10 October 2008

Jack channels Al Gore, in a bad way

New Democrat candidate Jack Harris seemed to be channeling Al Gore at the all candidates debate on CBC Radio Thursday.

No, not Enviro-Champ Al Gore, but the "I invented the Internet" version.

Morning Show host Jeff Gilhooley asked Harris what he would be able to accomplish for the riding if he were elected as an opposition bencher.

Harris replied he could do lots.

Like say when he was here in Newfoundland and Labrador, on the opposition benches:

"We've got school bussing in St. John's, which we didn't have, thanks to me."

Huh?

Thanks to Jack?

Jack may have advocated for school bussing but the service was extended to include metropolitan St. John's by Lloyd Matthews, the Liberal cabinet minister filling in for Judy Foote who was on sick leave at the time.

The candidates took turns whacking Jack largely because the polls have him way out in front of the rest.  They brought up all manner of points.  The video  - available at cbc.ca/nl/features/debate - makes for some entertaining viewing, even if the audio sucks.

Conservative Craig Westcott got in some of the sharpest licks, including one over Jack and what he plans to do with his provincial pension if he is elected to Ottawa. He kept it up on Friday with a statement aimed squarely at the issue of potential double-dipping by the former member of the provincial legislature:

"Yesterday during our all-candidate debate I posed a very simple question to NDP candidate Jack Harris: if he is elected to serve in Ottawa, will he follow in Norm Doyle's footsteps and donate his provincial pension to charity?

"Mr. Harris avoided answering this question during our debate. So I pose the question again: what will Jack do?"

"I'm not necessarily saying it's wrong to do it, but voters in St. John's East should know Jack Harris' position before election day."

Westcott also scored the most memorable jab during the all-candidates session:

"The only reason he's running this time is because the party couldn't come up with another candidate, so his arm was twisted by Jack Layton and Danny Williams [Harris' former law partner] so what I'd like to know is, when he goes to Ottawa and both of them tell him to jump, which one is he going to listen to?"

They may well have whacked at jack because he's the front runner.  Then again, when you claim credit for things you demonstrably didn't do, you pretty much invite a pile on.

-srbp-

10 comments:

Jason Hickman said...

Heh. You know, Jack will probably take 'er this time - continuing his tradition of taking a Tory seat when people are grumpy at the Tories! - but CW may give 'er a better go next time, assuming the heat dies down.

Peter said...

Ed:
First, you make too little of the fact that Jack's the front runner. Look at how everyone's been piling on Harper. Front runners get all the flak. What else is new?
Second, I would hope Jack was referring to his lobbying, in the House, for expanded busing. Surely no one thinks he had the power to implement it himself!
Third, I defy you to find the original quote where Al Gore said he "invented" the Internet. It doesn't exist. He said, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet," which, as a lawmaker, he did. The nuts and bolts of the Internet were already there. He took the political initiative to turn it into the accessible resource that it is. Even web pioneers agree.
The shameful misquoting and misinterpretation of Al Gore during his White House bid is a media travesty. Check it out.
-Peter Jackson

Dale Kirby said...
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Edward G. Hollett said...

Peter:

Front runner's don't always get all the flak. In this case, Jack has gotten very little flak until now. That's what helped make the comments stand out. Craig wasn't the only candidate who took shots at Jack.

If we want to talk about media misquoting and misinterpretation, Peter particualrly since 2003, we'd be here all day.

The quote I attributed to Jack is exactly what he aid. Any way you slice it was up against a question I think he handled poorly. He needed to reframe the question to better reflect what a legislator actually does.

Instead he went for a nose puller approach.

Dale:

Once again we have one of the cryptic quickie comments from your corner. I have to admit in this case, I don't follow your logic at all. Craig is about as far away from one of those Sasquatch hunters as you could get.

He's now gotten some from his

Dale Kirby said...
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Edward G. Hollett said...

Thanks Dale. Now it isn't cryptic just pretty much bizarre.

As I said, Craig is about as far away from an NL Firster as one could get so that bit doesn't make any sense.

Then when you refer to "you guys" - presumably including me in with Craig and Merv - you really head into a strange place since I don't support Conservatives, Provincial or federal.

As for making mountains out of molehills, presumably you would include in that provincial government finances, the economic meltdown, the dubious use of Iceland as a model for this province to emulate, the Lower Churchill and a raft of other issues.

Nice to know you are reading Bond Papers. Interesting to know that - apparently - you don't get most of it. There's not much I can do about that but perhaps it's unsettling when sacred oxen get gored.

Dale Kirby said...
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Edward G. Hollett said...

Okay, Dale, it was humour. Sometimes I miss these things so no harm no foul.

In the meantime, the release was a last minute thing and while I haven't used them up to now, this one built on a comment made during the candidate's forum. The questions comes at around the 20 minute mark. Craig asks the pension question directly.

Exchange that didn't take place?

Maybe you are joking again. ;-)

Dale Kirby said...
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Edward G. Hollett said...

I'd encourage you to deal with the question rather than engage in this sort of sophistry. The question was raised and Jack ignored it.

From a political standpoint it may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is an issue which can hurt Jack terribly.

Lucky for you, the Connies waited too long to raise it.

That doesn't mean it is an issue which can be ignored.