Let me begin by saying: my gut feeling is that Mr. Cotler is beginning to mount a campaign for the leadership of the Liberal party.
Now … when I first heard about this story, my reaction was ugh! Why is my party engaging in such dirty tricks? I jumped to that conclusion because I read / heard that people in the Mount Royal riding had received calls actually telling them Mr. Cotler WAS retiring and that there WAS an imminent by-election.
However, in the real call (from the video Mr. Akin posted) I notice the caller says: “Some people are suggesting that the current MP may retire … if you would consider supporting the Conservative party if there’s a by-election.”
• Mr. Cotler’s name is NOT mentioned, so he is not being personally targeted. Given some people’s lack of interest in politics, they may not even know who their MP is.
• “the current MP MAY retire” is not the same as “the current MP IS retiring.”
• “IF you would consider supporting” and “IF there’s a by-election” are hypotheticals, not statements of fact.
So, sorry to say, the reports about the calls were inaccurate. If there have been untruths, it is the way in which some media have portrayed the calls.
Furthermore, the media often engages in rumours, using unnamed sources to lend credence to their articles. In November 2010, Chantal Hebert, Jane Taber, and John Ibbitson all wrote columns about the imminent departure of Peter Mackay to go to a Bay St. law firm. Did Peter Mackay raise that as a question of privilege? No.
In 2008, Mia Rabson “discovered” Vic Toews was about to be appointed to a Court of Queen’s Bench judgeship. Did Vic Toews raise that rumour as a question of privilege in the House? No.
And who can forget the infamous “wafergate” accusations? Did the PM ask the House to look into it? No.
Some may argue that those rumours were not started by a political party so the Cotler issue is not the same.
BUT Mr. Cotler’s main argument is that his job as an MP was hindered by those rumours. Regardless of the source, the rumour was the aggravating factor supposedly hindering his work. Would Mr. Cotler have felt less aggrieved if the calls had been placed by the NDP? Would his work as an MP have suffered less or not at all?
Finally, Andrew Cohen in a column entitled “The smearing of Irwin Cotler” wrote:
“It is true that Cotler has had doubts about remaining in Parliament, which isn’t unusual for a politician of his age, experience and interests, who now finds himself a backbencher. Even before the Liberals became the third party, Michael Ignatieff had to persuade him to run again this year.”
SO, the rumour that Mr. Cotler was considering leaving politics did not necessarily originate with the Conservatives. Why is Mr. Cotler now making such a big deal out of it? And why are media people like Susan Delacourt, Jennifer Ditchburn, Greg Weston, Evan Solomon, and even the usually fair Bruce Anderson trying to keep this issue alive?
After a solid week of stories from most of the MSM, with the Globe and Mail in particular who seem to have a sick obsession with continuing this non story, come some relevant facts that the media has chosen to ignore.
Their own actions.
WTG Gabby, but don't be surprised if you find yourself named in a letter from Bob Rae to Elections Canada.
Link to John Ibbitson story on Peter MacKay leaving that was published AFTER MacKay himself had said he was not leaving.
And this from the CBC on Vic Toews, who also said he wasn't leaving but yet CBC published the 'reprehensible' rumour anyways and may have violated Toews 'privilege' as an MP, at least according to what the Globe and CBC have been repeatedly saying in their numerous Cotler stories.