Following the publication of his "inappropriate" Facebook photos, I can see how the BC NDP and its former Vancouver-False Creek candidate, Ryan Lam, thought it was best to part ways and find a new candidate. Nip the story in the bud and don't let it distract from bigger issues.
It really is unfortunate, though that it has come to this. He shouldn't have had to step aside. And we're all going to be the poorer because he did.
I think both the public, and political partisans, need to do some thinking here, because with the coming generation of young politicians having embraced the digital era, the world of Facebook and blogging and Twitter, stories such as Lam's are going to become all the more common.
So he consensually groped a woman. Anyone who has spend any time on Parliament Hill knows such behavior is hardly foreign to our politicians, going back to Sir John A MacDonald's era. I'd have loved to have seen Pierre Trudeau's Facebook photos. Or read Sir John's tweets:
BigJohn: Getting on boat to PEI to talk Canadian union. Picking up Cartier in Montreal we're gonna get soo drunk y'all.
This isn't new behavior by our politicians. Technology is just exposing us to visual evidence we didn't have before. And while sharing such information online is perfectly acceptable for their generation, for the older generation it's decidedly not.
We need to think though about where we're going to draw the line. For the public, we need to ask ourselves, what kind of political representatives we want. Politicians are people like you and I. Set the bar of ethical behavior so high and the only people willing to put their names on a ballot will be closeted loners. Not a positive advancement.
And for partisans, sure, it's easy to jump on any potentially embarrassing misdeed and demand resignation. But we need to remember, when we encourage the bar to be set that high it's going to be a level we have to reach as well. Be ridulous and it'll bite your own team in the ass too.
Maybe the BC NDP has an itchy trigger-finger after its federal cousins lost three candidates in BC last election. Frankly, I thought only two of them really needed to go: Dana Larsen (only because he was driving while high) and Julian West (exposing yourself to underage girls and asking them to paint your genitalia is incredibly wrong to all generations). But I'd have fought for Kirk Tousaw were I the NDP, who cares if he smoked pot on TV?
But with the Lam case, both the NDP and the Liberals set an unfortunate precedent that future candidates will have to be held to. And we should all be asking ourselves: is this a good thing?
Hell, if we held everyone to Dana Larsen's standard, Gordon Campbell wouldn't be the Liberal candidate in Vancouver-Point Grey, now would he? Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers