Monday, April 19, 2010
Kash Camp Pays No Heed to Dirty Leaflet Question
VANCOUVER – Politicos familiar with campaigns in ethnically-diverse ridings have heard, seen, and felt no shortage of strange stories coming out of interactions with communities by politicians.
Opposition candidates in Edmonton Castledowns in 2008 allege that now Minister of Employment and Immigration Thomas Lukaszuk promised big grant funding to the Somali, Lebanese, and other Moslem leaders in return for their communities’ votes.
Ethnic newspapers in Edmonton make no secret of their tit-for-tat election or candidate coverage. Arab, Ukrainian, Indian, Chinese, and others barely trouble themselves to hide the fact that a purchased advertisement will lead to favourable editorial comment – usually on the same page.
But this story emanating from the former Liberal Solicitor General Kash Heed’s camp in British Columbia takes the cake.
Direct mail pieces depicting prominent photos of drug paraphernalia, coffins, and even portraits of known criminals and drug lords were sent to allegedly pro-NDP and undecided Chinese-Canadian homes in the constituency of Vancouver-Fraserview during the last provincial campaign.
The unsigned leaflets stated in no uncertain terms that the provincial New Democrats would legalize heroin and prostitution, as well as bring in inheritance taxes – in Cantonese.
Never mind that all three issues would prove difficult, if not impossible, to sanction through provincial legislation – the timing and the anonymity of the message also made the statements impossible to defend against, says NDP Van-Fraserview Campaign Manager Dwain Martin.
Martin’s candidate, Gabriel Yui, lost to the provincial Liberal candidate Heed by 748 votes.
Heed was removed as the province’s top cop only days ago, and in some cases denies vehemently the origin of the leaflets, while in other news reports he appears to not deny the possibility of the leaflets coming from his camp – only that he himself knew nothing about them. His initial full statement is here – but makes no reference to the leaflets. Meanwhile, the Canadian Press reports that no members of the Heed camp could be contacted.
A link has been established between the direct mail company that handled the flyers and Heed – the owner of North American Mailing’s son, Amit Khanna, worked on the Liberal campaign.
Politics in ethnic communities across Canada have a reputation as being the toughest take-no-prisoners style of campaigning you will ever see – but this is over the line. Heed has yet to be removed from the Liberal caucus, but if the investigation bears fruit you can bet a struggling Gordon Campbell will cut the strings quickly.