I have important things to talk about. But I can’t right now, because the leading political story (aside from the Bin Laden photos, which is an equally silly story) is that the NDP’s Little Miss Vegas, Ruth Ellen Brosseau, might have forged two or more signatures on her candidacy papers. It’s definitely a story. If a blogger had discovered it, I and many others would link to them and congratulate them and so on. It should be investigated. And then we should move on. Just yesterday the intelligent-sounding stuffed shirts in the press were telling us that “second place is first loser” and that Jack Layton’s Opposition is a political irrelevancy. Apparently the NDP’s leader is irrelevant but a rookie backbencher, who nobody ever thought would be trusted as more than a chair-warmer, is big-time national news.
So, yes, investigate her. And if she’s guilty, she should resign (the Conservatives will no doubt say so, too). But surely if Brosseau’s alleged misdeeds are big news and worthy of kicking her out of Parliament, so is the fact that the governing Conservative Party attempted to plant fake stories in the news to discredit Michael Ignatieff (who is well discredited now in any case). And it’s worth mentioning that nobody had to resign over that party’s fraudulent books in a previous election campaign, either (instead, Harper promoted two of them to the Senate). Unless Conservative leader Stephen Harper, and Senators Doug Finley and Irving Gerstein, are going to resign for election fraud, it doesn’t make sense to demand that Brosseau resign. And we still don’t know which party was behind the thousands of criminal Elections Canada hoax calls, either. And, while the major media was busy playing with their ribbons and ponies in Berthier-Maskinonge, here are some other stories you didn’t get to hear about today:
- You didn’t get to hear about any of my Big Five stories that matter after the election. Two of them are in the last paragraph: the suspected vote-rigging which occurred in several ridings in Monday, and the certain electoral fraud that occurred in 2006 and for which the Conservatives are now in court, a subject on which the media apparently feels no further investigation is required. We still don’t know the truth about the G8-G20 police violence investigations, the G8-G20 Auditor-General’s report on Conservative slush funds in Tony Clement’s riding, or the truth about Jack Layton’s dirty massage, either. Although CBC does now say the Report will appear in June, so that’s something.
- You didn’t get to hear much more about the first announcements made by the government, such as agriculture minister Gerry Ritz’s declaration that the government is going to begin dismantling the Canada Wheat Board (h/t Colleen Kimmett at The Tyee). Ritz says he doesn’t see any reason to allow farmers to vote on the subject. That’s probably because he tried that gambit before, and lost, even after trying to rig the vote. We don’t know what other plans are being readied either, though the BC pipeline seems to be one of them. Surely covering the government is at least as important as covering opposition parties, yes?
- You certainly didn’t hear anything about the Conservative plans to pass certain laws within the next 100 days, even though anybody who plans to oppose them needs to start working now. I’ll be honest: I didn’t pay too close attention to the platforms either, assuming that they wouldn’t matter because there’d be another minority government. Oops. Anyhow, one such bill is the innocuously named Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act. Among other Orwellian terms, privacy expert Michael Geist says this bill requires Internet companies to install surveillance software to collect personal information about customers’ online activities and turn this material over to police on demand without a court review. It also makes Website owners criminally responsible for the content of sites that their own Website contains links to, which not only threatens public blogs like this one but basically shuts down public Internet forums and also raises interesting questions about what happens if you link to an apparently legal page but then its content gets changed to, for instance, a series of racist tirades.
Lest I be accused of hypocrisy or burying a story here, let me make my point clear. It’s not that doctored papers aren’t serious. It’s that, if we expect Brosseau’s resignation for doctoring her candidacy papers (and we should, if it’s established that she’s guilty), then we also should be demanding Stephen Harper’s resignation for doctored campaign finance papers (since he is the party leader, he is the elected MP responsible for the party’s papers, just as Brosseau is the one responsible for whichever official played with her nomination papers). The alternative is that we apply one standard to backbench opposition MPs and a looser standard to the government itself, and that, of course, is purely ridiculous.Tweet