Monday, February 11, 2008

McCarthyism, Liberal-style

Well the witchhunt is apparently on and Kevin Taft is leading the charge.

His latest bone of contention is that 4 of Alberta's 83 Returning Officers have PC activity in their past or are married to a PC volunteer. Freedom of association apparently doesn't apply to tories in Kevin's world.

The job of a Returning Officer is an important one. They require exceptional organizational, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Moreover, they must remain calm in the face of the hectic campaigns going on around them.

Even though Kevin Taft admits he has absolutely no evidence to suggest that any of his accusees have performed their duties in anything but a highly competent manner, he is still calling for their resignations in his typically petulant, professorial fashion.

Returning Officers must do their duties in an entirely impartial manner, of that we can all be in complete agreement. But to suggest that those who may have a partisan past are unqualified for these positions is short sighted.

Look at Judges, for example. Their positions require total impartiality given the exceptional responsibilities entrusted to them. Yet if you look into a Judge's pre-judicial past, you'll likely find some kind of partisan activity. I think specifically of a good friend of my family, Mr. Justice Adam Germain.

Mr. Germain serves on the Court of Queen's Bench and has a plethora of important and impartial decisions to make every day. I know him to be an exceptional man who holds his responsibilities in the highest moral regard.

As fate would have it, he was also my Liberal MLA from 1993 to 1997. Given this, there is an entire 4 years of Hansard recording his interventions and opinions expressed on a variety of topics in the Alberta Legislature. He was also a candidate for the provincial Liberal leadership and, subsequently, a federal Liberal candidate in 1997. A partisan past indeed.

Surely Mr. Taft would hold Judges to the same standard as mere Returning Officers. Based on Kevin Taft's standards, Mr. Germain would not be fit to hold such a high position requiring impartiality (that is unless Liberals are exempt, but I doubt that).

And yet we see Mr. Justice Germain and countless other members of the bench with similar backgrounds serving our justice system every day. They're there because we recognize that, above their respective histories, they possess exceptional ability to make sound, rational, and impartial decisions in service to the people of Alberta.

It is this high standard upon which I believe our Returning Officers are chosen, rather than Kevin Taft's McCarthy-esque PC witchhunt.

The Premier is right to ignore the Liberal rambling and mud-slinging. It is beneath him and, moreover, a waste of Albertans' time.


  1. Bravo, sir. Couldn't have put it any better myself.

  2. Typical Liberal spin. Trying to prove that in taking the low road, they are actually on the higher path.

    Given the level of commitment required, and the level of interest in politics to even think of trying out for the job of the RO, I would think every applicant would fail the test Cournoyer is trying to lay out here... unless the Liberal exception Blake mentioned applies (and it might, in some peoples' minds).

  3. Kevin Taft demonstrates that he is well suited for opposition benches.

  4. Ed Stelmach demonstrates he is well suited for the Returning Officer position.

  5. Hey BR, update your post. It's actually 28 out of 83 with known PC affiliation. What are the odds?

  6. The McCarthyism is being directed at authors like Mark Steyn. What is the Stelmach govt going to about the what's going on with our Human Rights Commissions?

  7. Considering 28 out of 83 seats is 33.7% and 46.8% of the Albertans who care enough about the electoral system to vote the last election, voted PC, doesn't look too out of whack to me.

  8. So it would appear that David Cournoyer and Dan Arnold consider themselves hopelessly biased and completely unable to avoid succumbing to the temptation to help Liberal candidates in some as-yet-unspecificed manner, should they be selected for a Returning Officer position.

    Self-hate is a terrible thing.

  9. anon - Yeah, I think I'd be a pretty bad choice as a returning officer. I'd probably do an OK job but if I'd trashed the PC candidate running on my blog before, the perception would certainly be there of bias.