It’s the day before the civic election and I have finally reached my breaking point with negative campaigning.
What did it was somebody leaking a letter that was sent out Thursday night to members of the Burnaby Citizens Association by BCA city councillor Dan Johnston.
I’m not going to repeat in detailed form what is in the letter because A) I’m not playing that game; B) it’s ugly stuff; and C) some of the name-calling in it is pretty defamatory.
Generally, it’s an attack on mayoral candidate Mike Hurley’s character and comes right after an independent poll showed Mayor Derek Corrigan behind in the race.
The letter also contains at least one inaccuracy. It references two recent polls and Johnston writes that they were both backed by the IAFF firefighters union.
The second poll was conducted by respected pollster Barb Justason of Justason Market Intelligence. Justason was intrigued by the first poll she conducted and decided to do the second one independently.
The letter also includes one howler in which Johnston says Hurley has never attended a Burnaby council meeting – as though sitting there and watching the BCA politicians rubber-stamp motions is some kind of lesson in politics. I do remember one of the NOW reporters noting that Hurley did show up to at least one demovictions protest during the summer to listen to what folks were saying about the housing crisis. I don’t recall Johnston or anyone else from the BCA council attending.
So you tell me, what is the more worthwhile event to attend?
Johnson’s letter seems to have backfired with some BCA members because reaction has been swift.
A man named Derek Sahota contacted the NOW and was incensed by what he read when he received the letter.
“As a BCA member, union member, and anti-pipeline activist, I'm disgusted to see this type of false U.S.-style smear campaign in Canadian politics,” Sahota wrote.
Burnaby resident and BCA member Mondee Redman tweeted out about how the “BCA sent out a horrible letter last night,” adding that “I was going to the (sic) support the rest of the slate but not anymore.”
She also tweeted out this: “I’ve known @hurley4Burnaby for ~25 years. I used to be a Burnaby ESS volunteer which helps people after fires. I’ve been with Mike at fires where people lost their affordable housing. It is heartbreaking. Mike will be a good mayor.”
I understand the need to try and rally the BCA troops with a letter on the eve of an election, but voters don’t want ugly stuff like this – they want to hear what your party will do to ensure a better life for all of its citizens. They want to be uplifted.
We need to get rid of gutter politics.