TORONTO - One week into the election campaign and the real winners are the twelve-year olds running the Conservative and Liberal war efforts.
There are only three reasons why the public is not yet turning its back on the train wreck that is now the Conservative campaign: the apparent desire to change government; the incompetence of the Liberal central campaign, and, the right-wing Conservative Press and Media that hypes Liberal-NDP errors while pooh-poohing the Conservative blunders, no matter how egregious they might be.
We received late Wednesday afternoon, tips and what appeared to be supporting documents of Conservative malfeasance involving at least nine candidates. At least one other press outlet received the same. By 6:30 pm, one Simmer Sandhu of Brampton East had resigned. All traces of his campaign (phone, social media accounts) had been erased.
The ETR 407 corporation released messages that their data based had been breached and that they were taking measures to make amends. Simmer Sandhu was an employee against whom allegations of wrongdoing were levelled. He has allegedly mined the data base to secure personal information which subsequently ended up in the hands of Conservative Party candidates to be used for nomination and electoral purposes.
Mr. Sandhu denies the allegations, which have not been proven in Court. He nonetheless chose to withdraw his candidacy – the deadline was 2:00 pm Thursday.
Mr. Ford, Leader of the Conservative Party, was probably “gobsmacked” with the discovery. Shouldn’t have been. He campaigned for the Leadership on the theme that the Party was/is corrupt, run by downtown [Toronto] elites and out of touch with real people.
His solution? Rebrand the PC Party into “Ford Nation” – his vision of the world.
And the first example of this new world order? Dumping Tanya Granic-Allen, the person most responsible for his “ascension to the Throne”, for an intemperate expression of her socially right-wing views – five years ago. She’s Catholic and takes her values seriously, whether one agrees or not.
Bravo, said the Conservative punditry: this shows Ford has become of age and can make tough decisions. Well, maybe. But it also shows that he is focused singularly on himself and that he may be untrustworthy and insincere. To which issues will he “hold firm”?
He has stood by a Cambridge candidate, loudmouth “spewer of verbal venom”, notwithstanding his distaste for those who are “not our own”. Perhaps it is because Mr. Ford himself, in a debate, said we have to take care of our own first. That was his negative response to a request by five Northern Ontario Mayors that he pressure the Federal Government to bring more immigrants into Ontario’s North. Mayors see Immigration as a key economic issue to the survival of their region.
All part of appealing to your base crowd said one pundit who apparently was a communications advisor to Mr. Ford’s late brother Rob. When the “team” made similar statements under Rob, their poll numbers went “through the ceiling” she protested triumphantly. Division works for some people.
Then, yesterday, the Star revealed that Mr. Ford attended a fundraiser, contrary to legislation prohibiting participation at such events for fear that people might be perceived to be buying access. The Conservatives, NDP and Liberals unite in the last Legislature to pass a law to do precisely that.
That was before “Ford Nation” so one might surmise that the rules should not apply to those who didn’t make them. Pundits on right-wing talk shows jumped on this criticism of ethical lapses as slight because it masks the real corruption that prompted the legislation in the first place. These people get paid to take the public for fools.
Now, the twelve-year-olds running Kathleen Wynne’s campaign must still be in “warm-up mode”. Nothing they have offered up suggests that they are taking the election seriously. They should be in command of the messages that highlight the inconsistencies in informing the public.
They have decided to leave that up to the NDP. Maybe after this week-end everyone will wake up. None of us are in the democratic exercise to elect pundits on talk radio or TV.