Saturday, May 24, 2014

Niagara politico sez someone's trying to make him look like a fool

Walt's Agent 3 continues to be fascinated by politics on the pretty (i.e. Canadian) side of the Niagara River. Politics in the Niagara Region, he writes, is practised much as it was a century ago -- a mix of cronyism, corruption and craziness which wouldn't be out of place in such democracies as, say, Zimbabwe. The craziness makes for some good laughs, as in two items from yesterday's news.

In Fort Erie -- across the river from the third-poorest city in the USA -- the town's Economic Development and Tourism Corporation general manager, Jim Thibert, is suing one of the town's Councillors, Don Lubberts, alleging violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

In his statement of claim, Thibert alleges Lubberts should have declared a conflict when a land matter was discussed in closed sessions of the town council in March and April. In the spirit of civil discourse for which Fort Erie public officials are known, Thibert told a local online paper he filed the lawsuit for the sake of political ethics. "The point is – he shouldn't have been in the fucking room if he has a conflict. That's the rule!", Thibert said.

Meanwhile, there's a provincial election going on. The Ontario Liberal Party is led by outgoing premier Kathleen Wynne, who just yesterday told a public meeting how glad she is to be a lesbian after 37 years of heterosexuality, and how wonderful it is to live in a province which celebrates diversity, yada yada yada.

For some reason, the Liberals had trouble finding a candidate in Niagara Falls, so finally parachuted in a Bay Street lawyer named Lionel Tupman, who is rumoured to have a cottage somewhere in the northern part of the riding. Not much is known about Tupman except that he appears to be male, was called to the bar in 2012, and has never been elected to anything anywhere.

And, apparently, he has a somewhat thin skin. Canadian Press/CTV News reports that Tupman is considering... wait for it... legal action after he says someone altered one of his tweets "to try and make a fool" out of him.

Seems someone intentionally altered his message — an invitation to a campaign event — to change the word "plans" to, errr, "penis". Tupman says he was not hacked but is the victim of an online troll who wants voters to think he can’t spell or use social media appropriately. Agent 3 says that would put him on a par with 95% of the voters and 99% of Ontario's other politicians.

Tupman says he’s consulting with the party’s leadership to determine how best to "control the damage" and get the word out that he never issued the controversial tweet. Perhaps he can start by figuring out how a tweet can be altered unless the sender's account is hacked, which Tupman says wasn't what happened.

Furthermore, Tupman says -- harrumph, harrumph -- his campaign is considering legal action [against an unidentified troll? Ed.] because the tweet can "seriously damage a campaign". Sounds like the beginnings of a great excuse for June 12th, when Tupman will finish a dismal third behind the NDP's Wayne Gates and the Tory candidate, "The Other" Bart Maves. [Walt's got the trifecta on this one. Lifetime pct .974.]

"There’s no doubt it will be injurious," Tupman told CP. "It makes me look like an idiot." And let's not forget that Tupman is a litigation lawyer -- oo, oo -- and says he takes the "nasty" attack on his Twitter account "very seriously". As do we all, Lionel. As do we all.

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