Shabby Tory smears
December 20, 2009
Is everyone who disagrees with Prime Minister Stephen Harper a Taliban stooge, a raving anti-Semite or a loony-left extremist? You'd think so, to hear the shabby low blows Harper and his cabinet are forever aiming at any and all who dare to criticize federal policy.
In Jerusalem this past week, Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney took aim at a Christian aid agency, KAIROS, in a speech that lauded Harper's support for Israel and railed against "anti-Semitic despots, terrorists and fanatics." KAIROS's sin, in Kenney's view, was its "leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign" against Israel. That's why the Tories "defunded" the agency, Kenney explained. (KAIROS denies favouring a boycott or disinvestment.)
Kenney's attack, sadly, was anything but an exception.
All through the Afghan detainee affair, the Conservatives have sought to brand Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and other critics as unpatriotic, hostile to Canada's troops, and Taliban dupes. Yet everyone from the U.S. government to our diplomats to the Red Cross had warned that Ottawa was taking a risk detainees might be tortured.
And it hardly ends there. Last month the Conservatives circulated flyers in opposition ridings with lots of Jewish voters implying that the Liberals are anti-Semites who back Hamas and Hezbollah. That led Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, a Jew, to accuse them of "false, misleading, prejudicial and pernicious slander."
Last year, they scrapped a $4.7 million travel program to promote Canadian culture abroad because past recipients, including journalists Gwynne Dyer and Avi Lewis, were "left wing" and "radical."
And a year before that, the Tories defamed then Liberal leader Stéphane Dion with attack ads implying he was a "sellout" or "traitor" to Quebec's interests, not to mention a criminal.
The Conservatives invite contempt with these endless, over-the-top smears. They discredit their party and its policies.
"is everyone who disagrees with stephen harper a taliban stooge, anti-semite or loony-left extremist?"
Excellent piece from the Toronto Star: