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Sunday, December 20, 2009 

Tory 'Smear Jobs' Typical Of Harper's Governing Style

"Is everyone who disagrees with Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Taliban stooge, a raving anti-Semite or a loony-left extremist? You'd think so, to hear the shabby low blows Harper and his cabinet are forever aiming at any and all who dare to criticize federal policy.

In Jerusalem this past week, Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney took aim at a Christian aid agency, KAIROS, in a speech that lauded Harper's support for Israel and railed against "anti-Semitic despots, terrorists and fanatics." KAIROS's sin, in Kenney's view, was its "leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign" against Israel. That's why the Tories "defunded" the agency, Kenney explained. (KAIROS denies favouring a boycott or disinvestment.)

Kenney's attack, sadly, was anything but an exception.

All through the Afghan detainee affair, the Conservatives have sought to brand Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other critics as unpatriotic, hostile to Canada's troops, and Taliban dupes. Yet everyone from the U.S. government to our diplomats to the Red Cross had warned that Ottawa was taking a risk detainees might be tortured.

And it hardly ends there. Last month the Conservatives circulated flyers in opposition ridings with lots of Jewish voters implying that the Liberals are anti-Semites who back Hamas and Hezbollah. That led Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a Jew, to accuse them of "false, misleading, prejudicial and pernicious slander."

Last year, they scrapped a $4.7 million travel program to promote Canadian culture abroad because past recipients, including journalists Gwynne Dyer and Avi Lewis, were "left wing" and "radical."

And a year before that, the Tories defamed then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion with attack ads implying he was a "sellout" or "traitor" to Quebec's interests, not to mention a criminal.

The Conservatives invite contempt with these endless, over-the-top smears. They discredit their party and its policies."

The Star Editorial

A sample of victims of Conservative Party of Canada drive-by Smear Jobs - (Count the heads that have rolled in Ottawa):

Peter Tinsley, chair of the military police commission, who initiated the Afghan prison abuse probe – refused a second term.

Paul Kennedy, chair of the Complaints Commission for the RCMP, who criticized the use of Tasers – refused a second term.

Linda Keen, nuclear watchdog, who insisted on safety at Chalk River – fired.

Kevin Page, parliamentary budget watchdog, who rattled the Tories with several revelations – rendered ineffective with a cut of $1 million from his $2.8 million budget.

Marc Mayrand, chief electoral officer, who probed Tory election spending – publicly attacked.

Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who dared criticize both the U.S. and Israel – refused support for a second term and publicly rebuked.

Jean-Guy Fleury, chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board, who opposed the Tory politicization of appointments to the tribunal – frustrated into quitting.

Richard Colvin: Prime Minister Stephen Harper may hope to insulate his government from the charge that it winked at torture in Afghanistan by attacking diplomat Richard Colvin. But as a group of former Canadian ambassadors has just warned, Ottawa's rough tactics cast an ominous chill across our entire diplomatic service.

KAIROS, a Christian aid group,



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