Today’s post is, by my standards, low-hanging fruit. If I told you that writing this didn’t bring about a healthy dose of joy to my day, I would be lying. It would be like seeing live footage of Jason Kenny or Donald Trump slipping on a banana peel and falling on their ass.
If you ain’t laughing, you’re either delusional or full of shit (probably both). But anyway, on with the show.
Just as Justin Trudeau seems to have finally gotten the national vaccination program onto a similar trajectory as Joe Biden’s (as evidenced by my recent retrieval of my first Pfizer shot a week ago), the 2 factions of the Canadian Conservative political sphere appear to be embroiled in a spat of sorts.
Andrew told the teacher that Max was being a naughty boy. Or as it were, the Progressive Conservatives told the media that the Peoples Party were being racist jackasses.
Oh, I know. It’s about as surprising as burning one’s tongue after a forgotten refill of hot tea.
People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier once discounted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s chances of winning a seat in the House of Commons by saying he’d “never get elected with that rag on his head,” according to an affidavit filed recently in an Ottawa court case.
In a separate affidavit, however, Bernier says that he’s not a racist and that the affidavit is the only eyewitness account of him “supposedly saying something racist” filed by the lawyer for political strategist Warren Kinsella.
And, we’re off to a great start.
Damn that fake news media for spinning this into a story that it isn’t! I’m not actually racist! I just happened to say something that sounds incredibly racist and only that one time!
What the hell, bro?!
For the sake of argument, I have to acknowledge that it is possible to say something incredibly offensive yet NOT intend it to be offensive. For example, if I were to decide to start publicly rapping almost any song by Lil Uzi Vert or Lil Tjay, it’s safe to say that AT BEST, most of the audience would be horrified. Should someone happen to be recording and passing it off to social media, my ass is cancelled. Something that is rather interesting to think about considering how much hip-hop culture crosses cultural divides.
After all, I would not have a CLUE who either Lil Uzi OR Lil Tjay were without non-black zoomer influences. It has never been my scene, but who am I to dictate taste. After all, this music may well do more to enlighten teenagers on black cultural issues than any educational program could ever hope to. Indeed, despite all the instances of Bitches and the N-word with an A.
Another character that comes to mind in such a context is no stranger to notoriety. That is comedic legend, Doug Stanhope. Though I came to love the man on account of his complete destruction of Dr. Drew Pinsky back in the day (they have since buried the hatchet), he mentions in a bit wherein he came into some hot water for saying quote “I hate the Jews”.
Okay . . . maybe not the best example for this context LOL. There is no denial coming from Doug about what he has said in the past. He owns his speech with far more integrity than pretty much any person that I can think of. Despite drawing many cues from the likes of Stanhope, Carlin and other comedians like them, even I can’t claim the kind of integrity that comes from pretty much complete disconnection from the social structure. As much as I value my freedoms of speech and expression more than the average right-wing jackass who is just looking out for self-preservation (if you think they care about liberal ideals, you are delusional), I still have to work.
While I am indeed envious of the people who make full use of their free-range societal status (for lack of a better way to describe it), and I wish I had such power, it is what it is.
Either way, whether the example is rapping lyrics on a hot mic or having something you said taken out of context, neither is the case when it comes to Maxime Bernier. He said EXACTLY what he said, and there is no denying the context. Sounds to me like another jackass trying to hide their bigotry behind the Cancel Culture movement.
Going back to the CBC article:
Bernier said Kinsella was hired to paint him and the People’s Party of Canada as racist to draw support away from his fledgling party during the last election.
And I bet uncovering the source of that smoke was much easier than he thought it would be!
The allegations and counter-allegations are part of hundreds of pages of affidavits and exhibits filed recently in Ontario Superior Court in an acrimonious defamation suit that pits Bernier against Kinsella.
In October 2019, it was reported that Kinsella’s Daisy Group had been hired in the months prior to the 2019 federal election to mount Project Cactus, a campaign to draw attention to xenophobic or racist comments made by People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidates or their supporters.
At the time, a source said that Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservative Party of Canada. In a recent affidavit, however, Kinsella said the client was a lawyer who was a member of the Conservative Party — not the party itself.
Of course, Andrew had absolutely no knowledge of this incredibly convenient plan by a member of the ranks to spend their own money in the interest of the party. Sure, no party funding ever changed hands, because that would look really bad. I mean . . . be highly unethical!
I would laugh if someone happened to snap a photo of a stuffed envelope being exchanged at a Taco Bell or 7/11. Either way, the CPC has a brown smudge on its shoes.
In February 2020, Bernier sued Kinsella and Daisy Group for defamation, alleging that the campaign damaged his reputation.
In an affidavit filed by Kinsella’s lawyer dated April 15, former Conservative communications adviser Matthew Conway describes what he said was an incident involving Bernier in February 2018, when Bernier was still a Conservative Party critic.
Conway said he was standing with Bernier in the House of Commons’ foyer, waiting for him to go on television to comment on the budget, when Singh walked by.
“When Mr. Singh entered the foyer, Mr. Bernier said, referring to Mr. Singh, ‘Il ne se fera jamais élire avec ce torchon sur sa tête,'” wrote Conway. He translated the phrase into English as, “He’ll never get elected with that rag on his head.”
The affidavit claims that, a few minutes later, Bernier asked what Singh was “doing with that knife,” referring to Singh’s kirpan — the sacred ceremonial dagger that observant Sikhs are supposed to wear at all times.
“Both of these comments made me nervous,” Conway wrote in his affidavit. “Not only did I consider them to be offensive and racist, but I was concerned, in my role as a communications adviser, that members of the press who were nearby may have overheard the comments.”
Forget a mere smudge. They are knee-deep in it now!
In an affidavit dated May 3, Bernier calls into question Conway’s account.
“This is the only eyewitness account of me supposedly saying something racist ever offered by Mr. Kinsella, and it comes from someone connected to the party that paid Kinsella for ‘Project Cactus’ and stands to benefit if Mr. Kinsella is vindicated,” Bernier wrote. “It is the only eyewitness claim of me making a racist statement that Kinsella has included in his motion material.”
While I agree that this comment is certainly an inconvenient truth for Maxime and a convenient truth for the CPC, Max didn’t have to say what he did. he allegedly did, however. Thus, good luck.
One thing we should remember, however, is how Maxime came to leave the Conservative Party. He was not ejected because of this incident. The incident in question occurred in February 2018, and he would not resign from the CPC (and found the Peoples Party) until August. That was despite THIS happening in the meantime.
Winnipeggers are condemning Conservative MP Maxime Bernier for using the naming of a community park in South Pointeas a way to criticize “extreme multiculturalism.”
In a tweet, the former party leadership contender suggested it was an odd dichotomy that Victoria recently removed a statue of Canada’s founder, and Winnipeg recently dedicated a park to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the modern state of Pakistan.
Bernier also argued the partition of India, which led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947, killed nearly one million people.
His remarks came Tuesday night, after Bernier’s initial series of tweets on the weekend were roundly disparaged for stoking racist and xenophobic tensions.
* * *
Scheer said in a statement late Wednesday that Bernier doesn’t speak for his party on any issue.
“I disagree with politicians on the left and the right when they use identity politics to divide Canadians. I will not engage in this type of politics.”
Scheer did not elaborate specifically on the tweet. A request from CBC News to both Scheer and Bernier about the Winnipeg tweet was not returned.
While I can on one hand understand why Scheer didn’t want to Cancel Bernier based merely on this opinion (however divisive), this takes on a very different tone knowing what went down in February. This was not a surprise. And arguably, had the February incident been used as a reason to purge Bernier from the party, I doubt that any but the delusional hysterics would mount the case of cancel culture run amuck.
That is not what happened though. This was inconvenient information then, and it was also safely under wraps.
Now that this lawsuit has exposed the incident, however, the lack of action by the CPC leaves them just as stained as Bernier’s PPC. Because unlike the cohort of the People’s Party (of which knew exactly what they were getting into), The Conservatives would like you to think that they are better than that. They are not the party of Donald Trump!
Yet, here they are, covered in it.
The statements made by both sides in the dispute have not yet been tested in a court of law.
While Bernier went on to lose his seat in the Quebec riding of Beauce in the 2019 election, Singh won the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South.
On the bright side, there is nothing like a healthy dose of reality to shut down the rhetoric of a bigot.
At the time, a source told CBC News that the campaign was funded by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) — something that then-Conservative leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny.
In his affidavit dated April 15, however, Kinsella said that “Daisy was not hired by the CPC.”
“Rather, for a six-week period ending June 29, 2019, a lawyer who was a member of the CPC paid Daisy to supplement work Daisy was already doing about the PPC,” Kinsella wrote. “Daisy did not take direction from the lawyer or submit any work for his review or comment.”
By wrapping up the work by June 29 — the date after which pre-election spending would have to be declared — the money spent to hire Daisy Group did not have to be reported to Elections Canada.
In a recording of a Daisy Group meeting — which was leaked to CBC News in November 2019 by a source who attended the meeting and asked not to be named — Kinsella said “Hamish and Walsh” would start to ask what Daisy Group was delivering if they don’t start “spilling some blood.”
Hamish Marshall, who was the Conservatives’ 2019 federal election campaign manager, has a background in marketing. John Walsh, a former president of the Conservative Party who was co-chair of the 2019 election campaign, is a lawyer.
At the time, Walsh refused to comment on Daisy Group’s work on Project Cactus. Walsh did not return a phone call from CBC News this week.
Bernier’s defamation suit is seeking $325,000 in damages. In his affidavit, he encourages the court to “curb dirty political tricks.”
“My reputation suffered serious harm,” Bernier wrote, adding he needed a chance to clear his name in court so that voters will know he has “been a target of paid defamation and dirty tricks.”
Kinsella has applied to have Bernier’s defamation lawsuit thrown out, arguing it is a “strategic lawsuit against public participation” (SLAPP) suit. SLAPP suits are those used to intimidate or silence critics.
The motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard by the court in June.
Frankly, it would not surprise me to find out that some amount of this stuff goes on when it comes to every party (certainly with the main 2 Canadian contenders with the vast majority of the cash to fund such expeditions). While this is likely common practice, it enters us into an interesting area of both politics and life in general. Is it right to hold people of pretty much any age to account for their words or actions of years (if not decades) previous?
This is a particularly sticky issue in the age of the internet, where 2 generations now have a lifetime’s worth of both publicly and privately shared information and media (photos and videos), all of which is essentially immortal. Kids and teenagers grow up and forget about old social media accounts, platforms are bought and sold and change names. But much of the information remains somewhere (often just a search engine query away) and will likely remain as long as humanity keeps the lights on.
In our various stages of life and maturity, many of us go through many phases of existence. We all likely said, did and believed things when we were young that were dumb, questionable, embarrassing or possibly even socially detrimental (whatever the standard we are using (be it today’s or any). Thus, assuming you have changed your ways since college, how much weight should those words or actions have in regards to 30 or 40 years old you?
It’s an interesting question to ponder because while it may well keep otherwise great candidates out of positions of power (right when we need them most), it can also pose career limitations. It is becoming common practice for managers and Human Resources personnel to inspect the social media feeds of potential candidates as part of the screening process.
However, privacy hardly seems to be the issue when it comes to the Maxime Bernier lawsuit. If anything, this information would seem to be far more detrimental to the Conservative Party given that they sat on it for all this time. Not to mention that the language is not only on-brand for Bernier but also within his previously demonstrated character (given the previous publicly available tweets). I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find more people with which he has shared these views.
In closing, I’d be surprised if this goes anywhere. While I like the idea of doing something to keep past mistakes in judgement from bringing hindrance to future endeavours, I sense this isn’t the case. The pattern of behaviour has already been established.
A far more interesting example would be the blackface photograph of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that earned him a place in notoriety alongside Rudi Juliani in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.