Out of bad can come good. Awish Aslam, the young student from the University of Western Ontario, should have been able to stay at Stephen Harper's recent election rally in London. Properly, the Tory Leader’s chief spokesman, Dimitri Soudas apologized to Ms. Aslam and is apparently trying arrange an opportunity for her to meet the PM.
The amount of coverage this incident has received in many ways seems disproportionate to the dumb mistake that was made in not allowing Ms. Aslam entry. Obviously, the opposition want to torque up the noise here in an effort to push the anti-democratic narrative they are so fond of trying to affix to Mr. Harper.
Better to be talking about that than an OECD report that lauds Canada's strong economic performance in the first quarter of the year, which is tops in the Group of Seven.
Exuberance, often of the irrational variety, is a synonym for partisanship. Partisans from all sides get carried away in election campaigns and do stupid things. An election is like a period of hyper-puberty for those with declared allegiances. Think Animal House in the Facebook era.
What the incident involving Ms. Aslam illustrates clearly is how most campaign rallies in this day and age are just another form of a campaign commercial. All parties gather the rent-a-crowd of friendly supporters and roll them out for the cameras when their leader arrives. It is about as natural as walking on your hands – something best left to gymnasts and acrobats.
Ms. Aslam's enthusiasm to see political leaders of all stripes up close and personal is refreshing. It would be great to go back to the days when rent-a-crowds were less prominent and hecklers provided good spirited entertainment, but I don't sense a renaissance anytime soon. Serious political parties leave very little to chance in this era. Spontaneity is a relic of another time. Political rallies are reality shows with a fixed script – you have a better chance of winning Survivor than deviating from the intended plot of the glorious leader being mobbed by converts.
So as the Tory Leader’s opponents over-reach, as is their tactical nature, in criticism of how things transpired in London it would be a shame to burst their bubbles. From what I have seen thus far in this election, all the major parties are operating in artificial environments.
Soon we'll need to explore the travesty that apparently is the food reporters are getting on the Conservative tour. It has led to outrage in some quarters of Twitter. Oh the injustices!
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