Friday, August 19, 2005

Pot calling, the kettle is black

I've tried very hard not to blog about the Michaëlle Jean affair, though I have commented in many blogs about it. In my opinion it was an irrelevant smear campaign, meant to embarrass the Liberals at the expense of Mme Jean's reputation. I fully expected it to simply go away with Mme Jean's re-commitment to Canada, on behalf of herself and her husband, the other day.

Now, it was a minor issue and that should have been it.

But it wasn't.

Pierre Poilievre, CPC MP for my riding of Nepean-Carleton here in Ottawa, thinks differently. He is asking for his constituents, and members of the Royal Canadian Legion in particular, to write to the Queen directly. Now the Legion here owes him a great and well deserved debt of gratitude, as he and MPP John Baird hosted a BBQ last month that raise over $30 000 to help them rebuild the Manotick branch, which had been destroyed by fire the month before. I attended myself and thought they did a good job in a non-partisan event for a great cause. Now Mr. Poilievre is asking these folks to write the Queen and tell her of their concerns about a candidate for Governor General with "ties to the FLQ and support of the separatist cause".

Clearly Mr. Poilievre is a true patriot and wishes to fight for Canada. He certainly wouldn't be trying to make political hay from this, would he?

So imagine my surprise to discover that it is possible that this same Pierre Poilievre, CPC MP for Nepean-Carleton, was once an active, card-carrying member of the Alberta Separation Party. According to this allegation, made in May, long before Michaëlle Jean's name came up for GG:

"Pierre was Ezra Levant's communications director. As a Young PC, I saw Pierre and his antics while he was a card-carrying member of the Alberta Separatist Party. I challenge Pierre to prove me otherwise. He knows its true. Once the residents find out they are represented by a Stock-a-holic, they will go streaming back to the Liberals" [Emphasis mine]
Now, I know what some of you will say : "Big deal, an unfounded allegation made by a Liberal and former PC". No different in veracity and tone than the allegations leveled at Mme Jean.

Well, it seems to me that if we are to hold Michaëlle Jean to such a high standard, even though she is getting a largely ceremonial position and the extent of her "crime" was that she once had a toast with separatist and perhaps maybe sort of supported their cause 10 years ago, we should certainly expect to hold Pierre Poilievre to the same standards. Actually he should be held to a higher standard, since he is an elected, sitting MP with real power who could in the future, sit as a government member or even in Cabinet. And it seems that Pierre, rather than simply cavorting and associating with separatists, actually was active in, and joined a party whose purpose was to destroy Canada.

I wonder what all those veterans he was feting last month, and who are now writing to the Queen at his behest, would think about him if they knew that? I wonder what his supporters in my largely conservative riding would think of that now, since none of us knew that during the last election? You don't suppose Pierre Poilievre is exploiting this for political gain, do you?

I as a resident of Nepean-Carleton need to know if my sitting MP was ever a member of a separatist party. I need to hear from him a re-commitment to Canada. It is far more important for him to "come clean" and admit it, than it ever was for Michaëlle Jean.

And he might want to take down that hypocritical website too.

Unless, of course, its ok to forgive past mistakes and youthful indiscretionions, but only if you are a Conservative. I guess it's ok to accept a change in political heart, but only if you are a Conservative. I guess its ok to accept a recommitment to Canada, unless you are a Conservative.

So tell me, how's that moral relativism working out for ya?

Note: In order to try to clarify this, I have written to the Ottawa Citizen asking them look into this, since it is both a local and national story around here. I've asked a few fellow bloggers out west for help to. If any of you reading this have any information that either supports or refutes Mr. Poilievre's past links to Alberta separatists, feel free to post it, so we can know for sure.

Update:

So Peter Rempel didn't get it. And neither did bijoux55. Robert McClelland did. Andy did. Perhaps you guys ought to read it again. And look for the Monty Python reference. And take this little hint.

28 Comments:

At 12:54 PM, Blogger geoff said...

Great post, Mike. It's nice to see this guy have his hypocritical words come back and bite him.

As for links, I could only find this.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger James MacDuff said...

That's ridiculous.

The "allegation" is an anonymous post on a website for political junkies. I doubt Poilievre has ever been publically challenged on it, or if he heard of it being leveled. And the challenge to "prove it otherwise" is particularly hollow. No one asked Michaelle Jean to prove it otherwise, they had a video of her toasting separatism and sought some clarification as to her past. And concerns about ties to FLQ terrorists are concerns of a wholly different order.

The key difference you fail to mention is that MPs are elected, and I would hope and trust that the other side would do their due diligence in researching the background of their opponent during that process. The GG is a discretionary (and particularly arbitrary) appointment, and the vast majority of Canadians had never even heard of Jean before Martin picked her to be the Head of State. Is it so much to ask that the general public be able to question the nominee before she receives the perks associated with 5 years in office without it being called a "smear campaign"?

To say that the anonymous comment left on election prediction is "no different in veracity and tone than the allegations leveled at Mme Jean" is not only wrong, it's absurd.

All that aside, with the recent statement, the point is moot and the issue dead. Poilievre is stupid for requesting that his constitutents write to the Queen (!) about this. Just another example of the Conservatives losing their heads over non-issues for no apparent purpose or possible reward.

But even the PMO admitted in their statement that "Canadians have a right to know that the occupants of Rideau Hall are unquestionably dedicated to Canada." The questions surrounding his behind-closed-doors selection should be open to at least some scrutiny, non? Jean could have ended this fiasco by denouncing it immediately. But we now run politics in this country with focus groups and polls and "official statements" instead of common sense.

And it's August.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Wowza! Seperatist party of AB? Eek!

I heard they were selling tshirts outside an IGA a couple weeks ago...I really want one of those T-shirts (not a lie).

But Mike, the allegations against Jean were slightly more credible than a post on election prediciton.

That said, I like the spin and way you punched back pretty hard.

Why is he making a big stink with this issue...doesn't he really want to make a name for himself on the GG issue?

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Mike said...

James,

That's kinda my point.

My understanding of the video is that she is toasting the independance of Martinique, not Quebec. But that's besides the point.

When this came up, people questioned it. Mme Jean has answered unequivicolly that she is a federalist and loves this country. I agree that the point is moot. Even Stephen Harper thinks its moot. And yet Poilievre continues his little campaign. As do others across the right-wing blogshpere. There are those who are continuing to post on this, despite it being dead. there are those that are now calling Mme Jean a liar, because they are convinced they are right. Or rather they want to be right.

This is not really about Mme Jean, this is about another hamfisted attempt to try to embarass the Liberals in a smear campiagn. I simply took this little tid bit of information (which I rememberd seeing in May when I posted to that site), that allegation, and ran with it just as the CPC and the right wing looneys have run with the allegations against Jean.

Call it satire, parody or over the top. Call me an asshole if you like. I'm calling them the hypocrites they are and I'm calling them out.

It all comes out the same as far as I'm concerned. It makes precious little differnce whether you have a video tape of a toast or an anonymous allegation of actually belonging to a separatist party. If They are prepared to slime Mme Jean over her indescretions, they should be prepared to get it back.

I make no apologies for this. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Or we could all just drop it and move on to something else...

Stephen,

Yes I realize the allegation was pretty unfounded. But I didn't originally make it and it was made long before Jean ever arrived on the scene. My point was mainly that indescretions in the past can, and should, be forgiven, that people, even Poilievre can change their mind.

Of course, being in his riding, I know what this guy is like. This is the same MP that issue a press release in May claiming that he was able to secure promised funding for our Light-Rail project from the Feds. The problem was, he didn't even think Light-Rail was a good idea 2 WEEKS prior to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the funds (in that two weeks he figured out the Light-Rail project was incredibly popular in his riding, so he changed his mind). Our local councillor Jan Harder and Mayor Bob Chiarelli had worked for over a year to get the money and the MOU signed. And when they refused to invite him to the signing cerimony, he showed up anyway, and tried to weasel himself in, still trying to take credit for it (credit where credit is due, a Liberal - the Mayor - and a former PC - Harder - were the ones who got it done).

So when I found out about his little crusade against Jean, I decided to try to reveal him for the unprincipled, unethical political opportunist he is. And if I have to punch hard I will.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger Mike said...

James,

A little more:

"No one asked Michaelle Jean to prove it otherwise, they had a video of her toasting separatism and sought some clarification as to her past."

People were asking her to reveal how she voted in 1995. People are still refusing to believe her. Sounds to me like they are asking for "proof" - not that they would accept it anyway.

"The key difference you fail to mention is that MPs are elected, and I would hope and trust that the other side would do their due diligence in researching the background of their opponent during that process."

Poilievre was essentially a parachute candiate for our riding. He lived here for less than a year before running for MP. I know lots of people on the otherside's campaigns who simply did not have the resources to go to Calgary to do research on him. he won because of our riding. Nepean-Carleton has been Conservative literally since it was created, except for David Pratt. With the allegations from the Sponsorship scandal, the CPC could have run a broom with a dirty sweat sock here and won.

The point is, a guy who may or may not have a questionable past himself should not be smearing someone else.

Just trying to point out the double standard in judgement some members of the right and the CPC exhibit when they are so anxious to smear and embarrass the Liberals.

Personally I find it disgusting.

 
At 2:20 PM, Blogger James MacDuff said...

Fair enough. My larger arguments about this whole innane drama is the ridiculous way we go about making such appointments in this country. I don't find it "disgusting" that people would like to know a little more and aren't called to just "trust the Prime Minister". Wells has done a particularly fine job in pointing out the hypocrisy of the various stances of the PMO in reacting to the charges. You think a grown-up socieyt would be entitled to ask, and then happily accept, the clarification that arrived. Even Adam Daifallah on the right called the issue dead immediately.

Too bad about your riding, but as a candidate, Pierre still had a few months before the people and got a plurality of voters to check the box by his name. Let's not demean democracy, even when it is frustrating. One of the reasons Howard Dean was such a compelling candidate was his "50-state strategy", and I'm happy to see Democrats winning in Montana and elsewhere. I don't know where I heard it first, but they used to say in the days of Joey Smallwood that you could run a dog in the outports of Newfoundland and he'd be a winner so long as he was Liberal.

Still, the procedural differences in becoming MP or GG is a fundamental one that should be considered before weighing in with the charge of "hypocrite". The better, and more appropriate attack line, is just to call them stupid. Politics is about picking your battles, and the biggest weakness of the current batch of CPC losers is the rank inability to do this effectively.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger Mike said...

James,

Points taken.

My personal stance is that we shouldn't have a GG or the Lt G's at all. I could frankly care less who is appointed. I agree that the PMO buggered this up, but what else is new

I was driven to write this by those who couldn't let it go, including Poilievre. I wrote in a comment section that "its over lets move a long" and was thoroughly attacked for it - apparently people think I'm a Liberal shill.

:|

Anyway, no worries about the riding. I'm guessing a lot of people at the time simply dismissed him as a candidate because he was so young and running against the Minister of Defence. I'm pretty sure that won't happen this time.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger bijoux55 said...

There was a GG appointee named Jean
Whose credentials were not terribly strong,
But the crass hipster left wing,
Would appoint her King,
Along with Jacques Rose, Valliere, Simard and Fanon!

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger John Murney said...

Great work Mike!

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Ah bijoux55, I was wondering when you were going to show.

I certainly hope you are outraged that Poilievre might have once dabbled in separatism himself. Clearly he needs to come clean.

Plan on writing any poetry about him? Or is only bad to be a Quebec separatist? Or to have drinks with them? Or to have drinks with them after they have served their prison terms and renounced violence? Just wondering.

Thank's again for demonstrating the moral relativism of the right. I can always count on you.

Don't forget to take your meds.

;)

 
At 7:40 PM, Blogger bijoux55 said...

Unless you are a friend or loved one of James Cross or Pierre Laporte you have no right to comment on the fitness of Mme. Jean for Governor General office.

Pierre Laporte, a democratically elected Quebec cabinet minister was strangled with the chain that held his own cross.

Her chums Jacques Rose, Francis Simard caused a lot of pain for a lot of people in my hometown of Montreal.

As I have posted here before the windows on my block were blow out by one of hundreds of post box pipe bombed. Kids on my street were hit by flying glass.

They call the FLQ terrorists because they achieve what they want with terror. No difference from the 20 guys who killed 3000 on September 11, 2001.

How easy it is for you simpering idiots to endure the suffering of others.

And Mike, ad hominim comments are the lowest form of argument. You might consider lowering your own dosage.

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Yes, bijioux55 thanks but I learned all that in history. I even remember some of it.

Now, that changes nothing. Mme Jean had drinks with these guys. She wasn;t a member of the FLQ, she never advocated voilence or the over throw of Canada, she never joined a separatist party or worked to break up Canada.

All those FLQ thugs have none of my sympathy at all. They served their time in jail and have not committed a crime since. They were her aquantences, not "chums" - she met them because the were subjects of a film her husband was making.

I am well aware of what they did. I am aware that their murdered a man and that the actions of the FLQ did lots of damage and resulted in the death of at least one police officer.

None of that has anything to do with Mme Jean except she had drinks with some of them 25 years after the fact.

Now, the fact that you insist on some kind of delusion that she is ALSO and FLQ terrorist, and that she is also a separatist, based solely on a less than convincing video and speculation on how you suspect she may have voted 10 years ago because of it, lead me to conclude that you have, in all honestly, a serious mental health problem. You seem quite obsesive about it and compulsive
about repeating the same old story and some old line everywhere you type.

It's not an ad hominem attack, its a diagnosis. Get some help.

I suggest you take your own advice - I'm quite sure you are not a friend or loved one of either Pierre Laporte or James Cross. Please stop commenting.

Its over. She has restated unequivically her commitment to Canada. Even Stephen Harper is ok with her. Get over it and deal with your clear issues of anger.

 
At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Mike, did you see that Pete Rempel is after you?

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger Canadian Perasma said...

Pete Rempel...now I'm scared!

 
At 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to forget that the Alberta Seperatist Party did not exist at the time that MP Pierre was supposed to be a card carrying member! The only concern I have is the fact that Jean was working as a journalist at the time she was appointed. It is a bleak day for democracy when active members of the media are given such high positions.

I would have no problem with retired media types -say Knowlton Nash however I was equally against Adrian's ascention for the same reason. In a democracy the media has a sacred responsibility to remain neutral. Can anyone maintain their objectivity if the possiblity of such patronage comes your way for your being "passionate" about one topic or another?

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Toronto Tory said...

Let's talk about the current Liberal Transport minister, shall we?

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Uhm TT, I could careless about our beloved Transport Minister. I am not a Liberal (notice that first list in my menu?).

Lets talk about Double Standards.

Lets talk about satire.

Let's just talk about something other than Mme Jean. She's ok with Stephen Harper. She has reiterated her commitment to Canada, its over.

Time to move on.

 
At 11:49 PM, Blogger andym said...

"Let's talk about the current Liberal Transport minister, shall we?" ...orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...we could try something new, and stay on topic! Whether or not he is now or ever was a member of the Alberta Separatists is immaterial. The CPC is attempting to hold Michaelle Jean to a higher standard than the hold themselves to. Their daily rants on the alleged evils which the Liberals are subjecting us to is tedious to say the least, and far from the diplomatic standard normally associated with the Official Party of the Opposition. Lacking a true platform, they merely critique, whine, and complain like he batch of 13 year-old girls they have proven themselves to be.

Speaking of which, Little Petey Poiliviere is nothing but an attention whore. In a party of attention whores, he stands out from amongst them! He didn't even live in this riding when he was elected, and hadn't lived in Ottawa for more than two years. Now, he's joined the Manotick Legion. Our local cat box-liner weekly newspaper features his photo in every issue, popping up at dance recitals and fire house openings as though he were running for mayor.

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger andym said...

Fine Mike, we'll move on. It's your blog after all.

How could they vote off Mutha-frickin' Kaysar from BB6??? He was back in the house for only 7 days!

Leonard Cohen's financial woes--they haven't been receiving the blog-attention that one would expect!

Being the short attention-spanned numbskull that I am, I couldn't wait for the eventual double-disc treatment of Sin City, so I bought the single-disc this week. I've never liked Mickey Roarke more than in this movie!

...and...blog!

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger andym said...

You're a mean one...Mr. Mike!

I like your style.

You're probably not too far from my Riverside South digs. Ever get to the Barley Mow?

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Balbulican said...

"How easy it is for you simpering idiots to endure the suffering of others.

And Mike, ad hominim comments are the lowest form of argument. You might consider lowering your own dosage."

I've long maintained that being a committed right winger in this country calls for a strong measure of schizophrenia. It appears the two different personnae occupying Bijoux's brain who wrote those two consecutive paragraphs are bearing me out.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger jeff said...

Further evidence that the left turns a blind eye...nay, even endorses terrorism. Shame on you Mike.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger DJeffery said...

http://www.thepolitic.com/archives/2005/08/19/debunking-smears-against-poilievre-2/

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Well Djeffery, that's allready been responded to above. As well some of my comments are still missing.

Greg the admin and I are working on restoring them.

 
At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Scotchneat said...

Western separatist parties have been around since the Western Canada Concept founded in the early 1980’s under Doug Christie.

According to Wikipedia, the Alberta Independence Party was founded in January 2001 and founding was attended by Ted Morton. Ted Morton is a professor at the University of Calgary. Poilievre attended the U of C between 2000 and 2002.

The Alberta Independence Party never gained party status due to lack of membership. However, it did sell memberships. Was Poilievre a member? People would like to know. Maybe Ted Morton can tell us.

 
At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be very active in the Alberta PC youth wing, and was active while Pierre Poilievre was involved in youth politics here. (I am a past President of the Alberta PC Youth) During that time, I work with Pierre and several of the members of the UofC political clubs. Although I did not know him extremely well, I think I would have heard of his membership in another Provincial Political Party, particularly a separatist one, gossip in youth politics is rampant! He certainly never on any occasion spoke to me about separatism. Hope this helps…

 
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