It’s been three days since I wrote a brief piece about Awish Aslam, the girl who got herself tossed from a Stephen Harper rally in southwestern Ontario and promptly became a media darling and there has been virtually nothing written about her since, despite an orgy of stories in the few days from the incident until I published that piece of reality for the MSM to consider.
I say virtually, because there was one exception that appeared today in the London Free Press by Warren Kinsella, former War Room guru of the election machine of Jean Chretien and author of books like: Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics. A book, I should add, that I bought, read and enjoyed thoroughly.
Now, I should also add that Kinsella and I do have some history. I took him on in an email exchange that I published in a column way back when Chretien was the Prime Minister and he was engaged in his “kicking ass” politics. Since then, he and I have established something of a détente. I admire what and how he does things and he no longer calls me names. Politically, we can agree to disagree. When his dad died a few years back I sent him a heartfelt message and he replied graciously.
Having said that, I can’t understand his position in this piece. Aslam has been outed as an NDP party insider. This whole thing stinks of set-up. She may try and minimize her role, but reverting back to my high school Latin, res ipsa loquitor. She is not what she tried to portray herself as being in those hundreds of news stories written by the MSM in the days after her ejection from the Harper rally. Fortunately for the rest of us, her 15 minutes of fame are up. Or at least they should be, were it not for Kinsella’s attempt to prolong them.
But the salient issue here is that campaign events are private events. Those who stage a private event get to choose who can attend. While there is no doubt the RCMP ejected Aslam, from what I can tell from the media reports, they did so at the behest of local party organizers. And that is very normal. It happens at every campaign event at which a leader appears, regardless of party. Albeit, it is usually a party volunteer or contracted security that performs the deed, but the end result is the same.
Campaign events are staged not spontaneous. At every one, and I have overseen security at a great many, party insiders from the local riding staging the event scrutinize those attending and identify anyone who is an outsider. Whatever the parties say to the contrary, that is the way it happens.
The reasons are simple. The leader is coming to deliver a message that will hopefully gain some traction with the media. But, the other salient purpose of these events is to pump up the volunteers, campaign workers and folks who slog in the trenches to dig in and work harder to get out the vote. They are not staged to allow undecided voters to hear the message and hopefully decide to vote for their guy. That may be the stated illusion, but it isn’t the case. And the last thing the local riding associations want is a heckler or someone who will embarrass their leader on what is likely their only shot at hosting the party leader.
Should the RCMP have been involved in tossing Aslam? Decidedly not. And they have apologized for that. The local riding association should have arranged for their own volunteer or contracted security force. But Aslam had no “right” to be at that meeting and the party organizer was quite within their right to ask that she be removed. The same happens at Liberal events and even NDP events.
On that, I can guarantee I am correct. I have been there.