Cross Country Checkup

Is there too much focus on petty scandals in the election at the expense of policy and leadership?

Bozo eruptions: In the campaign, everything from shoot-from-the-lip Facebook postings, to bad taste YouTube videos, to off-colour and off-the-cuff remarks are grounds for political scandal. Is it vital politics, or a distraction?

Bozo eruptions: In this campaign, everything from shoot-from-the-lip Facebook postings, to bad-taste YouTube videos, to off-colour and off-the-cuff remarks are grounds for political scandal.
Are parties and the media focusing too much on this at the expense of policy and leadership?



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So, does this election campaign have more than its share of little scandals where a candidate is caught saying something stupid, nay dumb... or insulting or offensive?  

At rough count there have been about 20 of them since the campaign kicked off eight weeks ago, and most have been dredged out of old comment boards or Facebook postings or from Twitter.

Maybe it's the long campaign. Perhaps it is the real arrival of social media as a political tool. Or maybe it's just that some people are trying harder to find those forgotten moments now seemingly forever preserved online.

Well, the fact that they are commonly called 'bozo eruptions' pretty much says it all. But every time another comes to light, the other parties jump on it as an example of why that candidate and his or her party are not fit to govern. Call it schadenfreud, it's being done without the slightest sense that next week the whiff of scandal likely will be hanging over them.  

And then there's the media (that's us!) which line up ask questions of the leaders hoping for a reaction to the latest fall from grace. Is it just a game, or is it really important? 

Do these little scandals distract us from the serious issues that campaigns should, or are supposed to be about? Are they simply petty, or is it an inevitable part of a raucous and public process that holds up all candidates for judgment, not just on their policies, but on their character as well?  

Does it matter that many of the transgressions are old and made at a time when stepping into the political arena was not even a thought? Do you worry that if standards are set too high, especially for speech or behaviour that happened many years ago, that good people will be deterred from entering politics?


Kelly McParland
National Post columnist and editor of Full Comment
Twitter: @KellyMcParland

Simren Sandhu
CEO and founder of True North Times and undergraduate student in political science at McGill University. 
Twitter: @TheTrueNorth

Yasmine Hassan
CJAD Radio producer and associate feature editor for Islamic Monthly magazine. 
Twitter: @seemzhassan 

David Moscrop
Graduate fellow and PhD candidate in the political science department at UBC.
Twitter: @David_Moscrop

Jennifer Robson
Assistant Professor of political management and public policy at Carleton University.
Twitter: @JenniferRobson8


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