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Monday, January 16, 2006

Two candidates

You know, I'm finding myself more often stumped than not each time I hear of another stupidity coming from the election hustings. Really, do bad ads really qualify for the meter the same way "beer and popcorn" does? Do candidates engaged in shifty shenanigans qualify as "gaffes"? It's time to get back to the gaffe-o-meter roots.

Dictionary.com, which is hardly the OED but will do for our purposes, defines a gaffe as "A public place of entertainment, especially a cheap or disreputable music hall or theater." Hmm.

Okay, there's also this pair of definitions:
A clumsy social error; a faux pas.

A blatant mistake or misjudgment.
So, let's talk about our two British Columbia candidates, one Liberal and one Conservative, who have both become independent candidates, thanks to allegations of very questionable behavior. Our one-time Liberal, David Oliver, is accused of bribing the New Democrat candidate in the riding not to split the vote. The net result is that the Liberal/NDP vote is indeed unlikely to be split in Abbotsford after all. Meantime, the former Conservative candidate, Derek Zeisman, is accused of dodging Canadian taxes (specifically, import duties), which can't look too good in the wake of Harper's debate accusation of the Prime Minister's little canoe concern doing the same thing. I'm sure Mr. Zeisman's Uncle Red is very disappointed in him. (You have to check the picture with the CBC story linked to really enjoy that.)

These weren't "clumsy social errors". These weren't "mistakes," blatant or otherwise. These were people who (again, allegedly - innocent until proven guilty) tried to pull fast ones. A fast one, successful or not, is not a gaffe.

Meantime, had either party tried to avoid the issue, that could be a blatant error, but neither did. Both parties faced the potentially embarrassing situations head-on, and got rid of the candidates as best they could given the timeline. There are no gaffes here. Like the income trust issue, what we have here are issues best settled in a court. No gaffe points.

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