Monday, May 05, 2008

Anatomy of a scandal

The latest polls seem to indicate the Conservative Party has not been hurt too much by the Elections Canada "scandal."

On the surface, this might surprise a lot of people considering the shellacking the Tories have been taking from the media and from the Opposition parties over this matter.

Yet there are three reasons why we shouldn't be surprised.

First, the allegations against the Conservatives are convoluted, involving as they do a scheme whereby the national headquarters gave money to local ridings who then gave it back to the national headquarters who used it to pay for national ads, but the local ridings also received reimbursements for running local ads etc, etc, etc. A certified accountant may be able to follow all this stuff but it will give everyone else a headache.

A real scandal is one you can communicate in one sentence, ie "The governor hired a hooker."

Second, real scandals are the ones where people feel they are being personally ripped off. For instance, the "adscam scandal" hurt the Liberals because it looked like they were robbing our tax dollars to make their buddies rich. By contrast, the Tories are accused of violating some arcane election law. That might bother Canadians, but it won't infuriate them.

Third and lastly, thanks to all the government scandals we have been exposed to over the past few years, we are probably becoming used to them. It's getting harder and harder to shock an increasingly cynical population.

Still even though the Elections Canada issue won't necessarily kill the Tories, it will still hurt their image.

10 comments:

Reid said...

I think your third point is the most important. The general population is "shell shocked." The fact that the Liberals have been trying a scanadal-a-week approach to mudslinging people have just stopped paying attention to all the bleating.

Brian said...

True , but as much as Dions' proposed rubber chicken circuit this summer !

Too bad Laurel & Hardy are long dead , because they would make a great contribution to Dion's summer circuit to meet Canadians ... at least Laurel & Hardy could communicate clearly !

Billy Jack said...

"... at least Laurel & Hardy could communicate clearly !"

And had some charisma! Listening to Dion is the aural equivalent of watching paint dry.

Robert McClelland said...

I think you're forgetting one important factor: Time. Adscam didn't impact the Liberals popularity right away either. The longer the Conservatives' election shenanigans remains news the more it will impact them over time.

Mr Ed said...

I think that ultimately the constant barage of mud slinging will actually have the reverse effect the Liberals are aiming for. Especially as they are proven to be false or once rulings come down regardinmg the EC "scandal" if it turns out the ruling shows the CPC didn't violate the laws and we just waisted even more money on another "Brenda Martin" Liberal and MSM manufactured "scandal"

... But then isn't it all part of the master plan Dion's cooking up... If you're going to build something that will stand the test of time, you need a solid foundation, so best to rip it down below the foundations and start over with solid footings...

Ultimately, as they continue to be irrelavent and ineffective, sit out in the hall when there are votes in the House rather then standing up to force an election because it appears they couldn't win back their entitlement to power, I would hope that beyond ignoring them, the Canadian people will begin to migrate away from the Liberal party. The other 2-3 national party's actually do have policy and (relatively speakin)an actual direction if only from the sense of the Liberal party seems more and more like a directionless sinking ship that should be renamed The Titanic Liberal Party of Canada...

i.e. Left thinking Liberals will tend towards the NDP and potentially even Green while people who pay attention to policy, business, and genrally right thinking Liberals will move towards the CPC... The CPC are afterall more accurately defined under the actual term "Liberal" then Liberals are already...
(Has anyone else noticed the Liberals and Leftward supportive MSM have adopted "progressive" into their mantras?!?)

As for the Block...The Fedral Gov't should propose a law making it manditory a Fedral party must have candidates in at least 51% of the country's ridings to receive any federal funding and receive official party status...

This last may be taken as anti-Quebec on the surface by many... but over the former 10-12 years of Martin and Cretien, prior to the CPC forming and the current Minority Gov't, there was Western alienation on a scale that had many Westerners thinking we didn't need Ontario, Quebec or the rest of Canada... Ontario and Quebec may not realize it but the West in general (Manitoba west) is in a far better standing to go it alone then Quebec...

Today, with factory's being outsourced to Asia, Alberta and BC are #1 and #3 money urners for this nation. Ontario slipping to #2... A Liberal win in the next Fedral election could very well start those grumblings up again...

Christian Conservative said...

Robert, you're forgetting that with AdScam, new and damaging details kept on popping up every couple of weeks... with the Tories election funding, people are already tuning out, and all the fireworks have already gone off.

jckirlan said...

"...Conservatives' election shenanigans ..."
What election shenaigans??? You mean the same thing the Liberals and NDP are doing?

Brian said...

Actually , if some of the people I know and my children who are in their 30's are any indication , most people don't give a "rat's-behind" about politics.

An election is way over the horizon for most people. Taxes , jobs and GAS prices are the consuming issue , and if Dion tries to persuade people they should pay an additional carbon tax during his summer circuit , he will be treated like a lunatic.

Robert McClelland said...

Robert, you're forgetting that with AdScam, new and damaging details kept on popping up every couple of weeks...

The same thing is occurring in this case. Every week reveals yet another example of questionable election tactics from the Conservatives. And we've yet to see the nitpicky stage that Adscam reached (ie. Dingwall's pack of expensed gum).

It hasn't solidified yet nor is it certain that it will at this point, but if the narrative that the Conservatives cheated in the `06 election does, everything they've done or do will be viewed through that prism.

The big indicator will be whether or not this story survives over the summer. If it doesn't it's more than likely dead. If it does however, the Conservatives will likely take a big hit in support since nobody likes a cheater.

Miles Lunn said...

I think the third reason is probably the main one. I would in fact argue the Liberals lost the last election more due to a lousy campaign rather than adscam. Poll numbers seem to have been reasonably consistent in between elections and only change during campaigns. Never mind, most people don't follow politics that closely to really know what is going on.