Voter reassurance is at stake here
t’s a relief to hear a voice of reason amid the ongoing accusations regarding the robocall scandal that grew out of the last election.
Interestingly, the balanced view is coming from a patriarch of the current Conservative party - even if the Conservatives themselves have been evasive in acknowledging a problem as the opposition casts barbs.
Preston Manning, Reform party founder and leader, on Friday called the actions deplorable that saw phone messages delivered to voters that potentially could rob them of their vote. Speaking outside a conservative conference sponsored by his Centre for Democracy he told reporters throughout his life he’s worked to get people more politically engaged and called it deplorable that people could be working against that grain.
That, in a nutshell, is the tragedy here. Canada has too many voters who don’t exercise the right due to apathy. We don’t need an added element of them thinking there’s fraud involved.
Protective instinct or not, Manning also advised against simply pointing fingers at the Conservatives. He believes the problem is broader than that, and suggested better ethical training for campaign workers. Many, he added, get their political training in the U.S., where politics are more aggressive.
Let’s say the finger pointing does subside. The Conservatives only recently, under pressure, conceded to the NDP’S quest for greater powers to Election Canada to investigate, to make parties provide proof of their campaign financial returns.
The Conservatives, countering accusations in this affair, have continually been finding ways to deflect blame for the robocalls, saying it’s a rogue element at work, or technical flaws - or have simply characterized the whole thing as a smear campaign.
Simple denial of wrongdoing isn’t reassuring. Committing to find ways of eliminating the potential for this is.
Elections can’t be about winning at all costs. They have to be about having the confidence of Canadians.