With the chorus “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!” racing through my mind I read today’s Canadian Press report in the Star that Toronto-area (Scarborough Southwest) Liberal Tom Wappel would not be seeking re-election. This follows his recent ranks-breaking vote, with the Conservatives, on some of the Draconian measures in anti-terrorism legislation.
Wappel, who won his way to Parliament in 1988 after an upset win in a nomination race (thanks to support from members of the anti-choice group Campaign Life), has been in the right flank of the most conservative Liberals ever since. In fact he never missed an opportunity to air the dirty laundry of ideological divisions within the ranks of his party.
Here are some of his positions, apparently good enough for Liberals all these years:
When Wappel ran for the Liberal leadership in 1990, finishing a distant fourth to Jean Chrétien, he was against federal day-care programs and argued that, instead, the government should promote stay-at-home parenting (read Mom). Of course Wappel’s leadership candidacy was just a handy soap-box for his ideologue supporters. Sixteen years later he got his wish with the election of the Stephen Harper government and the $100 a month child-care allowance.
Wappel’s Cleaveresque traditionalism didn’t stop there. He has also said he did not consider single-parent households or homosexual couples to be families. He once advocated for abortion to become a criminal offence, life imprisonment the maximum penalty.
His opposition to all LGBT equality rights causes has been legendary. Read his views on sexual orientation, as contained in a 1994 “discussion paper” preserved for posterity, here.
The guy really rose to another peak of national prominence with his interactions with war veterans (not that Wappel is a peacenik).
In May, 2001 Wappel had to publicly apologize for his treatment of a constituent, 81-year old Jim Baxter, who had asked Wappel for some assistance in securing unpaid benefits for his wartime service.
Wappel’s help was not immediately forthcoming.
Instead he questioned Baxter’s loyalty to the Liberal Party, suggesting he knew that the poor guy – who, by then, was blind and partially deaf – had voted for another candidate in the 2000 election.
This was deliciously lampooned in The Hammer.
Then another zinger of a letter surfaced.
In this case another constituent, former CBC employee Larry Bond, used some ripe language in a handwritten letter to his MP suggesting a little bit of hypocrisy on the part of Wappel. It had to do with the end, in 1998, to Wappel’s 25-year marriage. Bond merely pointed out the inconsistencies between Wappel’s strong views on family values and the…er…situation at hand.
Wappel clearly did not vet his September 3, 1998 response through a clergyperson when the ‘Honourable Member’ of Parliament wrote:
“What a puny and pitiful life you must lead, to find happiness in the pain of others.
“I’d invite you to kiss my ass, but I’m afraid you would interpret it as an invitation, rather than the insult it is meant to be.”