Jason Lamarche is an NPA candidate for city council in Vancouver. As much as I despise the NPA for its opposition to bike lanes, they do have 2 likeable candidates Jason Lamarche and Sean Bickerton. Jason is young, dorky, progressive, and most importantly wired-in. He has an extensive online history, and the media (mostly CTV) is using it to hammer the guy.
Last week, CTV reported on a blog post Jason wrote in 2007 that discussed a ‘scandalous’ matrix to rate women. This week, they dug a bit deeper, and found entries on urban dictionary (a website devoted to documenting slang terms, often with racy content) presumably written by Jason between 2005 and 2007. The full list of entries is here, and includes words like binner, click fraud, 337, proverb, phisers, and 3 musketeers. *gasp*
Jason’s response went from “I have a sense of humour; stop smearing me so we can focus on the issues” (paraphrased) to “that wasn’t me, you can’t prove anything” (also paraphrased). Sadly, he’s now pulled down most of his online content, including a video feature he had on YouTube called Liberal Minute that showed off his personality and opinions on issues much better than any of his campaign material.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the media has gone after a young candidate for online content that really isn’t that shocking. Last provincial election, NDP candidate Ray Lam was forced to resign when Facebook pictures of him pretend groping a female friend were leaked.
If Facebook pictures, old blog posts, and entries in urban dictionary entries are enough to disqualify a candidate from running for public office, no one from my generation will ever be elected. This has to change, but won’t until some young candidate stands up to the media.
Instead of denying the urban dictionary posts, Jason should have responded to the media by saying:
Seriously? This is the best you could find? Or are you just saving the really good stuff for next week? Because, if that is all you have I can put you in contact with my friend Greg – he has some embarrassing photos of me passed out next to a toilet. Or you could try to hack into the old Hotmail account I used in high school. It has racy emails I sent ex-girlfriends. Better still, here is the alias I used when I was 14 and the BBS’s and message boards I hung out on. Warning, I probably used the word ‘cock’ a lot, but then again I was 14.
Maybe then the media could get over this silly obsession with smearing anyone who’s life is documented online. I know I have lots of embarrassing photos and content online, and I’m a saint compared to most people my age. When the Ray Lam ‘scandal’ broke in 2009, I gathered all the embarrassing photos of myself that I could find, but somehow I forgot about the chocolate scunt incident. There goes my political career.