Posted by John Deverell, Catch 22 campaign
Paul Godfrey has turned his attention from promoting US baseball and football in Toronto to helping Stephen Harper remake Canada’s parliament in the Conservative mould. Godfrey, a lifelong Conservative and former chairman of Metro Toronto, this summer led Postmedia Network Inc. in the acquisition from the collapsing Asper empire of the newspaper assets of Canwest Global.
Godfrey, fronting a consortium anchored by American investors, is now in command of a bully pulpit which includes the National Post, Vancouver Sun, The Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, and Montreal Gazette along with their portfolio of digital media and online assets including canada.com.
Important evidence of how he will use this political leverage popped up in The Calgary Herald today as Harper’s hometown paper editorialized brazenly for Harper’s drive to eliminate democratic per vote subsidies to political parties.
Subsidizing separation: Party funding that favours BQ must change
Godfrey’s newspaper doesn’t call it a Harper campaign against democracy, of course. It pretends the PM’s goal is not to kneecap the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois and Green parties, but rather to fight Quebec separatism.
The Herald goes on to attack all independent candidates and regional parties. Its thought experiment in crude electoral manipulation would be laughable – except that it’s inspired by Prime Minister Harper and his University of Calgary ally Tom Flanagan.
Campaign finance will be a key re-election platform for the Harper Conservatives. It is an issue we support for many reasons. Foremost among these is the unfair advantage the current system gives to the Bloc Quebecois. It is ludicrous that Canadian taxpayers heavily subsidize a party devoted to breaking up the country.
The ”Calgary vision” of political party finance is a diversionary tactic based on naked lies – but it might work. The lies appeal to regional and ethnic emotion and attempt to inflame existing divisions.
Is any of this likely to enter the reasoning of Paul Godfrey, Postmedia Network Inc and its influential newspapers? Don’t bet on it. Why would a Godfrey newspaper let democratic principle stand in the way of Conservative majority government by fair means or foul?