Thursday, March 3, 2011

L'affaire Simons

Before the candidates entered the NDP leadership race the party had made it clear they wanted access to the online world of all the candidates.  It is a bit harsh, but given the track record of the NDP in the 2008 federal election, I am not at all surprised.  Everyone knew this what the party expected so it is odd that Nicholas Simons is now opposing this, actually I do not think it is that odd at all.

Personally I suspect Nicholas Simons had the intention of making an issue of this from the start so that he could gain media coverage and be the champion of personal freedom.   The whole approach says media stunt to me.   He may very well have a point, but he should have worked this out with the party months ago internally.

I am a strong believer that party members should have the right to speak in public about different policy decisions, I also think that is not right of someone that chooses to join a party to publicly complain about the party rules.  This is an internal debate and only if there is a fundamental problem that can not be resolved internally should someone go external with it.

MLAs should be allowed to always speak their mind on policy, where they should defer to the party is on how the party is operated.

As to the issue, I can understand why someone would not want to comply with this request, but this is not a simple case of access of not because if the information is out there, someone will find it.   I can not prove this, but I assume smart political parties privately investigate people especially their online life.   I suspect the people engaged in that sort of searching are not doing it in the most ethical way.

The request of the NDP may not be palatable, but the alternative is doing it behind the candidates back.   And if the party does not do it behind the back, the opposition or online media will do it for the party.  The reality is that there are more potential minefields out there and more people looking for the mines, something has to be done.

In statements from Nicholas Simons, he seems to have some potential solutions, I wonder if he suggested these to the party leadership at the start of the race?

To quote a comment from Brad Zubyk during the 2008 election "If Jack Layton is not going to vet his candidates, I will do it for him."


Ian said...

This has been a line of Simons' for at least the past couple weeks, but I think I recall it stated earlier. I think it only became an issue with his filing.

I actually admire his ideological commitment. I don't think we really had a right to Sarah Palin's personal emails, despite their leakage, and similarly we (or the NDP brass) don't have a right to Simons' personal communications.

Bernard said...

This is a case where it should have been handled internally by all involved.

At the same time, it should not have taken rocket science on the part of the party to figure out the request would look bad in the media.