Ian Tootill: Why I was fired by the B.C. Conservatives and why I'm still running

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      When I was approached by the BC Conservative Party earlier this year to run as MLA, one of the pre-conditions was that there would be an agreement that I would not suffer the same fate as Ray Lam of the NDP who I always felt had been treated unfairly by his party when he was ousted during the 2009 election. I gave party officials full access to my social media accounts and I told them I would scrub nothing.

      I think voters should get to know the person they elect.

      We had an agreement.

      They knew what they were getting, and we were good to go. I fully expected some of my comments would raise eyebrows, possibly even the phone call I received from legislative reporter Johnathan Fowlie on Tuesday afternoon. Obviously reporters have better things to do than scour archived Twitter feeds so one has a pretty good idea where the info came from. Fair game and no big deal.

      Johnathan asked me about the tweets, and there was more. For some reason he wanted to know what I thought about pedophiles because I had tweeted agreement with a newspaper editorial to say that Tom Flanagan had been pilloried. Wisely he did not run with it, but given the outcome yesterday I can only imagine the ensuing hysteria if he did… even though the word never made it into print.

      As expected, the story appeared online on Tuesday night, and in print Wednesday morning (April 24). I had informed the party Tuesday afternoon that they should expect it. Surprisingly, there was virtually no blowback once the story went to print on Wednesday morning.

      However, by early Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call and was told by BCCP headquarters they were “pulling my candidacy with the party.” As I was being told this by telephone, the news was already on Twitter. John Cummins issued a strongly worded news release about the dismissal. He did what he thinks he had to do in the heat of an election. Fair game…

      As good as Johnathan Fowlie is as a writer, words do not always make the press verbatim. So here is my version, from the horse’s mouth so to speak:

      The Hitler comment had nothing to do with humour; rather it was a piece of a conversation about responsibility. I operate on the principle that there are two or more entities involved in communication; the issuer and the receiver(s). Nothing happens with anything until a receiver processes and acts on something. So in Hitler’s case, there was a whole country of accomplices before and after he became dictator. The twitter conversation was very clear and it was without humour. The exact quote was “Who’s really to blame, Hitler or the people who acted on his words?”

      In hindsight, perhaps it could have read “Who’s really more to blame…” but there are limitations with Twitter. Nonetheless, many of my Jewish friends (and I have many) have called to tell me I am right. One whose father is a camp survivor told me yesterday if the word dictator were subbed, there might not have been an issue with people who were too stupid to get it.

      Sluts: I referred to the denotation and not the connotation about sexually liberated women. If you don’t like them, and you are a heterosexual man, you’d be one of the few to be that way. There are pictures of me online with Gilbert Gottfried and Bobby Slayton. I like George Carlin. That’s my sense of humour.

      I did not know I’d be running when I made the comments and even though I believe in brutal honesty I realize that it would be prudent to temper some comments. To that end I probably would not tweet it today however, there’s little wrong with the denotation and even the modern connotation is being “reclaimed”.

      Drugs. They should be legal and controlled. A presidential candidate has run on this policy. The current model has wreaked misery around the planet and does not work. Nothing to be ashamed of. However as I told Johnathan, it’s irrelevant because I am not running federally, I am running provincially.

      Here’s an interesting take by Brian Hutchinson in the National Post today.

      My name will be on the ballot on May 14th. We need a strong voice in the legislature and we need a fiscal conservative. I like the BC Conservative platform and I think the party has great ideas. It’s the only party that has offered a credible budget and a plan to get BC prosperous again. Most importantly, I believe transparency is what is required to keep honesty in government.

      Charity begins at home, as they say, and I felt it was important for transparency to begin with my own activity and thoughts on social media.

      Ian Tootill is an independent candidate in Vancouver-False Creek. He was formerly the B.C Conservative candidate for that riding.



      Tootle Loo

      Apr 25, 2013 at 7:03pm

      "Charity begins at home" - and conservative policies try hard to ensure that it ends there.

      Cameron R.

      Apr 25, 2013 at 10:45pm

      Although I fit on the left side of the political spectrum and would never vote Conservative, I have to say that I admire Mr Tootill's convictions and integrity. When I first read the Hitler comment, I was disgusted because it originally looked like he was saying something else (that Hitler wasn't responsible for his crimes). It was one of those ambiguous sentences that could be read two ways, and would have benefited from re-wording. But once I understood what he was saying (that followers are as guilty as the leaders; Hitler would have had no power had no one followed his orders), I found it quite an intelligent observation.

      If Mr Toothill is being honest about having given the party access to his social media, then shame on the party for doing their research and not sticking by him when the going went rough.

      If the NDP weren't running a good candidate in False Creek, I might be tempted to vote for this guy, just for his willingness to stand up for honest principles that I agree with.

      James Blatchford

      Apr 25, 2013 at 11:30pm

      The Jackass Party is looking for candidates....anything goes, you'll fit right in.


      Apr 26, 2013 at 8:54am

      The Morons for Corporate Welfare screw the working people party aka Neo-Cons are looking for a puppet...you ought to seriously consider it.


      Apr 26, 2013 at 9:47am

      I agree with Cameron R. If you read Tootill's comment about Hitler carefully its indeed very true. A lot of people just saw the bare bone of what he's saying without digging into the deeper meaning. I think the whole election made everyone hyper sensitive. People should really calm the heck down. I also agree with Tootill's comment on Ray Lam. Everyone needs to have some fun once in a while. People should stop making conclusions when they do not have the full story.

      Conservatives have no integrity

      Apr 26, 2013 at 11:55am

      That's the bottom line, whether it's the federal tea party or the provincial versions. Dinosaurs all. If Toothill is now saying he is progressive, what's he doing in the BC Tea Party.


      Apr 26, 2013 at 1:50pm

      Twitter is a minefield. Nothing good ever comes from it. I can think of dozens of incidents where public figures/celebrities/athletes have had twitter blow up in their faces. The best thing to do is stay away. 140 characters are a recipe for disaster.


      Apr 27, 2013 at 7:12am

      maybe you didnt do your job the way that is required of you.
      and as to running again ,you just like the money and perks.