The public mood is souring quickly!
The conversation in coffee shops and the A&W’s is one of bewilderment.
Average folks think that the Dunderdale Government has brought politics in this province to an all-time low. “She is a bully” a long time Progressive Conservative supporter declared as he was being chided by a table full of his buddies.
The bully label is beginning to stick. One does not have to do a poll to sense a growing disdain for the anti-democratic, coordinated, clandestine black op manipulation of every source of public input in the province.
It is not quite the British Phone Hacking Scandal (yet) but the revelations in the Telegram over the past week have registered with voters who exist outside the political bubble that politicos dwell in. The public is dismayed at the extent to which they are manipulated.
The reports of poll goosing, open line plants and coordinated propaganda campaigns designed to discredit alternative points of view in the traditional media has cast a bright light on the real politick of the post 2001 Progressive Conservative perpetual campaign.
The Premier’s non-chalant response to the Telegram’s revelations illustrated the deeply entrenched acceptance of this type of unethical manipulation which pre-dates her leadership. This is not the work of some over zealous young political hotshot but an accepted spoke in the communications wheel of government.
In fact, the previous two Liberal administrations were just as guilty of monitoring and manipulating the public. The Williams’ administration just perfected it!
In fact, the Wells administration went to great lengths to discourage the use of public resources for partisan purposes. Mr. Well’s, through his top communications advisor, Judy Foote made the role of Communication Director a non-partisan job. That changed in 1996 when Brian Tobin became premier. The message to educated, trained public relations professionals was get with the program or pack your bags!
We the public have become so disengaged in the process of governing that we have allowed governance to become a zero-sum game.
The government uses the public resources, that we entrust them to manage, to reward supporters. That reward could be a board appointment, a small contract, a 13 week position for a spouse, son or daughter, a summer job or a scattered meal on an MHA ,or Ministers, expense account.
The opposition parties do not have the resources to reward, thus their efforts at manipulation are not nearly as effective.
If politicians wonder why they rank behind used-car salesmen in trust, the reaction to this revelation should answer the question.
If you are upset about goosing VOCM Polls and CBC feedback lines, how do you feel about purple files and blacklisting?
This is what happens when we do not stand-up to bullies.
Democracy is not Canadian Idol!