Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Double standard on drunk driving?

A National Post editorial today takes a tough stand on drunk driving and particularly charges against a Liberal MP.

"Pablo Rodriguez must step down," says the headline.

"One thousand, two hundred and thirty-nine people dead. Seventy-three thousand, one hundred and twenty people injured. Between $2.2-billion and $12.6-billion in damages.

"These aren't the statistics from the latest natural disaster, terror attack or industrial accident. They are the toll drunk driving takes in a single year in Canada.

"It is obvious that drunk driving remains a deadly problem in this country, despite efforts by law enforcement, the justice system and public interest groups...

"Instead, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has turned a blind eye when one of his own caucus stands accused of failing to comply with a police officer's request for a breathalyzer test, following a car accident in which alcohol may have been a factor...

"This incident happened in April. The police charged Mr. Rodriguez in May and he has a court date scheduled for June 15. All the while, with the full blessing of Mr. Ignatieff, he has continued to sit as chairman of the Liberal caucus...

"While Mr. Rodriguez maintains that he has done nothing wrong and intends to fight the charges, he should have done the honourable thing and resigned from caucus in the interim. More importantly, his leader should have asked for his resignation. Mr. Ignatieff's staggering indifference sends the message that drunk driving is not a serious issue -- or is only important when it involves politicians of other parties.

"This is not an acceptable stance for the leader of her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, or any politician, to take. Will Mr. Ignatieff now do the right thing and ask that Mr. Rodriguez step down? Out of respect for the thousands of victims of this social scourge, he really has little choice."

Pretty clear position.

So what did the National Post editorialists say when Gordon Campbell was caught driving drunk?

"Don't resign," the headline read.

"As everyone in Canada knows, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell made a serious mistake when he got behind the wheel of his rental car in Maui while legally drunk. But he has owned up to his mistake, he has apologized and he has sworn off alcohol. It is now time for the Premier, and the province of British Columbia, to move on. If Mr. Campbell refuses to take on his critics forcefully, but instead indulges their political bloodlust with further displays of contrition, he will be making a second serious mistake, one that could end his political career...

"Let's be clear: Drunk driving is a serious problem that costs many lives, and Mr. Campbell is right to be ashamed of his behaviour. But the Premier did not hurt anybody. The offence with which he has been charged is a misdemeanour (in Hawaiian law), not a felony..."


Anonymous said...

Total double standard, and no way to give an opinion about it comments section on NaPo's editorials allowed by the look of it.

Go figure.

Fits with the agenda of mainstream media though - push their poison, while disallowing public cures for their lies and misinformation.

Kim said...

I am so not looking forward to the National Post owning the majority of daily newspapers in the country.

The only people who get any information will be the bloggers and those who read them. Maybe that's why Les Leyne had such a hissy fit about conspiracy theorist bloggers out there with regards to the Gordon Campbell Bilderberg story! Poor Les had better join the 21st century soon, because his Gordon Campbell ride is fast approaching the cliff.

paul said...

I do want to note that I am now and have been, for a long time, part of the mainstream media and don't consider my role to "push poison."
There is much to criticize in the media. But there is also much to celebrate, I'd argue, and significant risks in a world without mass media structured on some sort of local regional basis.

Anonymous said...

national post! never deviates from its mission to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

Anonymous said...

The National Post is just reacting to market forces.

Today the Globe and Mail reported Quebecor eyes Fox News-style TV for Canada.

The 'Post is trying to assert their right wing bona fides as they try to emerge from bankruptcy... an upstart tv station might take 'talent' away - g'bye TC.

Kim said...

Tip O' the hat to you Paul and Jody, for maintaining journalistic integrity in Victoria.

Life After said...

Politicians and editors both seem to know how to play the double standard game - and win.