October 04, 2008

How Much More Convincing Does the NDP Need to Realize They Have a Problem in Durham?

Before I get too far let me say that after this I am finished with reporting on the Durham NDP candidate's online idiocy. The first chunks of online comments found, where he used misogynist and threatening comments in an attempt to silence those who opposed his views, already beleaguer the point that he is beyond unfit for public office. All along that has been my only goal. The likely-hood of him being elected was poor in the first place but is now pretty much guaranteed.

Questions still remained about why Layton and the NDP refused to remove him as their representative without ever denouncing his comments. I doubt that the Layton or NDP central party support this candidate's views or values but they gave tacit approval by doing nothing. Furthermore, all involved have been unreachable by the media and public who have questions and concerns. And for that Layton et al. have been getting picked apart on Rabble's message board and other online forums. Unfortunately for the NDP, the online presence of this candidate and his knack for making really detestable comments hasn't gone away.

Yesterday two things happened that may be the breaking point for the NDP in holding onto to this guy. First, the Liberals released screen captures of the candidate's public MySpace page where he makes reference to the movie Schindler's List. There he states,

"I like the part in Schindler's List when the guard starts waxing the prisoners."
Furthermore, on his personal facebook page he lists his political views as "Baathist" and links to Saddam Hussein's entry on Wikipedia.

Shortly afterward Krystalline Kraus, the journalist who made the joint statement with McKeever and publicly accepted his apology for his original derogatory statements seemed to have a change of heart. On Rabble's message board, under her pseudonym Statica, Kraus left this message,

I'm tired of being expected to take bullets for the NDP and stay quiet when I'm screaming inside to speak. I don't like being silenced or manipulated by anyone in my life.

This McKeever -- NDP Durham candidate -- is not my fault and I won't be treated like this is my fault. I had asked for Mr. McKeever to resign and/or be removed by Layton but it was made clear to me that that would just not happen.

I cannot force the NDP to do anything.

Regardless of Mr. Layton's decision regarding Mr. McKeever, I still think he should finally stand up and speak about this issue by condemning Mr. McKeever's comment -- to speak against misogynist comments and violence. Make that statement.

Other candidates got the condemnation and correction of their party's leaders for what they said. Other parties -- whether they kept their candidates or not in the end -- made public statement to show they do not condone offensive, vulgar or insulting comments.

I can't do this with them anymore. I have given them nothing but kindness and generosity in this situation and they have ignored me and betrayed me in return.

I’m a good journalist and a strong, smart person. I can speak for myself.

krystalline kraus

(H/T to Big City Lib)

Kraus' statement indicates that the NDP refused her request for McKeever's resignation. She asked them to remove him and denounce his statements, likely because she was offended by his comments and appauled by his candidacy, but ultimately a joint statement was released by Kraus and McKeever. From the sounds of it, she seems have taken many of the punches aimed in the direction of the NDP while she offered a positive compromise. And in the end, rather than backing Kraus up the NDP seemingly just cut her loose.

Obviously, this raises questions. Already I've raised questions of the NDP's hypocrisy and accountability on this issue and what the message the NDP were trying to send by supporting McKeever through all this. Now there are questions over the NDP's motivation over keeping McKeever around.

As I stated earlier, this guy's chances of winning were poor at best from the get go. When all of his comments were made public his chances got even worse. The odds have also been on the decline with each day as he has yet to appear at any debates or forums and neither he or members of the Durham NDP are responding to calls. He also missed making a one minute taped statement for CFRB(1010 am). So why hold onto this guy if he obviously doesn't represent NDP views or values or represent the party in person?

There is little doubt that Layton and the NDP need to cut their losses now. This situation doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon and is beginning to have a negative effect. To save face in Durham, the NDP have to cut their candidate loose and denounce his comments so they can show that while choosing this guy was a mistake and admit that isn't ready to represent the residents of Durham that at least the NDP still deserve Durham's respect.

(Editted on 10/04/08 @ 10:40am to reflect the clarification provided by Krystalline Kraus in the comments section.)

1 comment:

krystalline kraus said...

Firstly, let me address the issue of Mr. McKeever's comments. What Mr. McKeever said was sexist, offensive and wrong.

No woman should ever be called those names or threatened in such a way. Ever. Since this encourages a toxic public climate of hatred which affects us all.

This is not so much about getting caught by Facebook and is more about how no one should ever be using such insults to refer to women or threaten to beat up someone they don't agree with.

I am all for debate and free speech, but I firmly believe that debates should be kept civil. In all my online responses to Mr. McKeever during this summer, I made it known to him that his comments were unacceptable and inexcusable, they would not be tolerated and that he was embarrassing himself.

I do not for a minute regret standing up for myself and challenging him on his conduct.

What Mr. McKeever had said was already said and done and I and many others have already expressed their outrage at these comments. After the NDP contacted me about this situation, I was the one who reached out to Mr. McKeever last week and asked to speak to him; this was the first time I had ever spoken to him. I did this because I feel forgiveness is the best weapon against hatred.

The ultimate goal for him is for him to no longer feel that way (concerning the comments he made to various different groups) about those he offended. That's how you disarm hatred.

That said, I should note that I had been asking for Mr. McKeever's resignation from the very beginning and for Mr. Layton to make a public statement stating neither he nor his party condone Mr. McKeever's comments.

It was made very clear to me last week that Mr. McKeever was not going to step down, so to make best of a bad situation, I asked that a joint statement be released reaffirming what the NDP's stance was regarding the war in Afghanistan and its continuous support for Iraq war resisters.

I'm simply confused by the NDP's decision to first allow this candidate to run for the NDP and then to continue to support this candidate while other candidates -- who have said a variety of offensive comments from immigration or 9/11 -- have been forced to withdraw from the election.

Regardless of whether a candidate stepped down or not, when a candidate from another party had made offensive comments, their party leader's has gone public with statements condemning what was said. I don't know why this has not happened in this case when Mr. McKeever's comments go against the very principles of the NDP.

I actually do not see how removing Andrew McKeever harms the NDP at all, in fact, I think it strengthens and reaffirms their position. But I am not a member of the NDP so I can only recommend solutions.

As an anti-war activist, I still firmly believe in the NDP's support to bring an end to our troops involvement in Afghanistan and its support of Iraq war resisters. I just want the NDP to solve this continuing problem and make it right.

Regardless of what the NDP chooses to do in this situation, in the end I believe in democratic justice and it's the voters who will ultimately let their opinions of this situation be known. And that's how democracy should work.

thank you,
krystalline kraus

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)