Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The candidates they run

Now that all the noise has died down about former Green candidate John Shavluk, who once made a remark that reportedly "could be construed as anti-Semitic," revelations about Liberal and Tory candidates and their dubious comments and connections indicate that the two largest political parties aren't exactly above criticism themselves.

First it was Tory candidate Nicole Charbonneau Barron, from the South Shore Montreal riding of St. Bruno-St. Hubert, who, thanks to Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe, has been exposed as a member of the extreme-right Opus Dei Catholic sect.

Did the Tories dump her? Not on your life. Conservative Ryan Sparrow lost no time in denouncing Duceppe as

And now we find out that the Liberals are running a pair of anti-Native racists in Quebec: Simon Bédard, running in Québec-Centre, and Ricardo Lopez, formerly a Mulroney Tory, now a candidate for the Liberals in Beauharnois-Salaberry.

On the Oka crisis in 1990, this is what Bédard, a radio commentator, had to say:

Tu rentres là avec l’armée pis tu nettoies tout ça. Cinquante morts, 100 morts, 125 morts, ça vient de s’éteindre. On enterre ça pis on continue à vivre. [You go in with the army and you clean things up. Fifty dead, 100 dead, 125 dead, that will end this. We bury it and life goes on.]

A Liberal spokesperson, Robert Boulay, said that these remarks go back a long time. As reported:

Ce n’est pas un gars qui a la langue dans sa poche, souligne-t-il. Mais il a maintenant 18 années de plus de vie. Il a une évolution intellectuelle extraordinaire et encore plus de bagou. Mais ça va être dit différement. [He's not shy about opening his mouth, [Boulay] stressed. But he's eighteen years older now. His intellectual development has been extraordinary; he still runs his mouth, but he'd say things differently now.]

Well, not so, as it happens. As reported by the Montreal Gazette today, Bédard is unrepentant:

"On a été scandalisé parce que j’ai dit : 'Allons-y avec l’armée et nettoyons ça une fois pour toutes!' Mais peut-être qu’on aurait dû le faire parce que 17 [sic] ans plus tard, c’est encore la même chose. Et s’il y a de quoi, c’est pire." ["They were scandalized when I said: 'go in with the army and clean this up once and for all.' But perhaps they should have done it , because 17 [sic] years later, it's the same thing. In fact, it's worse."

Bédard still wants armed intervention to stop smuggling in Kanesatake:

Il demeure convaincu que la contrebande qui sévit à Kanesatake mérite une intervention fédérale musclée et s'il est élu, il comptera sur son chef, Stéphane Dion, pour l'appuyer dans ses démarches. [He remains convinced that the rampant smuggling in Kanesetake demands a forceful federal intervention, and if he is elected he will be counting on his leader, Stéphane Dion, to support him on this.]

For his part, ex-Tory Lopez preferred forced exile to mass murder: during Oka, he just wanted all Natives deported to Labrador, although he now claims this remark was taken out of context. (In what context would such a remark be acceptable?)

How many more of these folks are going to be exposed once all the political rocks have been turned over?

In the meantime, will Stéphane Dion give these two the heave-ho? Stay tuned. This one ought to be interesting.

(H/t Dust My Broom, Robert Jago, Marie Ève)

UPDATE: (September 11)
Stéphane Dion does the right thing: Simon Bédard was chucked today. Now, about that Ricardo Lopez Norm Spector on to something here?

UPPERDATE: (September 13) Indeed he was. In fact, Ricardo Lopez was never a candidate: the Party says so (shades of George Orwell). H/t Paul Wells.

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