Opinions

Day did it legally

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My hand hurts in protest when I touch the keyboard. But hey, that's fair. I'm about to defend Stockwell Day. I've made fun of him twice in print this year already and I'm itchin' to do so again. And wow! Here's Day, stuck in a stupid lawsuit, using public funds to defend himself over a stupid mistake. Great! Here's Mr. Tax-cuts, the protector of the private investor and the critic of inefficient and high-spending Ottawa. Here he is using our tax money to defend his sorry ass in court. I thought I'd have a field day with this.

But wait, I read a little more and I'm very uncomfortable. I feel like a kid who said a bad word in front of his grandparents. It's funny for a moment but now I'm just scared-- and here comes grandpa with old hickory.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Day or his party. But while I can't defend his gung-ho tax cuts when our social programs falter, I can and unfortunately have to defend Day on his use of public funds in a recent lawsuit that has everyone screaming and calling him a hypocrite.

On the surface it's true. Here's the charismatic Day preaching about hard-earned tax money and how it shouldn't be wasted. And hey, here's Day using that same tax money to defend himself. It looks bad. He slipped up. He went back on his word. He's a damned hypocrite. Or is he?

What the columnists reluctantly mention, and what we may not choose to admit, is that Day's hand was forced. He had to use public funds. It's the law. And yes, it sucks. For us, it's sad to see a politician defend his blunder with our tax dollars. For him, it's sad he is forced into a situation where he looks really stupid.

And Day's hands are tied. He looks like an idiot using our tax money and the press is unforgiving. They can't take legitimate shots at Day on this issue but they try anyway. Sure he said this, sure he said that, but the point remains that Day tried to set up a private fund for his defence. He didn't want to lose credibility so he tried to raise the money himself. Day would have had no problem getting the funds; he is the leader of the opposition, people like him and businesses suck up to him. But there's a rule that made him use public money, so he used it, and ended up looking like he should eat his words. I wish he would, but I'll have to wait until next time for a legitimate beef with Mr. Day.

And the conclusion? It's not he who's stupid and deceitful. The stupid one is me for my initial eagerness to trash Day. And deceitful? Well, the press seem to have a good head start on that one, at least as far as this situation is concerned.

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