This Summer's Blockbuster Hit
Last summer's break-out hit was the Census. No one saw it coming as an issue, but it grabbed headlines week after week. Every Tony Clement tweet generated a dozen stories.
This summer's star is, without a doubt, Nycole Turmel. A complete unknown a month ago, Turmel has been on the front pages every day for the past two weeks, and the story shows no signs of dying.
Amongst today's developments, the always restrained Pat Martin has compared this to McCarthyism and, to a certain extent, he has a point. If you dig through every MP's history, all parties will have members connected to the sovereignist movement in some capacity - after all, Jean Lapierre was a co-founder of the Bloc and Georges Laraque once shared a hot dog with Gilles Duceppe.
However...if we take Martin's analogy one step further, can you imagine the uproar if the Democrats tried to nominate a card carrying Communist as their leader back in the 50s? Even if said Democrat had only purchased the card to support a friend?
Party leaders should be held to a higher standard than back bench MPs, and the timeframe matters. The only people running a McCarthy witch-hunt are the NDP, who have gleefully pointed out Denis Lebel's 2001 BQ membership.
While I don't want to get into the habit of defending Tory Cabinet Ministers, Lebel hasn't been with the Bloc for a decade. Surely there comes a point when we agree someone has changed, oui? I suspect that point falls somewhere between "gave up BQ membership 6 months ago but still member of Quebec Solidaire" and "switched parties back when people still listened to 'N Synch".
Like the Census issue last summer, this is a legitimate story, even if it doesn't move any votes. The explanations offered by Turmel have been lacking, and were only offered after it became an issue. Because of this, like it or not, we're going to hear a lot more about Nycole Turmel before the summer is over.
Labels: Nycole Turmel