The Dirty Fighting of Canadian Politics, Jamming, 01/07/2015

There are days when I feel like I want to just walk into the communications office of an organization I support and start work immediately. I’m exactly the kind of person that a political party should hire if they want to avoid the cultural corruption of office and the accompanying growth of yes-men (of all genders and gender identities) without authentic principles.

I will, when I see it, always call bullshit.

The word of a notable sleazebucket is no reason for me
to abandon my belief that Mulcair is a man of principle.
Today’s bullshit: Martin Patriquin’s recent article in MacLean’s about how the Conservative Party courted Thomas Mulcair in 2007 to advise them on environmental issues and eventually run as a candidate in Quebec. Mulcair had just left the provincial Liberal government of Jean Charest over environmental issues, and he was being courted by the New Democrats, the Conservatives, and a large private law firm.

It was already common knowledge that Mulcair turned down the Conservatives to join the New Democrats, even though they were (in popular perception at least) a complete non-entity in Quebec politics. The narrative of Mulcair becoming a beachhead MP in Montréal who led the organizing effort that saw the orange sweep of the province in 2011 is central to the NDP’s cultural myth-building for their current leader.

Patriquin's article breaks from the established narrative by claiming that Mulcair only turned down the Conservatives because they wouldn’t pay him enough. The Conservatives could offer only $180,000 salary, and Mulcair asked for $300,000. So says Patriquin’s source.

That source was Dimitri Soudas.

Some background, to explain why this makes me call bullshit.

Some of Jim Prentice's remarks before and after he lost
Alberta's election to Rachel Notley's NDP showed that
he actually couldn't conceive of the (relatively)
progressive left provincial party as a real threat.
It's no secret to anyone who reads my blog that I don’t support Stephen Harper, and that I hope Canada has a New Democrat federal government by the end of this year. As recent polls show, I’m not exactly alone here

With this in mind, I’m fascinated to see how the lines of attack between our three main parties will shape up. One thing I notice about the Conservative way of thinking is that they seem weak on confronting the NDP, pouring more of their efforts into attacking Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party, their traditional arch-enemy. 

I think this is a cultural problem among Conservatives and conservatives in Canada: because their social circles include few if any people who support the NDP and their own culture considers the NDP a laughingstock of hippies and communists, it’s genuinely difficult for them to understand why anyone would even conceive of the New Democrats as a serious political party at all. 

With this Conservative cognitive block, the Liberal Party is the most threatening to the NDP. They’re used to advertising against the NDP, which often takes anti-right-wing support from the Liberal fold. So their publicity machine can easily understand that the NDP can be a danger to them, especially now that the Liberals no longer hold the advantage of being Canada's "natural governing party." 

The main NDP narrative against the Liberals is that they're a party without true principle. The fight against Bill C51, the “anti-terror” legislation that stamps on many Canadians’ civil rights, is the perfect focus for this narrative. The Liberals supported it when C51 was popular, as the national mood was still trembling from Michael Zehaf-Bibeau's attack on the Parliament buildings. 

Mulcair's NDP took a principled stand against C51, and as the unsavoury details of the bill entered the public conversation, benefited from their uncompromising stance. The NDP is the party of principle, the Liberal the party of poll trackers, self-interested functionaries who desire state power for power’s sake alone.

I do enjoy it when nationally prominent people notice what I have to
, even when they're just responding to a Twitter rant. This is
what I like about Twitter: if you have something worth saying, it
can be very rewarding.
Speaking of which, Dimitri Soudas, a reject from the top echelons of the Conservative Party for corruption: using the power of his office as the party’s Executive Director to advance the parliamentary career of his spouse Eve Adams. 

Adams tried to parachute herself into the nomination for a safer Conservative seat, the redistricted Oakville-North Burlington, after her own Mississauga district's new borders made it more of a battleground. The Conservative Party forbade her from running for any seat in 2015 because of the nomination shenanigans. She crossed the floor to Trudeau's party, and was parachuted to the Liberal nomination in a north Toronto district. 

Soudas became an operative for the federal Liberal Party after Adams became their most notorious Toronto candidate. At the time, it was suspected that he’d take his valuable knowledge and secrets from his Conservative career to use against them. But it seems the Liberals are also using his knowledge against the NDP, since the smear that Mulcair only cared about money when choosing his political allegiance came from what he told Patriquin.

Soudas and Adams are two figures in Canadian politics who suit each other well, because their primary reason to advance their careers is the advancement of their own careers. Soudas' abuse of his office and Adams’ nominations shenanigans, as well as their easy pass to the Liberal Party show that what they care about most in politics is themselves. 

Dimitri Soudas hasn't done much to establish a reputation
as someone whose word we can trust to be truthful.
So it would make sense that Soudas would interpret Mulcair’s dealbreaker in his negotiations with the Conservatives as the salary, rather than the party’s firm opposition to greenhouse gas reduction and environmental protection. The whole reason Mulcair was a free agent in the first place was because the Charest government set aside parts of Mount Orford provincial park for condo development (a contract for Quebec’s entirely corruption-free construction industry).

Mulcair burned his bridges with Charest’s government and the Quebec Liberal Party because of his environmentalist principles. Soudas, as a man incapable of making a decision on any principle other than egoistic self-interest, would never be able to understand that.

Happy Canada Day, everyone.

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