Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ryan Sparrow is Harper's guy and this is Harper's brand of politics

On this news today, that one of the leaders of the league of junior Conservative hack-broadcasters, Ryan Sparrow, has been suspended, "Tories suspend official over comments about dead soldier's father," as other bloggers are pointing out, we need to remember the bigger picture in which this incident is playing out and who ultimately bears responsibility for such behaviour. It's the guy who puts the Ryan Sparrows out in front on his campaign team and in his government in the first place. There is an entire league of young Sparrows that Mr. Harper has put to work to play Republican style politics here in Canada. Suspending one for the duration of the campaign, only to let him back in when it's over, will not change Mr. Harper's style of politics. Sparrow will return, count on it.

This is an opportunity to focus on Mr. Harper's leadership. The people he puts in place around him. They're not putting the best interests of the nation first. Stephen Harper comes first. Any opposition to Mr. Harper, from any quarter, must be discredited and marginalized. And so, look at the reprehensible attack young Sparrow launched today to earn his suspension:
The Conservative campaign suspended a top official on Thursday for comments he made about the father of a soldier killed in the Afghanistan mission.

Jim Davis, whose son Cpl. Paul Davis was killed in a vehicle rollover near Kandahar in 2006, complained in a media interview Thursday that Harper's decision to end the Afghan mission in 2011 was "irresponsible."

In an e-mail to a reporter, Tory communications director Ryan Sparrow noted that Davis was a supporter of deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. The implication was that Davis's criticism was politically motivated. (emphasis added)
For that partisan attack on a father who lost his son in Afghanistan, Sparrow loses a few weeks. Then he'll be back to carry on.

As others are noting, this is not just about a bad week on the campaign trail for the Conservative war room. It's not just about the political management of the incident and the optics that those like Bob Fife are so concerned with/are being spun with by the Conservatives whispering in his ear.

This is about Mr. Harper's politics. Win at any and all costs. Use Afghanistan as a political tool to ensure your viability in swing ridings is maintained. Have young Sparrow deride one of the preeminent political scientists in the country, Peter Russell, as a Liberal friend of Dion's when Russell calls Harper's government authoritarian. Have your minions search for links between Errol Mendes and the Liberal party when Professor Mendes dares call into question in the op-ed pages of the Ottawa Citizen Mr. Harper's arguably illegal election call. There's been plenty of such activity by the likes of Sparrow and the Conservative team, all under the direction of Stephen Harper. The modus operandi that played out today is just more of the same.

The question for voters, hopefully, will be whether they want this kind of Canada, where Republican style partisan attacks abound. I'm hopeful that the answer will be no.