When public meets private: Rob Ford and Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu - Macleans.ca

When public meets private: Rob Ford and Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu

Tease the day: a pair of conservative politicians deal with messy situations in very different ways


Jon Blacker/Reuters

Private lives are messy, and politicians don’t get the benefit of shielding their public lives from their private lives. They also occasionally make bad decisions. This morning, we’re confronted by two politicians who’ve taken two opposite approaches to recent collisions of their duelling lives.

Conservative Senator Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu, who lived with a staffer while he navigated a failed marriage, was at one point told by the Senate ethics officer that the affair with the staffer could not stand—either end it or fire her, he was told. Boisvenu did neither for months, until the whole thing exploded in a very public way. At that point, earlier this year, the staffer left the office. Boisvenu was very frank with reporters yesterday when he spoke about the affair: “It was a relationship that came and went, like the one with my wife, because I was completely torn between the two,” he said. Boisvenu shouldn’t be excused for ignoring the ethics officer’s orders, that much is certain. But the point at which his private life and public life collided must have been ultimately disorienting.

And then there’s the story of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, a man who the Toronto Star has accused on consecutive front pages of having an alcohol abuse problem. Today, the same paper’s editorial board is demanding “a full and frank explanation of what’s really going on.” If Ford’s dalliance with booze is as serious as some of the whispers—growing louder—out of City Hall suggest, then he certainly owes an explanation. Ford will, of course, do no such thing. He’d prefer to react exactly in the opposite way of Boisvenu, by building artificial walls around what he thinks are his private affairs. Ford simply refuses to acknowledge the public nature of some of his formerly private, if so far only alleged, transgressions.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with an internal Supreme Court report that recommends an overhaul of Canada’s family law system. The National Post fronts the grumbling among backbench Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with continuing coverage of Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged substance abuse issues. The Ottawa Citizen leads with discontent among Conservative MPs who claim they’re being muzzled. iPolitics fronts NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault, the youngest member of the House of Commons, saying he thinks separatism is finished in Quebec. CBC.ca leads with a looming Supreme Court decision about the ability of authorities to obtain private text messages without a wiretap order. National Newswatch showcases the Star‘s look at Ford’s behaviour at a recent military gala.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Tax burden. Lower-income families in Canada have seen their tax burdens drop more than any other demographic since 2007, according to a new OECD report. 2. MP pensions. Government reforms to MP pension plans might be coming, but in the meantime, a report says taxpayers spend $25 on the pensions for every $1 contributed by an MP.
3. Mr. Three Per Cent. Bernard Trépanier, who’s been accused of masterminding a network of collusion in Quebec, detailed his decades of political activity to the Charbonneau Commission. 4. Development bank. The BRICS group of emerging economies—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—agreed to open their own development bank to compete with the World Bank.

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