Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sorry Gwyn

I can't help feeling partly responsible for the hatchet job on Gwyn Morgan, Stephen Harper's appointee to lead the proposed Public Appointments Commission, earlier this week. You see, I helped one of his chief accusers, NDP MP Peggy Nash, get elected.

Not that I am an NDP supporter. Far from it. But in my efforts to bring down Sam Bulte, the former Liberal MP representing Parkdale-High Park, I helped pave the way for Nash to win the riding in the last election. It's not that the Conservatives stood a chance in a central Toronto riding anyway. But while the Conservatives did increase their share of the popular vote, it was really a two-horse race between the NDP and the Liberals.

At the time, I did not think Nash's victory was a bad outcome. After all, we knocked out a conflict-ridden Liberal, in favour of the seemingly bright and articulate Peggy Nash. While undoubtedly on the left side of the political spectrum, she was quite impressive in the election debates, even if I disagreed with many of her views. To her credit, I thought she supported her positions in a positive and rational manner without resorting to the over-the-top rhetoric all too common among her socialist brethren.

However, such restraint was certainly not evident in Nash's smear job of Gwyn Morgan as she and other opposition members on the parliamentary committee grilled him on previous statements he had made about ethnic gang violence. While lacking the nuance of an experienced politician, Morgan said nothing that was factually incorrect. But that didn't stop Nash from attempting to paint him as a racist:

"He said that refugees tended to be less qualified than economic immigrants. He questioned the role of multiculturalism," said New Democratic Party MP Peggy Nash, who introduced the motion to reject Morgan.

"I think we are proud of our multicultural country and to stereotype whole cultures, that was problematic," she said.

Not that Morgan did any such thing. But in partisan politics, none of this seems to matter. Nevertheless, Nash's little tactic will have lasting repercussions. Why would anyone that has been successful in other endeavours besides politics volunteer for public service if it means being subjected to the indignities of such partisan smears?

In effect, we are excluding our best and brightest from public service. Our fate now rests exclusively in the hands of self-interested politicians.

Too bad for Canada. If I played any part in bringing this about, I am truly sorry.