When news broke that Adam Carroll, he who had to resign from the federal Liberal Party research bureau after confessing he’d launched a social media attack on the not-very-astute-but-still-undeserving-of-personal-data-exposure Public Safety Minister, had been re-hired, of course you’d expect the usual howling from the usual partisan suspects. But not, however, from the Ottawa Citizen’s editorial board.
The money quote is here:
… If an ethical offence is serious enough for the party’s leader to stand in the House of Commons and apologize, it’s serious enough to merit worse punishment than a few months in the wilderness. Vikileaks is notable in that it wasn’t a gaffe; it was a sustained and deliberate exercise.
A quick re-hire of a disgraced staffer suggests the initial breakup wasn’t sincere, that the party was never really that upset. Or worse, that it was secretly pleased with the dirty tricks, and just went through a fake split with the scapegoat for show.
This is the kind of thing that makes people hate politics.
Bear in mind, what we’re talking about here is an editorial board whose views would be described by themselves as ever-so-slightly to the left of center. In other words, more than willing to give the federal Liberals a break. But not this time.
Now the editorial asks if Mr. Carroll’s skills as a researcher are really so valuable that they can’t afford to lose him, and that actually requires some more thought. You need to bear in mind that the Liberal Party’s caucus budget is not as big as it once was: a reduction in seats means a reduction in the parliamentary vote subsidy, which furthermore is being phased out; as well, the party as a whole had a significant drop in overall financial contributions in the last quarter, from $2.4 million in March to $1.9 million in June. In other words, the Research Bureau probably couldn’t afford a general recruitment campaign for replacing Mr. Carroll; it would have be easier on the overhead to simply re-hire him.
It’s still, however, a cynical mistake. Because as long as the Libranos keep making decisions like this, hiring people who are known to play low-ball with no regard to their own dignity, nobody but nobody will ever believe that they’ll be fresh-faced enough to be a viable replacement for the Tories.