Some columns you just hate to write. This is one of those columns. But I’m writing it anyway, because if I didn’t, I would be committing the same error as my subject: letting personal bias cloud my judgement on a question of political importance.
That is what House of Commons Speaker Greg Fergus stands accused of doing, after he recorded a personal tribute to outgoing Ontario Liberal leader John Fraser that was shown at the party’s recent leadership convention. Fergus made the video in his office, in full speaker’s regalia, even though his role demands strict neutrality. He claims the video was to be shown at a private gathering, not to thousands of people, but the transgression was identical: making a partisan statement from a neutral perch.
I’ve known Greg Fergus since we were teenagers, on the Montreal high school and college debate circuit, and later as young politicos. Greg was universally described as smart, funny, dedicated, and a really nice guy. Which is why this drama hurts, because good character is rare in politics these days.
But politics demands more than good character, it demands good judgment.