Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reform Conservatives Continue Smear Campaigns - Proof They Have Nothing Left

A recent column by Lawrence Martin discusses the Reform Conservatives', incessant need to smear their opponents, without offering anything constructive.

Have you ever listened to Question Period? They rarely answer a question. They simply mock or turn the question around. A classic example of course was Harper's Nixon impersonation, when asked if he was going to fire the finance minister after getting his predictions so wrong. He refused to answer that question but immediately stated that he'd love to fire the opposition leader, but with all the tapes he had on him...

This is not intelligent debate, and does nothing to help Canadians.

We see them do the same thing to Richard Colvin, to Elections Canada, or to anyone who tries to get in their way.

Even Don Newman recently stated that Parliament has gotten uglier since the arrival of the Reform Party. They have no respect for Canadian institutions, and just turn everything into a game.

Mr. Martin is right. Michael Ignatieff has got to start fighting back. What's happening now with the Afghan Detainee scandal, is his area of expertise. He has worked with the UN before on human rights issues, so has firsthand knowledge of how these things work. We need that voice of reason and intelligence. I'm so sick of the Ref-Con nonsense.

Conservative record of smears tells the story
November 24, 2009

When in doubt, check the track record.

If that is done on the question of diplomat Richard Colvin’s testimony on the Afghan detainees, the Harper government’s side of the story doesn’t make it to the dance floor.

The Conservatives have a long history of trying to shield embarrassing truths from the public and of smearing anyone who challenges them. It’s one of the reasons critics were quick to pounce on Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s attempt to undermine Colvin last week.

In the same week, the Tories were distributing flyers to various ridings trying to paint the Liberals as anti-Jewish. The charge is ludicrous. Michael Ignatieff, one of the most right-wing leaders on foreign policy the Liberals have ever had, is decidedly pro-Israel. But that’s the way the Tories operate.

We recall how they went after Linda Keen, the former president of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and how they slandered Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour, calling her a “national disgrace.” They smeared NDP members as being pro Taliban.

As for their record of secrecy and concealment, they may well exceed any Canadian government before them. They’ve muzzled their own ministers, shut down a giant government information registry, and made a mockery of access to information regulations.

No one should be surprised, therefore, if in fact they tried to cover up the Afghan prisoner abuse and are now forced into trying to discredit the whistleblower.

The Conservatives keep using smear tactics for a good reason. They work. Take the personal attack ads they launched against Liberal leaders St├ęphane Dion and Ignatieff. Those leaders, who came out of the soft ivory tower of academia, had no response. Dion didn’t have the money to run counterattack ads. The party was broke.

Iggy’s team had the money. But what did he do? After being belted by Conservative commercials labelling him a just-visiting, power-hungry, carpetbagger, he turned the other cheek. In a series of commercials he stood in front of a forest mouthing platitudes and bromides. Looking on, Stephen Harper was probably laughing his butt off.

The Grits, hovering at historic low levels of 23 per cent in the polls, desperately need a new strategy. They’ve got to throw out the kid gloves and start responding to the Tories in kind.

Ignatieff hasn’t wished to be front and centre on the Afghan allegations because of his past controversial remarks on the use of torture.

But the torture allegations are only one element of this story. There’s a bigger one. It’s the alleged cover-up. Iggy should smear the Conservatives with that. Unlike most Tory charges, it might even be true.

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