Where does ‘robo-call’ fit into the history of Canadian political scandal?
If it is true that Conservative party functionaries sought to alter election results in one or more ridings by discouraging some opposition supporters from voting, then this would make for a relatively new kind of historical scandal. Why do I say this?
Historically, political scandals in this country come in two flavours: flavour a) incompetence and flavour b) corruption
The second type of scandal involves corruption and these have usually been about money.
Perhaps the most outstanding example of this kind of scandal broke into the public eye in 1926 when it was revealed that the federal Customs Department, under the corrupt gaze of Liberal Minister, Jacques Bureau, had been colluding with smugglers to run liquor back and forth across the
. In other instances, the corruption has been tied to party financing. When John A Macdonald’s Conservatives accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Hugh Allan in the 1873 election, many were sceptical that the contributions were not about buying his way into heading up the consortium to build the new railway across Canada . Canada
The robo-call scandal doesn’t neatly fit into either of these kinds of categories. If true, it is evidence of corruption, but not in the usual kind of way. No one is getting rich off of this – not directly. It isn’t about incompetence either.
I know the Conservatives are resurrecting a bit of our past in returning the Royal to the Royal Navy. But do they really want to go back this far in time – to these kinds of elections? It is hardly an ideal for democracy in the 21st century.