Timing of publishing of piece creates kerfuffle
By Ian Cobb
An op-ed piece published in e-KNOW yesterday entitled ‘What keeps Wilks from attending all-candidate debates?’ has created a problem for its author, NDP candidate Wayne Stetski, and has confused and angered incumbent Conservative candidate David Wilks.
The piece in question from Stetski was originally submitted to e-KNOW as a ‘press release’ but was published as an opinion piece due to the fact it is opinion and the accusation made in the ‘press release’ had not yet been proven true (at the time it was submitted). Stetski’s campaign crew were informed by myself at the start of the campaign that non-news ‘press releases’ that merely present a candidate’s views would be transitioned into columns or letters to the editor and published in our ‘views’ section, where they more aptly belong.
Stetski asked aloud in his Sept. 17 ‘press release’ why David Wilks wasn’t attending Kootenay-Columbia all-candidates’ debates and mentions that he wasn’t attending the Aboriginal issues debate held Sept. 23 at the Ktunaxa Nation Gymnasium.
Turns out MP Wilks did attend that debate and he has, rightfully, lashed out at Stetski for making a false statement, calling it “bizarre.”
I must now stop the presses and ensure readers/voters understand the mix up.
The piece in question was received Sept. 17. It was edited and formatted for publication and sat in the bullpen of stories waiting to be published. Normally, I publish opinion pieces on Saturdays and Sundays. While the piece was received Sept. 17, I didn’t publish it until the following weekend, Sept. 26, for no other reason than the fact my wife and I took last weekend off.
In that delay came a change that ripped Stetski’s accusation up and Wilks now must contend with misinformation swirling about his campaign.
“I am shocked at the recent statement made by Wayne Stetski on debates. He said that I did not attend the Aboriginal Debate. After shaking his hand, participating in the debate and shaking his hand after the debate, and then participating in a photo op with all four candidates, perhaps he forgot that I was there? Quite bizarre,” Wilks stated in a letter to e-KNOW this morning.
That reaction is understandable and it was caused because I didn’t publish the piece in question until after the debate was held.
This has led some to question my motives; such as I did it on purpose to make Stetski look bad; or that I am some kind of secret Harper backer, or reverse, that I was trying to make Wilks look bad.
Simply put: bullshit. I am well on record noting my loathing for ALL political parties because they do not represent the people or ridings, they simply represent the ‘company’ that is their party. Their so-called good work is window dressing designed to ensure their party gets re-elected so they can keep jobs, pensions and the big fat BS machine of party politics rolling. But I digress.
Stetski’s intent in his submission was to point out that David Wilks wasn’t showing much enthusiasm for debates/forums that were outside of his control, such as was the case in the 2011 election when Conservative Party members the nation over hid in enclaves of party supporters rather than get out and meet ‘everyone.’ It has been a stain of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s control freak franchise and is an attack point for the Liberals, NDP and Green Party.
Fair enough. I personally demand constant accountability and transparency from my elected officials. Excuse me, I must scream with laughter now.
There, that’s better.
Wilks told me several months before the writ was dropped that he wasn’t going to engage in a war of words with Stetski, after the former City of Cranbrook Mayor charged that Wilks was dodging public accountability.
“Steski challenged me to debates well before the writ was dropped knowing full well that I had parliamentary duties and my focus on the campaign would take place once the writ was dropped. I was hoping that this campaign would be one that we focused on the issues. As the incumbent I expect to be held to account on issues related to Parliament. I’m hoping the NDP candidate will focus on what Canadians want to hear about, not petty politics and fabricating things that are absolutely not true,” Wilks stated this morning.
I, too, am hopeful that candidates will stick to the issues.
Which is why I am publishing this explanation as to why this kerfuffle has occurred.
Again, had I published Stetski’s piece BEFORE the Aboriginal issues debate, Wilks would have attended and showed his rival to be presumptuous.
Because I published it after the fact, it makes Stetski sound goofy because readers didn’t have the facts as to when the piece was originally penned, and that is my fault for not publishing it sooner or for attaching a note to the piece indicating when it was received. For that I apologize to both candidates.
Enough of that
It is now time for me to demand that the candidates in this riding, and in ALL ridings across this tenuous, nervous and flagging nation, start talking about what THEY are going to do to fix this country. I don’t want to hear what Thomas Mulcair is going to do. I don’t want to hear what Stephen Harper thinks or Elizabeth May or Justin Trudeau. I want to know what our local candidates think and, more importantly, what they think they will achieve if we the voters give them the great honour of our support.
There should be no grousing about debate attendance. It should be AUTOMATIC. You want our votes? Show up for work! That goes for every man and woman Jack of you who feel you are capable of earning our trust and our votes and becoming OUR employee because candidates, that is what you are. You are our elected servants and this era of snide, arrogant ‘do-as-you see fit’ nonsense orbiting the sun of the party, which began during Pierre Trudeau’s reign and has progressively gotten worse from Prime Minister to Prime Minister – has got to stop.
I want to hear from the candidates what THEY will do when elected. I don’t want to hear how they are going to crumble and become servile Igors for the latest oligarch.
I don’t want to hear how one candidate thinks another should do his/her job. I want to hear potential solutions. I want to hear wisdom I can try and apply my shattered faith in our electoral system to and I want to see a plan that maps out how Canada and how this riding, more importantly, will benefit from a given candidate receiving our votes. I want to see a Parliament that tries to work together to create grand solutions to old problems. I am sick of watching the idiotic tennis game of blame and reputation sullying and deflection. Politics has always been a greasy game but it is now so completely lubed into ludicrousness that most Canadians have given up hope for a better job being done in Ottawa. And that’s just what the party nabobs want.
This kerfuffle over the timing of a published statement is indicative of where we are at, politically, in this country.
It’s 23 days until election day. I beg you readers and voters, look FAR beyond this kerfuffle and do the work to determine which candidate and which outdated, outmoded party, hinged on narrow viewpoints, that you want to vote for.
That means attend the debates, such as the Oct. 6 JCI Kootenay forum at Key City Theatre in Cranbrook (7-9 p.m.) or the Oct. 7 Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce forum at the Heritage Inn (6:30 p.m. start time).