Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On search results

Colby Cosh's latest on the role of the "human search engine" in tracking down information about candidates and elected officials is worth a read. But it's worth keeping in mind that the search results only matter to the extent they're put to use.

On that front, having commended Notley for her initial response to issues raised about Deborah Drever, I'll note that there's reason for concern about Drever's subsequent suspension.

I'm always leery about personal controversies being used as an excuse to disqualify people from participation in public life. And the high bar for excluding people from running seems like it should be raised even further when the party's vetting and nomination processes and a general election have resulted in an individual having been elected under the NDP banner.

Moreover, the effects of Notley's decision won't be limited to Drever herself. Instead, Notley's willingness to cut people out of the NDP caucus before they've even participated in it will only encourage more focus on MLAs' photographic history rather than their work in the legislature.

That said, the good news is that Notley has left room for Drever to redeem herself, imposing a temporary suspension rather than the under-the-bus sentence so familiar among other parties. And hopefully the future obsessions of the right's human search engine won't be to redirect Alberta politics from building a new culture of inclusion.

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