Facepalm Moments on the Campaign Trail


Approaching Day 70 of this federal campaign, and with less than two weeks to go, it was inevitable that things were going to get silly. Coming the day after the announcement of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, and its very serious implications for Canadians and Canadian economy, it seems like a number of Conservative candidates, including the Minister of National Defense himself, is looking to shake things up with a bit of foot in mouth.

First,the above picture of the late NDP leader Jack Layton. It’s from 1991, the height of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s popularity. Clearly, Layton was a fan (or just a good sport).

Now, let’s go to the riding of Mississauga-Malton where Conservative candidate Jagdish Grewal is having to answer questions about an op-ed he wrote in the Punjabi Post earlier this year where he defended conversion therapy to “treat” gay people. The op-ed was called, “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?”

“The political competition of today raises the question of whether any person’s wish to become a normal person is wrong?” Grewal wrote in the Punjabi Post. He explained that a childhood “shock” is the cause of people growing up to be gay, and that “shock” can be “corrected.”

“If it is a parent’s right to set guidelines for their children in terms of their education, career and health, then why is it illegal for them to strengthen their natural heterosexuality?” he added.

This op-ed followed a Queen’s Park vote on an NDP private members bill passed in June  to remove funding from services designed to “change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient.” In an interview with the Canadian Press, Grewal didn’t back down from his previous statements about how homosexuality is basically a treatable psychological disorder. He also said that his campaign was not responsible for a pamphlet with a picture of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at Toronto Pride with the words, “Are these the priorities of your family?” and adds that Liberal priorities are “Sex Education, Gay Marriage, Legalize Marijuana and Prostitution.”

The words, “Authorized by the official agent for Jagdish Grewal,” were included on the pamphlet in fine print.

Meanwhile, over in Spadina-Fort York, Conservative candidate Sabrina Zuniga brought her considerable experience as a high school science teacher to bear on the subject of the environmental impact of oil spills while talking to CPAC. Apparently, we’ve  got it all backwards. An oil spill is really no big deal.

A lot of people would like to see the pipeline get going and go through because it is a safer method than putting them on trains, for instance. And I come back to my interest in technology and innovation. We have the technology and — to keep the pipeline safe, to cut off if anything is going to spill. Oil is a natural substance. So spilling into the environment, the land will absorb it because that’s what oil is. It’s just when there is too much at once, that’s when the difficulty comes in.

On the bright side, she’s running against Liberal incumbent Adam Vaughan and NDP challenger Olivia Chow, so her chances of becoming the next environment minster are slim.

One Conservative candidate whose odds are not so slim is Jason Kenney, and he definitely lead with his foot when he posted to Twitter the other day.

Obviously this tweet was deleted (four days later when it started kicking up a fuss), but it was preserved for posterity by NDP candidate Alexandre Boulerice. Not exactly the type of thing you want to be associated with when your party’s being accused of race-baiting and Islamophobia, and though it did take four days for pressure to build before Kenney pulled it, he did end up pulling it. This comes after two attacks on women wearing hijabs in Toronto and Montreal, the root cause, according to many, is the Conservative campaign fueling anti-Muslim sentiment by trying to stop a Muslim woman from wearing her niqab while taking the citizenship oath in court.

And finally, if you’re on the fence about whether or not you’re going to cast your vote this election, take it from Randy and Mr. Lahey of The Trailer Park Boys, and take the time to cast your ballot:

Just 14 more sleeps till Election Day.

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