You may remember back during the election campaign the NDP alleged one of its candidates in B.C. was offered a bribe by the Liberal candidate to drop-out of the race. They made great hay with it and garnered national headlines. Turns out the NDP is now admitting the allegation was crap. Opps.
The allegation was laid by the NDP's candidate for the riding of Abbotsford, Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, against Liberal candidate David Oliver. As a result of the ensuing media circus the Liberals dumped Oliver as the party candidate.
The NDP's leader Jack Layton made great hay out of the affair, saying his poor candidate had "a horrifying experience" while "trying to participate in the democratic process."
Both Hansen-Carlson and the NDP's official agent have issued apologies to Oliver, who is still perusing a defamation lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court. No apology yet from Layton though, and I'm not holding my breath. And the NDP appears in no hurry to settle, even though they've apologized, judging from their recently filed statement of defence.
It indicated they're sorry, but hey, they thought it was true at the time, so what's the big deal. The NDP's making national media hay out of the false allegations was done "without recklessness or malice [in the] honest belief that this was a matter of legitimate public scrutiny," says the party, and surely not just in the interests of winning more votes, each vote coming with a taxpayer subsidy.
But here's my favourite line from their statement of defence quoted by the Sun:
"The fact is that in an election, all allegations are received with skepticism by the electorate, especially those which are taken as complaints to Elections Canada."
Or, in other words, people know we make all this stuff up or exaggerate it, so they don't believe us, so it's OK for us to just keep on making stuff up and exaggerating things. Great message guys.
Lastly, I note with some sadness that Oliver's lawyer indicates the Liberal Party has yet to respond to requests for an apology for its treatment of Oliver in this sad affair. Bill Graham, get on that.
Candidate says he 'misinterpreted' discussion
Peter O'Neil, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, July 06, 2006
OTTAWA -- The federal New Democratic Party has apologized for alleging during the 2006 election campaign that one of its candidates was offered a bribe by his Liberal competitor in B.C.