Saturday, February 13, 2010

Update on Libby Davies and Dimitri Soudas

After Dimitri Soudas's outrageous performance on Thursday, when describing the protest of our government's decision to challenge the survival of the safe injection facility, Insite; myself and several CAPP members decided to do something about it.

Soudas had taken a peaceful protest and turned it into a hostage crisis, when he learned that NDP Libby Davies was standing with the protesters.

From there it turned completely bizarre with accusations of threatening the lives of Chinese Canadians, veterans and children ... oh, and puppies. There were puppies. (no there weren't, though I'm sure if he saw a picture of a puppy on the wall, he would have included that)

It was pretty clear that Dimitri Soudas had really crossed the line of common decency with this one, and I was quite disappointed in the media who provided oxygen to this embarrassing display.

So on the advice of Christopher White, the man who started Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament; several of us emailed the Prime Minister to let him know that Dimitri's behaviour was unacceptable and in fact, had been for some time.

We also made sure to copy our emails to all opposition leaders.

But then after listening to the radio interviews with Evan Solomon, and reading of Davies hard work on this file; I thought an email to her, on behalf of Canadians was in order. She did nothing to deserve this, and since Soudas is after all, our employee, it was up to us to let her know that the majority of Canadians do not condone this.

And I was very surprised and pleased to get a personal email in reply. Along with the email was the press release from the NDP, who not only denounced his most recent hyperbolic fit, but also previous attacks on their party members, and also on Michael Ignatieff.

See this is what politics is supposed to be about. Respect for each other.

Maybe, since it would appear that Stephen Harper has little interest in reining in the ugly, it's up to us to try to restore some civility, to let all politicians know that we are paying attention.

And as Canadians, most of us are smart enough to know who the real victims are.

Libby's Email:
Hi Emily,

Thank you so much for your message and for letting me know members of CAPP are writing to the Prime Minister on Mr. Soudas' comments. It is very heartening to know that we can, in such non-partisan ways, focus on the need to abide by democratic values (such as not proroguing Parliament) and engage in respectful public discourse (which Mr. Soudas seems to have trouble doing!).

I've attached the press release we sent out today, which also includedes a reference to the attack on Mr. Ignatieff as well.

Thanks for writing, Emily!

The NDP Press Release:

FEBRUARY 12, 2010

Vancouver East MP Libby Davies is calling on the Prime Minister to apologize to her and retract the inflammatory and false statements made on Wednesday by his chief spokesperson Dimitri Soudas.

“Soudas’ comments misrepresented the actions of an elected Member of Parliament. This type of behaviour should be beneath the Prime Minister and his staff,” said Davies. “Soudas’ hot-headed statements undermined the integrity and dignity of the office of the Prime Minister.”

Davies attended a protest in Vancouver on Wednesday to show her support for InSite, Vancouver’s safe injection site, which the Harper Conservatives have been attempting to shut down despite scientific evidence that shows it is saving lives.

Soudas told the press that Davies organized the protest and that she encouraged “locking and chaining doors of buildings while seniors, veterans, and young children are gathered inside.”

All his charges are completely unfounded and untrue.

This isn’t the first time the Prime Minister’s communications staff have jumped to conclusions based on little or no facts.

In December, Soudas publicly berated environmentalist Stephen Guilbeault at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, accusing him of creating an anti-Harper press release that another group later claimed responsibility for.

In October, the Government accused New Democrat Leader Jack Layton of being responsible for a protest in the public gallery in the House of Commons. Again, the charge was a fabrication.

And last July, the Prime Minister had to apologize after he attacked the Liberal leader based on false information provided to him by Soudas.

“At best the Prime Minister’s spokesperson is incompetent, and at worst malicious,” said Davies.

“However, we're giving the Prime Minister a chance to the do the right thing, apologize, and correct the misinformation that his chief spokesperson has distributed to the public.”


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