[A Nasty and un-Canadian style emerges in Social Media and Public Presentations]
Among thousands of other Canadians, I am an unabashed fan of Rex Murphy (CBC). He recently defined an ugly phenomenon that is unwelcome, crude and has absolutely no place in Canadian society. I speak such things as presentations (or as they call them deputations) to the local City Council in politically rife, Brampton Ontario.
I use the term “deputation” advisedly because what is happening is certainly NOT a deputation. The dictionary defines “deputations” as presentations made by “deputies”: a group of people appointed to undertake a mission or take part in a formal process on behalf of a larger group. The current crop of alleged “deputies” is self appointed or (at most) appointed by a small/noisy group of the presenter’s friends who “egg” him/her on. They are likewise certainly not delegates. In fact, these alleged “deputies” are self appointed and are consuming public time in order to fuel their own egos. These are simply people who crave public attention in order to compensate for mundane life-style that they adopted. These people need to be the leaders that they always wished they were.
Murphy cited two examples in this commentary. He first points out a group of young thugs that accosted a female reporter at a local soccer game and then to Elizabeth May’s bizarre public tirade at the National Press Council’s meeting. May slipped up and permitted her personal dislike for the Prime Minister and launched into a “half raging tantrum” fueled by “unearned self righteousness”. I suspect also that in each case, wine or beer permitted the perpetrators to step over the line and, thereby forget civility.
Turning to these alleged deputations at Brampton City Council, many of us have watched helplessly as reputations such as the reputation of past Mayor, Susan Fennell as these self appointed deputies have hurled insults and unfounded innuendos into a microphone and in front of rolling cameras. Common sense dictates that these individuals should face civil actions. However, an old adage maintains that one cannot get blood out of a stone. I do suspect that IF I were to turn the tables and name these offensive individuals, they would be the first to apply for legal aid and seek civil damages.
However, there is one bright light shown in Murphy’s commentary. I refer to Liza Raitt, Raitt is the Member of Parliament from nearby Halton who stepped up to Elizabeth May in the middle of her tirade and helped “her friend” off stage before she did more harm to herself. At the moment of Raitt’s kind intervention, Elizabeth May was comparing convicted Jihad terrorist, Omar Khadr to Canada’s elected parliament. It was misguided and Elizabeth May would have shown more wisdom if had made comparison to Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who is now awaiting lethal injection for a very similar act.
Truth often becomes evident on the morning after. Elizabeth May did have the good sense to understand how badly her tirade had reflected on her own personality and issued a full and formal apology the following morning. I am dismayed to read responses to Rex’s story about May though. A small group of individuals using aliases immediately set about attacking Murphy. I personally learned a great deal about the limonene socialists that do the ground work for the Greens and for the NDP. They do a huge disservice to their own group by piling on instead of doing what Liza Riatt did – that is to attempt to defuse a volatile situation.
If the friends and supporters of our local “posse” of self appointed deputies/delegations at the local City Council can’t or won’t help their friends by preventing ill-informed public rants laced with unfounded innuendos, I have a suggestion for City Council. You already publish telephone numbers for each council member and the Mayor. Insist that these gripes and complaints be dealt with by way of contacting one’s elected official by telephone and stop enabling such boorish behavior.
Past experience has shown that far too often, City Council has caved in to unfounded witch hunts and employed expensive experts and consultants to fend off spurious allegations coming out of these presentations to council. My modest tally is that well over one million dollars has been spent in the past two years dealing with unfounded “hunches” and allegations. That is my money also.
I suggest that council would serve the broader public good if it would insist on the telephone method as it is becoming tiresome watching the same gang regularly appear at formal meetings to engage in self-indulging rants. Failing that, perhaps it is the right time to attach a fee of $200 each to those who need to appear for their own vanity. After all, these rants have evolved into a recreation for the individuals taking part. The City attaches “user fees” for other – far more worthy forms of recreation. If my friends and I want to play a game of soccer or baseball, a fee to use the soccer pitch or ball diamond is to be paid.
Let’s not encourage boorish behavior.