I hope the prediction I make here is wrong, because if it is correct, it will be a sad indication of where Canadian politics have come to.
Everyone who pays attention to politics with daily interest — like myself, but like only around 15 per cent of Canadians — understands the importance to Stephen Harper of his image as the leader who will do most to keep us all safe from crime and terrorists inside our nation.
Any event that would increase our belief that Canada is in grave danger from criminals bent on violence and murder in our society would be an event turning voters toward Harper and his claim to be the leader we most need at this time.
I believe there is a high probability that the police, military, and security service CSIS are very aware of a drive to uncover a major conspiracy by terrorist criminals during the period of this campaign. The security forces of this nation are not corrupt. They do understand that a government by the party which is obsessive about security, public safety, and a tough-on-crime agenda is a government that will do most for the careers of people employed in the security and law-enforcement spheres.
The Harperite agenda would see more money invested in personnel and equipment, more restrictive laws and more officers to enforce them, more prisons, more effort to convince the Canadian public that high worth (and perhaps even heroism) is the appropriate public opinion of our security professionals. Again, I am not accusing police and so forth of corruption, only of simple self-interest.
Before readers feel angry with the suggestion that police might have an interest in influencing an election outcome by announcing an arrest and/or an investigation, I remind them this has happened already in recent history. In December 2005, our prime minister was Paul Martin and he was fighting an election campaign against Stephen Harper to save his position. Just before Christmas, the RCMP announced in a very public release that they were investigating a prominent Liberal, Ralph Goodale, for corrupt practices.
The investigation never led to charges, but the damage to the Liberals was fatal. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper won a minority government in the election of January 2006.
The RCMP were not corrupt when they acted this way toward Goodale. But their action certainly helped, in the opinion of very serious and respected writers about our politics, to get Harper elected. Why would the RCMP prefer Harper to Martin? Harper’s anti-crime agenda as I outline it above, is a very substantive reason why police would prefer Conservatives to rule and make law.
I write because I hope to be making some small contribution to Canadian public life. Warning voters against Harper and his agenda is work worth doing, in my opinion.