COLUMN: Discretion, or the lack of, at the click of a mouse

Here we are two weeks away from a provincial election, and the BC Conservatives are only now doing a “thorough review” ...

COLUMN: Discretion, or the lack of, at the click of a mouse

Here we are two weeks away from a provincial election, and the BC Conservatives are only now doing a “thorough review” of their candidates!

Don’t you think they might have, during the many weeks leading up to the April 16 start of the campaign, done that already?

After all, most people, including leader John Cummins, are aware that some  “conservatives” tend to have strong views on various issues.

I have also discovered that most who lean to the far right are getting on in years and, obviously to Mr. Cummins’ chagrin over departing candidates, are not overly adept at dealing with social media.

While not a BC Conservative, I have to include myself in the “not overly adept” category when it comes to social media. I have a Twitter account, and a presence on Facebook, but my use of and participation in either is at best occasional.

First of all – and anyone who knows me will attest to this – I couldn’t possibly convey anything in the 140-character (including spaces) Twitter limit.

I do know, however, how easy it can be to make, in the heat of the moment, a stupid comment.

I’ve also learned to never respond to an email after an evening of wine consumption. The potential for inflammatory or inappropriate comment is simply too great.

Emails, at least for the most part, are restricted to the sender and receiver. Twitter, Facebook and online commenting and blogs are on the world-wide web, and that should be a clue – world wide – that whatever you say is accessible to anyone with a computer.

And when you are a wanna-be in politics you have to, and you must have been, circumspect in your comments because no matter which party you represent, someone will be tasked to scour all sources to find a crack in your armour or a comment that you originally thought was “just funny” rather than a political career-ender.

Since the BC Conservatives have decided to rescreen their remaining candidates, it means there is potential for others to join the four already dismissed.

That party is not alone, however, as the NDP recently dumped a candidate in the Okanagan, and you can bet everyone else in the political game is again sifting through candidate profiles and backgrounds to circumvent fall-out for electronically published dirt or indiscretions.

Fortunately, the printed word in a newspaper has to pass by a number of eyes and minds before it reaches the public, avoiding for the most part those “oh, crap” moments that can occur after hitting the send button on computer or phone.

Even then, there is the occasional oops in print and after writing this column for more than 370 consecutive weeks, and many hundreds more over 25 years from the 1970s to the 1990s, I know that when you try to be provocative, it happens now and then.

Fortunately for me, access to my columns of decades ago is available only through the dusty archives of a museum rather than instant on the desktop through Google. So, if there is what may now be considered a politically incorrect comment within any of my musings, some poor researcher will, instead of at the click of a mouse, have to laboriously read through a hell of a lot of old, large and probably musty newspapers.

Then again, since I’m not running for office, who would bother, or for that matter, care about my opinions, be they right or wrong (or in the centre).

markrushton@abbynews.com