During the Watergate investigation a lot of shady political maneuvers were discovered that were referred to as "dirty tricks". Nixon's campaign team messed with the Democrats any way they could think of: cancelling bookings for halls where rallies were supposed to be held, sending dozens of (unpaid) pizzas to Democrat headquarters, calling printers and changing Democrat campaign signs to have embarrassing typos, and on and on. (That was in addition to the bigger crimes like break-ins.)
It turns out that the Harper Tories have a bit of Tricky Dick in them. And they seem to be proud of it. CTV reports that immediately after the election of Stephane Dion, Tories on the convention floor started boasting that they had defeated Bob Rae. The Tories claimed that they had been handing out buttons saying "Go for Bob/Go for Broke," "Make Bob the first NDP prime minister," and "Vote Bob. Who needs Ontario?" - and that hundreds of delegates were wearing the Tory buttons while they voted. They also claimed that they had fabricated an internal party memo suggesting they were most afraid of facing Ignatieff as leader, but not afraid of a Rae win.
Jamie Elmhirst, president of the Liberal Party of Canada (BC), addressed this issue in a memo to his members, in which he said (in part):
Am I the only one who finds it utterly mind-boggling that the governing party of Canada sent people into the Liberal Party convention to perform these kinds of dirty tricks? Is Karl Rove already on the Conservative Party of Canada pay-roll? I think this really says something about the character of the people running our current government and it isn't positive. I am particularly disappointed with James Moore, a young MP I have a lot of respect for. This kind of garbage is beneath him, or at least I thought it was.
Canadians were not impressed with the negative character of the last federal election campaign. They want politicians of all stripes to set the bar higher. Our new Leader, Stephane Dion, is a man of ideas, vision and integrity. I'm confident that when we next face the electorate, it will be with a strong platform and positive message. Obviously our friends in the Conservative Party have not yet learned the same lesson.