Apparently, anyone who wants to attend one of Harper’s political rallies has to register ahead of time, so that their background can be thoroughly vetted. One London teen who did so was thrown out. Why? Because the Harper ‘thought police’ checked her Facebook page and found out she was in a picture with Michael Ignatieff. Another student kicked out of the same rally had an NDP bumper sticker on his vehicle. And a group of University of Guelph students got the boot for organizing a peaceful rally encouraging students to vote. My, my: Big Brother is watching.
And get this, she (and the others who have been removed at the behest of the Harper campaign) were tossed out by the RCMP. Not by security guards or Harper supporters. By our national police force. Crikey.
But this Big Brother approach to politics didn’t stop there. Harper’s people also refused to let a veteran’s advocate into a rally in Halifax.
Jim Lowther wasn’t on a Facebook page photo with Ignatieff and he didn’t have an NDP bumper sticker. He says he’s apolitical, or least he was, but he’s been trying to get hold of Harper for eons to talk about the plight of homeless veterans living on the streets.
After his abysmal treatment (a matter which Harper, typically, has refused to apologize for), Lowther joined Ignatieff (and Layton, too) to talk about these issues on their podiums. Well done, Harper campaign. Nice one.
Evidently, Harper only wants his staunch supporters at his rallies. All that clapping and cheering you see on television at those rallies? Carefully screened toadies.
So the 20% or so of you who are still undecided, or voting in your first election, or concerned about an issue that doesn’t fit the Tory agenda — well, forget about going to a rally to see and hear Harper to help you make up your mind. And you might as well forget about our privacy laws while you’re at it. Or the independence of our police force.
Your background will be checked for signs of sympathy to the opposition parties. You will be scrutinized far more thoroughly, it seems, than Bruce Carson was by the PMO. Michael Ignatieff noted this himself, stating:
“I think we’re in a very bad place when you’ve got a prime minister who does a background check on his audience, at a democratic crowd, and doesn’t seem to do a background check on the people he hires in the Prime Minister’s Office….”
If you aren’t one of the utterly, blindly, devoted, not only will you not get in to a Harper rally, your nametag will be ripped off and torn up and you will be frog-marched out the door by a uniformed policeman. As if you’d threatened to pie the leader instead of trying to exercise your democratic rights.
All this means you can only get information about Harper and his policies from the media. But you won’t be see much of him there either. He’s keeping reporters 43 metres away, behind barricades, and will only answer a few questions each day.
The Liberals brought down this government because of its contempt for Parliament. Harper’s campaign shows his contempt for voters. At this rate, pretty soon, Layton and Ignatieff won’t need to campaign at all; all they’ll need to do to get votes is to open the door.
Peggy’s regular blog posts on writing and getting published will resume on May 3rd, after the Canadian election.