A front-line report

Last night I attended the all-candidates meeting held at Riverdale Collegiate.  I expected to hear a reasonable, professional debate about the issues of the day.  Instead, I was given a lesson in thug politics I’ll never forget.

The moderator announced that Jack Layton chose not to attend the debate and had instead, sent NDP MPP Peter Tabuns to represent him.  The time and place of the debate had been specifically changed to accommodate Jack Layton’s schedule.  Most people in the audience were clearly unhappy that he had stood them up.

The moderator asked the audience to vote, with a show of hands, on whether Peter Tabuns should be allowed to stay and represent Jack Layton. The audience voted no.

Before this fateful night, I viewed the NDP as the kinder, more gentler of the parties that I wouldn’t vote for. But it’s what I saw after the audience delivered the NDP their stunning rebuke that really got me upset.

I witnessed the NDP badgering the poor organizers outside the auditorium while the debate continued inside. To what end I can’t even begin to fathom. The NDP had already been kicked out by the audience for failing to send their MP to the debate. What were they hoping would happen? Were they thinking that the organizers would overturn the audience’s decision?

What I saw was my MPP Peter Tabuns and his senior NDP operative backing a visibly upset organizer against a wall in a very aggressive manner.  As I approached, they told me to go away, that they were having a private conversation. I told them that this was a public place and a public forum and I was just observing.  He (not Peter) threatened to call the police. I replied; “I don’t think you want do that. I am not here to rub salt in the wounds, I’m just making sure you are not badgering the the organizers for the message the voters sent you.”   Recognizing that things had gone too far, another NDP operative grabbed his sleeve in an attempt to lead him away.  With the distraction, the event organizer walked away, visibly shaken, to compose herself.

I’d heard stories about how some people have had horrible personal experiences with members of the NDP and their supporters.  I’d always taken them with a grain of salt but I see now how naive that was.  Seeing first hand that my elected representative for Ontario behaves no better than a street bully was a rude awakening for me. It’s one that has spurred me to action.  I’m going to work harder than ever between now and election day to get as many votes for the Green Party as possible.

As independent candidate John Richardson summed up in his closing statement at the debate, “For sure, Jack’s got to go.” and I’d add, he can take his party of thugs with him.

4 responses to “A front-line report”

  1. Barbora writes:

    The thing that appalls me the most is the sense of entitlement when it comes to power, and the total lack of respect for democracy. I’m glad people stood up to it, and I hope they remember it on Tuesday.

  2. Mat writes:

    Hear, hear, Barbora.

  3. Heather writes:

    Thanks Sharon for the update.

    I’ve always been an NDP supporter, but when Jack tried to block Elizabeth May from the leadership debate I became disillusioned. I knew beforehand that Jack would not show at the candidates debate and that was another nail in the coffin. Sharon you now have my vote. Thanks for your hard work.

  4. Shaun writes:

    “A new kind of strong.”

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