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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BC NDP candidate should not have been forced to step down because of photos

The last federal election experienced a spat of candidates resigning for minor reasons. It seems that pattern is being continued in the BC election. A 22 year old candidate for the NDP has stepped down because there are what has been termed 'racy pictures' on Facebook.

Here is how the pictures were described by the Globe & Mail:

In one, Mr. Lam's hand was on an unidentified woman's breast; the second photo showed an unidentified man and woman with fingers on Mr. Lam's bulging underwear.

So basically this young man is disqualified from holding public office because he got drunk in university and is very comfortable with his friends. Seriously how is the fact that someone touched this guy's penis a scandal? Are people's sensibilities so easily shocked? Should we really be driving people away from the political process for such inconsequential reasons.

Full disclosure: There is on my Facebook a picture of me seemingly naked (I'll never reveal if I was truly naked or not) and draped in a Canadian flag. I was 19 years old and going to a Halloween party (my costume was meant to be 'a true patriot).

Question: Am I allowed to run for public office now?

Should this picture exclude me from a public forum in which I may one day wish to express my views? Or should I have been more anal in my youth; unwilling to do anything fun yet racy because I feared for my future political career?

We live in a new age where people share more of what they think and what they do with a larger audience than ever before. We should not allow our political culture to banish people for such meaningless garbage as a racy photo. After all, often it is those that push boundaries in their youth that turn into the greatest leaders.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on April 22, 2009 | Permalink


There was a time when it was an unwritten rule that the private and personal peccadillos of politicians were left alone - by the media and by other politicians.

When the NDP released the personal videotape of Tom Lukiwski making off-colour remarks at a private gathering, I said to all my buddies, "well, the box has been opened. The gloves are off. Anything goes now."

It seems I've been proven right. All these resignations have come about AFTER the videotape incident.

I bet you dollars-to-donuts that these resignations wouldn't have happened if the NDP had done the honourable thing and given back the videotape.

I also bet you dollars-to-donuts that prior to the videotape incident all the parties had lots of dirt on lots of candidates, but chose not to use it in the interest of fair play.

Posted by: anonymous | 2009-04-22 9:55:58 AM

Perhaps the the problem with these "indiscretions" is that they were heterosexual in nature. Would the over-the-top PC Nazis of the NDP dare put any pressure to resign on a gay man for harmless bum-patting? Or maybe the NPD has quietly adopted Sharia law as a proactive measure.

If it weren't for the fact that NDP support out-numbers the Libertarians at around 300:1, they could be laughed at (with great satisfaction) as pathetic statist losers. Unfortunately, they are the brain-trust for the Liberal Party of Canada. Their policies are all eventually enshrined in Liberal legislation. And every once in a while a "Conservative" government gets to care-take the mess.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-04-22 10:31:59 AM

McIntyre, your post is irrelevant and sensationalistic and full of hype and, as usual, devoid of reason.

This is all about bad management and lack of disclosure. If there was a process where a candidate pledges that there is nothing controversial on the internet that may embarass either him/herself, the constituency association or the party and that if breeched requires the candidate to withdraw, then all this nonsense is avoided. It is no different than disclosures surrounding financial activity.

The argument then becomes one of breech of a contract rather a moralistic argument that extremists on both sides take advantage of to the exclusion of more important issues.

When I see a wannabe politician about to toss off, all I can think of is how it makes everybody involved look stupid and incompetent. And it makes me as a voter feel ashamed of our political system.

Politicians must be held to higher account. Hammurabi knew this. The Greeks knew this but surprise, surprise, Llibertarians do not.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-04-22 10:51:35 AM

Epsilon, there was a process in place and the process failed to come up with something relevant. I do not see how this is a breach of contract but even if it was, my point is that contract should not be made at all. What does it matter the personal life of a politician? As long as they are not corrupt and are honest in their dealings I do not see why who is touching their private parts is relevant.

Depends on what you mean a higher account. Politicians are human and to expect them to be superhuman is absurd. People are people and they will always behave as people do. If you mean that they should always take care to asure that their dealings with others are particularly honest. I can agree with that, but again what does penis touching and breast touching have to do with that?

It clearly says 'MacIntyre' not McIntyre you illiterate chimpanzee.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-04-22 11:22:00 AM

First of all, Hugh, Lam has not been forbidden from running for public office; the NDP has simply said it doesn't want him under its umbrella. He is free to run as an independent, or member of another political party if they'll have him.

Secondly, you speak of a seat in the Legislature as though it's some sort of right. It isn't. It's a privilege, to be conferred by the constituents of the riding you would represent. And the Legislature is not a forum for you to express your views. You're there on the people's business. It is their views you express. You express your own views on your own time, on your own dime, like every other citizen.

Thirdly, this isn't something that happened twenty years ago come back to bite him. Lam is only 22, which is virtually college-age. This could have happened yesterday for all you know. And for a political candidate to publish bawdy photos of himself in a public forum is not only tacky, but unbelievably stupid. What would you like to see next? Live footage of the Prime Minister having sex with a horse at the 2010 Olympics?

Stop trying to downplay the incident. People who buck authority and show stupidity and lack of restraint do not make the best leaders. That honour goes to talented administrators and managers, both of affairs and of people. Such leaders act with discretion, reflection, and prudence, and most assuredly do not behave like stupid party animals. They may not get as many statues built in their honour, but they're not as prone to infamy, either. And they leave the best legacy of all--a prosperous and well-run state.

This, my dear Hugh, is why campus brats do not run the world.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-22 11:36:14 AM

Hugh, a sad consequence of all of this is that soon enough the only people "fit" to be candidates for public office will be people who have thought of nothing else from a very early age, and who have managed their public image accordingly. We are truly creating the conditions for a professional political class to emerge.

Why is this sad? Because the political process, as deeply flawed as it is, is enriched when normal people with normal lives decide to get involved. I'll take Johnny Lunchbucket over the Kennedys anyday. Of course, I'll also take radically limited government over majoritarianism anyday.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-22 11:37:13 AM

P.S. I don't publish bawdy photos of myself, and I'm a person. Got the birth certificate and driver's license to prove it. Your belief that all "true" people are as unrestrained and hedonistic as yourself stems from your own narcissism. Stephen King once wrote: "But people love a hypocrite, you know—they recognize one of their own, and it always feels so good when someone gets caught with his pants down and his dick up and it isn't you." True as far as it goes, but some of us don't drop our pants at all, except where appropriate, so there's nothing to get caught at.

There's a difference between prudent and prudish. If you want to represent your fellow citizens someday, I suggest you study the matter in greater detail. It will serve you in much better stead than loudly affirming your right to fornicate in public.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-22 11:47:16 AM

Unfortunately, running for office is a lot about appearances. Although this kind of thing shouldn't disquality a person, it often does.

You can tell by the reaction of the usual suspects that people do care and will judge a person based on one stupid night of partying.

All I can say is you are running for office, you should probably be really careful about what kinds of pictures end up on Facebook.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-04-22 1:34:23 PM

"It clearly says 'MacIntyre' not McIntyre you illiterate chimpanzee"

Just keeping score McIntyre. Why is it that all you Llibertarians have no emotional control and so easily resort to name calling?

Is it because you are so full of hate and frustration?

Why are you so mad at the world?

And why do you hate me so much?


Posted by: epsilon | 2009-04-22 6:45:36 PM

Everybody hates you, Epsi.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-22 6:57:20 PM


Here's a picture off the facebook group "I support underwear over skeletons in my MLA's closet".

It shows a recent pic of Ray Lam vs. the picture being circulated printed everywhere. He's visibly younger in the pictures everyone's printing. Considering he's 22 now...those pictures found on facebook must date back to his teens.


Posted by: jumper2 | 2009-04-22 7:47:36 PM

Pretty tame pictures.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-04-22 8:59:38 PM

This kind of thing is the reason people are leaving the NDP in droves lately. The same with when Kirk Tousaw, a civil liberties lawyer was asked to step down as a candidate because a video of him smoking a joint surfaced on the internet.

If the NDP are going to act as judgemental and condescending as the Conservatives then what motivation will freedom lovers like myself have to continue supporting them?

All this kind of thing does is turn people off from the party because millions of us have done similar things, and feel we are being frowned upon by extension.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-23 10:10:56 AM

I'm surprised they made him quit. MPs have managed to continue their political careers while getting away with worse.

Posted by: von | 2009-04-23 1:33:31 PM

To whomever wrote "Perhaps the the problem with these "indiscretions" is that they were heterosexual in nature. Would the over-the-top PC Nazis of the NDP dare put any pressure to resign on a gay man for harmless bum-patting?"

Actually Lam is gay and the photos are from Pride parties. It's even more ridiculous considering he was probably just joking around with the women in question.

Posted by: Aleksandra | 2009-04-23 4:28:03 PM

I'm surprised they made him quit. MPs have managed to continue their political careers while getting away with worse.

But not before being voted into office in the first place, Von. Incumbents have an advantage new faces don't.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-23 5:04:26 PM

Millions of people have broken all manner of laws, Doc. Who among us hasn't stolen something, however, minor, at some time or another? Yet who disapproves when thieving is publicly condemned? Not many.

Smoking marijuana is frowned on for a variety of reasons. And you knew them going in. You put on the jacket knowing what it said on the back; now you can wear it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-04-23 5:07:02 PM

I havn't stolen anything Mathews, maybe us pot smokers just have better morals than you do, thief.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-04-25 12:32:38 PM

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