I wonder if this is going to be a regular Thursday thing. You may remember that last week I was e-mailed by a man named Dick Chapman, who said, among other things, that I was a mouthpiece for the Toronto Star, neither a writer or journalist, and was someone without honour. Apparently, that hasn't stopped him from offering me further advice:
Now that the election is over and the decision has been made there can be a time of reflection about why you did not receive any replies to your requests! The main reason was as a reporter for the Mercury the committee had nothing to say as the newspapers anti Marty stance! It was obvious that Frank Valeriote was the favourite of the paper and Marty's views and information were twisted and misreported constantly! So why should anyone answer your questions! As far as I am concerned the smear campaign that the Mercury and Valeriotte [sic] carried out worked somewhat, but a lot of people supported Marty! A true Canadian Hero!!!
I responded again to Dick, but I think this time I was a little more snippy. (I didn't pause to take a "chill pill" to borrow a phrase from Marty Burke.) The Catch-22 of this Conservative argument, one tried and tested by their ideological brethren in Republican Party south of the border, is that the media always has a liberal bias, so why bother interacting with them by giving them fodder for the fire, or "smear campaign" as Mr. Chapman says. Here's my response.
I respectfully disagree. You might not believe me, but I was eager to meet with Mr. Burke and talk to him about the issues and his candidacy. If I, or the Mercury for that matter, were conducting a "smear campaign," as you say, why would we expend so much time, effort and energy in trying to get Mr. Burke on the record. If it was a smear campaign, why try and talk to him at all.
And again, I point out, that the six other candidates and Mr. Valeriote made themselves available to press no matter their perspective of so-called press bias. Why should anyone answer my questions? Because it's the responsibility of political candidates to answer questions, both from the media, and from their constituents, and in Guelph, I am both. And as far as I'm concerned Mr. Burke lost, in no small part, because of his refusal to be open with the public beyond those whose support he already secured. He missed several debates, and only responded to press inquiries through e-mail or his communications director.
A lot of people supported Marty Burke, yes, but how many he more could he have won over? And please, I realize that Mr. Burke served his country with distinction in the military, but that hardly qualifies him for office. He may be a Canadian hero, but most people in Guelph decided that that wasn't enough for them to elect him as our Member of Parliament.
Again, I appreciate your passion, but if the Burke campaign wanted better coverage, they should have made themselves more available to the press.
Thanks for reading,