Sleazy ploys to undermine Cotler and his valuable work are appalling
Forces working to install a Conservative in Mount Royal have issued another slap in the face to voters who, in May, re-elected popular MP Irwin Cotler.
A marketing firm with close ties to the Conservative Party made cold calls to people they believe to be residents of the riding spreading unfounded rumours of Cotler’s impending resignation and the imminence of a by-election. As several constituents have complained, there is no such by-election in the works. The so-called survey is known as “push polling,” an attempt to influence public opinion based on an invented premise. It is an obvious and underhanded attempt to line up potential support for the losing candidate, Saulie Zajdel, should he decide to run again. It undermines the credibility and energetic work of Cotler and his team. Zajdel has sloughed it off as “a party thing.” This brings us back to Sleaze Factor, Round 1.
Zajdel has been rewarded for increasing the Tory vote in the riding with what appears to be a patronage appointment, a job with the nebulous official mandate of advising Heritage Minister James Moore. In Zajdel’s words, he is being paid—Moore’s office won’t say how much—to ensure that “what the government is doing is understood” and explain how communities and municipalities can benefit from Canadian Heritage programs.
Meanwhile, walk by Cotler’s riding offices on Kent near Victoria and you will see scores of people, many of them new Canadians, lined up for help on matters ranging from immigration to unemployment. What kind of message are Tories sending—that constituents are knocking at the wrong door?
Cotler, 71, is busy as ever in the House.
He recently spearheaded a motion by a Commons committee for an impartial trial for Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad and has become Sanad’s international legal counsel.
He was a prime mover in efforts to amend the Conservative’s omnibus crime bill, in spite of efforts to ram it through Parliament by using closure or limiting debate. This is legislation opposed by most Montrealers. It included scrapping the long-gun registry, destroying data and imposing longer jail sentences as violent crime is decreasing. Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier has protested that this will force cash-strapped provinces to build more jails with no compensating funds. The net effect, Cotler noted, “will be to give us more crime, less justice, at greater cost, with less rehabilitation for the offender and less protection for the victim.”
Cotler continues to fight the good fights. He has fought against discrimination and segregation, for the freedom of political prisoners and for the rule of law and due process.
Mount Royal has an active, energetic and effective member of Parliament. Conservative strategists should think twice before launching Sleaze Factor, Round 3.