When it comes to federal elections there's good reason to keep a careful eye out for electoral shenanigans from the RCMP. Who can forget the leg up the then Commissioner gave Stephen Harper in defeating Paul Martin?
That was then, this is now and, at the moment, the national police service is headed by a Harper appointee in the form of a former Tory political functionnaire who is scheduled to gradually step down some time this summer after a very controversial reign.
Just prior to the election Harper's office tried to pre-empt a scandal by announcing it had called in the RCMP to investigate a former advisor to the p.m., Bruce Carson, for alleged illegal lobbying. This was after the Aboriginal Television Network broke the story possibly forcing Harper's hand.
Harper tried to stay ahead of the scandal by floating the narrative that any skullduggery in his prime minister's office would be sent directly to the cops. We were given the impression that Harpo had no idea of Carson's shady background.
That background included being caught misappropriating trust funds, disbarment, criminal conviction and imprisonment. Harper's reaction seemed to be "Who knew?" Now it seems there were plenty who knew and reason to believe that included plenty within the PMO as well, and quite possibly the RCMP too.
There is ample reason to question whether the RCMP is being used as a political firewall to shelter Harper from having to answer some pretty direct questions in the midst of an election campaign. We need at least some assurance that the RCMP has not become a political agency of the Conservative Party and its leader.
Indeed, the RCMP in its role in the Carson affair may have as much explaining to do as the PMO. Carson was well known around Ottawa long before Harper became prime minister. It seems hard to believe that Carson's reputation wouldn't be known to a life long Tory insider like RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott. Did the RCMP vet Bruce Carson before he came aboard as a Harper advisor? If not, why not? If so, did the RCMP warn the PMO about Carson's chequered background? If the prime minister wasn't informed, who in the PMO was told and what was done with that information? What role did Harper play in the selection of Carson as his advisor?
These questions need to be raised - now. They need to be raised in the midst of this election campaign. Given the bizarre circumstances - facts, not smears - Harper needs to explain himself and give a clear accounting for the actions of his prime minister's office. Given its own past record and the fact that the force is now headed by a Tory Party insider, the RCMP needs to do some accounting and explaining of its own. Should the RCMP itself be investigated or is there some other means available to ensure the voting public it hasn't been transformed into an agency of the Conservative Party - again.
Look Mr. Ignatieff, this is a genuine scandal that has fallen into your lap. Harper shamelessly contrives smears to take down his opponents. You don't have to contrive anything here. All you need do is start asking some pretty obvious questions and not accept any lame excuses in answer. If you do any less you don't deserve to lead your party.