Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My, Defensive Aren't They?

On CBC's "The Current" this morning, one of the key stories was about Nina Grewal, wife of Gurmant Grewal.

Mrs. Grewal has been notably invisible on Parliament Hill ever since the "Grewal Tapes" incident happened. Of course, any attempts to get Mrs. Grewal to agree to an interview have met a wall of silence. I'm not terribly surprised by this - it's hard to imagine that she isn't privy to a fair bit about her husband's intentions in making those now notorious tapes.

In an effort to get a sense of what kind of person she is, the CBC assembled quite a panel of people who have at least some exposure to her. These people ranged from constituents to a communications consultant for the Conservatives in BC, a couple of columnists from BC newspapers, and a former candidate that ran against Mrs. Grewal in the last election.

The interview wasn't informative in any real sense with respect to Mrs. Grewal. The basic sense that came out of the conversations was that she is being very quiet on the hill. (In the light of the storm her husband has unleashed, I suppose that's no big surprise).

What was fascinating was listening to the Conservative Communications Consultant attempting to divert the conversation onto other topics. His initial foray was to say that his counsel to any MP in this situation would be to remain silent.

When that was challenged by the interviewer, he pointed out - correctly - that there are already investigations of the situation ongoing and from the Conservative Party's perspective there's no need to further fan the flames.

A while later, he tried to accuse the media (and in particular the CBC) of sensationalism, and trying to "sell more newspapers". When that didn't get him his desired results, he started accusing the CBC of bias, since they weren't interviewing Dosanjh. (Of course, the CBC had interviewed Dosanjh last week)

I know that the Conservatives as a whole don't typically like the CBC. They routinely accuse it of being part of the Liberal Party apparatus, and therefore inherently biased against them.

I have to wonder just how much of a screw-up the Grewal Tapes have become for the Conservatives. First the tapes come out after a major delay, then what comes out is a subset - and badly edited at that. Most recently, Grewal himself has taken "stress leave", and we find it announced not by Grewal or his staff, but instead by party leader Stephen Harper (kind of makes one go "hmmmm" - is this really stress leave, or just a ploy to get the MP out of the public eye for a while?)

The attempts of the Conservatives to deflect the questions that the Grewal Tapes have raised in other directions are at best cynical. When I combine this with an attitude from Conservative commentators such as Paul Jackson that is high handed, sneering and condescending towards differing opinions, I find myself looking at a political movement that is fundamentally insecure in itself. (I've seen more than a few conservative blogs floating around that descend into name calling and personal attacks when a differing opinion is put forth, and the commentators like Jackson are only marginally better)

Why do I accuse them of insecurity? Simple - their tactics in the house, and the sneering attitude in debate sounds suspiciously like someone whose approach to winning involves shouting louder than their opponents. This is not unlike the schoolyard bully that when you dig a little below the surface of their aggression, you discover someone who is fundamentally insecure about themselves for any of a dozen different reasons.

The ongoing claims of persecution at the hands of a "biased" media are another clue. The Conservative party keeps on pulling stunts that are fodder for the media - whether it is feigned outrage by Peter Mackay, or sleazy activities like Gurmant Grewald's recent activities. Regardless of the Liberal's involvement and behaviour in the matter, the Conservatives have to be able to assert the moral high ground, without making themselves look like a bunch of inept buffoons.


Anonymous said...

"Most recently, Grewal himself has taken "stress leave", and we find it announced not by Grewal or his staff, but instead by party leader Stephen Harper (kind of makes one go 'hmmmm' - is this really stress leave, or just a ploy to get the MP out of the public eye for a while?)"

I'm sure that Mr. Harper is feeling very stressed and therefore needs Grewal to leave.


Anonymous said...

It is entirely possible that Mrs. G. knew absolutely nothing about the tapes or her husbands intentions. In the society from which the Grewals come the male is the dominant member of the family and does not necessarily tell his wife everything. Further, he probably knew that his actions were sleazy at best, especially coupled with the airport debacle (Air India all over again?). So if he told his wife he might be served hot tongue and cold shoulder for all his meals.

Anonymous said...

#1 - I rather **LIKE** that definition of "Stress Leave".

#2 - Dear Mr. and Mrs. Grewal. Welcome to Canada! You might want to take a few notes as there are a few cultural differences here. For starters, we believe that male and female are equal partners. We also believe that sex, lies and videotape (OOPS! I mean - sleaze, lies and audiotape) have no buisiness being involved in politics.