Sunday, October 05, 2008

Domestic Terrorism Comes to Toronto

(H/T James Nicoll)

Just days before a contentious federal election in the "bellwether riding" of St. Paul's in Toronto, a person or persons unknown has vandalised cars and homes with Liberal campaign signs on the lawns. The worst things the vandal(s) did were cut brake lines on cars and phone lines to houses, but they also damaged cars and cut cable lines. Apparently there have been fourteen reported cases of this domestic terrorism, but no one was hurt (although the article details a near-miss).

This is new, different, and very very scary; I don't like it at all, and I like the significance even less. (Also, I'm flashing back to my mother's stories about being in Ottawa during the FLQ Crisis.) It looks as though someone is deliberately trying to intimidate Liberal voters in a strategically-important riding by using possibly life-threatening violence. (Even cutting phone lines counts in my estimation, because someone theoretically could have needed to call 911 and found that their phone was dead...)

I'm personally afraid that this is because it is simultaneously looking as though the CPC might get a majority government and that the polls are tightening closer to the election. Nothing amps up an authoritarian like thinking they're thisclose to getting their way and then feeling like they might lose it after all. Even if it smells like desperation, the impetus to action is pretty strong.

I note that the media response has been swift and negative. As David Neiwert mentions, this is the best possible tactic, since many of these types feel that silence gives assent -- "ignore them and they'll go away" gets read as "They're not protesting me, so they secretly approve!" NO.