Stephen Harper’s (Un)Democratic Reform Minister, Pierre Poilievre, has reputedly been receiving anonymous death threats over his proposed Fair Elections Act, prompting an RCMP investigation. Now, I want to make clear that I of course do not condone death threats*, and I have very little doubt that such threats were in fact made. Indeed, given that even c-list bloggers seem to illicit storms of death threats even when doing such comparatively unobjectionable things as giving popular games bad reviews, I would imagine that practically every front-bencher in parliament, especially ones as notorious as Pierre Poilievre, has been sent at least a few threats during their careers.
However: I am deeply suspicious of Poilievre’s motives in bringing in the RCMP to investigate a 73 year old retiree for sending him a tersely worded e-mail (which happened, apparently, to be sent at around the same time as the threat). Let’s look at the context here: this is a government which has thus far dealt with critics of its oil sands policy by labeling them as “terrorists”, and critics of its online surveillance policy by labeling them as “child molesters.**” This is a government which has never, insofar as I can recall, engaged in any sort of intellectually honest dialogue with its critics on any subject whatsoever, but is instead constant in its attempts to poison the well. My point is that this is Standard Operating Procedure for the Tories. How long is it before Harper and his lackeys will start holding up this anonymous threat to tar all opponents of the Act as violent, marginal extremists?
*In fact, I would even go so far as to say that if you think that you can defend democracy by threatening to murder elected officials if they don’t bend to your personal will, I’m not sure what system you’re supporting, but it certainly isn’t democracy.
**This does not even mention their endless parade of smears against “elitist” scientists, opposition voters, artists, academics, unions, media, and public policy experts; to say nothing of personalized campaigns of character assassination against whistle-blowers, opposition leaders, and public figures.