"By flouting the laws of Canada while holding elected office, he shows he is a poor example for all Canadians, particularly young ones," MacKay said in a statement. "Rob Ford is simply not the kind of leader our country needs."
There are two pieces to MacKay's statement :
- Leaders should be setting the example for all those they wish to lead.
- Breaking the law when you're an elected official? Not cool.
That would seem to imply that actions like offering to help people get prescription drugs illegally (often known as trafficking), driving while using a cell phone/reading a newspaper, illegally tinting windows, abusing 911, issuing threats to security personnel and reporters, soliciting donations from stakeholders using official resources and public drunkeness would disqualify someone as the kind of leader MacKay and the Conservative Party of Canada would support.
Of course, MacKay wasn't referring to Rob Ford and his litany of law-breaking, poor-example-setting ways. McKay was referring to Justin Trudeau's admission of pot-smoking. I switched the names to make a point. If the Tories believe Trudeau is unfit to govern because he smoked pot, one would think the same would apply to Ford and his suite of sins.
But that isn't the case, is it?
When Rob Ford misbehaves, he's demonstrating that he's one of the people - everyone texts while driving and has a few pops while out at events and we want leaders that behave the way we do. Even when it involves breaking the law, like driving under the influence.
The same applies to any Conservative who breaks election laws, attempts to bribe a dying man, puts out blatantly false information, cheats on their spouses, etc, etc. We see Tories defending Tories for all kinds of infractions, up to and including breaking the law, only changing their tune if it looks like their polling will suffer. The cognitive dissonance is staggering.
There are no surprises here. Politics - especially the hyper-cynical Stephen Harper variety - isn't about setting an example. It's about winning at all costs. Team Harper could care less what Trudeau does, as long as it provides them ammunition to push the Opposition down and stay in power. People like MacKay know they are hypocrites and simply don't care, so long as they get away with it.
Once upon a time, Stephen Harper declared transparency as vital to a properly functioning democracy. He was going to be all about open accountability. Not only is his party anything but transparent - they are gleefully attacking someone who is actually walking the walk.
On both points - leading by example and upholding the law of the land - the Tories are fumbling, intentionally, even as they cast stones at their Opposition. Despite their theoretical, but not practical support of religion, one would think they'd be familiar with the universal Golden Rule.
That's clearly not the case.
The big problem Team Harper faces is that increasingly, Canadians are starting to connect the dots between what people say and what they do. We don't like being treated as chumps and collectively are starting to call out those who try to do so. Currently, the CPC has no tools in their box to handle this emerging trend.
I'd suggest the Conservative Party start practicing what they preach; after all, it's the role of leaders to set the example.