I contacted The Star and was just told I can't even write a letter to the editor under a pseudonym.
Unfortunately, I had already almost finished what I was going to send them. So here it is in all its non-DAMMITy glory. I'm planning on having another go -- complete with linkies -- later.
On Monday, July 25, editors of the online version of The Star saw fit to publish 'The Curse of Gotcha Politics' by Mark Penninga, executive director of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada and author of the web-page containing information on Tim Hudak’s 2009 position on abortion.
I wondered why this was appearing. Did Mr. Penninga have more information on Mr. Hudak's abortion stance? That would be good because, beyond a pledge not to reopen the abortion debate, Ontario voters do not know if he stands behind his 2009 position.
No, there was no more information on that issue.
Was Mr. Penninga or his Reformed Christian organization misrepresented in The Star and thus needed an opportunity to set things right?
No. Rather, he applauds The Star as the only media outlet to contact him.
So, where's the 'gotcha'? And what's his interest in it?
Amidst much faff about 'our use of media and technology, its dumbing-down impact on public discourse, and the hope of being able to have meaningful societal conversations about sensitive topics like abortion' and 'sensationalist "gotcha" politics', it appears that the gotcha was on him.
And I perpetrated it.
I am the unnamed blogger who 'happened to come across' the information that unleashed what Chris Selley at the National Post called 'online hellfire'. (I am also the target of a snide characterization as a blogger ‘with a chip on his or her shoulder'.)
To clarify, I have been blogging -- under a pseudonym, yes -- on women's rights and politics in general for more than five years. I didn't 'happen' on that information on Hudak's abortion stance -- he's in favour of defunding it, by the way -- I went looking for it.
And found it. Gotcha!
Now, suddenly, Conservatives and anti-abortion promoters are seemingly perplexed by the media and public's interest in this 'two-year-old article from an organization that nobody has heard of'.
Really? Then why did Penninga's organization think it useful for its members to know the position on 'pro-life' issues of the Ontario Conservative leadership candidates during the campaign in 2009?
Are Ontario voters as a whole not entitled to the same information?
I guess not. We are to be satisfied with the tight-lipped, Harper-esque 'we will not reopen the abortion debate' meme and refrain from 'sensationalist' politics.
Tut-tut, says Mr. Penninga. Mere chip-shouldered bloggers and 'Liberal spin-doctors' (that would be Warren Kinsella, who picked up the story from my blog) do not have the 'maturity and grace to understand' a serious issue like abortion. We 'poison the debate' and play 'cheap political games'.
My original question is perfectly legitimate. Would Tim Hudak as premier work to defund abortion? Yes, I know that abortion is a federal matter and he can't recriminalize it (however much his supporters may wish for that).
But health care is the biggest budget item in the province. And if you believe the squawking of the various Chicken Littles at the moment, the financial axe is about to fall on all kinds of things.
Medical services have been defunded in the past. Hospital beds have been closed.
Why not defund abortion? Why not defund certain types of abortion? Why not cut back on the locations it is available? Why not put up barriers to safe, legal abortion in the name of saving money?
Especially if it would garner the support of 'mature' and 'graceful' voters able to understand what this is about?
Mr. Hudak must answer the question. Would he defund abortion?
On a personal note: I'm delighted that a mere blogger, an ordinary citizen, could put the spotlight on this issue. All I did was dig a little. And find something that some would obviously prefer remain cloaked.
ADDED: Link to original post.