Sunday, October 11, 2020

On non-disclosure

Much of the pushback against any discussion of Scott Moe's patterns of drinking and driving, vehicle accidents and general refusal to own up to anything of the sort boils down to two themes. 

The first is that somehow, the authority to decide whether to discuss Moe's harm to others lies with him alone - so if he wants to keep incidents hidden, or refuse to apologize to the victims of his actions until it's politically convenient, we somehow owe it to a person clinging to power to defer entirely to his whims and interests.  

This sadly fits with a pattern of kissing up and punching down within far too much of the province's media throughout the campaign. And it's difficult to respond to such a flawed assumption as to the media's role, other than to consider the results of allowing politicians to pick and choose how their own gross actions are to be discussed even when their own past disclosures have bee of that racen faulty or incomplete.

But that leads to how we can engage directly with the second one: namely, that the fatal accident caused by Moe was dealt with in the Saskatchewan Party's leadership campaign.

Let's keep in mind that while there was plenty of uncertainty about the outcome, Alanna Koch was generally perceived as the front-runner. And so to the extent there were critical comments within the Sask Party itself, they were primarily aimed at her.

Moe, on the other hand, wasn't seen as one of the primary competitors. But he did have a strong contingent of rural MLAs and supporters behind him - leaving his opponents with an obvious aversion to raising questions about whether he was fundamentally unfit for the leadership.

It's in that context that Moe's convictions on the public record became a one-day story which was never much discussed again during the leadership campaign. And we can now see the direct results of Moe's competitors and the media failing to ask followup questions, along with Moe's own choice not to be open about related issues. 

It's entirely possible that a third example of dangerous driving - this one before the one which cost Joanne Balog her life - might have resulted in meaningfully different perceptions of Moe. And more significantly, some attention to the damage Moe did to Balog's family could have both had a powerful impact on the soft down-ballot supporters who eventually propelled Moe to victory, and represented a strong basis for people to organize against him more than they actually did.

So it's not accurate to say Moe is an accidental premier.

Instead, he took the job through calculated non-disclosure within his own party. And his only plan to hold onto power is to use the same secrecy against the voters of Saskatchewan - both when it comes to the life he took, and in his planned cuts for the province.

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