08.17.2013 06:13 PM

In Sunday’s Sun: abolish the Senate. Then abolish journalists in the Senate.

The revelations about Sen. Pamela Wallin — and her apparent willingness to use the treasury as her personal piggy bank — will get folks talking again about abolishing the Senate.

And that’s good. The Senate is an anti-democratic abomination. And, as everyone from the federal NDP to the Ontario Liberals have said, it should be terminated, with extreme prejudice.

But the Wallin scandal — and the Mike Duffy scandal that preceded it — raises another question: Do former journalists, like Duffy and Wallin, make good politicians?

Mostly, they don’t.

I say this as (a) someone who ran and (b) someone whose writings figured in my loss. Writers and journalists and commentators make for lousy politicians because they have left a written record that can be used against them.

One sunny day in the summer of 2009, I stood in the boardroom in room 409-S on Parliament Hill, which — until Michael Ignatieff came along — had always been occupied by Liberals or Conservatives, but never New Democrats. He approached me and we chit-chatted.

The $4 million “Just Visiting” barrage hadn’t started yet, and Ignatieff was in a voluble mood. I wasn’t. He asked me what I was worried about. I pointed through the window of 409-S at the hulk of the PMO’s Langevin Block, across the street.

“See there?” I said. “There’s a hundred little Tory bastards in there who have digitized and catalogued every single thing that you ever wrote or said on the BBC or anywhere else. And they’re getting ready to use it against you, and I don’t even know what they’ve got.”

Ignatieff was unconvinced. There’s a statute of limitations on such things, he suggested. “Some of that stuff is 20 years old!” he said.

“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “A good war room will take something that happened 20 years ago and make it look like it was said yesterday.”

And so they did. They took old Iggy statements and destroyed him with them. There is, as I later told disbelieving Liberals, no statute of limitations on “f—ing stupidity.”

And that’s why writers/authors/journalists/commentators make lousy candidates: they have a past, they have a record, and it’s more easily accessible than ever before.

In order to be any good in the media game, of course, they have to say something that is controversial, at some point. And that’s where guys like me get them. We dig it up, drop it in someone’s lap and their former colleagues/best buddies will go at it like sharks to chum dropped off the side of a boat. Guaranteed.

Wanna be a perfect candidate in the modern age? Don’t ever write or say anything.


  1. kitt says:

    Thanks for the laugh Mel. Not only are CONs “f—ing stupid” but they have reached la la land. Buh bye bums…. get ready for a Kim Campbell.

  2. Bunni Van Thorbanger says:

    Re Senate: when one considers individuals like Romeo LeBlanc, Romeo Dallaire, or Sister Mary Alice “Peggy” Butts (who they had to do a workaround as she had taken a vow of poverty), the Senate could theoretically be a place of integrity and wisdom. Harper wants to pack the Senate with shites he knows have no impulse control with the aim of eventually destroying it via scandal. Never forget the fanatical Preston Manning was his mentor.

    As we really have no autonomous legislative branch (every MP wants a promotion don’t they?); and despite all the judicial activism nonsense, judges are completely installed by the PMO; and the fact the PMO is now so powerful; the death of the Senate would indicate yet another check and balancing counter weight has been removed. Factor in low voter turn out via demoralization and you arrive at 15% of the population supporting a near dictatorship. If these trends continue, one can envision 7% of the population voting for a full dictatorship, with no senate, essentially no legislature, and a judiciary gutted via emergency powers/war measures over some propaganda generated hysteria.

    Re Writers: the theory breaks down with the expectation that MPs should generally have advanced degrees, which means they will have already written hundreds of thousands of words. Ubiquitous social media like facebook and twitter means they will have already written thousands upon thousands of words. To find a truly clean candidate you will have to basically groom them from birth in a highly controlled environment of home schooling/tutors with minimal social and social media.

    Re TWEP: He’s worse than crazy. He’s evil! I mean, that’s what the man’s got set up here, man! It’s fuckin’ pagan idolatry. Look around you!

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Don’t forget Hugh Segal, a Progressive Conservative Senator, and one of the few, that truly deserves the title “Honourable”. A good man.

    • Ottawa Civil Servant says:

      Tin foil hat, much?

      “…one can envision 7% of the population voting for a full dictatorship, with no senate, essentially no legislature, and a judiciary gutted via emergency powers/war measures over some propaganda generated hysteria.”

      Sounds like you watched “Vendetta” over and over. Instead, try reading the G&M article, where they conclude that the NDP has moved right and the Libs and CPC are, effectively, the same, save for a few nuanced differences on crime, and spending. Shades of grey.

      This isn’t Egypt. Harper isn`t Morsi, waiting to change the constitution to put himself above the courts; and our Supremes are not dependent upon anyone.

      Go outside, enjoy some of our fading summer: Afterall, if you stay inside on the computer all day, Obama will follow your every keystroke. Mmmwhah ha ha ha ha!

  3. Ed Frink says:

    In a choice between reform (like the EEE that certain Western politicians advocate) and abolition, the latter is politically easier to do. With reform, there would be constant squabbling about how the provinces would be represented, and the like. And a EEE is a non-starter especially as it gives ammunition to the separatists in Quebec who would cry foul as their representation there gets reduced. They’ll even make hay out of abolishment as some form of English Canadian conspiracy to stab Quebec in the back again–they’re not above being intellectually dishonest when it comes to scoring cheap political points to further their own cause.

    To abolish (or reform) the Senate, you need a Constitutional amendment ratified by 7 provinces that represent at least 50% of the population. Might as well let Harper take the lead in doing that while the opportunity is right–his recent appointments to the Upper Chamber have done quite a bit to embarrass him and the reputation of that institution.

  4. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Last time I checked, all politicians — Quebec or otherwise — were highly susceptible to being intellectually dishonest to further their own cheap political ends…

    Finally, something that both sovereignists and federalists across Canada have in common.
    (Think coalition fear mongering as a prime example.)

  5. Ken says:

    Warren has called it “right” the last couple of elections!! He clearly still has his pulse on the nation this many years later going back to a time when even a monkey could be elected Liberal. It was just helped along by his war room acumen. And his constant references to his Alberta roots only gives him more street cred in the rest of the country! He is not just now a Toronto elite…he came from “humble beginnings” lol!

  6. West Coast Jim says:

    Hasn’t 409 – S also been the home of the Bloc Quebecquois and the Reform Party in fairly recent history?

  7. e.a.f. says:

    yes, those under 25, who might just go out and vote along with the dope smoking aging baby boomers, then who knows Trudeau Jr. might be P.M. Stranger things have happened. If enough cons sit at home, who knows.

    although stevie slime wants to throw mud around, there is enough mud to throw at him, that some might just stick.

    Stevie slime has upset a number of groups in the country. Some may actually remember and vote against him. The workers in the federal service might not vote for him, then there are all those who got screwed by the military, after serving their country. There is enough material out there to make stevie look somewhat undesirable. It isn’t as if the economy has improved all that much, the deficiet is higher, wages aren’t, except for slimer insiders.

  8. Peter Mumford says:

    Warren and Mark Steyn agree on something!

    “. . . Conservative talk radio show host, Hugh Hewitt has come up with what some are saying is a BRILLIANT idea: Draft author and personality Mark Steyn for the New Hampshire State Senate to replace Democrat Jeanne Shaheen . . . [However] Steyn expressed his feeling that, as an author in the public eye for all these years, a possible campaign would make him vulnerable to scrutiny. Said Steyn: “One of the great things about writers running is they have hostages to fortune,” he said. “They don’t just have one damaging quote . . . they’ve like half a century of quotes. . .”


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