First published: June 23, 2004
Free speech is a concept Liberal candidate Paul Macklin uses for conversation over cocktails and little else, it would appear.
A media release from his campaign office Tuesday slammed Conservative candidate Doug Galt’s Campbellford’s office staff for putting a shirt in the front window of the office. It reads: “If a Liberal, You’re An Idiot”
Seething with righteousness, it says: “This type of arrogance has no place in this campaign.”
It goes on to assert: ”Although we may not agree on various issues, there is no reason to begin referring to the voters of this riding as idiots”
This is a tempest in a teapot. In fact, it is a public relations strategy – a way to get Macklin’s name in the news. The indignation is more puffery than heartfelt. Although it would be tough to discern this as the Macklin camp swell their chests and scream “No Fair”.
If this was such a bad thing, then why is Macklin posting a picture of it on his web site for all to see. It merely repeats the offence.
This is a political tool being used to outrage local Liberals into voting.
If we believe in free speech, then let the Conservatives have their shirt. An intelligent person will look and dismiss it as a childish statement of no consequence. Reasonable people will see nothing but the acts of a desperate group of people who can only win through insult, rather than by the exchange of ideas. They will see the empty efforts of individuals who can only put down opponents rather than build up the hopes of residents in Northumberland.
Macklin needs to show more faith in his constituents to be bright, thoughtful, intelligent people, not pawns to be manipulated by the spin-doctors on his campaign team.
Don’t do our thinking for us, Mr. Macklin.