I almost wrote this on Friday, but I wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind. I did however take a bit of a strip off of Guelph provincial Conservative candidate Greg Schirk and strongly thought about tearing a similar one off of city councillor Cam Guthrie over Twitter because of it.
The issue at hand is what else, robocalls. Because of what’s been going on around VC World HQ the last month and change I’m very much late to this party, but by now I’m sure most of you have at least a basic understanding of what’s happening. If you don’t, Google is your friend. Type in robocalls and Elections Canada investigation or some variation on that theme and you’ll be caught up pretty quickly.
Now, why did I get so angry at Greg and Cam? To be fair, it isn’t just them. They just happen to be two of the more conservative, right leaning people I follow on Twitter, so their comments were some of the first to catch my eye. To be clear, I hate the fact that I have to bring up their political leanings at all, because the robocall issue should not under any circumstances be a partisan one. But for some reason, there are Conservative supporters out there (these two seemingly among them) who appear bent on making it one.
I’ll link to Cam’s thoughts on the situation such as they are to illustrate my point. What about those Guelph Robo-calls?
Can somebody please tell me what exactly it is he’s trying to get across here? At one moment he’s saying what we all should be saying, that whoever is responsible for pretending to be Elections Canada and telling people to vote in the wrong place needs to be caught and dealt with swiftly. That’s great. But he then goes on to say that left wing media are trying to group all robocalls into the same pile, and follows that up by taking a big dump all over the Liberals for making calls urging people not to vote for Marty Burke and to vote strategically. After all that, he winds things up by saying that those calls are annoying, but nothing to get bent out of shape over or contact the police about.
He’s right, they are nothing to get wound up over. They’re campaign calls. they happen all the time, and depending on who you talk to they’re totally within the bounds of Canadian election law. So the question is if that’s the case, why mention them? If you can’t paint them with the same brush, what purpose does any of this serve other than taking unnecessary shots at rivals and trying to deflect the issue for a few minutes?
And just who are these left wing media groups that are trying to lump all robocalls into the bad column? I’ve already admitted that I’m a little behind so perhaps I’ve missed something that will make me eat my words, but up to now the only people I’ve heard making these claims are those on the more conservative end of the spectrum, the group which looks to have the most to lose out of this whole affair. The rest of us are busy being rightfully outraged and looking for justice. Frank Valeriote being honest about doing what everybody else does isn’t overly important to us when measured against what could very well be an organized voter suppression effort orchestrated by associates of the party that ultimately won the election.
I’m quite frankly disgusted that at such an important moment in Canada’s history, there are still people wanting to protect one side over another and cause people to stray away from what’s important. I should have known better than to expect better I know, but there are times like this when things effect every single one of us that you honestly do hope that the us against them mentality gets tossed out the window. We’re neither us or them. We’re we. And until we all figure that out, we’re doing our democracy an extreme disservice.