Citizen Action Monitor

NDP caves to smear campaign against Nova Scotia candidate’s anti-Israel comments, accepts his resignation

Readers of CBC story line up in defence of candidate, one saying NDP means the “No Difference Party”

No 1419 Posted by fw, August 11, 2015

[Candidate Morgan] Wheeldon is accused of saying Israel intended to ‘ethnically cleanse the region’ in a Facebook post in August 2014. The original post has since been deleted. Wheeldon said the Facebook post was part of a longer conversation and the post itself wasn’t expressing his sole viewpoint but one that comes from a variety of news sources, which is illustrated by the fact that the post opens with ‘one could argue….’ ‘The context changes the entirety of this whole thing and it makes exceptionally clear that this is a dirty smear and it’s shameful,’ he said. Earlier today, Brad Lavigne, an NDP campaign adviser, said Wheeldon’s position as reflected by the Facebook post didn’t reflect the party’s position…. ‘We were made aware of some information that had not previously been disclosed. When we approached Mr. Wheeldon with this information, he submitted his resignation.’” CBC News

**********

UPDATE: Morgan Wheeldon Speaks Out About Being Forced To Resign As NDP Candidate by Althia Raj, Huffington Post, August 11, 2015 — “The thing that I am doing is I’m stepping out and saying I don’t agree with the decision. I still support our platform, I still support our candidates, that hasn’t changed, but I don’t support this decision and I don’t agree with this particular strategy taken by internal staffers.” Wheeldon declined to say whether he still supported NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

**********

It’s a pity that the NDP leadership appears not to have the principled moral courage of Jeremy Corbyn, a rising star candidate for the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party. In a recent article/interview, Corbyn is pictured leading a demonstration against Israel’s assault on Gaza last year. Among other excerpted snippets from the interview are these made by Corbyn: “lobbying support for Palestinian statehood in the international community”; “[Israel’s] human rights violations fuelling the conflict”; “the blockade must be lifted”; and “support the call to end all trade and investments with the illegal settlements”.

And it will be a long time before Canadians witness an NDP candidate doing what Irish parliamentary deputy, Richard Boyd Bennett did at a parliamentary committee meeting — boldly challenge the Israeli ambassador to the Republic of Ireland over Israel’s brutal war assault on Gaza. Barrett challenged the Israeli representative over their apartheid regime and racist policies, charging Israel is not a normal state and should not be treated as such. [See the astonishing video of the incident by clicking on this link: Richard Boyd Barrett- Israel is not a normal state and should not be treated as such ].

If it is true that Harper’s Cons appear to have had a hand in launching this smear of Wheeldon, it is further evidence of their shameful sleazy politics. Which again raises the question about the ethical sensibilities of Harper’s supporters. In the meantime, is it time for NDP progressive supporters to challenge the NDP leadership to stiffen their spines, to stop doing what is expediently “calculated” and start doing what is “principled” by reversing the acceptance of Wheeldon’s forced resignation?

**********

Nova Scotian drops out of election after allegedly accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing

 

Morgan Wheeldon

Morgan Wheeldon

Morgan Wheeldon, right, has resigned as the NDP candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of Kings-Hants amidst controversy over comments attributed to him on Facebook. He and Lenore Zann, a New Democrat MLA in Nova Scotia, attended the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival earlier this year. (Kings-Hants NDP/Facebook)

An NDP candidate in Nova Scotia who suddenly resigned from the federal election campaign Monday morning says he is the victim of a “shameful and dishonest” smear campaign.

Morgan Wheeldon was the NDP’s official candidate in Kings-Hants before resigning after controversial comments he allegedly made about the Middle East on Facebook appeared as a screen grab being circulated by the Conservative Party.

Wheeldon is accused of saying Israel intended to “ethnically cleanse the region” in a Facebook post in August 2014. The original post has since been deleted.

Wheeldon said the Facebook post was part of a longer conversation and the post itself wasn’t expressing his sole viewpoint but one that comes from a variety of news sources, which is illustrated by the fact that the post opens with “one could argue…”

“The broader point was that depending on your source of information, you would draw different conclusions about the conflict,” Wheeldon said.

‘Dirty smear’

“The context changes the entirety of this whole thing and it makes exceptionally clear that this is a dirty smear and it’s shameful,” he said.

Earlier today, Brad Lavigne, an NDP campaign adviser, said Wheeldon’s position as reflected by the Facebook post didn’t reflect the party’s position.

“Our position on the conflict in the Middle East is clear, as Tom Mulcair expressed clearly in the debate. Mr. Wheeldon’s comments are not in line with that policy and he is no longer our candidate,” he said.

“We were made aware of some information that had not previously been disclosed. When we approached Mr. Wheeldon with this information, he submitted his resignation.”

Wheeldon said his true personal views are actually in line with the NDP platform.

“My position on Israel has always been that they deserve a safe and secure state, one that works with Canada and I also agree personally with the two-state solution in the NDP platform,” he said.

Wheeldon said what is being circulated doesn’t fall under defamation because he’s a public figure but if he were a private citizen, it would fall under cyberbullying legislation.

“Being accused of being an anti-Semite, that’s pretty much defamation if I was a private citizen.”

Carl Oldham, a town councillor in Wolfville, said he met Wheeldon a few times in the community and was impressed with him and his enthusiasm for the election.

“[Wheeldon] seemed to have lots of fire under him and he was all excited about the election coming,” he said.

“He seemed like a strong candidate, I don’t know who they would get now for that riding.”

Voters in Kings-Hants said the prospect of not having an NDP candidate in their riding for the election is concerning.

“I need to know exactly who is running … It’s really important to me that when I vote, I’m not voting for someone, I’m also voting against and that significantly reduces my choices,” Leah Isnor said.

SEE ALSO

NDP candidate axed over Israel comments shows triumph of neo-conservative dogma by Michael Laxer, rabble.ca, August 11, 2015 – “Is it really now the case that you cannot run for the NDP if you have ever been publicly critical of Israel in any serious way? Given Wheeldon and Paul Manly before him, it certainly would appear so — and that is ludicrously anti-democratic and wrong-headed. Where does this end? His are by no means the only controversial comments on the Conservative site.”

FAIR USE NOTICE – For details click here

%d bloggers like this: