Thursday, September 27, 2007

Telegraphing Harper's Low Blows

Speaking of low blows, this is about Stephen Harper and his guru, Tom Flanagan.

Travers has an interesting piece in today's Toronto Star about how Canada's own far right-wing wants to undermine our democracy:

In a new book and seemingly everywhere else, Flanagan, Harper's 2004 campaign chairman, lays bare cynicism that would make even Liberals blush. Distilled to its essence, the archconservative Calgary professor argues that rather than give Canadians the government they want, Conservatives must manipulate voters until they elect one they don't.
Remarkable for its sophistication and expediency, Flanagan's template gains credibility from two campaigns, one losing, one winning. But its immediacy is rooted in an October throne speech that may well end in the government engineering its own defeat as well as in a Tuesday report that the defence department crafted the speech Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai presented to Parliament a year ago.

Pushing the country into an election while blaming the opposition is a standard gambit that only needs to be seen for what it is to be fairly judged. But using non-partisan public institutions, particularly the military, for the political purpose of surreptitiously moulding national opinion is as slippery a slope as appointing a bureaucrat with Tory ties to lead the RCMP.

Both decisions would be worrying even if an inner circle Conservative wasn't making it so clear how far the party will go to gain unfettered power and how anxious it is to fully apply its ideology. But Flanagan is and that adds caveats to even the Prime Minister's most persuasive performances.

Harper in peak form remains the most palatable part of the Conservative cookie. But the dark half still leaves the same old bitter taste, one that would be unhealthy to acquire.

The object lesson seems to be, don't go into the water Jimmy, those are sharks circling at your feet.

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