Goosey, Goosey, Gander

I fear Warren Kinsella has far too much of a personal stake in this election, that it’s twisting his judgement. Why else would he take such umbrage over this?

It’s not like political parties haven’t thrown a young partisan or two on the electoral fire before. But this is (a) dumb because it’s so apparently widespread and (b) testifies to the fact that the party can’t even find one or two real Canadians to get their message out.

Whatever that message is.

Young Liberals posing as average Canadians in letter campaign
Letters to the editor, television ads get out Martin’s message Allan Woods, The Ottawa Citizen

NORTH BAY - Liberal party activists have launched a campaign to sway public opinion on child care, but it’s operated largely by members of the Young Liberals, who are passing themselves off as average Canadians.

They attack Conservative leader Stephen Harper in letters to newspapers that denigrate his child-care plan while promoting Liberal leader Paul Martin as the only worthy choice to run the country. But don’t identify themselves as affiliated with the Liberal party.

What disturbs me the most is Warren’s (inadvertant) classification of who gets to be a “real Canadian” and who doesn’t. Who says if you become active in a political party, you’re suddenly not entitled to expressing your political opinion? I thought that was the primary reason one became active in a political party. I have seen plenty of letters to the editor written by Conservative and NDP partisans who don’t formally identify themselves as active within their party.

Remember, real Canadians engage in letter-writing campaigns too.

And what the Liberals are doing here is not new. The Republicans in the States have been very effective in getting their message out through the letters to the editor section of various newspapers, and you know that the Conservatives and the NDP are following this tactic closely. The only reason Democrats decry this process, deriding it with the term “astroturf”, is because it’s so effective, and the fact that they’re unable to do this as effectively is an organizational fault on their part.

If the other parties want to get their message out, their task is clear: write letters to the editor of their own, just like any other “real Canadian”.

Similarly, I’m with Ahab’s Whale on this one: those Liberal-leaning bloggers who are all a-twitter over the Washington Times endorsement of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives need to chill out, lest they be exposed as hypocrites. I don’t recall any of them taking umbridge over Michael Moore’s interference in the last election when he told Canadians not to vote Conservative. About the only room for comment here is to point out those Blogging Tories who were so upset about Michael Moore’s contribution to the previous election that now find themselves blogging quietly, though frankly not many Blogging Tories were all a-twitter over it (just like most progressive bloggers aren’t about this now).

To the Liberal bloggers’ credit, I’m not hearing anybody suggesting that the editorial board of the Washington Times be extradicted to face charges under the Elections Act, though I’m sure there are one or two who may have said so.

Really, both Canada and the United States are free countries, and everybody is entitled to their opinion. And we are entitled to having our own opinions about said opinions. Many Canadians wanted to see Bush lose, and that was their right. It’s only fair to accord Americans the same right to wish for their preferred outcome for this election. There are plenty cheering for the progressives as well.

The matter of American special interest groups channelling money into Conservative campaigns is a slightly different matter, and it bears watching, since you have to ask whether Stephen Harper is speaking for Canadians, or for American special interest groups. But as long as these groups aren’t breaking any laws, all we can do is be aware of this phenomena, make others aware of this phenomena, and cast our opinions about this at election time.

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