Dr. Dawg

Dechert Hearts (2011)

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The media are now busy crafting a screenplay.

A relatively unknown Conservative MP, Bob Dechert, caught flirting by email with a press official from China. A suggestion—less than a whisper—of impropriety of some unspecified kind. The age-old theme of forbidden love. It felt so right; Shi was so Rong.

Slow news week, scribes? 9/11-ed out?

Note the incoherent bits and pieces with which the CBC ends its story:

Last June, CSIS director Richard Fadden told CBC’s Peter Mansbridge that there were provincial and municipal political figures who have “developed quite an attachment to foreign countries.”

Dechert, a lawyer and former president of the Empire Club of Canada, is married to Ruth Clark, according to his personal website.

Dechert also serves on the Canada China Legislative Association, a parliamentary forum established in 1998 that “promotes the exchange of information between Canadian parliamentarians and representatives of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China in order to encourage better understanding and closer ties between the two countries.”

There is a suggestion, never quite articulated, that Canadian national security might have been compromised, although the emails were sent when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Not to be unkind, that role is a fairly junior one, and Dechert wouldn’t have found himself within a mile of a state secret.

But there is more than one narrative lurking here, of course. Well-thumbed cultural scripts are presented in the form of unanswered questions: we are invited to construct our own responses. Was he “unfaithful” to his spouse, to use that inkhorn term? Is he too old to flirt with a pretty young Chinese woman?

So far it’s all innuendo and suggestion, but, trading on the public’s salacious instincts, our news media have made this into a serious news story, one so serious that Dechert feels called upon to apologize.

Good grief, for what?

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on September 10, 2011 1:47 PM.

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