Friday, September 19, 2008

Was it Something I Said?!

Yesterday, I paid a visit to Lisa Raitt's new blog. It was mostly press release-type posts, but there were a few comments (well, four) basically saying, "Great blog, Lisa!" and "Liberals sure are stupid!" and the like.

So I left a comment under her post entitled "Keep your Universal Child Care Benefit". I asked how many of the 125,000 new child care spaces the Conservatives had promised would be created through employee tax credits had actually been created so far. Just so. I used my real name, email and URL. I was very nice, I thought. Polite. Non-threatening. And it's a legitimate question, because although the last time I checked the answer was 'zero', I honestly don't know if that's still true.

As of this morning, my comment was still awaiting moderation.

As of tonight, all previous comments have been deleted, and all further comments are closed.

I'm sorry, should I have asked an easier question? Or perhaps tried to hide my identity and pretend to be a supporter? Because Ms. Raitt, if you can't handle one simple question on a website from a non-Conservative without shutting down all lines of communication, then it's probably a good thing you haven't had to put up with the threats, the stalking, and the intimidation your opponent and his staff have had to deal with over the past couple of weeks. Seems to me you might need to develop a thicker skin.

The first debate is on Monday, in Oakville. I look forward to meeting you and asking my question in person.


  1. .. debate is on Monday well that gives her a couple of days to contact Big Daddy to either: a)find out how to answer without really answering or, b) get RCMP protection from people like you who ask real questions (perhaps she will come up with some excuse such as "webmaster ate/disabled comments")

  2. Communication with the public does not seem to be their strong suit - they probably get so much flak about their stupid policies that it's hard to make priorities over how to respond, so they just don't.
    My MP, Scott Reid, has never responded to any query I have sent (always politely), nor has Cheryl Gallant, a neighbouring MP who keeps sending me her 10% shite.
    I assume I must be in their database as a non-card-carrying-Con, or worse, A LIBERAL!

  3. I think Garth's comment-able blog sucks up a LOT of resources, human and financial. It's no small feat. I am not surprised she reconsidered allowing comments. She would have lost control. It's still funny to see.

  4. I've emailed Raitt to ask whether she intends to open up the site to comments in the near future. I'll let you know what she says.

  5. (Bene Diction was unable to post a comment here for some reason, but here is what he/she emailed me:)

    I received a comment at BDBO which states Ms. Raitt could have received threats from opponent supporters.

    I think possible threats should be taken very seriously.

    If the commenter has knowledge of threats and is afaid to step forward, this is a matter for qualified personnel, don't you think?

    I have written Ms. Raitt's technical support staff and communication people, forwarding the comment and asking questions of clarification from her staff.

    I'll let you know if I receive a response from The Halton Conservative campaign staff.

  6. BD -

    Thank you. I was considering emailing her directly to ask if there was some legitimate reason for what happened, but given that I'm pretty well known as a Turner supporter I doubt if she would have accepted it as an honest inquiry. Happily, your reputation precedes you as a respectable non-partisan, so hopefully you will get an answer.

    I have a hard time believing that objectionable or threatening comments were behind the sudden transformation of Raitt's blog. It really is a simple matter to moderate the more extreme comments on one's own blog while still allowing legitimate criticism and debate if you really are interested in dialogue.

    I find it far more likely that she got the same phone call from the Party bosses that Garth got last time.

    That said, I do find it upsetting that this has even become an issue. The level of hate being directed at Garth is an extreme example, but personal attacks on both sides are getting completely out of hand. Criticism of policy or campaign tactics are one thing (and I like to think that's all I've done here), but the name calling, the ad hominem attacks, the threats are not only spoiling the discourse - they're starting to spill out into the physical world in the form of vandalism and stalking.

    When did politics become warfare?