Thank you Peter Rempel for helping me out and proving the point I was trying to make in my previous blog article.
In case some of you missed it, it was a little satire on how the right has been acting in the whole Jean affair. Robert McClellend got it, and let Peter know in his own special way:
"It’s not a smear, you dishonest jackass. The point of the post is not to claim that Poilievre is or was a member of the Alberta separtist movement. In fact, he quite clearly states it’s an unfounded allegation. The point of the post is that if unfounded allegations were enough for the right whingers to demand the GG answer the question of whether or not she was a separatist, then an unfounded allegation should be enough for him to demand that Poilievre answer the question of whether or not he’s a separatist.
And Rempel, the GG is a meaningless position in Canada. Poilievre is an Ontario MP. If he were an Alberta separatist it would have far more consequences than if the GG were one.
Anyway, thanks for bringing this up. As you know, all that matters in politics is that the accusation is made and that it get attention."
For days before the video turned up, the right-wing was screaming for Jean to reveal how she voted in the 1995 Referendum or what she thought of the ex-FLQ member who renovated her library. They each immediately assumed she was guilty of being a separatist and wanted her blood. All driven by rumours and innuendo from the separatists themselves.
No benefit of the doubt. No innocent until proven guilty. Just guilty.
After being attacked as a Martin drone, a separatist sympathizer and accused condoning the FLQ acts, I had enough. I remembered that little allegation from the Election prediction page from May when I was reading it back then. It was posted May 22, 2005 by an anonymous person claiming to be a Liberal supporter and ex-PC. I never gave it much thought, because, as I have said elsewhere, I didn't (and don't) really care. It probably wasn't true and even if it was, its was water under the bridge, since Peirre Poilievre then went on to join the Reform Party and later the Alliance and Conservatives. He even worked for Ezra Levant (ok, that might actually make him look more like an Alberta separatist, but I think you get my point). But since he's my MP, and I don't particularly care for him for other reasons, un-related to the Jean affair, I thought I'd use him as my example. I then discovered he was exploiting Jean for political gain himself. Very serendipidous. Not a surprise, coming from Poilievre, but serendipidous nonetheless.
So I wrote a nice little article, attacking a Conservative as they had attacked Jean before the video came out - based on unsubstatiated, unfounded claims of links to separatism. In this case the alleged link was even more serious - instead of simply associating with separatists and possibly harbouring pro-separatist feelings, Poilievre was alleged to have actually joined and been active in a separatist party.
Well, lo and behold, instead of attacking Poilievre as they had attack Jean, demanding an explanation, they defended him. They defended him exactly as I and others had defended Jean, before the video came out.
So if it ok to attack Jean based on little or no evidence (remember, I'm talking about the time before the video. The attack was well underway when the video surfaced, so it didn't start all this), why isn't Poilievre, who currently holds a much more dangerous position for a separatist to hold than Jean would, held to the same standard of scrutiny and derision? You don't suppose its because he's a Conservative do you? I mean, although this was a satire, most of them didn't get it. For all they knew (since they clearly thought I was serious), a video of Poilievre drinking it up with Alberta separatists at a University of Calagry pub would turn up on Tuesday.
The bottom line, as Peter Rempel, bijoux55 and a host of other bloggers in various comments threads have shown, there is a double standard in conduct. Any malfeasance on behalf of the Conservatives is to be forgiven and minimized. On all others, especially the Liberals or those asssociated with them, it is the ultimate evil that needs to be fought and destroyed lest it overtake us all.
This was never about Jean, the Governor-General position or separatism. This was another attempt, started by the separatists themselves and carried on by the right, to embarass and annoy the government and the Liberal Party, at any cost, as loudly as possible. It was meant to gain cheap political points and sensationalism. It was meant to exploit the ignorance, fears and hatreds of average Canadians for political gain. It was another example of the vicious, negtative attack style politics that has infected Canada in the last 6 months, a style that most Canadians are growing quite weary of.
And the video? Hardly a "smoking gun" but as even Paul Martin and many Liberal bloggers have pointed out, it was disturbing. But in the intervening 12 years, she and her husband have not joined a separatist party or been involved, actively or otherwise, in separatist politics. And twice in the last few weeks, she has re-stated and re-iterated her loyalty to Canada quite clearly. Even after the video, that was good enough for me. It was good enough for Stephen Harper. And I suspect, good enough for most Canadians, who have better things to worry about.
Now for the record, I don't know or care if Poilievre was ever a member of an Alberta separatist party. He probably wasn't, for what its worth. My criticism of his exploiting this situation for his own personal, political gain stands, however. Even the leader of his own party is satisfied, yet he continues. Those of you who live in or near this riding know that exploiting situations for personal, political gain is nothing new for Pierre Poilievre. He's been doing it since he became an MP and this is not the first time. My dislike for Poilivre stems from a living in Nepean-Carleton and watching his antics and watching him operate, not from any of this or any unfounded allegation of being a former separatist.
So when next the right start the hand wringing over another issue, remember how they acted in repsonse to this and what they are really like. And aways keep this in the back of your head:
- "Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo."
I hope they all remember the taste they got here of the stuff they regularly dish out, and think about it before the start dishing it out again.
By the way, the Monty Python reference (which I thought would give this away as a satire, but I guess I underestimated my target audience) was:
Alberta Separatist Party -> Separation Party of Alberta
People's Front of Judea -> Judean People's Front ("Splinter!")
From 'The Life of Brian'.