An animal is most dangerous when it’s wounded, they say, and the Conservative Party of Canada has been metaphorically bearing that out for months. Sinking steadily in the polls, it has sought to further impose its brand of sado-politics upon our long-suffering country, even against its own best interests.
In its last days it has been showing its teeth, snapping and snarling: jamming the union-busting Bill C-377 through the Senate, tearing at the fabric of free collective bargaining with omnibus Bill C-59, spiking a transgender rights Bill, and tabling legislation to forbid Muslim women from taking the oath of citizenship in traditional niqab dress.
It passed Bill C-24, formally establishing two classes of citizenship. It introduced an act to condemn some criminals to life without parole. It cribbed American voter suppression legislation to make it more difficult for First Nations, students and the poor to exercise their franchise. And of course there was the infamous Bill C-51, establishing a largely unaccountable political police with the power to override the Charter of Rights.
The Supreme Court is unlikely to allow any of these profoundly unconstitutional measures to last: Harper has already racked up a string of losses before them. But the rule of law, as we have seen during a seemingly endless series of scandals (which began, in fact, even before the 2006 election) and legislative jiggery-pokery, seems to be just a minor annoyance for the Conservatives when they’re on a tear.
Like Parliament itself, in fact: since 2011, the Conservatives have shut down debate more than 100 times. Harper earlier distinguished himself as the only Prime Minister in Canadian history to be found guilty of contempt of Parliament.
Through all this, the Conservatives have been spending scads of taxpayers’ cash on nakedly partisan advertising, activities and personal self-aggrandizement. Harper has surrounded himself with criminals and lowlifes to further his agenda. It all smacks of political racketeering. There ought to be a law.
But now the flailing of this dying regime has begun in earnest. A symptom: rejecting Ches Crosbie’s candidacy in the Newfoundland Labrador riding of Avalon, leaving themselves with no candidate at all (the deadline for nominees was June 25). The province has no Conservative MPs at present. This isn’t likely to improve the odds.
Then there’s the Mother Canada monument, approaching Hallmark levels of kitsch, tearing a hole in a pristine national park; and the planned memorial to the victims of Communism, promising to similarly deface the nation’s capital. If those monstrosities are actually built, it will cost the taxpayers millions.
And the attack ads. The Conservatives may even have broken their own law with the latest one, and things weren’t made any better with senior Conservative spokesman Kory Teneyke’s odd performance on national television.
There is no point trying to apply the rational-actor model to any of this. It defies rational explanation. But this sort of thing is not unknown in nature. We’ve seen this self-destructive behaviour before—dealing blow after blow to veterans, who, we might think, should be a solid part of the Conservative base, or alienating senior citizens by raising the retirement age—but these latest spasms are simply bizarre.
The wounded beast is dying, vomiting venom as life slowly drains away. We can put it out of its misery on October 19. Surely at this point it’s the only humane thing to do.