Sunday, March 13, 2016

On controversial responses

A propos of nothing in particular, let's go over this a couple more times:
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.
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...resulted in an individual having been elected...
And again:
(A) hair-trigger response to candidate controversy may serve to cut off a story immediately. But the larger risk of alienating supporters should also be taken into account...
To be clear, nothing about the above is to condone any of the statements which has led to the removal of any of the Saskatchewan NDP's candidates.

But it is to say that there's a real danger in a party holding itself up as a guarantor for everything any individual candidate has previously said and concurrently creating the expectation of disqualification, rather than letting responsibility fall to the individual. And a campaign which is otherwise presenting some rather vital issues such as support for mental health and fair education opportunity for First Nations students seems to have been diverted off course by choosing the former option.

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