Monday, May 12, 2008

Should the government control who MPs date?

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has fallen victim to another scandal. This time it has nothing to do with his job performance. Bernier ex-girlfriend had been involved with men who were involved in biker gangs during the 1990s. She seems to have left that life behind her 10 years ago.

The Bloc and Liberals are concerned that this is a threat to national security. The Conservatives responded that relationships are a personal matter and not the business of government. Attempts to rule the questioning non-government business were denied by the Speaker. The NDP have chosen to stay clear of this scandal. They continued to attack the government on policy issues. Thursday was the last opposition day for the spring session. The NDP proposed a non-confidence motion on economic policy which is scheduled for a vote on Monday.

The two major issues are at what point does is a person allowed to leave their baggage behind and should government be involved in regulating personal relationships of elected officials.

People make mistakes in their life. We have the Youth Justice Act so that mistakes made by teenagers are not carried through their entire life. Government offers a number of alcohol and rehab services to help people get over addiction and start life again. Even our prison system offers parole to murders serving life sentences in order for them to have incentive to turn their life around. She ended her relationship with those involved in organized crime more than 10 years ago. She has never been charged for being involved in organized crime. Unless their is evidence she has gone back to her crime connections she deserves to be left alone.

Politicians are elected to do a job. Just like most other jobs the individual abilities is used to make the 'hiring' decision as opposed to who they choose date or keep in their circle of friends. There are many professions where confidentiality is an issue. They include doctors, lawyers, accountants, police, financial planners etc.... In all of these cases individuals are deemed to be trustworthy not to share classified information. These professionals are able to keep the most interesting secrets of their jobs from their spouses. Politicians can be expected to do the same thing without more scrutiny then other professions where people place their trust.

Once again the NDP can be admired for staying clear of a mudslinging issue. Bernier has many blunders that he needs to answer for. An unfounded attack on his character takes the public discourse away from his ability to do his job into the realm of rumour and gossip. This is not an accurate way to judge politicians and will end up hurting the critics in the long wrong. The average Canadian job performance is based on the ability to do their jobs. Politicians should be held to the same standard.

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