You may choose a liar or a thief
(Jewel thief and Svend Robinson announcing his resignation as an NDP Member of Parliament, being comforted by Libby Davis)
Convicted jewel thief and former NDP member of parliament Svend Robinson is ready to run once again for a seat in the House of Commons. He will be an NDP candidate in the next federal election for the unfortunate BC riding of Vancouver Centre.
Svend made headlines last year when he stole a $64 thousand ring to give his boyfriend. He was treated with extreme deference by his colleagues and great mercy by the judge, who gave him a conditional discharge, resulting in no criminal record. At the time he blamed his actions on an accident caused when he banged his head when he fell off a trail while hiking in the mountains. I called it post-traumatic hiking syndrome at the time. Now he says he has bipolar disorder. In any case, Svend says he wants to return to parliament so he can serve the little people.
I don't call the riding of Vancouver Cantre "unfortunate" just because Svend the Thief has chosen to offer his services as their tribune. No indeed!
Vancouver Centre is the current riding of the former Chretien era Minister of State for Multiculturalism, Dr. Hedy Fry. Fry, you may remember, is the Liberal minister who stood up in the Commons on March 21, 2001 (on one of those days Liberals proclaim to pander to minority voters - in this case Anti-racism Day) to state the following (from a news release put out back then by Conservative MP Dr. James Lunney).
- In Question Period yesterday, Hedy Fry said: "We only have to look around the world today at Kosovo, at Macedonia, at Northern Ireland to know that people are still discriminated against in the world because of their race, their religion and their culture We do not have to go too far. We can just go to British Columbia where crosses are being burned on lawns as we speak." (Hansard, Mar 21, 2001)
- After Canadian Alliance MP Dick Harris objected to the remarks in a Point of Order, Ms. Fry refused to retract her remarks. She said: "In British Columbia there have been incidents of hate crime, including cross burnings. I know this because I was contacted immediately that these incidents occurred by the mayor of Prince George". The community was duly concerned and duly appalled at the incident. (Hansard Mar 21, 2001)
- In a scrum yesterday, the following exchange took place :
HEDY FRY: "Yes."
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: "Whose lawns"?
HEDY FRY: "I don't know whose lawns exactly, but they were being burned on lawns of people who were visible minorities in that area." (CBC's The National)
HER DEFAMATION WAS A COMPLETE FABRICATION:
- "I think this is a good community, and I've had no incidents reported to me directly in regards to hate crimes at all." Staff Sergeant Gerald Lewis, RCMP (CTV News, March 21)
- "This reference to 'cross burnings' is false, or possibly the minister has me confused with another mayor in another city." Prince George Mayor Colin McKinsley (Vancouver Province, March 22)
- "The statement that people are burning crosses in Prince George is simply not true." Marlies Greulich, Executive Director, Multicultural Heritage Society of Prince George (email to MP Dick Harris, dated March 21)
- "I will say as Chairperson of the City of Prince George's Intercultural Committee I have never heard of a cross burning on any lawn in our community." Murry Krause (email to MP Dick Harris, Mar 21)
- "The words you so carelessly used?are offensive, and in my honest opinion, constitute a libel or a slander against each and every one of us in Prince George, B.C." Gordon M. Leighton, Councillor, City of PrinceGeorge (letter to Hedy Fry via a copy sent by email to MP Dick Harris)
One has to pity the poor electorate in Vancouver Centre who are being given a Hobson's choice between a confessed thief and an exposed liar. Not at all like the rest of us. No, not at all.
Though Robinson thought it would be a while before he contemplated a return to political life, he found himself consuming political news.When Robinson began to consider a comeback, he called NDP Leader Jack Layton, who suggested he commission an opinion poll to see if he stood a chance against Fry.
On the question of who would win if he ran against Fry, Robinson said it was a statistical tie once the margin of error was factored in.The poll also asked respondents if their vote would be influenced by the ring theft.
More than half of those surveyed said the ring incident would not make a difference when it came time to voting, Robinson said.Four per cent said it would make them more likely to vote for him, while the rest said it would make them less likely to vote for him.
If he does return to Ottawa, it will be as a changed man, he believes.
"I know this is going to sound hokey, but the experience I went through was not only painful but transformational," he told The Globe. "When I look at people I can't be quite as judgmental as I was. Before, it was black and white and right and wrong. I'd be a hypocrite if I approached things that way now."
Methinks it's time to check out the Conservative candidate there.