Friday, May 29, 2009

A Deceptive Democracy: Guy Giorno and Peter Shoniker

In August of 2006, Peter Shoniker, former Ontario crown prosecutor; pleaded guilty to money laundering and theft. The case came about after an undercover RCMP agent caught Shoniker on tape suggesting that he could launder money easily since he was "untouchable" by the police.

This claim was not without merit, since he had been personally responsible for Julian Fantino being named the Toronto Chief of Police. Mind you a lot of things that Shoniker often bragged about were greatly embellished.

However, the fact remains that a sting was set up and he swallowed the bait.

Because of his own statements and the fact that a lot of high profile people showed up in court to speak for his character, he was described in the news reports, as a Mike Harris "Tory insider". Any journalist who wanted to confirm Shoniker's statements would find that he had indeed contributed $ 15,000.00 to Ernie Eves leadership campaign as well as $ 5,000.00 to Tony Clement's.

However, Guy Giorno, described as Harris's "Rasputin", and now Stephen Harper's chief of staff, got himself into a flap over the claims. But instead of just going about setting the record straight, if he felt the media had misspoke, he decided to engage in a bit of partisan ankle biting.

In a column he wrote for the National Post (1), he suggested that the media was being biased for linking Shoniker with Mike Harris, while ignoring another story about a Liberal insider who had posted on a website his anger over the Lebanon bombing by Israel, and Harper's tepid response.

In his anger he lambasted Israel and praised Hezbollah, something allowed in a healthy democracy. At best his comments could be deemed misguided.

But Girono would have none of it. He accused Thomas Hubert of anti-Semitism, painting him as a "Jew Hater". The Canada-Israel Committee picked up the story and issued a press release calling on the Liberal party to suspend Mr. Hubert and repudiate his "reprehensible" statements. Which they did.

Now one might argue that there is a big difference between stealing $700,000.00 dollars, when you are a crown prosecutor, and making some ridiculous comments on a message board criticizing a country. But this story was even uglier than that.

You see, Thomas Hubert was only seventeen-years-old, and a member of the Young Liberals. But Guy Giorno making this such a public matter was devastating for the young lad, who couldn't possibly defend himself against Giorno, who is a corporate attorney, and one of the most powerful men in the country. And if this is his moral compass, and he is now directing Stephen Harper's every move, we need to be angry about this.

We try to encourage young people to get involved, and while high paid senators feel the need to publicly question "freedom of speech" because of poor Ann Coulter, then they need to question why this high school student was treated this way, just to score a few partisan brownie points. That was the story here.
Thomas Hubert is not a skinhead. He doesn't go around frightening the soccer moms in Tsawwassen, the sunny suburb where he lives. He is not an arsonist, a gangster, or a crack dealer. No matter what the National Post says, Thomas Hubert is not a Jew hater. He certainly isn't in his “early twenties”, and he has never run an “anti-Israel” Web site.

Thomas Hubert is a gifted, slightly chubby 17-year-old in jeans and a striped blue shirt with an eyebrow stud and dyed black hair. In early August, he posted some stupid comments on a couple of Web sites. The next thing you know, he's a national punching bag ... The spin cycle of the week of August 21 was a living hell for the boy. (2)

"For the boy." What a wonderful message the "adults" sent him.


1. Who is Peter Shoniker? And who is Thomas Hubert? I found myself asking these questions earlier this week after each did something that was -- or at least should have been -- newsworthy, By Guy Giorno, National Post, August 23, 2006

2. Hubert was vilified for the usual utterances, Straight Goods, August 31, 2006

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