What do NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, PM Harper, Senator Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright have in common? They are human beings and, as a result of that mutual humanity, they make mistakes.
As do we all!
So, how does the media, the general public and the blogosphere respond when Mulcair, Harper, Duffy and Wright try to correct mistakes or misunderstandings?
Well, if comments on media websites, partisan blogs and Twitter are an example, it is with judgmental sanctimonious nastiness. And, in my opinion, it is the extent of that nastiness that is turning Canadians away from political blogs and electoral politics in droves.
For example, take the discussion section following media opinion columns. Some commenters go on and on about “PM Harper this” or “PM Harper that,” as though he was responsible for everything that goes on in the Canadian government. He is the head of the governing party and, as such, the head of the Executive Branch. He does not administer the huge federal public service, contrary to what those with “Anti-Harper Government” derangement syndrome may think — any more than Jean Chretien or Paul Martin did.
However, it is not only progressive and liberal partisanship that is to blame. Conservative government supporters are now being nasty as well, particularly with what I will call an “anti-politician” or “holier than thou” attitude. In fact, the arrogance and entitlement are beginning to resemble the hubris that nearly destroyed the federal Liberal party (e.g., this post at Maggies Bear). In fact, given such nastiness, it really makes you wonder why anyone would decide to run for political office in this day and age given what a thankless job it has become.
Which brings me to Mulcair’s current so-called scandal caused when he tells the truth as he sees it. How bizarre that he is being blamed for the continuing corruption in Quebec because he didn’t report the bribe he received those many years ago. How was he to know the extent of the corruption? Should he have disrupted his political and family life on the basis of his single experience? What if he had been wrong?
So, now Mulcair tells the truth and he is being called hypocritical and at fault for what someone else did. I don’t think so. It is those who are being sanctimonious who are the hypocrites. Because, yes, hindsight is 20/20.
Now, to the Senator Mike Duffy case. Contrary to what a couple of CTV journalists claim, Duffy admitted he made mistakes when submitting his residence expenses. Even Deloitte and Touche said the Senate rules were hard to understand. So, Duffy apologizes for his mistakes and pays back the $90,000 he was overpaid.
Are his apology and repayment acknowledged? Oh yes, by continuing to harass him. Then, it is found out that a friend in the PMO, Nigel Wright, gifted or loaned him the money out of his own private reserves.
Yet, oddly, Wright is hounded and harassed to such an extent, he is forced to resign from the PMO. In fact, some comments I read on media even accused Wright of somehow benefitting from giving Duffy the $90,000.
Thankfully, there was one media columnist who appreciated Wright’s public service. Yet, read the comments below Michael Taube’s column. Which brings to mind the saying: No good deed goes unpunished. (H/T newswatchcanada.ca)
In any event, since everyone makes mistakes, the crux of the matter is that if the media and partisan Canadians want politicians to try to correct their mistakes (including always telling the truth), when they do (no matter which political party they belong to) they should not be harassed and punished for doing so.
Post updated May 23rd, 2013.