Saturday, March 17, 2012

A few days in May

There was a bright shining light on the morning of Tuesday, 3 May, 2011. Unfortunately it was shrouded by the gloom felt by most people who had headed to the polls the day before.

A majority of Canadians who voted had cast their ballots for someone other than the candidate running under the Harper banner yet, owing to an electoral process which recognizes plurality, Harper had achieved his dream of personal power with a parliamentary majority.

That upset created a whirlwind of media activity, speculation and (for some) loud rejoicing. There were three BIG stories that dominated the morning of May 3rd: The Harper majority; the crushing defeat of the Liberal party; and, the rise of the NDP as the new Official Opposition. You could shuffle the order of those stories any way you liked, but that was pretty much it.

Which meant the bright shining light, which had been ignited the day before, was now stuffed behind a closed closet door. Almost nobody noticed.

As Alison points out, however, it was there the whole time, staring us in the face. In those early days of May evidence of election wrongdoing was readily apparent and, by the morning of Tuesday, 3 May, 2011, there was every indication that it was deliberate, calculated and expansive.

It was washed over almost immediately. In ridings with close races 2nd place finishers who complained about voter-suppression tactics were dismissed as sore losers. Voters who complained were drowned-out by the celebratory noises of the likes of Rex Murphy and a narcissistic media punditry performing an electoral postmortem which focused on little more than their own navels.

Canadians, who had come to believe that elections in this country were scrupulously clean and well managed, (despite attack ads and irritating invasions of the telephone system by all parties), were, for the most part, glad just to have the damn thing done and over with. Execrable acts of election fraud would only prolong the agony of the previous 36 days (which Harper had managed to turn into years with the endless campaign)

The perpetrators of the strategy to suppress opposition votes were counting on exactly that.

I don't know of any organization the size of a national political party which does not perform a post-event analysis. It is how they stay efficient. In the case of a federal election all political parties would have carried out a detailed dissection of the operations of their campaigns to determine what worked and what didn't. That would include this unit of the Harper campaign.

It is also well-known that large organizations, whether they be corporations, churches, government departments or national political parties, watch media items related to their activities like a hawk. Message management, (something the Harperites treat as a religious item), requires never allowing a potentially damaging item to drift around without at least some prepared tactical response.

And that means that the same items which Alison has shown to have been in public view in those early days of May 2011 were a part of the scrutiny that most assuredly was carried out by the Harper campaign immediately after the election. They knew then that there was a bright shining light and they would have prepared for any exposure. From May 2011 to February 2012 they were trying to cover up.

Any competent party leader would also have been aware. In May, 2011.

That would mean that Harper knew, chose not to know, or is just plain stupid.


Beijing York said...

This begs the question, why is this finally seeing the light of day? How did Harper manage to f*ck up the containment of this negative reporting?

Dave said...

I believe they thought they had contained it. Saanich-Gulf Islands was the testing ground and they saw that it didn't result in an investigation.

They got cocky.