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BC cabinet minister flames out
February 7, 2007 12:13 PM   Subscribe


 
I'm finding it difficult to muster outrage about this, because I don't know this dude's username on MeFi.
posted by cgc373 at 12:15 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Too funny. I kind of felt sorry for him until I read the e-mail exchange at the bottom.
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2007


I'm amused... a lesson for all of us!
posted by HuronBob at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2007


"I had to break out the banhammer" Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday after accepting Bennett's offer to resign.
posted by ND¢ at 12:21 PM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


I will continue to work for hunters and anglers in the East Kootenay as I always have and you will continue to be a self-inflated, pompous, American know-it-all.

Get that man a MetaFilter account!
posted by fandango_matt at 12:22 PM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


"It was an unacceptable exchange, clearly," Premier Gordon Campbell said Tuesday after accepting Bennett's offer to resign. "And man oh man, you should have seen the flag queue."
posted by cortex at 12:24 PM on February 7, 2007


"I've been in bar fights, I've been in knife fights"

I think there could have been a better way to resolve this.
posted by jeffmik at 12:30 PM on February 7, 2007


"It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a shit what your opinion is on Canada."

That'll teach them Canuckians to mess with the U.S.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:30 PM on February 7, 2007


There are people who don't like Americans?! Well, color me flabbergasted.
posted by amro at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2007


That is indeed a rarefied, genteel environment to work in. I see far worse than that on a daily basis on my job.
posted by psmealey at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2007


That's a really tough break.

I know we need to present our politicians as "perfect" and all but it was just one little angry email written on a blackberry. I mean, should he really get the boot for this? If Trudeau had a blackberry, he would have said the same thing... and he probably would have attached a picture of himself giving the middle finger.

On the other hand, Bennet clearly was not in a state of mind where he should be writing emails to his constituents. What was he thinking?

A huge factor as to why his email is so offensive is because we really are not used to hearing those kind of things coming from a politician.

They can't even speak passionately/candidly anymore.
posted by ageispolis at 12:32 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


pwnt
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


So wait... in other countries, members of the legislature actually respond personally to constituent letters? There's your problem right there Canada. Just send out a form letter that has nothing to do with the voter's issue like they do in the US!
posted by birdherder at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yeah, why can't he just send out a badly worded, condescending form letter response months after the fact that doesn't address the issue in the least bit like the ones I get from one of my senators?
posted by Gucky at 12:38 PM on February 7, 2007


I'm guessing that email was written on his laptop.

The Blackberry one would have been more like U R A DUMASS GO 2 HELL L8R BILL.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:42 PM on February 7, 2007


This is indeed a great day to be a Canadian. That was an awesome, awesome flame-out. I see a future Heritage moment.
posted by GuyZero at 12:45 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the e-mail:

U KNOW WHO ELSE DOSN'T LIKE CANADA?

HITLER
posted by Greg Nog at 12:56 PM on February 7, 2007


IM IN UR KOOTENAY ALLOCATIN UR BIG GAME
posted by ND¢ at 1:02 PM on February 7, 2007 [6 favorites]


...what kind of flame out ends with “have a nice day?” I mean it sounds almost in earnest.

"I've been in bar fights, I've been in knife fights"

Don’t bring a bar to a knife fight.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


That is indeed a rarefied, genteel environment to work in. I see far worse than that on a daily basis on my job

Exactly... I used to work at a large company where everyone from the president on down to the peons at my level routinely used much worse language (up to and including the f-bomb) in meetings and emails.

We also used to used to throw, (and break) stuff, a lot.

I'll always remember my surprise when I mentioned this to a college friend (a few years after we both entered the workforce), and he told me that at his job (at a different big corporation), such "abusive" behavior was grounds for dismissal.
posted by JeffL at 1:06 PM on February 7, 2007


Don’t bring a bar to a knife fight.

Or if you must, bring a K bar.
posted by goetter at 1:10 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


If Trudeau had a blackberry, he would have said the same thing

No, Trudeau would have done it with a lot more style and wit, and done it to somebody who was asking for it it. And this would have been obvious to everyone.
This guy did nothing to deserve such a response, and Bennet just revealed himself to be a boorish hothead jerk.
posted by Flashman at 1:11 PM on February 7, 2007


Does it mean that I play too much WoW when I read the headline for this link and said to myself: "Wait, there's a cabinet I haven't found yet in the Outlands???"
posted by thanotopsis at 1:18 PM on February 7, 2007


posted by Flashman Bennet just revealed himself to be a boorish hothead jerk.

Unlike most other politicians, whose boorish hotheaded jerkness is kept hidden behind a facade of fake smiles and glad-handing but manifests itself elsewhere as rationale for torture, wars, greed, hatred, and sexual perversion.

Personally, I find Bennett's attitude refreshingly honest.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2007


Hmmm...member of government, good with guns, explosive temper, hates Americans...I think we have a new quail hunting companion for Dick Cheney!
posted by mosk at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


> If Trudeau had a blackberry, he would have said the same thing...

If Minister Bennett's wife was cheating on him with Ted Kennedy and Geraldo Rivera, the public would have given him some slack for an emotional outburst. Unlike most words from Pierre Trudeau's mouth, this was an uncalled-for, witless, bullying rant, no matter what his constiuent had said.
posted by ardgedee at 1:29 PM on February 7, 2007


...this was an uncalled-for, witless, bullying rant...

I'm with ya, except for the "bullying" part. It's not like he threatened to come out there and legislate his ass.

Yeah, it was uncalled for, but sometimes people snap. It seems like an apology was appropriate, but not a resignation. Of course, I come from a country where people tell each other to fuck off on the Senate floor...
posted by solotoro at 1:39 PM on February 7, 2007


Personally, I find Bennett's attitude refreshingly honest.
posted by fandango_matt

Heartily seconded! I would love to hear McCain or Hillary chew someone's ass out like that. I bet Jim Webb could make you cry.
posted by msali at 1:43 PM on February 7, 2007


"Don’t bring a bar to a knife fight.

Or if you must, bring a K bar."

I was gonna bring a grizzly bar...
posted by stenseng at 1:49 PM on February 7, 2007




Or a Hinterland Who's Who, at the very least.... *cues wistful flute solo*

posted by jokeefe at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2007


Whoops. My comment was in response to this: "This is indeed a great day to be a Canadian. That was an awesome, awesome flame-out. I see a future Heritage moment."
posted by jokeefe at 1:58 PM on February 7, 2007


From the Vancouver Sun article: Then Bennett, 56, pushed the send button. At the moment, in his hotel room, he didn't realize he had just deleted himself from the Liberal cabinet.

Pol + Delete — by popular demand, electronic voting would replace paper ballots overnight if the machines offered voters this particular key combo. (However, I wouldn't have pressed it for Mr. Bennett in this case: seems like a heartfelt apology — by email, of course — would have been enough.)
posted by cenoxo at 2:26 PM on February 7, 2007


Nice use of the word "imbroglio" in the 4th paragraph. Very nice indeed. Although I'm a bit disappointed that was no mention of a "kerfuffle", or maybe even a "palaver".
posted by afx237vi at 2:34 PM on February 7, 2007


Personally, I find Bennett's attitude refreshingly honest.

I have to disagree. In replying to a constituent, the minister is actually communicating with his EMPLOYER. The constituent pays income, sales and other taxes which pay for government programs - not to mention the minister's generous salary and perks. He deserves a respectful reply no matter how abrasive the voter is. As a public servant, he has no choice but to take the high road here.

I am currently going through an extremely frustrating process with my own MP, an NDP member at the federal level. I am trying to determine the status of my wife's permanent resident application (she's Panamanian and is back home waiting for her papers).

I originally called my representatives office in early December and was told they could at least go into her file and find out where it's at. I was told it would take 10 days. I waited two weeks and called the constituency office. She asked for the info I'd already provided. Then she told me she'd call back the next day with an answer. No call. I called several times, each time she was unavailable and so I left a message. I have NEVER received a return call.

So I took it to the next level, emailing the MP directly. Still no response at this point. The fact that I voted for this guy (Brian Masse) and usually support the NDP only makes my blood boil. As an opposition MP, he has less power than a gov't MP, but as a taxpayer all I really expected was a phone call and whatever they might be able to do for me was a bonus. I can't wait til he knocks on my door during the next election.
posted by crowman at 2:38 PM on February 7, 2007


By the way, I have to point out I have never been remotely impolite to any of the folks I've dealt with. At this point, that's gonna change.
posted by crowman at 2:41 PM on February 7, 2007


What Roger Dodger said. Part of a minister's job is dealing patiently with upset constituents. That was appalling, regardless of either side's position on the issues.
posted by dhartung at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2007


A sheepish Bennett agreed with Campbell that fulminating in an e-mail was unbecoming of a minister.

I wonder why Campbell didn't feel being arrested for drunk-driving was unbecoming of a premier?
posted by futureproof at 3:07 PM on February 7, 2007


"I think there could have been a better way to resolve this."

A real man would cut off his hand.
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on February 7, 2007


Funny. I feel a begrudging respect for this Bill and his roughneck attitude.

I think Mr. Hart might be lucky that the only thing he got was a scathing reply.
posted by dozo at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2007


"Don’t bring a bar to a knife fight.

Or if you must, bring a K bar."

I was gonna bring a grizzly bar..”

Didn’t Daniel Boone kill a bar with a knife when he was only 12? If you’re serving someone that young, it’s no surprise your liquor license gets cancelled.
This fine how dye’do did indeed result in the foofaraw that touched off that jeremiad.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:59 PM on February 7, 2007


Geez, Aperantly Canadians have really thin skin.
posted by delmoi at 4:24 PM on February 7, 2007


I have to disagree. In replying to a constituent, the minister is actually communicating with his EMPLOYER.

So what? if my employer is rude and condescending to me, I ought to have every right to be insulting right back. I can't, of course, because the employer could fire me. But that doesn't mean employers ought to have some moral right not to be insulted.
posted by delmoi at 4:26 PM on February 7, 2007


Metafilter: I didn't grow up in the city or anything like that. . . . I never finished high school.

I know, I know. Just because I can doesn't mean I should.
posted by John of Michigan at 5:12 PM on February 7, 2007


Delmoi, I agree generally speaking. But was the voter really rude or condescending? He stated his opinion that the BC gov't is more concerned with big business than ordinary people. It was for Bennett to convince him otherwise... not tell him to STFU.
posted by crowman at 5:18 PM on February 7, 2007


In the course of my work (as a public servant, not elected) I've been given letters to reply to from constituents (sent to the Minister -- how did this one make it so high?) -- and the hardest thing is keeping the answer relevant with so many layers of bureaucracy to get through. Any relevance, and any hint of attitude, tends to get washed out on the way out. This could only be written by a Minister, because anyone else (including one of his subordinates, I bet) would never have been permitted to say this.

Course then I remember Cretien grabbing a reporter by the face to push him out of the way. Hotheadedness + ego.
posted by dreamsign at 6:55 PM on February 7, 2007


I mean, should he really get the boot for this?

Yes. He's a public representative. He should behave with dignity and respect.

I wonder why Campbell didn't feel being arrested for drunk-driving was unbecoming of a premier?

Damn, I wish the media had clued-in to that two-facedness. What a disgusting double standard.

And to think, these doofusii think they deserve a whopping pay raise, regardless the fact they're earning several times what an average BCer makes.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:57 PM on February 7, 2007


Personally, I find Bennett's attitude refreshingly honest.

The email certainly is honest, but it reveals Bennett as an idiot who doesn't care about anyone's opinions but his own and doesn't care about his job (as a representative of the people). What it boils down to is that he doesn't like his correspondent's opinion and so Bennett calls him some names and then dismisses him because he was born in the USA.

I'm happy that he was honest enough to out himself as someone unsuitable for the job, but I'm hardly refreshed by politicians revealing they are louts (though it wasn't exactly a secret, at least to locals).

BTW, Bennett has a serious anti-American bias. Recently, he has taken to accusing our longstanding local environmental group of being a front for Americans who want to turn part of the area into parkland. Surely no red-blooded Kootenay resident would have any interest in protecting their region from further massively destructive coal mining, so it must be those Americans again.
posted by ssg at 7:18 PM on February 7, 2007


If the dude actually had been American, Bennett'd probably be made premier by now.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:23 PM on February 7, 2007


The article is a lot funnier if you s/American/Toronto.
posted by QIbHom at 8:17 PM on February 7, 2007


CTRL-ALT-DEBATE
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:54 PM on February 7, 2007


It was the email! If only I hadn't had my blackberry to respond so quickly with, I would have written out the letter and thrown it away upon further consideration. Technology these days is making people so inconsiderate of each other!

And if I'd had to write a letter to the editor on paper, I wouldn't have dashed off such a quick and impudent MetaFilter comment...
posted by lostburner at 1:01 AM on February 8, 2007


ageispolis writes "I mean, should he really get the boot for this?"

Ya, it's like wetware tech support. It doesn't matter what kind of ass the client/user is being you act professionally.
posted by Mitheral at 8:26 AM on February 8, 2007


Yeah, as others have said, I would unhestitatingly side with Bennett if Hart had actually deserved that level of ire. Too often we see passive-aggressive chickenshit nonsense from our elected officials (McCain's ridiculous, juvenile rejoinder to Obama a couple months ago is a pretty typical example of that) and I welcome politicians being blunt when it's appropriate. But in this case, Hart didn't deserve it. A terse, tightly worded, directly reply might have been called for, this was not.

No mere minor league asshole, this guy.

Now that I think of it, you would never see an American congressperson refer to an ordinary citizen, constituent or not, as "dumb". I actually think the real reason for this is our elected officials, by and large, while nearly cornerning the market on hubris and chutzpah, are significantly less intelligent than the overall population. They know this, and don't want to be called out on it.
posted by psmealey at 9:24 AM on February 8, 2007


Bill is an MLA which means he is was a provincal rep not federal. You don't see this kind of thing in Canadian federal politics much either. Probably because it's a) harder to just show up and get the job, and b) the whips are better able to deal with loose cannons at the federal level. Though it was pretty wild west when Reform first got a lot of MPs elected.

His official history doesn't mention any other goverment service except some consulting for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs so he's not a long term seasoned politician.
posted by Mitheral at 11:01 AM on February 8, 2007


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