Friday, February 18, 2011

The social media & backbones, etc.

Chantal Hebert has a challenging column that's worth a read today: "In defending Oda, Harper stands alone." It's indicting of Harper's democratic stance and how it's being amplified now by the Oda affair. She thinks it's worth an election and steps toward a confidence vote. The thought has probably crossed the mind of more than a few in Ottawa. It's going to be an interesting few weeks ahead.

What's with the slighting of social media though? Or "the social media," as Hebert refers to it?
As it did over the census, the Liberal opposition has turned to the social media to put pressure on the Conservatives. Given the alleged seriousness of the offence, one would think the party would turn its mind to putting its money where its mouth is in Parliament rather than on Facebook and Twitter.
Why wouldn't a party do that? Use all available channels of communication to bolster the point? The belittling is a little irksome. Like it or not, social media tools are part of any party's political arsenal now and there's no reason to set them down when questions are consequential. Especially when there is parliamentary engagement here. There is a contempt motion that's been brought before the House of Commons after all. It's all developing.  

Susan Riley also worth a read today: "Ignatieff finds his backbone."
In fact, some Conservative partisans may have privately felt apprehensive as they watched Ignatieff's informal scrum the other day: this guy, as he finds his bearings, could be formidable.
That was in reference largely to Ignatieff's comments on Conservative crime measures which she spends the majority of the column discussing. She also briefly referred to Ignatieff's comments on the Oda situation in the column. Those were these
“This is about democracy,” Mr. Ignatieff said after the weekly Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday. “You can’t have democracy if a minister of the Crown fails to tell the truth to the people who have been elected by the people to get at the truth. That is why she has to go. This is not about her, personally. It’s not about Mr. Harper. It’s about the integrity of the democratic system. Of course she has to go.”

Declared Mr. Ignatieff: “A minister cannot go in front of a Parliamentary committee, in front of people elected by the people of Canada and tell them something that isn’t true. That’s the fundamental issue here. Until the Prime Minister acknowledges this, it’s as if this guy doesn’t understand how democracy works. And so we will continue to call for her resignation. It’s unacceptable.”
Yeah, that was pretty darn good. It has spawned a lot of attention.

Update: More opinion today to go to town on, Ibbitson pens a classic. "The Conservatives know that voters – at least, the voters they need – understand and agree with the Tories’ message, and don’t understand or care about opposition contempt-of-Parliament complaints." The height of cynicism in that one. Could not disagree more.