a thorough investigation is needed

Photo by Dennis Hurd, Flickr

Photo by Dennis Hurd, Flickr

The opposition parties are relishing the latest controversy marring the Conservative Party and, therefore, the Harper government.

The debate concerning the electronic calls designed to convey false information to Canadian voters is dominating the media landscape.

Evidently sensing a rich vein to exploit, the opposition has even set aside the controversial bill of online communications. Even though the Prime Minister shows no sign of a man in a tight spot, this affair might haunt his party for a good while. Yet, all is not won for the opposition.

Whatever you may think, this whole affair might not harm the government that much. It will not be a fatal blow unless the trail leads straight to Harper’s doorstep or that of one of his closest adviser.

It seems however evident that although the Prime Minister has maintained, since the beginning, the facade of a man with nothing to reproach himself, he must be at least slightly nervous.

You see, opposition parties, Elections Canada and the RCMP aren’t the only ones who want to know what those calls were all about. The Conservative Party’s senior staff and their leader first and foremost are surely impatient to know, first, if the perpetrators were indeed members of their party and secondly, to what hierarchic level of government they belonged.

One thing is for sure, we can bet that the Prime Minister knew nothing of it. Party leaders are very rarely briefed on the logistics details of their electoral campaigns. For example, the leader probably doesn’t know where and when campaign ads are bought. These types of decisions are left to campaign experts.

Nevertheless, the tactics of those responsible for the events are absolutely disgraceful. Even if victory is sought by all contenders in an election, the only way to get it is through honorable means.

The type of behaviour presently exposed does nothing to uplift the political class. And there is no doubt in my mind that not one of those who won in the ridings that apparently have been targeted by the robocalls knew about the tactics or worse, endorsed them.

There have been, of course, in the heated context of the electoral campaign, cheap shots aimed at destabilizing the adversary. Nothing is new about annoying calls to supporters of this or that political party. However this particular stratagem goes a lot further.

What is singular in the robocall case is the fact that such technology enables to reach a huge proportion of people, quickly and smoothly. This is why this case causes so much consternation. The use of such technology in order to mislead voters is nothing short of a stab at foiling democracy- hence the necessity of getting to the bottom of things.

To date, nothing points to anyone in the Conservative government giving the go-ahead to such a stratagem. All we know is that the calls were made to deliberately mislead voters and prevent them from exercising their right to vote.

But we have to admit that someone, somewhere, someday decided that it would be a good idea to order a bunch of phone calls designed to spread false information and manipulate the electoral process.

Translation Monique Kroeger