Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The HarperPAC, Big Money, and the Americanization of Canada
As you may have heard, a group of Harper supporters have created a political action committee to attack the progressive parties.
Supporters of Stephen Harper have formed a political-advertising unit separate from the Conservative Party that will run attack ads, targeting Facebook, Google and Twitter users, to help the Tory re-election effort as a federal ballot approaches.
HarperPAC has already produced a spot alleging Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is unqualified to be prime minister and its next project is an ad, aimed at British Columbia voters, that will warn against electing a federal NDP government.
And whatever those Cons might say, it is the final Americanization of our political system.
Decades of work to remove the influence of big money from Canadian federal political campaigns is going down the drain with the advent of political action committees, a former chief electoral officer says.
Jean-Pierre Kingsley says Canada is headed down the road well trodden in the United States, where political action committees, or PACs, raise and spend staggering amounts of money to influence elections, without the same restrictions that apply to political parties.
And we are now living in Stephen Harper's jungle.
"We are in, effectively, a free-for-all zone," Kingsley said in an interview. "It took us 40 years of scandal, sweat to come to a regime where we had the best in the world for control of money in politics ... now we are back in the jungle."
But where is the money for this HarperPAC going to come from? And to get an idea about that all you have to do is take a look at who is on its advisory council.
And notice that among this shabby collection of Con fanatics one of the only ones whose background is not listed is Jamie Ellerton.
The former Jason Kenney aide and former Executive Director of Ethical Oil.
Which judging from its Twitter site still seems to have a very close relationship with Ezra Levant and his new gig Rebel Media.
Who in case you hadn't noticed is now spending a lot of time badmouthing Pope Francis for his climate change message.
Which should tell us all we need to know about this HarperPAC.
It is most likely just another tool of Big Oil.
And it couldn't be more American.
Stephen Taylor, a longtime Conservative and former director of the National Citizens Coalition who's now a HarperPAC adviser and spokesman, denied that the group is taking a page from the American political playbook. The acronym simply offers a useful recognition factor, Taylor said.
"It is really branding to let someone know, within the half second it takes to hear the word, what we are up to," he said. "The name HarperPAC, I think you pretty much ... know, what kind of things that we'll be up to."
Kingsley, for one, isn't buying it. "It is insulting to Canadian intelligence to say this is not American-inspired."
Which of course only makes sense...
Because Stephen Harper has always been about as Canadian as a three dollar bill.
And the good news?
The HarperPAC seems particularly concerned about the non partisan/ union group Engage Canada which is currently running this ad...
Which only tells you they're running scared.
And only makes our choice in the next election even clearer.
Will we choose America?
Or will we choose Canada?
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