Vancouver, BC, May 19, 1997
Campaign sleaze hits new low
by Noel Wright
THERE are creepies and crawlies, and nasty things that go bump in the night. Then there's the dirty tricks department of Warren Kinsella's North Van Liberal campaign office.
Its latest weapon to come to light is a scurrilously defamatory letter painting Kinsella's opponent, incumbent Reform MP Ted White, as a slavering "racist" who uses his elected office to provide a "soapbox for his racist friends."
You might think this tired old "when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife" approach was wearing a bit thin by now, even for the ethically challenged Kinsella character assassins. But bless them, they've found yet another angle for exploiting their sleaze.
This time their target is the Jewish vote -- with the unwitting help of News columnist Doug Collins, who's currently being arraigned before B.C.'s Star Chamber, the comically named Human Rights Tribunal, for annoying the Canadian Jewish Congress in a 1994 column. Let me explain. The letter -- on the Kinsella Campaign letterhead and dated May 5, 1997 -- is addressed, with a personalized salutation, to an apparent mailing list of North Van Jewish residents. It purports to come from 12 "members of the North Shore Jewish community" whose typewritten, but unsigned, names appear at the end under "Yours truly."
Because of the blatant misrepresentations, libellous innuendoes and outright lies throughout the letter, I will spare them for the moment the embarrassment of identifying them. Suffice to say, eight of the 12 are not North Van voters at all, but live in West Van.
The Collins connection is obvious. For the North Van Liberal dirty tricks team his "trial," due to outlast the election campaign, seems pure gold. It will obviously be followed closely by the entire B.C. Jewish community. So promote, as the letter does, Collins as "Holocaust denier" (one of its numerous lies -- Collins merely questions the Holocaust numbers) and insinuate that he influences Ted White's campaign (Collins is not even in White's riding), and you've got yourself a fine-mesh Liberal net with which to fish for North Van Jewish votes.
OR SO IT might seem to the simple-minded, which bully-boys like the Kinsella mind-thugs often are. So it's interesting that White's campaign office reports receiving ongoing calls from Jewish recipients of the letter, angry about the Liberal effort to manipulate them with such blatant propaganda.
The core of that propaganda is the dog-eared old Kinsella charge that Ted White, in 1983 a recent immigrant from New Zealand, joined for a few months the Western Canada Concept party whose platform (according to my media files at that time) encouraged B.C. and Alberta citizens to work for independence from the rest of Canada. He ran unsuccessfully for the WCC in the 1983 provincial election and quit shortly afterwards. End of story. All of us are occasionally conned.
Fast-forward 14 years. During the past three and half North Van, as a simple matter of record, has at least had an MP who kept his constituents informed in detail of his doings every single week, canvassed them constantly for their opinions and has not been afraid to vote in Parliament for those opinions -- even on occasion against his own party and his personal convictions.
Many of the letter's snide slurs against White are so childish that one wonders about its author's mental standards. Then, towards the end, comes this gem: "Warren," we're told, "knows the ins and outs of government ... He is the antithesis of Ted White." In short, a ready-made Ottawa insider.
Remembering the ignoring of B.C. interests by the six Liberal MPs we sent to become Chretien's trained seals in 1993, that's exactly what a lot of North Van voters are afraid of, Warren!