In Canada, ganging up on the NDP's Nycole Turmel

If the struggle for notice in the media had been her motivation, Nycole Turmel certainly knows how to work the system. The political/media uproar (otherwise known as a tempest in a teapot) over her past political affiliations is bringing her massive media exposure, at no financial cost. This is an improvement in the NDP's ability to stimulate political buzz.

Ms. Turmel, Hull-Aylmer's MP and the interim leader of the NDP while Jack Layton fights cancer, has faced a steady media-only barrage. "Did she, or does she?" is the burning question for local heavy-weights.

Not hair colour or the length of her skirt -- they think they've found a weakness to exploit. Ms. Turmel has held several party affiliations. Could the news get any worse? Yes it could, especially since her past included not one but two sovereigntist parties. This should pretty well kill her political career, assume the paid and unpaid employees of Corporate Media.

Except that no one in the real world seems to care. The public has issues, but they aren't the trivia that so fascinates the likes of Bernard Landry and other big political success stories.

Mr. Landry is surely not expressing sour grapes over the last election which trucked his own gang to history's landfill. After all their efforts, it must have been crushing to have the Parizeau-Landry agenda come to this. But why would Bob Rae, a political chameleon if there ever was one, jump in -- and with nothing short of a McCarthy-ite demand that she prove she is not a closest separatist. McCarthy wanted Americans to prove they were not Communists. Is Bob preparing to deflect next to the Conservatives?

We can overlook the enthusiasm with which so many commentators have jumped on this non-issue. Mid-summer is the deadest time for news, and without something big and brassy like this, the talking heads might have to exhibit some real discernment on our political scene.

The reason so few Canadians are concerned about Turmel's past is that they know there are genuine issues facing Canada, Quebec, and Ottawa itself. Ordinary newspaper readers are out in front of the experts here; there are big questions and there are current practices and cuts by this government which need in-depth media exposure. That's number one.

This indignation about Turmel's political purity is a sham.

Second, the public knows that party-jumping is absolutely common in any democracy. Did no one from Corporate Media notice that in the last election here in the Outaouais we had Liberal MLAs rallying to save a Conservative cabinet minister by recommending that voters reject their own Liberal party principles?

Isn't that much more cynical and manipulative than Turmel's past memberships? Dead silence.

Could all this bombast be why public surveys place politicians and journalists at the bottom of Canadians' trust list?

Let's hope Ms. Turmel is not distracted or derailed by the smoke and silliness. She has a big job to do for us, and big shoes to fill.

Copyright © 2011 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/08.11