I took down a post today
The Kinsella vrs Bourrie fight should be a wake up call for bloggers. Bloggers are just as subject to libel laws just as any other public figure. One of the interesting things about libel law is that you can quote a defamatory statement and be sued along with the person who made that statement. What is even more strange is you can sued even if you criticized the defamatory statement. In the midst of the VoteOutVellacott furor I did a comparison of the statements and sources. In doing so I put myself in a very vulnerable position. I potentially quoted defamatory statements. I took that post down.
Someone from the Vellacott camp who has chosen to remain anonymous warned me that I should remove the quotes from my blog for my own protection. It seemed silly to me first because I wasn’t giving any of the statements a blanket endoresment, I was just analyzing the potential legitimacy of a law suit. There were a number of items where I did agree that the VoteOutVellacott website put a deceptive spin on their quoted source.
In the course of dialogue I discoverd that for some of the issues in the question the original media story did not report certain facts that would change people’s opinion of Mr. Vellacott. While Mr. Vellacott did sleep in his office he didn’t pocket tax payers money in doing so. Housing allowances are based on receipts so he actually saved tax payers money. According to my anonymous source the person who claimed to have been railroaded out of the nomination for my riding didn’t meet the standard in some criteria. To say Vellacott squashed the nomination would likely be unfair. I haven’t double checked what my anonymous source has told me but I have no reason to doubt what I’ve heard.
I want to make it clear that there have been no official warnings of civil action or requests to remove what I’ve posted. I just thought it would be wise to error on the side of caution and ensure that my actions are above reproach. I care a great deal about the truth and I am happy to provide clarification to any issue that has been muddied.
It did deeply disturb me that someone close to Vellacott was sincerely concerned that legal action was within the realm of possibility.
I talked with Mr. Vellacotts opponent Chris Axworthy a few weeks after the election and asked him about the things that were said about him by the Vellacott camp that I thought were skewed or deceptive. Statements like
“Axworthy caught second time practicing the black arts of politics”
“It appears Axworthy endorses spreading lies and attempted character assassination”
“Vellacott challenges Paul Martin to distance himself from Axworthy and such sleazy, corrupt and dishonest actions”
Chris just shrugged it off. Turned the other cheek if you will.
The whole situation is sad but Chris would never endorse slander, nor did he. Someone, most likely a volunteer made some terrible accusations about Vellacott on a local cable show. The person acted on their own and has since refused to own up to it. The unforunate fact is this person did it at Chris’s campaign office completely sabatoging whatever hope Chris had of winning.
To imply that Chris is personally sleazy or corrupt because of this is wrong. I honestly believe he had nothing to do with it. Chris could have pointed the finger at the person the Vellacott camp accused of making the call to save himself, but he didn’t. He wasn’t going to condemn someone without solid proof. I’m impressed with that.
It reminds of a quote from Scent of a Woman, a favourite movie of mine.
“I don’t know if Charlie’s
silence here today…
is right or wrong;
I’m not a judge or jury.
But I can tell you this:
he won’t sell anybody out…
to buy his future !
And that, my friends,is called integrity.
That’s called courage.
Now that’s the stuff leaders should be made of.
Now I have come to the crossroads in my life.
I always knew what the right path was.
Without exception, I knew, but I never took it.
You know why ?
It was too d–n hard.
Now here’s Charlie.
He’s come to the crossroads.
He has chosen a path.
It’s the right path.
It’s a path made of principle…
that leads to character.”
To all those who are tightly wound up in your ideology, in your us vrs them thinking, in your self-righteous crusades I am truly sad for you. Sad that you can’t see God’s heart of compassion and desire for justice coming through in people that don’t share your view of the world. I’m sad that your paint your opponents with brush strokes that are dark, wide and imprecise. When you stop giving people the benefit of the doubt it is tragic. When you see Satan behind the actions of honest people that don’t see things the way you do, it is even more tragic.