on one hand Harper isn't a strategic genius, and the next that he's capable of getting away with a massive secret election fraud. I'm not saying its impossible, but unlikely. There would be signs, coincidences, strange behaviours from his own people, comments from Ottawa insiders and even the Opposition parties who have their own people watching things.

My point is, that despite appearances, there are still number of systemic constraints on his power, which must frustrate him to no end!

Dana said...

Yet the bribe Duffy is accused of accepting was offered by no one apparently.

Boris said...

Yet the bribe indeed. Everyone in the Crown and RCMP involved in bringing Duffy to trial would know that it's not a one-part kind of a charge, and someone had to make an offer. It would absurd on its face to any cop lawyer to bring such a charge against just the receiving party. So there's at least two possible rationales. (1) Police and prosecutors and possibly the judge are blatantly corrupt and don't give damn about how badly this could blow up in their faces. Possible, but seriously? (2) There's different game being played. The way the trial is proceeding, nothing the RCMP and Crown has done so far really helps their case against Duffy, but nearly everything we've seen compels some action be taken against people in the PMO if not the PM. Make of that what you will.

Dana said...

So there is a conspiracy - or maybe two - just not the one I think there is?

Boris said...

Dana, yes, that's a good way of putting it.

All we have are a handful of observations. We're missing so much information about the Duffy case, and everything else, that we at best just guess, reason, and hypothesise.

Scotian said...


Last time I looked, it isn't a requirement to be a strategic genius to pull together a successful conspiracy, therefore there is no inherent contradiction there, despite your saying that there is. I did point out that part of what makes Harper so successful is his tactical ability which I do acknowledge combined with his not having any lines he will not cross. Do you remember the Grewal recordings fraud I was ranting about from 2005 through 2007? There is one example of a successful conspiracy that only failed because the workmanship of the product gave it away, not because any signs from the people who were a part of it. That was with a LOO he had had control of for a far less time than he has had as a government, even just the majority government period. We also know from his own statements that he saw the civil service as a liberal infested machine and that it is therefore reasonable to presume that as with all the other institutions he has had control over he has done all he can to convert them into good little CPC arms by this point.

Also, understand something else, what I have been saying is not that I am convinced this will happen, or that it can be easily done by this government, what I am saying is this is a government I can see doing such a thing, and a government that has so corroded our systems of government that I can see the possibility existing of the tools of government complying instead of exposing the attempt. Look at the Revenue Canada auditing practices as an example, if anything I would have once said it would be easier to corrupt the RCMP than this institution, so that is also a part of my basis for concern.

Clearly Boris you and I are not going to agree on this, so this is as far as I am going to take this, but I still believe you have more faith in the current system being in such a condition so as to make such leaks and patterns easily obvious from the outside, or even to enough on the inside to make it easy for someone(s) to expose it. I'm far less convinced of such after all I've watched and seen in the last decade, and clearly Dana is even less so. I would also note that neither Dana nor myself have a history of being conspiracy tending people, I generally do not care for such theories precisely for the reasons you laid out and because I tend to follow Occam's razor and the Holmesian logic I mentioned earlier. That being said, I also accept that they do occur, if nowhere as easily nor as often as those prone to seeing them everywhere do. Most of the time I see converging mutual interests causing the appearance of conspiracy more than such, but with a government as power corrupt as the Harper one, with the length of time it has had to do all its damage, sorry Boris I do think it is more an act of faith to trust that it couldn't happen these days, and happen without being so obvious as you think.

I don't like saying so Boris, it offends me in many ways, and it isn't a belief I came to easily, but you so far have shown me little to no reason to change my view on this as a true possibility given the current reality we live in. Also, please stop assuming that anyone that has such concerns seems to believe Harper is all-powerful or some sort of genius or something to be capable of such, the criminal code doesn't have nearly so high a standard nor does history. Harper is capable, but much of his capability rests in his utter ruthlessness and lack of any real restraints other than what he can get away with, and THAT *IS* the sort of person that does try and can get away with such a conspiracy, especially when they have held power as long as he has and has a pattern of corrupting government institutions, also as he has had.