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Conservative conundrum: 17 million Canadian Facebook accounts and only 18,000 Mounties! What to do?

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This just in, thanks to the Toronto Star, the last non-neo-con daily newspaper in Canada: "RCMP implicated in Harper's closed-to-public campaign."

Good Lord! Is this what our beloved "Scarlet Force" has come to? Making potential protesters turn their T-shirts inside out to keep our nutty prime minister from having fits of apoplexy? How the mighty have fallen!

Well, it certainly lends a whole new meaning to the phrase "taking names and kicking ass!" We are left to ponder what humiliations could be next for Canada's beleaguered national police force:

Mounties cruising through suburban neighbourhoods in their squad cars on the lookout for lawn signs that are suspiciously orange or red? Men in riding breeches and scarlet tunics delivering Conservative leaflets door to door, plus laptop sales flyers? Karaoke night bouncers in Boy Scout hats at the Blind Pig Pub & Pizza? Speaking of which, pizza deliveries? (Lights and sirens may be used to get the pizza to your home within 20 minutes. Dial 9-Eleven-Eleven-Eleven…)

"The Royal Canadian Mounted Police admitted Wednesday that the phalanx of officers assigned as the Prime Minister's bodyguards overstepped their bounds to enforce Harper's closed-to-the-public re-election bid,” the Star reported yesterday. "Their transgressions include blocking and ejecting those whose only crime is to seek out the Tory chief's election message without advance notice or sufficient party glee."

(I can imagine Conservative supporters all over Alberta scratching their heads and wondering, "What do they mean, 'transgressions'?" And what's with that 9-Eleven-Eleven-Eleven deal…?* And while we're at it, what's a phalanx? I don't think you're allowed to have one of those out here in Alberta! Not without a special licence, anyhoo.)

You might want to get that bumper sticker off your old Volkswagen toot sweet if you want to avoid a hefty ticket, a licence suspension, or at least being restricted to the "free-speech lane." You know, the one that says, "Don't blame me, I voted NDP." If it won't come off, a Real Canadian would cover it with duct tape.

Actually, the Mounties out here in the New West have already been enforcing this policy, pulling over cars with bumper stickers that criticize Stephen Harper and threatening the drivers with criminal prosecution. Last time, however, the RCMP eventually had to say they were sorry … for now.

The really scary thing about this, of course, is the potential for bringing other police investigations to a grinding halt while our 18,000 regular RCMP members painstakingly go through Canada's 17 million Facebook accounts for photos of Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton instead of scouring the land for unknown persons committing unknown crimes to fill all those new prisons Harper wants to build.

Didn't Treasury Board President Stockwell Day warn us about this? "I'm saying one statistic of many that concerns us is the amount of crimes that go unreported," Day observed not so long ago. "Those numbers are alarming and it shows that we can't take a liberal view to crime." Liberal in every sense of the word, I might add!

Remember, as Day surely also wanted to remind us, we were all born guilty, and if Harper finally gets his majority, this inerrant fact may finally have consequences in this life!

One can only hope for the sake of crime prevention and traffic control in this country that the Mounties don't figure out who that scruffy guy with the beret is on all those kids' T-shirts. (This is a point of ignorance, come to think of it, that they may share with many of the wearers. But, whatever…) Regardless, if they do, they'll do nothing all day but make people turn their T-shirts inside out!

Still, one can't help but feel that Opposition politicians are on the wrong track getting their knickers all in a twist about this. Surely what they should be asking for is for their RCMP guards to provide the same service, instead of just looking out for nuts wearing sunglasses at night with lumps under their topcoats that could very well be unregistered firearms.

By the way, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe would be within his rights under such an arrangement to ask for his bounce staff and fashion faux pas enforcers to be drawn from the ranks of the Sûreté du Québec.

At Jack Layton's rally in Edmonton the other night, for example, there were certainly people who looked as if they might have pictures of themselves with Conservative politicians on their Facebook pages, and the very least the Mounties assigned to Layton's protection detail could have done is given some of them the bum's rush.

Instead, we have the opposition saying things like this: "If he checks out your Facebook page and finds you have a few Liberal friends, you don't get into his meetings." That was Liberal Leader Ignatieff, of course. "That's the politics of friend and foe. I despise it. I oppose it."

Well, Harper doesn't despise it, he doesn't oppose it and he's not going to stop doing it as long as he has the power. This kind of totalitarian behaviour is bred in the Reform Party bone.

If Harper gets his majority, you can count on this kind of thing to start happening with legislative cover, so our very political police won't ever have to say they're sorry.

If you want the police and the government to behave themselves, then elect a government that's committed to democracy and civil liberties. And guess what, that wouldn't be Harper's Maple Tea Party.

* Sorry, people. You have to have lived in Ontario to get this gag.

This post also appears bon David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

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