Yellow Journalism

Buying the front page should not be an option the day before an election.

There’s a distinction to be made between illegal and amoral, which the Conservative Party of Canada seems not to grasp.

You will be reading this when the results of the Oct. 19 federal election are in. So it won’t make any difference in how voters in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford ridings cast their ballots. Still, something must be said.

When word reached me that the Conservative Party… I won’t say ‘of Canada,’ because their stratagem was so utterly unCanadian… had purchased full, front page advertisements in Canadian newspapers, spreading their messages of misinformation and fear about the Liberals and NDP, I didn’t believe it.

I thought surely the Facebook post I’d seen must have been a hoax, and headed on down to the 49th Parallel Grocery in Chemainus to confirm my doubts.

But there it was, full on for me to marvel at: the front page of the Province sold out to the Conservative party, with a proclamation that voting Liberal would cost the average Canadian family $4,000 plus dollars. The Vancouver Sun also sold out its front page – and something of its soul.

Never mind the veracity – or lack thereof – in the claims (symbolically printed against a yellow background); untruths in the form of exaggerations, smearing your opponents, are perhaps permissible in the debased political arena as we’ve come to know it.

This, however, sank us so deep in the mire, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to scrape the muck off.

Playing to your base – as opposed to your base inclinations – is one thing; unloading a cynical, last minute, massive attack like this is clearly an attempt to influence voters when there is absolutely no opportunity for your opponents to respond.

It smacks of a party that runs this country as if it was Canada Inc. – that is, a corporate entity that doesn’t care a whit about anything but its version of profits and market share: the votes it needs to retain power.

Corporations are not expected to behave morally, just so long as they don’t cross that fine line into the terrain of immorality. Amoral is good enough in the dog-eat-dog corporate world. CEO’s often don’t care about things like: the environment, poverty, world peace – less so if their own interests are affected. They are expected to do one thing: produce results for their shareholders.

Canada’s corporate party, the Conservatives, doesn’t care either, and this latest lowering of the bar is surely calculated to discourage anyone who feels there’s a shred of anything noble left about the democratic process of holding elections.

Craig Spence, Editor