Friday, March 20, 2009

Canada's Conservatives - AstroTurfing For Power

I heard about this as I was driving into work this morning, but I haven't had the time needed to go doing the research.

It seems that the HarperCon$ have been teaching their "junior" organizations the oh-so-honest tactic of AstroTurfing as a means to influence and control campus politics.

Okay, in one sense, it's campus politics - those are always a little weird to begin with. However, what they are promoting is despicable at any level.

At a session held in early February by the Ontario Progressive Campus Conservative Association (OPCCA) and the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, campus Conservatives, party campaigners, and a Member of Parliament discussed strategies to gain funding from student unions for the Conservative Party and ways to run for—and win—positions within student unions.

Oh yes ... I think I've seen this approach before. I seem to recall that's pretty much how Craig Chandler tried to gain the nomination for Calgary Egmont in the PC party.

Among those present at the workshop were Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, Peter Braid and his campaign manager, Aaron Lee-Wudrick. Lee-Wudrick is heard on the recordings providing advice on how to siphon money from students’ unions through “front organizations” that would work to further the goals of the Conservative Party.

Sure enough, Big Daddy's boys were there in full force. What a lovely bunch of scum.

... and here's the money shot:

“Yeah we had a front group like that: the Campus Coalition for Liberty. It was really just a front for the Conservatives, but it gave us like two voices.” said Lee-Wudrick.

He added: “Don’t think that the Party doesn’t like that, because they do. They’re things that will help the Party, but it looks like it’s an organically-grown organization and it just stimulated from the grassroots spontaneously. They love that stuff… Remember all of the Rallies for Democracy … that’s just an example of how big those things can get.”

It's not like any of us with our brains switched on figured that those "rallies" were anything other than an astroturfing exercise. The fact that Conservative party organizers are now bragging about how they created those rallies tells a lot about the intellectual honesty of the Conservative party in Canada - it's just about nil.

Frankly, they've just demonstrated that they will lie, cheat and steal just to attain power - even at the relatively insignificant level of campus politics. Stephen Harper has prorogued parliament twice when the heat got too much for him, and he quietly ignored his own 'fixed election dates' law last fall in order to "time" an election before the economic storm hit Canada full-force. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the CPoC is fundamentally opposed to democracy - they want control.

H/T: Maxwell Devin

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