Chantal Hébert writes in her latest Toronto Star column that: “While scores of Canadians were spending the summer smugly lamenting the ugly tone of the American presidential campaign, Canada’s Conservative party was allowing calls for the assassination of Justin Trudeau to be posted on its Facebook page.”
Canada’s Conservative Party (CPC) allowed threats to PM Trudeau’s person? The clear allegation in that sentence is that the CPC was to blame. Which, in a sense, it was because the Facebook page was theirs.
Which brings us to the problem with social media in general. Any institution or individual who opens a Twitter, Facebook or Blog account is suddenly responsible for whatever a tweeter or commenter writes. Of course, you can block or delete such comments but you have to see them first.
What I found most interesting, however, is how Hébert minimizes the venom and similar threats Stephen Harper experienced on social media over his decade in power. On that, she admits: “One could fill a library shelf with a collection of the derogatory comments Stephen Harper inspired over his decade in power. But to openly call for the death of a prime minister goes way beyond venting.”
However, while Hébert is acknowledging that people wrote nasty comments about Stephen Harper, she seems to think that they did not call for his death.
Wrong! There were many such threats against Stephen Harper and in fact, many of them I got on this blog — from progressives and liberal supporters. If they were unpublished, I simply deleted them or sent them to the blog`s comment trash. Or, if they did get published, I removed them as soon as I saw them.
And, while not a direct threat to Mr. Harper’s person, there is a current example of the mainstream media`s double standard between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau.
On the announcement of Harper`s stepping down from politics on Friday, August 26, 2016, for example, Mark Critch of CBC`s “This hour has 22 Minutes,” mocks Mr. Harper for hiding in a so-called closet.
The implication of Critch’s mocking is, of course, that Mr Harper hid like a coward. Which wasn’t true at all. Conservative colleagues have said Mr. Harper was heading for the main door to find out what was going on, when the RCMP stopped him and literally shoved him into the utility area.
Which begs the question: What would Critch have had Mr. Harper do? Run out into the hall so he could get shot? Can you even imagine Critch mocking Trudeau in such a fashion?
The crux of the matter is that partisans of “all” political stripes, including liberal media, have to stop the ugly rhetoric if open debate and discussion is going to be possible. And, as we saw with what Critch thought was satire or comedy, Hébert has to understand that such an ugly tone was not just caused by partisan conservatives.