Earlier today I engaged in a small thought experiment in which I asked Joyce Murray for an explanation of her participation in the cabinet of Gordon Campbell. My language was intentionally provocative because when it comes to human rights issues in particular I think we often need to be a little provocative. I continue to stand by my blog because I still believe that an explanation should be forthcoming (though I am not holding my breath).
With the exception of one Anonymous and spirited comment in my defence, the comments were negative. However, I don't believe the comments were very cogent for the most part.
Kyle H. had a nice little, tongue in cheek comment which suggested that I was "stupid" for judging Murray "solely" on her past actions. I wasn't. Fortunately, Kyle is blessed with clairvoyance and judges people on their future actions. Not being fortunate enough to have such skills, I am generally forced to judge people on their past. Too bad really.
All kidding aside, all people are judged on their past actions, perhaps doubly so in politics. This is not to say that people can't or don't change. They do, of course. However, when it comes to questions of associating with deeply problematic people (ideologically speaking), change needs to be clear and publicly addressed. As far as I know, Joyce Murray has never condemned the many (horrible) faults of the Gordon Campbell government, though I am certainly open to updates in this regard.
One comment suggested that Gordon Campbell is not really very right wing. I will let others judge on that issue generally (though this is a great site). As for me I think it is clear that Campbell and Harper are cut from the same political cloth.
Beside significantly increasing child-poverty in the province, Gordon Campbell was a terrible Premier in general. Let me just site one important issue that took place while Joyce Murray was in Campbell's cabinet - the passing of Bill 29. This was a radical and outrageous attack on the principles of collective bargaining and an attempt to tear-up contracts that had already been signed. As such it was a genuine attack on human rights. It took five years and millions of dollars in legal fees and person hours for the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) in BC to take Campbell's government to court but eventually HEU won a very decisive victory in the supreme court. The Court determined that the entire spirit of the Bill was illegal and extended the ruling to suggest that it is unlawful for governments to interfere with the bargaining process (a decision that both Harper and the Ontario Liberals have ignored - instigating more legal battles that will take years). This Bill was typical of Campbell's attack on rights, on labour, and on women (since women were overwhelmingly the ones who suffered for his illegality). Now Joyce Murray was not the Labour Minister in Campbell's cabinet but she lent her support to what was an illegal, immoral, and profoundly anti-democratic effort. If Murray has changed, or regrets her association with this, then let her say so.
As for bluegreenblogger's claim that I was specifically claiming that Murray's past associations "trump" her present merits. This is rhetorical nonsense. The issue here is clear - to wit:
Joyce Murray is campaigning to replace Harper because she thinks his policies and his style are bad. However, Murray chose to sit in the cabinet of a man who shares many of the same policies and certainly the same political style as Harper. This simple inconsistency demands explanation It is a simple as that.
PS. I would just like to say that I appreciate being contacted by someone from the Joyce Murray campaign. She made a spirited defence of Murray's environmental record and the simple fact that she took this effort to reply to one insignificant blogger is arguably a great defence of Joyce Murray's political style and intentions and certainly puts on mark in her favor.