Saundrie

After much prodding by other bloggers, I set this up for my own writings. The name is in honour of the two women that mentored me throughout my life on politics and intelligence issues, as well as being wonderful family members, now alas deceased. I hope to live up to their standards at this site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I am quite disgusted regarding the GG "Controversy"

I have been paying attention to the Separatist "controversy" that has suddenly erupted around Michaelle Jean, and I have been becoming increasingly more and more disturbed by what I have been witnessing. From what I can tell, this started when some hard core Quebecois Separatists made some unsupported allegations about her and her husband's "true" Separatist beliefs/sentiment. Regarding the spouse issue, so long as the spouse holds no official functions/powers, I do not have a problem with it. After all, in Quebec there are many married couples with one being an committed Federalist and the other strongly Separatist. So long as he is willing to not involve Rideau Hall itself in his political beliefs I have no problems with it. Indeed, it shows just how accepting we are of those views we disagree with. The issue her is Michaelle Jean herself, not her spouse. Using the spouse like this smacks to me of guilt by association.

Indeed, much of the case surrounding Michaelle Jean appears to be guilt by association, with an ambiguous comment or two thrown in to "corroborate" these allegations. Now using guilt by association as a primary basis to question someone's honour, integrity, and loyalties without anything from that person themselves to cause valid questioning is really a despicable act IMHO. From this we have been seeing in English Canada demands on how she voted in the 1995 Referendum. We see people demanding she formally declare her loyalty to Canada and that this would make all this go away. We even see demands that she be replaced as GG designate on the basis of these allegations. However, I see no reason to do any of this yet, seeing as nothing has come out to show her having any such views from her own words and/or actions that she is at all a Quebecois Separatist nor someone that would swear false oath. This looks and feels like the same kind of baseless smearing that I saw the SBVfT do regarding Kerry's medals and service in Vietnam, and with about as much supporting evidence to date.

Why do I say this one asks? Simple. If this woman were a genuine Separatist of any kind, given her prominence and influence in Quebec society for the last 10-15 years or so there should be some clear and unambiguous evidence of this. So far none appears to have appeared. What I have seen is speculation, assumption, and innuendo, and that being considered sufficient to call into question her personal integrity, honour, and loyalty to Canada is something I cannot agree with. Worse, it is something the Separatists can make good use of, which is why I suspect they started this in the first place. This is a GG choice that resonated well in Quebec and appears to have helped caused a favourable shift towards the primary Federalist party in Quebec, so it is not unreasonable to believe that over time her influence in tamping down Separatism in Quebec could have been a real threat to the Separatists. By calling her loyalty into question like this and then egging the more reactionary members of the Canadian political landscape to see this as a way to discredit the current PM's judgment/competence they may well achieve significant benefits to their cause. Jason Cherniak also makes a good case for this here as well. This type of smear attack if it is taken up in the ROC can easily be used to paint Canadians as being intolerant of Quebecois, anti-francophone, and even possibly a bit racist, and that this helps show why Quebecois need to be their own nation to protect their way of life and to be properly "masters in their own house". Why then are so many self described Canadian patriots then willing to aid the Separatists by engaging in these "questions" about Ms. Jean's loyalty, integrity, and honour? Aside from the Sponsorship Scandal the Separatists haven't much fuel to feed the fire of their cause lately from the federal side of things. Trashing a popular Quebecois and treating her like some sort of guilty until proven innocent second class citizen as is happening now certainly can be made to do exactly that, and if Martin doesn't support her to the hilt or worse dumps her on the basis of what is currently out there they can use that to show the treacherous nature of the federalists, a win either way for the Separatists.

There is plenty of cause for the Separatists to want to derail this nomination. There is also benefits to having it derailed in a manner which allows those Separatists to use it to their advantage with those they are trying to win over to their cause. This seems perfectly obvious to me. So why are so many of the self described Canadian patriots being this dense? Is it because they are too ignorant of the relevant issues and contexts, or is it out of some partisanship so as to use this to score points on the PM regardless of the potential repercussions of doing so in this manner. It is also to my mind a particularly cheap and demeaning type of character attack against a GG candidate that until this appeared to be unassailable without looking too partisan or some other negative quality. Do we live in a society where unsupported allegations must be answered or otherwise the assumption is that someone is guilty of said allegation? Come back to me when you have clear cut evidence of this woman's previous duplicity and/or Quebecois Separatist beliefs from her own mouth in context or through any political action she has taken to support that cause. Until then I see this as nothing more than smearing by use of ambiguous statements without context and guilt by association, and I would still like to believe that in Canada you need more before you are presumed anything other than innocent.

Look, try to understand what I am saying here and stop looking at it from a partisan POV if you are. All I am saying is why and how is it truly reasonable to make the assumptions that have been made on the "evidence" presented to date regarding her being any kind of Quebecois Sovereignist, especially without anything resembling true clearcut and even moderately convincing evidence? Not simply these assumptions, not through guilt by association, not through contextually murky ambiguous statements, but simple unambiguous evidence from her own words and /or actions previously in her life. Otherwise this is nothing but a witch hunt using extremely circumstantial as well as ambiguous evidence at the very best. If this real evidence is there and presented, then some of these (the more civil/sensible) questions are reasonable to require some answer from her, because then there is some reasonable basis to question whether that she herself has these beliefs. All I am wanting is to wait and see if such actually turns up before deciding to "run her out of town" at it seems some would do already. This leaping to conclusions so many people like doing, and this is true of all political stripes, is one of the worst aspects of human nature. It also leads to some of our more negative behaviour and sins from what I have seen in life. Why is it so unreasonable to assume someone is innocent until proven guilty, or in this case have some reasonable clear evidence at the least first before questioning her loyalty, integrity, and honour? This kind of smear job does nothing but harm to our political environment, and I don't think too much of those that chose to participate in such. Oh yes, just for those that question how any good could come from someone chosen that may have once held Separatist views or at the minimum is married to someone with such beliefs even if they do not, I really liked this comment I found at Jason Cherniak's.

Bottom line though, until people have some REAL proof that she holds Separatist beliefs it is inappropriate to be demanding that she state so publicly. I wonder how some of these voices would feel if the GG pick was an Albertan and it was declared they had to publicly affirm their loyalty to Canada because they were friends with some Alberta Separatists, and had made a couple of comments that could be seen as possible support for such, despite no actual clear evidence of such being presented nor any evidence that their word/honour/integrity was at all questionable. Remember, one of the underlying assumptions is that if she is a Separatist then she is willing to swear oath falsely when sworn in as GG. Exactly what basis is there to question her integrity and honour been presented? I haven't seen anything yet, and I would think that this assumption is something all Canadians should enjoy until there is evidence to the contrary presented.

9 Comments:

Blogger Zorpheous said...

Scotian, have a read. I know you ar far better writer than I

http://www.progressivebloggers.ca/diary.php?cmd=view&id=250

Wed Aug 17, 04:03:00 PM 2005  
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Wed Aug 17, 04:15:00 PM 2005  
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Wed Aug 17, 04:18:00 PM 2005  
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Wed Aug 17, 04:45:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Zorpheous said...

Scotian,

Wow, were you attacked by a spammer or was a wing-nut blogger?

Just wondering, it might fit into Mark's and mine current media project. If it was wing-nut blogger, I wouldn't mine seeing the orignal posts, if they still exsist.

You should see the new media project on Mark's site later today, if he gets around to editting the final copy. I did a lot of the ground work for it. Keep an eye on Section 15.

Thu Aug 18, 11:04:00 AM 2005  
Blogger Scotian said...

Zorpheous:

No, it wasn't a wingnut attack, it was a spam attack. As for keeping an eye on Section 15, I always do. However the last couple of days and including today I haven't had much time around the computer. That is partly why there hasn't been anything put up on Cindy Sheehan yet, I thought the GG issue was more pressing. I will though in the next 24-48 hrs do a proper post on Sheehan like I said I would at Marks.

I did read your bit at Progressive Bloggers last night, strikes me as good analysis indeed. Though I do not know why you say I am a far better writer than you, you are not that bad yourself. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Thu Aug 18, 12:25:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Zorpheous said...

My spelling and grammar truly suck. Simple truth, I know it, and so does anyone who reads my posts. But I keep working on it,... maybe I'll get better at it

Thu Aug 18, 04:20:00 PM 2005  
Blogger andym said...

Great post, Scotian! This story has no "legs", and the CPS-ers know it. Their desperation is palpable.

Thu Aug 18, 11:22:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

Nice post Scotian. I wish this would end but clearly is still has some legs.

Sat Aug 20, 04:50:00 PM 2005  

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