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Yesterday, news broke that the Ethics Commissioner would be taking an extended medical leave. It would not have even been news had it not been for the surrounding context.
I covered the story for The Post Millennial, but the Facebook comments on our article and corresponding stories from other sources were, as usual, less-than-nuanced.
With the public anger surrounding the recent SNC-Lavalin scandal, one could at least understand, as well as predict, the reaction. Our story from yesterday read in part:
Right when all eyes were about to turn to how the Ethics Commissioner would handle the impossible task that the public would demand of him, he goes on leave.
To be clear, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the medical leave is not perfectly legitimate. We should now all respect Commissioner Dion’s privacy and wish him a full and quick recovery, as we continue to watch this historic scandal unfold.
This is not Trudeau’s first scandal, nor is it his first ethics investigation. As Canadians might know already, the investigation was never going to be adequate, and through no personal fault of Commissioner Dion.
The opposition did not hesitate to point out that this scandal would be outside the scope of the Ethics Commissioner’s mandate, but it did not stop the prime minister from insisting that the toothless commission was the only body that needed to investigate.
Many were quick to draw their own conclusions from the fact that no reason was given for the medical leave, but the commissioner has done nothing to cede his right to his privacy as a citizen. Unlike Trudeau, he is not an elected official, and unlike Wernick, the commissioner has given the mob no legitimate reason to lash out.
Responsible citizens ought to stand on guard for irrational mob behaviour on both sides of the political spectrum. As of now, the article from yesterday has reached over 40,000 people but fewer than 3,000 have spent more than a few seconds on the page. That is fewer than the number of people that have shared it.
Those numbers do not by themselves suggest any mob activity going on, but it certainly looks like this is the case when one considers all of the context. As someone whose move away from the youthful far left was started by those on my side who took things too far, it is a worrying sight to see.