30 seconds of Red Dwarf nicely illustrates the Cons' 'evolving' versions of their no-we-didn't-ok-then-yes-alright-we-did shenanigans this week after they were cornered with evidence they were behind the RackNine push-poll robocalls to Saskatchewans to foment opposition to proposed new riding boundaries.
Seems despite what Steve says about 75% public support for his version of "Saskatchewan values", submissions to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission up to that point "almost unanimously voiced opposition to the continued use of hybrid urban-rural districts in Saskatchewan" and would support five new urban ridings.
Urban ridings - you know, the kind that don't reliably vote Con.
Regina Con MP Tom Lukiwski immediately threw Steve's chief political operative Jenni Byrne under the bus for the robocalls -which was a bit of a surprise until you remember that in addition to being the Regina MP and deputy house leader, Lukiwski is also a member of PROC, the parliamentary committee ( 7 Cons, 4 NDP, and 1 Lib) which will take a run at the proposed redistricting report sometime next year.
Hence his attempt to distance himself and his committee from any accusations of complicity in the Con robocall shenanigans while simultaneously diverting Con Party heat away from himself for not being on top of the commission's preliminary report in the first place.
Alice Funke explains :
"To local Conservative Party activists in Saskatchewan it meant that party headquarters had dropped the ball on the pre-submission phase, and that from that point forward they would be fighting a rear-guard action. Fingers were pointed during a behind-closed-doors meeting for over an hour, with Ottawa bearing the brunt of the blame and resentment.800 identical postcards attacking the urban seat boundaries were subsequently received by the committee.
Party Operations Director Jenni Byrne is said to have demanded in return that she wanted to see 8,000 submissions in the public hearing phase against the ending of the rurban seat boundaries."
Because despite our crappy first-past-the-post system, new urban ridings might not support a near-Con sweep in Saskatchewan like the one in the last federal election :
Cons : 256,004 votes (13 seats)
NDP : 147,084 votes (0 seats)
Liberals : 38,981 votes (1 seat)
Alice has a theory about those covert robocalls :
"It might have been part one of a two-stage process, where you run a push-poll to plant the information, and then follow it up with a legitimate poll to “capture public opinion” on the basis of the information just planted. Anyways, if that was the plan it likely wouldn’t work now.`
Meanwhile, RackNine, hapless home of Pierre Poutine and the latest batch of robocalls in Saskatchewan, is continuing to help Elections Canada in their 650-day-and-counting investigation into election fraud and voter suppression, and when the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission finishes its report, it will be sent on to Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand for review and implementation.
Alice's very excellent post at Pundits' Guide is well worth a full read, Sixth Estate is also on it, and Saskboy got one of those recent RackNine robocalls.
So, Jenni Byrne ... do you have a cat?
( Friday : Edited twice for clarity)