It’s hard to imagine wanting a loose cannon on your side. On the other hand, when it’s in politics, maybe it’s just easier to pretend it’s not there.
Federal Conservative MP Rob Anders exhibited a severe lack of class this week, suggesting that an overly zealous Tom Mulcair, now leader of the NDP, hastened former leader Jack Layton’s death.
He has apologized since, but the gist of his comment was that Mulcair said before the last election that Layton should step aside because of his health issues. That, Anders said, ultimately goaded Layton into putting all he had into the campaign, at a time when he should have been more careful about his personal health.
An observation such as that is quite obviously speculation on the part of Anders. It’s not something that a thinking human being with any level of tact would say out loud, even if they truly suspected it.
It’s obviously meant as a broadside at the current leader, but consider the feelings of Layton’s widow, MP Olivia Chow. Anders did send her an apology following the statements, which she graciously accepted.
But others in the political arena, Conservative opponents, are wondering why there is no reaction from the party. Some suggest Prime Minister Stephen Harper should kick him out of caucus. It’s not the first time this MP has issued outlandish remarks. He opposed honorary Canadian citizenship for Nelson Mandela, labelling him a communist and a terrorist.
But the Conservatives have remained silent about his antics and no chastisement appears forthcoming.
We might remember, however, that this party has shown an affinity for muckraking in its negative campaign approach.
It could be that Anders is just incredibly dense, or this might just be par for the course in the way his party rolls. As stupid an assertion as it was, such muck will stick and make an impression on less attentive voters. It would be worth watching closely to see if more of this kind of vitriol heads our way.