With two elections going on, in Canada and the U.S., there are an endless amount of face-palming moments that occur on the campaign trail.
Never mind the gaffes that come from the party leaders; it’s the resignations from party candidates across the country that never cease to amaze.
Lets take the most recent case of Alex Johnstone, an NDP candidate running in the Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas riding in Ontario, who was forced to explain her comments on an old Facebook photo depicting a Nazi concentration camp.
In an attempt to be funny, Johnstone remarked about the phallic shape of the electrified fence posts without realizing the image was that of a notorious death camp.
Indeed, she even admitted it once the scandal broke, telling a local newspaper that she had no idea what Auschwitz was early last week.
Yes, the comment in question was made seven years ago, but the point remains—for someone who has a Masters degree, according to her campaign biography, how she is not aware of the most notorious death camp of the Nazi regime boggles the mind.
Johnstone has apologized for her remarks and accused her political opponents of ‘mud slinging’.
Elsewhere, earlier in the month, Joy Davies, a Liberal candidate in the Lower Mainland, was dropped from the ticket after old Facebook comments concerning marijuana surfaced.
Specifically, her posts suggested that more pot leads to less domestic violence in married couples and that smoking marijuana while pregnant is not harmful to the mother and/or baby.
While Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is in favour of legalizing marijuana, Davies resigned her seat a few days after the Facebook posts came to light.
It begs the question of whether voters really care what someone said on social media one, two or seven years ago. But if it’s egregious enough, it’s obviously enough to force a party to dump a candidate.
It makes me miss the good ole fashioned days before I was born where reporters had to rely on debates for gaffes.
Facebook and Twitter seem to have cornered that market now.
On the topic of resignations, it’s the end of an era down south across the 49th parallel as John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, abruptly announced his exit from the Speakership and his Congressional seat come October.
Boehner, who has led the Republican Party in the House of Representatives since 2011, is currently trying to pass a spending bill to fund the government before a Sept. 30 deadline.
In typical political fashion, both parties are using the spending bill for partisan purposes. Republicans want to insert a measure to defund Planned Parenthood—a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health as well as maternal and child health services—while Democrats won’t pass any legislation with such a measure.
Should the two parties fail to pass legislation, the government will shut down, which—depending on your political philosophy—could be either a utopian or dystopian situation.
It’s hard not to feel for Boehner, who has had to act as the lead Republican negotiator with a Democratic president since the Tea Party wave that took over the House in 2010.
The right-wing element already embarrassed the party with one partial government shutdown in 2013 that lasted for 16 days.
Now that the two sides are gearing up for another showdown, it’s tough to not blame him for wanting to jump ship.