The Wrong People Are Apologizing

Bob Rae is apparently apologizing for the Liberal staffer, Adam Carroll, who was behind the Vikileaks attack. Carroll himself, who is described as perfectly nice and hard working, is also supposed to be apologetic.

I don’t get it. I mean, when is someone on the Conservative side going to apologize for Vic Toews?

That is, apologize for Vic Toews just being Vic Toews.

The guy’s public behaviour around that internet bill has shown him to be an unrepentant dink. Vikileaks — which showed not only that he was a jerk to his ex but also that there are a host of irregularities in the way the dude spends public money — proved he isn’t fit for office. I think that makes Carroll’s actions a public service.

Also, I don’t see the Conservatives apologizing to the NDP for originally accusing them, without evidence, of being behind Vikileaks.

Anyway… speaking of public services… climate scientist Peter H Gleick is apologizing in the Huffington Post for leaking documents that expose pro-tobacco, anti-climate-science lobby group, The Heartland Institute, as tax frauds and science charlatans.

Apologizing?? Really?

And now, the organization he founded, The Pacific Institute, is investigating him for misconduct and Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in Florida, is saying journalists shouldn’t use those leaked documents because the way they were attained is tainted.

How does this backlash make any sense?

Gleick’s big crime is that he verified the authenticity of documents he’d been emailed anonymously. He did this by using a fake name to trick the Heartland Institute into emailing him documents he already had in his possession.

That may, to an academic journalist like McBride, seem shifty. But Gleick isn’t a journalist. He’s a scientist. And now a whistleblower. And while McBride says that journalists shouldn’t use the memos Gleick made public “without taking pains to verify” them, I don’t seem to recall the Poynter Institute urging the same caution over the East Anglia emails — and those emails weren’t inadvertently released, they were stolen.

What’s more, the Heartland memos have been verified. By the Heartland Institute. (Although, I hear they’re still quibbling over the strategy document, claiming it’s a fake. But DeSmogblog has gone over it with a fine tooth comb and shown it’s legit and I’ll take their word over Heartland’s, thank you very much.)

So, Gleick has nothing to feel bad about. By double checking the documents he’d been leaked, he was doing good science. And performing a public service. He deserves applause not an investigation.

Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute isn’t saying, “Er… yeah… we probably shouldn’t have claimed in our IRS filings to be paying a director who’d been dead two years. And whoops, yeah, we’re sorry about getting tax-exempt status for being a think tank when really the vast majority of what we do is lobbying the government. Maybe, if we’re going to stick to the lobbying, we should start paying taxes and register as a lobbyist organization. We’re really, really sorry for lying about that.”

No, instead they’re acting all hurt and offended because their precious annual report was made public. And because they were duped by someone using a fake email address.

Wow. If they’re that easy to trick with a bogus email, maybe I should see if they could help me get at this money I have in a bank account in Nigeria.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

12 thoughts on “The Wrong People Are Apologizing”

  1. Bob Rae did the right thing, and the wise thing. He quickly got out in front of the problem, as the saying goes; he took responsibility and apologized to the minister, thereby avoiding the damage that would have hit the Liberals if they’d waited for either the Ottawa Citizen or the Speaker’s Office to reveal the Vikileaks source. Mr. Rae’s decisive action puts the Liberals on the high moral ground, in contrast to what seems to be obfuscating by the Conservatives over the robocall incidents. It also casts the Liberals in the role of respecters of Parliament, again in contrast to etc. etc.
    Mr. Rae has been around the block; he knows what he’s about.

  2. I had the same reaction as Paul. I think Vikileaks was delightfully fair game given the circumstances. I felt represented, which doesn’t happen often.

  3. Maybe what Rae did was a smart move, tactically speaking. But at the end of the day, he and Carroll did nothing wrong and it’s the Conservatives who should be apologizing.

    At the same time, I’m not sure playing fair and being respectful is going to win the day against Harper and his gang. The Conservatives don’t seem to be particularly constrained by law or parliament. And they don’t seem to let little things facts or evidence — or even ethics — influence their decisions.

    I wouldn’t suggest the opposition parties should stoop to the same level. But I do think they should choose their high ground wisely.

  4. I disagree, Paul, and so did Bob Rae. His party is still dogged by the sponsorship scandal, so any opportunity to come across as respecters of Parliament and of simple human decency is worth taking, momentary embarrassment aside.
    If the Liberals hope to rebuild and to differentiate themselves from the Conservatives, playing fair and being respectful is clearly the way to go.

  5. Oh, I forgot: in re: your 5th paragraph, John Baird did get up in the House after Bob Rae made his statement, and apologized to the NDP.

  6. Paul, I think what we’re missing here is that Vic Toews and The Heartland Institute are Experts. Experts are Serious People who Do Things. Adam Carroll and Peter Gleick are Just People. Like us. We’re Just People too. And we Watch Things and Buy Things. The Experts Do Things, we Buy Things, and as long as what The Experts Do helps us Buy and Watch with as little fuss as possible, then whistleblowers and pranksters are Getting In The Way. Out of the way, whistleblower! I’m Watching a Thing that I may want to Buy.

  7. Oh my Gawd… “Canadian democracy/politics” … am I right? Can I get an, “I know, right?”

  8. Barb: I take your point about Sponsorship. And as I said, Rae’s move was maybe/probably the right one tactically.

    But I’d hate to think Carroll’s career is screwed now over this because I have no issue with what he did.

    He just shone a spotlight on information that’s publicly available. That’s a very different beast than messing about with public money or giving out sweetheart communications contracts to your pals.

    As for Baird’s apology… I hadn’t read that. So, I apologize to John Baird and to the Conservative Party of Canada for assuming the worst about them. On this.

  9. Don’t weep for Mr. Carroll; he’ll land on his feet, I’m sure. And please don’t think that because you personally have no issue with what he did, that what he did was not wrong; he could have done his party major damage, and at a time when that is the last thing they needed. Bob Rae is smart enough to take a stand on behaviour that he wouldn’t want directed at any of his own sitting MPs.

    Mr. Baird’s apology was not only reported on in print; it was also broadcast.

  10. When you think about it, it was just a wee Twitter account. He may not land on his feet, he may end up unemployed, working at Chapters, or spending the next 10 years as a stay-at-home dad. You never know where ppl will end up in this day and age. I liked Vikileaks–it was an important, ballsy move in an age of unparalleled cowardice, even if it was anonymous. At least someone out there is stirring the pot.

    As for my “I know, right?” I got mine from Rick Mercer tonight on The Rant, so I’m good.

  11. Barb: You know our entire discussion (which I’m enjoying, btw) is really beside the point of my post.

    Whether what Carroll did was right or wrong is a secondary concern.

    What I was trying to get at is that what Vic Toews has said and has done is wrong and he’s the guy who should be begging forgiveness. Harper too, for supporting such a loathsome character.

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