Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Reality to Jeff Potts: Karma's a Bitch, Ain't It?

NDP candidate caught in some of the most vicious lies in Canadian political history

In politics, as in life, one simply has to get dirty if they want to play in the mud.

This certainly turned out to be the case for now-disavowed Saskatchewan NDP candidate Jeff Potts, when some blatantly libellous comments came back to haunt him during the ongoing Saskatchewan provincial election.

On 15 October, Potts posted a message on the left-wing message board rabble.ca, wherein he claimed that John Wall, father of Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall, had posted Saskatchewan party campaign signs on various low-rent properties that he owns in Swift Current, where he also sits as a city councillor.

A few hours later, Potts took his slander a step further. "Further to my previous point, there is a Brad Wall sign [rental property] on a known crack house."

This is really only one among a number of colourful, libellous, vicious, and what can really only further be described as hateful accusations on the part of Potts. In previous posts on the site, Potts had previously accused Wall of stealing $15,000 worth of liquor from the provincial liquor board in order to entertain guests at his wedding in 1991. At the time, he was the assistant to the minister in charge of the liquor board.

Wall has actually been quite gracious in addressing these accusations. "When I ran for politics back in 1999, I accepted the fact that I had to deal with this sort of thing as the person whose name is on the ballot. But it is profoundly disappointing to think that my family would have to, either my wife in the case of what's talked about in terms of our wedding day, or my dad," he stated.

If Jeff Potts had any sense of personal shame, the Wall family never would have had to endure this.

Unfortunately, Potts doesn't, and has offered perhaps the most pathetic excuse in defense of one of the most vicious lies ever uttered in Canadian political history. "I did not allege that it was Mr. Wall's property ... I did not say they had any knowledge of what was going on in this house. What I am saying is they are more concerned about putting up the sign than they are about the people living in the house. They should check, before putting up the signs on the rental properties, maybe they should check with the people who are renting them," said Potts. Which, by the way, is just a little more lying to top off his already-impressive repetoire of willful mistruths.

Most comicly of all, it turns out that John Wall doesn't own any rental properties. Potts has since tried to claim he didn't know that, despite the fact that he levied the accusation in the first place.

To say that Jeff Potts is a pathetic liar would be accurate with or without the word "liar".

"When I reviewed it, I believed it to be inaccurate and inappropriate," said Saskatchewan NDP leader Lorne Calvert. "I recommended that Mr. Potts withdraw from the race, withdraw as our candidate."

Yet, this is a public embarrassment that Calvert really has called upon both himself and his party. When the NDP decided to launch the "wolf in sheep's clothing" ad campaign against the Saskatchewan party (actually beginning weeks before the election call), Calvert had to have known that some of his more vicious and unscrupulous candidates were going to pull something like this.

This is a man who, with his party 18 points behind his principal opposition, even resorted to naming his campaign RV after the battle of Jericho, a biblical chapter in which a Jewish army, led by Joshua, laid waste to the city of Jericho and slaughtered its inhabitants because of religious differences.

When a party leader insinuates that he has god on his side by naming his RV after a biblical battle in which the victors won because they had god on their side, it shouldn't come as a great surprise when someone like Potts is willing to do something as incredibly immoral as he's done.

And his allegedly voluntary withdrawal aside, one shouldn't think Potts feels bad about what he's done. In fact, he's complaining about the injustice of it all. "What I've been told is that they will not muzzle their candidates. Their candidates are free to speak, this is a democracy and the last time I checked personally, people have the right to speak freely," said Potts, probably unaware that the freedom of speech doesn't apply to malicious lies. "As long as I can provide source material for what I've said, they'll back me up."

But Potts has yet to produce such source information. Which is probably appropriate, because it probably doesn't exist.

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