News on the weekend that Andrea Horwath was facing a kind of insurgency from members of her own party suggesting that the NDP has abandoned its left flank in favour of chasing undecided centrist voters. It's red meat for the media set that loves a horse race and loves a story about internal party strife. And while Horwath's done well playing it down on the campaign trail in order to keep up her attacks on the Premier and Opposition Leader, it was a point contention for a couple of NDP supports who showed up at a Horwath event in Chatham on the weekend to protest. Or was it?
According to NDP operatives, and confirmed by the Ottawa Citizen, the protesters turned out to be Liberal volunteers posing as disenfranchised NDPers. The geniuses didn't even bother to take off their lanyards.An e-mail was sent out from Marla DiCandia, the NDP Tour Director Monday morning featuring a retweet from Globe & Mail reporter Adrian Morrow.
Local Liberals crashing @AndreaHorwath's photo-op pic.twitter.com/xBLa0xHtBs
— Adrian Morrow (@AdrianMorrow) May 24, 2014
"When confronted – in person and on Twitter – they admitted to being Liberal volunteers sent to disrupt the event," writes DiCandia. "In fact, they hadn’t even taken off their Liberal buttons!"
"The protesters carried hand-written placards that read 'No right turn!' and 'Where are the real NDP?,'" added the Citizen blog. "However, according to media reports, lanyards around the men’s necks clearly identified them as Liberals."
Let's be clear: While this is a highly contentious election with a lot of complex problems, this kind of "protest" or "stunt" doesn't help create genuine debate about the issues. No. In fact, it's just dickishness. Pure, unadulterated dickishness. It's extremely disappointing that this sort of silly season politicking is now trickling down to the provincial level because as I've been talking to candidates this election, the one thing that occurs to me is just how serious the situation is, and how we have to vet all considerations and ideas seriously. Having two pairs of clown shoes on the ground and drawing attention away from that isn't helping the process.
I'm not sure if this was sanctioned from the top down, but to the guys posing as NDP dissenters I will only say this: I'm sure you thought this was a funny gag, and I'm sure it was ass slaps and high fives as you had the paints out and were Bristol board shopping, but this is the kind of activity that makes you look like a partisan hack with no ideology beyond winning, and it might, someday, get you into trouble. Just ask this guy: