What We Deserve To Know About People In Power - 2019-10-29
Lisa Raitt lamented in early October that "most of the media reporting has to do with personal matters," in response to a question from CBC's Carol Off about why the campaign had been so "nasty." The following week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blamed the Conservatives for "one of the dirtiest, nastiest campaigns" ever seen in Canada.
Canadian media followed in step, from the local to the national. The Hill Times decried the election's "downright nasty, dirty tone." So did academics and "experts." International media took up the cry. Verdict rendered: the election was "nasty," "dirty," "ugly" — insert your negative adjective here.
But calling the campaign the nastiest ever is laughable. Yes, social media, especially in an election, can be a sewage pit of toxicity for politicians and journalists. (It's particularly bad for women in either job; just ask Liberal MP Catherine McKenna and the CBC's Rosemary Barton.) Yet to characterize this campaign as especially nasty requires glossing over a number of un-nasty things that happened and ignoring Canada's long history of much worse elections.