September 25, 2008

Getting to Know Your Candidate the Wrong Way

Several days ago I wrote a post that did two thing:

  1. I questioned the state of the Durham NDP; and
  2. I questioned their candidate, Andrew McKeever, after three NDPers implied concern about him following his nomination.

The post made reference to McKeever's family connections, which was provided by the concerned NDPers. Following that post I had my character attacked by the likes of Harry McAlister (under the name Wireless), the president of the Durham NDP and Andrew Reese-Taylor, under the pseudonym, Wilfrido. Reese-Taylor was also defending Andrew at his facebook group. I reviewed my post and I came to understand that there is a fine line between raising legitimate questions based on hearsay and guilt by association. Rather than be subjected to their continued abuse and having confusion about which side of the line I was on, I altered my original post to this; only questioning the state of health of the Durham NDP.

Shortly afterword someone named Amy Brown posted a comment that contained a series of questions that she had posted at Andrew McKeever's facebook group.

I saw the earlier version of the post, and honestly wish it was still up, as I wished to bring it to the attention of the NDP campaign staff. I have some serious reservations about Mr. McKeever as an NDP candidate. To give you an idea of my concern, here is a posting I put up tonight on Andrew McKeever's NDP Facebook page:

"Andrew, I don't know you personally, but I've followed many of your Facebook postings and comments. So I have some questions for you.

1. Why have you removed postings and groups of yours from all over Facebook? Don't you want people to see all the (unsanitized) comments you have been making over the past year or so?

2. How can you, with any integrity, run for an NDP posting, given the the apparent conflict between your personal views and the NDP's positions?

3. Are your constituents aware that you've been stirring up *$&% on Facebook groups related to the peace movement, from at least Toronto to Newfoundland, over the past year or so?

4. Are your constituents aware that you have often cursed at, derided, defamed and even threatened other people in publicly-viewable forums like Facebook?

5. Are you just planning to run for NDP, then (if you got a seat) cross the floor to a more right-wing party or go independent? (That's my prediction.)

Serious answers, please."

This led me to look into his facebook group where Amy's above comments were also posted. Other people began to respond on the wall including friend's of Andrew. Several of them kept making the point that they didn't support the NDP but would support Andrew because of their friendship. That's fair. As more posts were made more people began to question Andrew and were calling out his comments from other facebook groups. One post in particular asked Andrew to speak his real opinion on "Iraq war resisters".

With several people calling Andrew out, curiousity got the best of me and I went to several groups that supported the war resisters that were in Canada. In one group there were posts left by Andrew McKeever under several topics. I was taken back by the extent of Andrew's offense. Andrew's comments involved calling one woman a "cunt" and eluding to beating and assaulting a person if he ever saw them in person. All because they disagreed with him.

Now Andrew did provide a half-assed and only semi-public apology. This apology tried to justify his comments however and is only posted on his facebook group. But how do you justify being that derogatory and violent? Now I think I understand why there is concern from certain NDPers about Andrew being the candidate in Durham. He doesn't seem to support the NDP stance against Iraq or the NDP position to support the war resisters in Canada.

Andrew's derogatory and violent remarks are definitely against the principles of the NDP. And since some of his positions seem to contradict NDP views and principles, I now think that there is justification to ask whether or not he himself has another agenda for running under the NDP banner. And how he could be representative of Durham's residents whether or not they sympathize with the NDP. I will now ask again, could his real views be more in line with his supportive but non-NDP friends and his apparent family members, Cathy McKeever and Paul McKeever. I'm not saying you can't have a difference of opinion from the party you support - I don't always agree with my party - or that guilt by association is a valid claim, but Andrew's comments made within the last few months warrant a deeper look into his other views and whether or not he is suited to be representative of the NDP or candidate for public office in general.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, it is only fair if Durham residents and supporters of the NDP to know more about Andrew McKeever. So will the real Andrew McKeever please stand up and tell us what you really think?

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Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)