This is especially so when it’s combined with a sense of well-deserved comeuppance, the thought of just deserts served cold after a full course of hypocrisy.
Go ahead, admit it! Schadenfreude is what you felt when you first heard yesterday about Rahim Jaffer’s legal troubles.
This isn’t because we wish for anyone to be chewed up by the grim machinery of the so-called War on Drugs – on the contrary, it is because we wish that no one would be. Nevertheless, when you heard that cocaine possession charges were pending against the Conservative politician from Edmonton who smeared Jack Layton as if the NDP leader were encouraging young people to smoke dope, I’ll bet you couldn’t resist thinking “Gotcha!”
Yes, sometimes you just know, there is a god.
The ironic facts of the case speak for themselves:
The Ontario Provincial Police said yesterday they had stopped the former Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona on Sept. 11 when they observed his SUV racing through the village of Palgrave in the Caledon region of Ontario. He leaves nearby with his wife, MP Helena Guergis, Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey and Minister of State (Status of Women) in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Cabinet.
After he was pulled over, Mr. Jaffer was charged with drunk driving and possession of cocaine, the Toronto Star reported.
Now, these facts on their own would be merely pathetic. But, as the Star explained, a few days before last October’s federal election, “Jaffer’s campaign approved radio ads chiding NDP Leader Jack Layton for comments years earlier that Jaffer cast as broad support for marijuana use. The spots said, in part: ‘Edmontonians understand how difficult it is to make sure our children make the right choices, especially on serious issues like drug use. The Conservative Party supports drug-free schools and getting tough with drug dealers who sell illegal drugs to children. Don’t let our schools go up in smoke. On October 14th vote Conservative.’”
One might wonder if Edmonton-Strathcona in the vicinity of the University of Alberta was the quite right place to cynically play the drugs card, as Conservative politicians so often do to keep voters’ minds away from issues that actually affect them more, such as health care and the environment.
Still, in other parts of the riding, I suspect, a whiff of these sleazy ads lingers when voters think of the NDP.
In the event, though, a large-enough percentage of voters in the riding “got it” that outside the cartoon world of social conservatives it is possible to be opposed to the destructive, expensive and counterproductive “War on Drugs” without being in favour of the use of drugs.
Or perhaps voters there just had other priorities. At any rate, they had the good sense to kick out Mr. Jaffer, who was known by some as “Canada’s laziest MP,” and replace him with hardworking New Democrat Linda Duncan.
Now, perhaps you are one who is inclined to think that self-righteous social conservatives more often talk the talk than walk the walk when it comes to the “family values” they tout. In fairness to the Conservatives, of course, the offending radio ads said nothing about getting tough on dealers who sell illegal drugs to Conservative MPs. Still, it’s hard to shake the sense that for a lot of social conservative politicians, the rules are for us, but not for them.
Nevertheless, we need to remember that in our system of law, Mr. Jaffer is considered innocent until he has been proven guilty or been bullied into accepting a plea bargain. As a well-off guy with connections in the government, of course, the latter outcome is unlikely for him.
Mr. Jaffer is scheduled to appear in criminal court in Orangeville on Saturday to answer the charges.