They must either think Canadians are stupid, or as a party the Liberals must be as cynical as the NDP if they think they can keep pushing the "Harper is undemocratic" line. How many times do the Liberals need to get the message from opinion polls and their own fear of facing the electorate that Canadians can see through that unconvincing sales pitch?
Aside from the obvious fact that the Conservatives were democratically elected and haven't done away with a single democratic right, they have a minority government! The other parties can bring in a non-confidence motion any time they like and call a new election. Hardly the stuff dictatorships are made of.
Last year, when Harper prorogued Parliament, the Liberals thought they were on to something. An anti-prorogue group on facebook had signed up tens of thousands of members and there were even demonstrations across Canada. The Liberals thought they had Harper on the ropes.
It turned out Harper was playing rope-a-dope with them.
Anyone familiar with social media knows facebook groups are trends that have virtually no meaning in the real world. A group that was formed to convince a woman to name her baby "Megatron" got more than seven times the number of the anti-prorogue group. The demonstrations attracted a few thousand people in various cities across Canada. Which would almost be impressive until you consider that the numbers at the demonstrations were even less than the combined memberships of the Liberal party and NDP. Which means the federal opposition parties couldn't even manage to get all their own members out in the street to protest against Harper, let alone get the rest of the country worked up.
By the time it was over, Harper and the Conservatives' popularity had actually gone up further in the polls.
Now the Liberals think they smell blood about the Beverly Oda signature issue.
And as usual, the Liberals are going to screw it up.
Because rather than just making it about whether Oda had mislead a parliamentary committee, the Liberals have also decided to Heap praise on KAIROS, the anti-Israel organization that was working against Canadian business interests abroad whose denial of federal funding spurred the controversy.
Just as with their failed anti-prorogue efforts, Harper's popularity will not be harmed by the transparent attempt to capitalize on the issue.
So instead of making this about a politician's integrity, the Liberals have stupidly decided to hitch their wagon to an organization working against government policy. Whether or not people support those policies, no reasonable person would dispute Harper's statement about the responsibilities of a democratic government:
“We were elected to ensure that when we give out taxpayers’ money that that taxpayers’ money is used for purposes that will further the objectives of policy.”Some of KAIROS' supporters have claimed that allegations about the organization's anti-Israel stance is exaggerated. KAIROS hasn't helped them by choosing one of their first opportunities to exploit the Oda controversy by publishing a retort to the government on rabble.ca.
Rabble.ca is one of the most virulently anti-Israel media sites in the Canada. Its writers routinely slander Israel as an "apartheid" country, while calling for its sanctions. It is the media supporter of an effort to support terror-organization Hamas with an effort to attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. It supports 9-11 conspiracy loons and Rabble's user forums have called for violent socialist revolution in Canada.
Those are the people KAIROS turned to first for support.
The Liberals, by throwing their lot in with the most fanatical elements of the fringes of the Canadian political spectrum, have yet again shown their main interest is not principled leadership. It's a familiar face of the worst aspect of Liberal Party of Canada politics.
The Liberals are pushing a petition to get Beverly Oda to resign. Based on the petition's numbers, they haven't even convinced all the members of the Liberal Party to sign it, let alone the overwhelming majority of Canadians who have shown complete indifference to this issue.
Here is a video the Liberals produced. It's an embarrassment to them. In the background are chants of "shame" that sound like they could have been made by the cultists of Queers Against Israel Apartheid during a meeting in one of their bunkers.
The Liberals desperately need a better class of political advisers and consultants. They way they're going, they are steering Canada towards a Conservative majority in the next election.
UPDATE: A good Macleans piece that points out how the Liberals are using the KAIROS issue as a red herring that even they don't believe.