Two days ago, Robin Sears was unfamiliar with the details of the in-and-out controversy. Forty-eight hours later, he’s enough of an expert to comment for the Globe’s op-ed page and refute the findings of the chief electoral officer.
The Maclean’s Ottawa bureau is agreed that his best argument is this: “Should [the Conservatives] have been more discreet than to have moved money up and down so quickly? Certainly.”
Indeed. The real shame here is that the governing party didn’t do a better job of covering this up.
While we’re here, it’s worth discussing what is implicitly or explicitly alleged in every defence of the Conservative side in this case—the apparent vendetta held within Elections Canada against Stephen Harper. The current Prime Minister and the public institution have clashed twice before, culminating in two Supreme Court decisions.
In Harper v. Canada, the Supreme Court upheld Elections Canada’s restrictions on third-party advertising.
In R v. Bryan (in which Harper, as president of the National Citizens Coalition, campaigned for Bryan), the Supreme Court upheld Election Canada’s restrictions on the publishing of election results.
So. Two direct conflicts, two decisions in favour of Elections Canada.
Two points on this.
1. If Elections Canada is indeed biased against Stephen Harper, it is a bias that is endorsed by no less than the Supreme Court.
2. As to the allegations of a vendetta: since when do winners hold grudges? Isn’t it usually the other way around?