EDITORIAL: Politics not for faint of heart

In a tooth-and-nail battle to win, being nice not enough

This week’s decision by entertainer, champion fundraiser and would-be member of parliament, Maria Manna, to step down as Liberal candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford may have been for the best.

The fact she appeared to be in way over her head in a recent debate in Langford on sustainability and environmental issues may have been the first clue that something was coming.

She did her best to respond to well thought-out questions from the crowd at Our Lady of the Rosary Church hall, but more often than not was forced to ever-so-politely tell them that she didn’t have an answer, but would do more research and get back to them.

It’s unfortunate that someone with a positive track record in doing what she’s good at accepted a position that she really had no business taking on. She’s too nice. Which is not a bad thing when you’re working in a social environment like the entertainment industry or doing charity work.

But in the often messy game of politics, being nice – and maybe a little naive – isn’t the first box the parties tick off when reviewing someone’s potential candidacy.

Whether Manna’s two-year-old Facebook posts ultimately did her in: the ones in which she rejected the official story that two jet planes brought down the twin towers in New York City on 9-11 – dug up and used as the centrepiece for a pair of news stories last weekend – we don’t know at this point.

We don’t think she’s crazy for questioning that story; lots of people have their doubts about what went on that day.

Are such views enough to punt a candidate? For the three largest political parties, the leaders of which are in a tooth-and-nail battle to win the country’s respect, confidence and votes, they very well may be.

But it won’t surprise us either if Manna tells us one day that she just couldn’t stomach the level of scrutiny that comes with running for federal office for a major party.

Replacement candidate Luke Krayenhoff, unsuccessful in winning the Liberal nomination next door in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, could well make it a three-way race in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

If that happens, then Manna’s decision was probably the right one, for all concerned.

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