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.