06.03.2013 08:34 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: the end of scandal

“Mistakes, scandals, and failures no longer signal catastrophe,” said a French cultural theorist, Jean Baudrillard. “The marketing immunity of governments is similar to that of the major brands of washing powder.”

Baudrillard’s works influenced The Matrix movie series, of all things, but we shouldn’t hold that against him.

Surveying the Canadian political landscape this spring, we know he’s at least partly right. He’s insightful in the first part of his observation (that is, scandal is no longer fatal to one’s career), but arguably wide of the mark in the second (that is, that governments possess the means to whitewash the popular consciousness).

There are three main reasons for this: One, we have a national memory in this country of about seven minutes. Two, we in the media — and, therefore, the opposition parties — flit from controversy to boondoggle like houseflies, and we rarely linger on any one overmuch. Three, the public have seen allegations of scandal made too many times to get upset anymore. Until they see someone led away to prison in handcuffs, they shrug.

Scandals are survivable, and Rob Ford and Stephen Harper clearly know this. At the moment, both Conservatives should theoretically be fighting for their political lives: Ford, with a tale in which it is alleged he used crack cocaine sometime in the past, and which he has not denied, and Harper, with a Senate expense scandal that has claimed the Prime Micromanager’s chief of staff, but about which he insists with a straight face he knew nothing.

Nobody, not even sensible Conservatives, doesn’t doubt either politician’s claims. Meanwhile, the controversies haven’t abated — both are now entering week three of front-page media coverage, a rare event.

But the Senate and crack cocaine scandals haven’t really altered many popular opinions. Polls (such as they are these days) tell us that Ford’s personal popularity remains unchanged amongst Torontonians. And Harper will remain prime minister for two more years, and he does not seem to be losing any sleep worrying about l’affaire Duffy.

Another example, thrown out almost as an afterthought in the midst of the sordid, seamy Ford mess. In a huge Globe and Mail investigation into the Ford family’s alleged involvements with drugs — the story claimed that Ford’s councillor brother, Doug, was once a dealer, and Ford has not sued them for it — there was a new scandal: A member of the Ford family associated with the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi Heritage Front.

Said the Globe: “(Kathy Ford’s) friends included Gary MacFarlane, a founding member of the short-lived Canadian chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the late Wolfgang Droege, perhaps the most notorious white supremacist in Canadian history …”

The report went on to state that “Kathy Ford was close to the movement,” although she was “hardly a committed soldier in the race war,” and that racist leaders even hung out in the Ford family home, although the newspaper’s source, a former Klansman, couldn’t recall meeting the brothers.

Those are extraordinary allegations. The response? Nothing. That part of the Globe’s story passed with barely a mention.

It is all very peculiar, indeed. Unless you accept Jean Baudrillard’s point of view, that is, and agree that scandal — in and of itself — is no longer enough to end political careers anymore. And that, of course, says quite a bit more about we voters than it says about the politicians.

It isn’t complimentary.

64 Comments


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    Arnold Murphy says:

    The dots need to be connected, the questionable and lengthy ties and relevant associations which lead directly to the PMO and members of his entourage are matters of national security. If POTUS was associated with the likes of these men, even in passing, there would be investigation can you imagine a vocal extremist sitting in his debriefing room a president with an association in his history such as Droege? But when we have not one, not two, not three, but and interwoven network of political operatives with questionable history with The Heritage Front, The Northern Foundation, White Supremacist Organizations it raises concerns and you are right it isn’t complimentary. The perception is as bad as the reality to most of us, because we fear the secrecy of this government as well and know too well the price. In my case I visited those camps as a young soldier and my grandfather is buried at Nijmegen, it was drilled into me in the military not to take my Freedom for granted. I would question whether the public has really been informed on these supressed topics, often as not heralded as fringe or conspiracy theories. One has to wonder when confronted with smoke, where the fire is, if it is not below the pot we all collectively sit in.


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    deb s says:

    apathy is part of it, and attention span for sure. But I think the lawyered politicians have also managed to convince the public that there is no avenue for Justice. I mean Mulcair is up their doing his job, snarling about the scandals…and the public should be sending him fanmail…but what is missing is a clear pathway to justice….sure they call for a inquiry and they want the governor general to get on it. But what is more baffling is how the political arena is so corrupt that the people who are overseers…have to ask permission of the criminals…to investigate.
    the whole system is toothless…so the canadian public after soo many scandals from the Harper contingent…are now used to nothing being done.
    this might be better defined as politically charged learned helplessness:P
    nothing every changes. there is no help…so people sigh and accept the sheer audacious corruption:P

    I sure hope this isnt true and call me beyond cynical but these last few years have been extremely telling …and after watching harper get away with everything short of murder he seems to slip thru it all unscathed. God I wish he would have a big public affair with a man and maybe that would do the trick:P


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    Jon Adams says:

    I was goofing around Twitter and saw “I’d rather have a conservative mayor on crack than a sober liberal.” Has it really come to this?


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    ray says:

    au contraire monsier warren. it’s not scandal it’s shame that has changed. got a tv show or reality series to promote? make a sex tape a la kardashian or hilton. have a meltdown? go on a comedy tour… sheen and so on and so on. lack of shame equals fame and monetary reward because hey hey hey the hell with tomorrow when we’re all living for today.


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      Doug says:

      Maybe shamelessness is a rational response to an otherwise unliveable level of scrutiny. Perhaps it’s not so much an increase in shamelessness that we’re seeing as the death of hypocrisy.


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        ray says:

        I’m confused Doug. I don’t see the correlation between “death of hypocrisy” and “increase in shamelessness” If anything hypocrisy is so rampant that it leaves us catatonic but what does that have to do with shame. Care to expand?


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          Doug says:

          In the 21st century our private behaviour is not very private, especially for public figures. Increasingly it seems it is less possible to privately behave in a way that runs counter to ones public image without being exposed.

          For example the hypocrisy that would have a person piously declaim against criminals and drug users while simultaneously associating with criminals and using drugs.

          I speculate that declining privacy for all means that more and more people are faced with the choice of living in a way they’d rather not, or shamelessly pursuing happiness. Hypocritically living one way and projecting another is not as much of an option.


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    tf says:

    I lost faith in the Canadian voter when the federal Conservatives gained a majority in 2011. This was a government found in contempt of Parliament, forcing the election. And they actually gained seats!
    My loss of faith was reinforced with the recent gain of seats by the BC Liberals in the May 14 election.
    I have no doubt that Harper and Ford will continue to ride the waves on surfboards of denial.
    Scandal? What scandal?
    “Any press is good press” is proven true.


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      deb s says:

      I was completely shocked by both the fed and provincial results too. I think people just dont pay much attention to political wrangling anymore as its become such a circus and the media certainly do the politicians favours by having a major case of attention deficit disorder. Stories and scandals are not hammered home or followed up with any kind of investigative reporting and when the odd journalist with integrity or wellknown blogger gets their shots in….excellent PR teams come in and scrub the story from existence or play a fanfare of calming music and pretty pictures to soothe the savage public. You can pick thru the comment boards and know whose working for the PR teams.
      (no offense to Daisy Group as im sure they do excellent work trying to balance the scales to benefit the left.)


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        ray says:

        then someone has to figure out a way to break through the noise with a constant reminder of the damage these goons have done. dissent has been chilled and protest does little unless the numbers are so huge and constant that they break through (maple spring) to the (ahrrggg) mainstream media.
        any ideas?


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          Elisabeth Lindsay says:

          Here`s an idea…..put forward creditable alternatives????


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      frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

      The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.-Winston Churchill


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        headmaster says:

        The best antidote against oligarchy/technocracy is actually a proportional representation, or even better a direct referendum. Dumbos will stay home and one will get “above average voter” consensus.
        That is better than being governed by self-serving crooked ‘elite.”


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    Michael Bussiere says:

    Actually, it’s what it says about conservative voters, more precisely. Power at all costs, given the two glaring examples of the day.


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      Justin says:

      Agreed, it seems to be a double standard. Whenever a Liberal is accused of the scandal, the Toronto Stun I mean SUN blubbers on about it for weeks sometimes months. But the minute one of their own is shown to be infallible, they cry of a ‘liberal conspiracy’. I mean, just imagine if Miller was the one accused of smoking crack whilst in office.


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    C.W. says:

    Never been a Baudrillard ‘fan’, but one has to acknowledge the role of ‘simulacra’ in the Fords’ success. Or as Paul Saurette wrote in The Star: “Backlash populism… merely mimics the linguistic tics of political populism (e.g. invoking the people against an imagined elite) without any actual policy…”

    The thought that these sick, spoiled boy/men are role models for children in a city the size of Toronto is a frightening prospect. They’ve poisoned the well, and it’s hard to see public life fully recovering, even if and when they’re removed from office.


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    Jeff says:

    Your best. Column. Ever. Very thoughtful. And lots to chew on.


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      Warren says:

      Thanks brother


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    Robin says:

    What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care! 🙂


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    Glen says:

    There’s only one explanation for Ford’s continuing popularity: 96% of Torontonians are crack smokers.


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      Warren says:

      Ha!


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      Karl says:

      I believe that was Jon Stewart’s contention at the outset. 😉


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    steve says:

    The reason we are so apathetic is because we have lost faith in our institutions. In the US the only institution held with “Father Knows Best” respect is the Military, and the main reason for that is they have fulfilled without fail their prime objective. All political parties, all of our leaders are seen as basically interchangeable. We have learned they will all have scandals, they will all waste billions, they will all practice with extreme prejudice situational ethics.

    If one leader could convince Canadians their administration would be different there would be a landslide. However inevitably it seems the voters would be Charlie Brown and the leader Lucy pulling away the football at the last moment.

    My solution is a replacement for the first past the post system.


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    Michael Bussiere says:

    Standard scripts by conservative leaders designed to appeal to the *hardcore* conservative voter/donor in juvenile, schoolyard terms:

    “Don’t touch my stuff. I don’t want to share. I’m right all the time and you’re not. I don’t like you. Well, he did it too. You’re smart so I’m going to tease the hell out of you. You’re different so I’m going to tease the hell out of you. My family’s better than your family. Don’t tell ME what to do. La la la la la I can’t hear you. Fuck you I’m not saying sorry. It’s not my fault. I didn’t know. You made me do it. You’re my enemy and I’ll get you. No, YOU’RE lying! I’m in charge and we’re going to do what I want now. I said I’M in charge!!!”

    Sound like anybodies you know? Any petulant little men come to mind?


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    JH says:

    As someone who has voted at one time or another for each of the 3 major parties (because of the candidates in question), right now I’m just tired of them all.
    I’m also very tired of the media which I find for the most part lack any substance. I really do believe their failing readership/listenership etc. is entirely due to the fact most of them are not serious people, particularly the Ottawa Press Gallery gang. They are the authors of their own misfortunes and do not serve this country well.
    I’ll probably get clobbered for saying so, but Conrad Black was right about them then and now.


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      wsam says:

      Conrad Black, the convicted felon.


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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    Occurs to me, think “Cry wolf.”

    Perhaps people are a little more than fed up with over use of the word “scandal”. More to the point, they’re increasingly disgusted (I sure as hell am) with the MSM’s feeding frenzy every time they think they’ve got their teeth into something they can go nuclear with in order to sell print and/or air time. Maybe the public is sick of holier than thou, self-righteous sanctimony from journalists.

    Maybe it’s as simple as, the public doesn’t believe even a fraction of the pablum the MSM tries all to often tries to feed them any more? That the public’s level of trust in the MSM is at least the one thing lower than their trust in politicians?

    You know?


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      deb s says:

      if thats the problem then were doomed…as no information would reach the masses. The media might be somewhat Hyperbolic but people at least are getting information about scandals. The word isnt misused in either cases used by Warren. Rob Ford was caught on camara and theres a stillshot…and he is acting guilty.
      Harper being the controlling micromanager ( proven by many instances over the years) cannot get away from the fact that his COS paid 90k to cover up Duffys fraud.
      this isnt crying wolf…Both politicians should be stepping down.


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      Patrick says:

      Here we go again. Of course it is the media’s fault, it is always someone else’s fault. Any other conspiracies you want to throw out there while you are at it?


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        deb s says:

        lol, exactly, and I guess blaming the somalian drug lords is out,…since they did an interview with the NP saying they support Rob Ford all the way and that the tape will never surface:) YOU know you have problems with your biggest defenders left are drug dealers. But I do commend them on their integrity of standing by their client and his privacy to smoke crack in their drugdens. Heed well politicians, when smoking crack…get the honourable dealers that wont shop you to the media:)


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    Marc-André Chiasson says:

    Meanwhile the Ford fiasco spreads further afield.

    http://swampland.time.com/2013/06/04/toronto-mayor-singlehandedly-makes-canadian-politics-interesting-again/?xid=newsletter-daily


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    wsam says:

    Al,

    Good point.

    It is really disgusting how the media works itself into a frenzy just because Rob Ford gets drunk at a Leaf game and then screams at some lady that she should go to Iran and get raped. And then lied about it. Or he has a DUI in Florida. And lied about it. Or got caught with weed. And lied about it. Or he slammed the head of one of the kids on his football team into a toilet (why he switched to coaching Don Bosco). And lied about it. Or flipped some lady the finger. And lied about it. Or texts while driving. And lies about it. Is noticeably high at public events. And lies about it. Or that he barely shows up at the office. And lies about it. Or that he smokes crack and hangs out with young guys who murder people. And lied about it.

    Rob Ford smokes crack. And the only people consistently calling him on his crap have been the Toronto Star. The National Post cheers him on.

    I hope the public gets sick of holier-than thou conservatives and their suburban enablers clucking their tongues in condescension whenever the Media breaks a story they don’t like, or that offends their sacred right-wing world view.

    I’m talking about you Al. You are a big part of the problem.


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      deb s says:

      Awesome post, I swear if Rob Ford reads WK, he must really hate you, you need to write this as an editorial to the NP and Sunnews, if they dare print it!


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        wsam says:

        Rob Ford is most likely a functional illiterate.


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          deb s says:

          nah hes okay to read…why he can read and drive at the same time, but that might be only after a quick bowl of morning crack:)


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    Cath says:

    So that Gomer with the bow-tie and glasses who does the noon hour show on CP24 had someone on there today suggesting that the whole Rob Ford thingy might allegedly be good for Toronto and encourage visitors to come to check the place out. At least it’s got people talking, good, bad or indifferent as their opinion of Ford may be.
    Anything to that do you think?
    Watch out, soon every municipality will want their own elected official similar, supposed crisis.
    Was visiting friends who live in a small town near Collingwood last weekend.
    A comment was raised that if the Star wanted to find elected officials or administrators with addictions all they’d have to do was visit their local watering hole where at any given time of day it’s where you’d find the old boys. Thought that hilarious, then sad when I thought that it could be very true.

    If we live in a society that expects politicians to lie, cheat, and otherwise go rogue, what’s that say about us as a society?

    Are we really asking for boring, honest politicians? When that’s the case the usual suspects chide us for being well boring and uninteresting.

    Whatever……….it’s all pure entertainment to me, WHICH, is a sad commentary in and of itself. Politics? Entertaining? What next? Federal Election Idol?


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      steve says:

      Hurry to Toronto, before all the crack is gone.


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      wsam says:

      Do these hypothetical politicians down at “ye olde local watering hole’ smoke crack?


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    Ben Smith says:

    Jean Baudrillard’s “the marketing immunity of governments is similar to that of the major brands of washing powder” was not an entirely original idea in 1989 – Sybil Shepherd spoke these lines in the 1976 motion picture, Taxi Driver:

    “First push the man, then the issue. Senator Palantine is a dynamic man. An intelligent, interesting, fresh …”

    “You forgot sexy. Listen, you sound like you’re selling mouthwash!”

    “We are selling mouthwash!”

    But of course, for those steeped in Eurocommunism, no truth could emanate from the belly of the beast, America. Nor was Chomsky’s 1988 “Manufacturing Consent” novel – the godfather of public relations Edward Bernays published, “the Engineering of Consent” in 1949.

    Incidentally, the infamous National Socialist propagandist Joseph Goebbels used Bernays’ Crystallizing Public Opinion as the foundation for his work. If the L/liberal elites of Toronto wonder why they cannot yet displace the Ford Family it is because they, like Bernays, have created a public relations Frankenstein that is difficult to control.

    The Ford Family saga will usher in a new intensity of exposé. Vice.com posted “The Facebook Comments Rob Ford’s Staffers Don’t Want You To See”; one which states: “Wow ! ANONYMOUS will share Rob Ford’s video now if we donate $10K” – crowd sourced blackmail – who knew? The Ford Family’s reckless existence is precipitating the perfect media storm – a storm that will replicate and cause the greatest shake-up of the Canadian political landscape to date.

    The Globe and Mail has staked a broad new claim in the “new paradigm”; that is, now every elected official in Canada must assume that a warts-and-all history of their entire family, without time limitation, is now inevitable. The parent or sibling who got arrested or went mad, the drug-dealing in-laws, the sexual exotica and the like; it must be assumed all of this will come to light in lurid and instantly iphone ready detail (e.g., recall the incredibly awkward testimony to sketch out the dimensions of Bill Clinton’s genitalia via coinage as an organizing metaphor.) The hyper-fishbowl is upon us.

    This is also a public relations war of attrition. The Left can point to the Ford family’s alleged connections to Neo-Nazis. The Right merely has to point to a book like “Young Trudeau,” saturated with clerical fascism. The Right can shoot back that as Edward Renehan notes: “As fiercely anti-Communist as they were anti-Semitic, Kennedy and Astor looked upon Adolf Hitler as a welcome solution to both of these “world problems.”

    The Left in every Canadian city is handing out “crack kits” to addicts and the Insite movement is lobbying hard for “inhalation rooms” – essentially State funded crack houses where addicts can smoke crack cocaine and methamphetamine without shame or judgment. The Left has lobbied for decades that cannabis should be decriminalized. How is it then that they have suddenly embarked on a campaign of just-say-no to “illicit” substances? If a team of investigative journalists were to investigate every Liberal, Bloc, and NDP mover and shaker, what would they turn up?

    The Gawker aspect of the Ford saga speaks to the transnational nature of today’s political communications; that is, if libel laws or other barriers to the press in one country prevent the publication of certain items, it is now fantastically easy to simply shift region; if the relatively robust freedom of speech environment of America won’t suffice, the temptation to go rogue is strong – fourteen year old Romanian hackers in their grandmother’s basement, News of the World tactics, Anonymous and Wikileaks, the ascendency of venal private investigators, mercenary spies – all of this is the volatile and fluid nature of the new intelligence landscape. The lid has been blown clear off Pandora’s Box.

    While non-Conservatives are rejoicing at the unraveling of the Ford family’s evidently undurable simulacrum of wholesome, plain-speaking suburban folks working tirelessly on behalf of the tax payer, they should fortify themselves and assume that this ultra-powerful and many tentacled media monster will pry apart the “progressive” narrative with equal ferocity and insatiable hunger. The Left seems unable to grasp that by trumpeting the line that “illicit” drug consumption (and by extension, wild living generally) is grounds for disqualification from public life, they are in fact heralding their own destruction: if only super-squares can make the cut, then governments will be composed only of Jason Kenny types – virginal, asexual, monochromatic, tee totaling geeks who do nothing else but service the powers-that-be. The irony.

    To the great unwashed – those that don’t know or care who Jean Baudrillard is – Rob Ford is the honey badger (a video that received sixty million youtube views) of Ontario politics – – crazy stuff like this is gold.

    Yes, a Disney or Beatrix Potter style allegory about Toronto politics, Rob Ford as the aggressive, bombastic, damn-the-torpedoes, cobra eating honey badger. Surrounding the honey badger is a supporting cast of evidently smarter but also parasitic hangers on; the hawks and jackals that easily steal the honey badger’s rats and cobras – these are perhaps the well heeled developers, night club and restaurant owners who find it good to avoid messy hunting when possible. The lesser predators, the rats as NDPer’s and the snakes as Liberals.

    Campy and appalled narrator Randall could serve as an appalled liberal elite sitting comfortably outside and above the primitive world of hunter and hunted. Indeed, despite the liberal and progressive narrative of being entirely scientific and rational, the emotional brain of this cohort can’t but wish these crude and vicious creatures could somehow be done away with on the road to the sanitized society. Consider the honey badger an animal metaphor for “whites” (or “hillbillies or “crackers” like the people on Warren Kinsella’s unblog),”protestants,” “bourgeois,” “capitalists,” “vanilla heterosexuals,” etc. All those untamed, undomesticated, unrefined animals that make the sophisticated of Toronto recoil in horror. This is elemental, animal, primal stuff – that’s why it works. “Ford Nation” sees not just themselves, but their very survival in the Fords.

    Jean Baudrillard writes, “And yet at the same time entire social groups are being laid waste from the inside (individuals too). Society has forgotten them and now they are forgetting themselves. They fall out of all reckoning, zombies condemned to obliteration, consigned to statistical graphs of endangered species.”

    However entertaining, in the end, Rob Ford and Ford Nations will be sacrificed: in chess, the sacrifice is axiomatic – this is the dark, Machiavellian truth. The sanitized society will advance – those of Ford Nation are too wild a breed – look at the evidence – democracy is too dangerous isn’t it? Better a city composed of docile workers, dreary Marxist/PCers, orderly Sharia types and the like. RIP honey badgers – I fear you’ve met your match. Then again, every political animal may be an endangered species these times as the new media dredge up every last square centimeter of personal scandal.


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      Cath says:

      I hate essay question WK. Did I miss the one you asked in the preface to your post?
      Didn’t think so 🙂


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      wsam says:

      Rob Ford smokes crack. Crack cocaine.

      A more interesting question is why do Conservative voters gravitate to bullies?


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    Patrick says:

    Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.


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      Patrick says:

      Are you getting paid to post your pre-approved messages here? Your post sounds like something Pierre Poilievre would say.


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        deb s says:

        LoL I think you nailed him Patrick, now that the ladies have taken over as spokespeople he has time on his hands:)

        and nice reasoning Walter/Pierre…the canadian public will forget about all these scandals the cons did last week by 2015 but they will be reminded over and over and over of one that happened almost 20yrs ago, classic con reasoning


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      wsam says:

      Unaccountable until October 2015.

      Best. Democracy. Ever.


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      Michael Bussiere says:

      Actually, both Trudeau and Mulcair were born in Ottawa, and not much Québecois in either bloodline. But if it satisfies your seemingly insatiable need to hate monger a particular group, then knock yourself out. But why not have the guts to use your full name, WalterW? I dare you. Put your full name down to your bigoted comments.


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      Bill Watson says:

      Screw off moron, Warren is correct in his article!


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    Pat says:

    Any chance you’d ever admit that the War Room style of politics is, at the very least, a contributor to this apathy by the Canadian public?

    Scandals aren’t new, but political parties sniffing them out and overloading media outlets and the public with them is (as of the early 1990s). What is it you say in The War Room? When they hit you, hit them back harder? I think people are desensitized because so much crap has been thrown their way they’ve become tired of trying to sift through it. That’s why they don’t care until someone is led away in handcuffs – because actual legal action means the person unequivocally did something wrong.

    There is no way that it’s a coincidence that voter turnout began taking a major nosedive starting as soon as Canadian politics adopted Carville’s methods in the early 1990s.

    Note: I’m not blaming you, Warren, since there’s no way you could have known that it would have such a detrimental impact on serious public discourse, and because your job was to win, not to worry about this sort of thing.


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      Scotian says:

      I happen to agree with this analysis regarding the use of war room politics being a contributing factor in the apathy of modern Canadian voters to real scandals these days. I think the commentator Pat makes the point well, I also agree with the belief that it is one of the factors in the declining voter turn out, although I also think that another is our FPTP system untempered by a transferable vote that would enable a requirement that one’s MP be elected by a majority support result, even if that comes from a combination of first and second choice support. It still would be seen by more people as giving their vote more weight on the outcome and make it far harder for narrow defined and/or ideological parties from running up the middle to win as the CPC has managed. I always thought this approach to our politics would bite us in the behind over time, as did my mentor in politics, who was a staunch Liberal member and volunteer of many decades who had very strong feelings on this issue before she passed away almost a quarter century back now, and she was quite uncomfortable with Warren Kinsella and his approach back then, I strongly recall her comments on that point. I think attack all the time politics was a classic example of short term gain yet long term drain for the Canadian body politic federally, and I think one cannot ignore its part of the equation in the modern desensitization of political scandal in the wider public/electorate.


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        Pat says:

        Exactly – I would never say that current political tactics are THE reason for voter apathy, but I certainly think that they are a key cause. Those tactics that are most often associated with “The War Room” are voter suppression – they turn people off and reduce the number of people who vote. I think there are a bunch of solutions. As you note, we could really use a better voting system. But, to bring Canadians back into an active and/or more helpful public discourse over the current and future direction of the country, we need someone who eschews this style and wins. Once it is proven that you can win by being positive, it might persuade other parties to try the same, just as they all adopted war room tactics after Warren wiped the floor with them…


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          Scotian says:

          Pat:

          I suspect that Justin Trudeau is going to put that to the test, at least to an extent (I don’t believe anyone can win without some negative contrasting, but there is a real difference between contrast ads and attack ads, and I am hoping JT not only sees that but is planning on going that route as much as possible, because I believe there is sufficient desire for it thanks to the non-stop negativity on the Harper CPC over the past decade) over the next couple of years and next election. He seems to be aware of just how much the public is tiring of this never ending attack, smear, and fear approach which the Harper CPC has been running with, especially since they formed a majority. It is one thing to campaign constantly when you are a minority government, but to still act like you are the Official Opposition and electioneering throughout a majority mandate, well I think that is not only being noted by the wider electorate but is also wearing very thin. It has been a while since anyone has offered Canadians a truly positive vision for the country (and I do not see Mulcair doing much better in this regard despite what some NDP supporters would no doubt claim) and I get the impression there is a real yearning out there for it. Something I think most partisans (of all stripes and flavours) forget is that the largest plurailty of voters is an uncommitted middle of the road centrist pragmatist swing voter, and it is capturing their interest that is the real key to forming a government in our political environment.

          As to the better voting system, hard not to agree. I go to the transferable vote (like the fed Libs did in their last leadership race) because it requires the least change to our political structures to implement while making a real substantive change. In my youth I used to find the idea of PR appealing, but after watching how poorly it has gone over in the last quarter century wherever in Canada it was tried to be sold I just don’t see it anymore as a realistic option, at least not unless we go through a much more profound and wide-ranging period of reform/transformation of our political institutions beyond just the voting mechanism, something I do not see anytime soon on the horizon. As well the transferable vote is easy to explain, and it doesn’t run the risk of making the parties any stronger than they already are, and it is something that is a fairly easy and simple legislative fix/change to do. That is why I think it is the best option at this time on that score. Combine selling that plus a positive vision and I think it could be a powerful campaign approach, especially after all of the harshness of the attack all the time approach to politics which has been raised to a new extreme by the current government. One can hope anyway…*sigh*


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            Pat says:

            I actually misspoke (miswrote?). My issue isn’t entirely with negativity, it’s with volume. Every party is guilty of trying to make everything into a scandal. It’s exhausting. It’s why people don’t pay attention to politics and don’t react. It’s hard to care when you are hearing about a new “scandal” every day…

            Unless it’s something I should honestly care about, I don’t want MPs talking about “scandals”. I’d rather they spend their time actually governing – you know, the thing I pay them to do…


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    wsam says:

    Hello! Walter!! You do know Rob Ford smokes crack, don’t you? You know that, right?

    What kind of self-respecting political movement or party, or anyone aspiring to a position of responsiblity and leadership would have anything to do with him, or his people?

    He smokes crack. He gets loopy and then goes to public events, wandering around high out of his mind.


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    CrescentHeightsGuy says:

    I should have said this out loud two weeks ago.

    Straight up – I don’t like Rob Ford. That said, I think the crack video case against him remains unsubstantiated and is currently without merit. The anti-Ford mob may regret the glee with which they try to drive him from office. If you are anti-Ford, chances are pretty good that you were pro-Bill Clinton. Remember how you felt when the “Rep-thug-licans” impeached Clinton for lying about an affair with an intern? Yes, Clinton lied, but trying to oust him over it was not a useful or productive process. Is the crack video business this time any different? (Well actually it is – Clinton’s DNA was on the dress, meanwhile Ford’s video remains ephemeral and unverified.) What Ford may (or may not) be smoking in his leisure time is his problem. When we make it a political football, even if we succeed in crucifying Ford, we loose in the long run, cause there will be a next time, and it will be one of our people that gets destroyed.

    Short of a conviction in a law court, the only proper way to take out Ford is in an election.

    http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/op-ed/Lakritz+Ford+lynch+should+hang+their+heads+shame/8472816/story.html


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      Warren says:

      Sir: Let me lay out what I am thinking, too.

      There is no mechanism, none, to remove Ford from office before election day. That includes him being indicted. He needs to be imprisoned before he can lose office.

      The objective, then, it is to destroy his brand as much as possible between now and 2014. Simple.

      And he is assisting us in doing it.


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    Kev says:

    Scandals never, ever, ever stick.

    Until they do.


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    steve says:

    You have to add to this list the Ontario Liberals who are skating from a scandal. I totally accept they made a political decision to move the power plants. As it turned out they did not get the majority and we would have been all better served if the orginal decision which was not made on the back of a napkin had been kept. What I can not accept and heads should roll is the deletion of emails. How niave, how Canadian, you have not seen an email sent in an administration in the US since the George Hover Walker days. But is this what we really want, meetings in steam rooms.

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