Sunday, June 02, 2013

Conservative Scandals

For political junkies like myself it has been fun to watch the scandals unfolding in Toronto and Ottawa in the past few weeks.

The Ford scandal has been surreal.  Who would have ever thought that a politician in Canada would get involved in a drug scandal?

The Senate scandal is much more mundane.  That just involves ordinary money and really not that much of it either.  It is true that when they get around to investigating the expense claims of Senator Wallin the amounts will be more substantial but considering I can fly Air Canada to Orlando for around $400 return but it will cost me almost $900 return to fly to Halifax her expense claims could very well be plausible.

Although I have tried I cannot get really worked up over these scandals.  I find them interesting case studies in political crisis management but on a more personal level my reaction has been "Meh".

The Ford scandal does not concern me because it is occurring in Toronto.  It does not effect me here in Ottawa.  I know some Torontonians like to think their city is the centre of the world but.... This is something the people of Toronto will have to figure out on their own.

The Senate scandal does not concern me that much either because the kind of behavior that caused it is part of the human condition.  People have been using their positions for personal gain ever since we, as a species, began to form civilizations.  This kind of behavior cuts across partisan lines.  It is a function of having power.

Of course, that does not mean that the partisan in me is not enjoying watching Stephen Harper and his government twisting in the wind over this.

So will these scandals have any political impacts?

In Toronto who knows.  This is the same city where a sizable number of its citizens have been supporting a hockey team despite nearly half-a-century of futility.  There is no telling how the people of Toronto will finally react to the Ford scandal.

As for the Senate scandal it can be stated that it is absolutely having an impact on the Conservatives.  Despite their relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things these kinds of scandals are the ones that convince non-partisan voters, who supported the governing party in the last election or two, to rethink that support.  These are the types of scandals that begin convincing those voters that it is time to change the government.  Combine that with the fact the Conservatives have been in power for seven years, usually a time when voter fatigue with governments begin to solidify, and you have a recipe for electoral disaster for the Conservatives.

Not that it is guaranteed that they are doomed.  There is nothing to prevent these non-partisan voters from deciding in two years to stick with the Conservatives.  There are too many variables to consider.  However, Conservatives do have to be concerned about the scandal.  It has the potential to become a tipping point and if that happens the Conservatives will likely lose the next election.


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