General · 14th November 2013
Andrew Coyne, Vancouver Sun
Editor's note: Couldn't help, it, I just had to borrow this from the Sun. It's dedicated to all people shaking their heads at the public writhings of some in high places. Enjoy, if that's the right word for it.
(NB: This is not about any particular person in the news. It is about everybody in the news.)
This is the hardest thing I have ever done. This has been the worst experience of my entire life. Believe me, no one feels more badly about this than I do. How could this have happened to me? I just want all the facts to come out. I'm just trying to get to the bottom of all this. I am prepared to answer everyone's questions. I am prepared to speak with certain hand-picked media. But first let's let the police do their work. Let's see all the evidence. Let's release all the documents. And then let's let my lawyers move for a mistrial.
About my expense claims. We're still trying to piece together what happened, but it seems that, yes, in the crush of a very busy schedule, some receipts marked "personal" or "private" may have been inadvertently mixed in with some other receipts marked "business" or "naughty." And I pledge to you today that every penny of these expenses will be repaid, with interest, out of the proceeds of future expense claims.
Second, with regard to my alleged drug use. I can't lie to you: When I told you
I couldn't lie to you before, I wasn't telling the whole truth. But that's because you didn't ask the right questions. When I said "I do not do drugs," you didn't specifically ask, "are you lying to us?" But let's not overstate this. I am not "addicted" to drugs. If I did drugs, it was only while filling out my expenses. As for the rest - the conflict of interest, the drunk and disorderly, the theft under, the driving while, not to mention tariff items 13485 through 13496: I am sorry. I am so sorry. I am just so sorry. I am sorry in a hundred inadmissible ways. To my family, my constituents, and most of all, to my dealers, I want to say: I am sorry. I know I've let you down. Worse, I've let myself down. I have not lived up to the standards I set for myself, which were pretty much non-existent to begin with.
I just wish I could go back in time and make everything right. If I could go back in time - if I could get in a time machine right now and go back to certain points in my life and change the course of history, without accidentally murdering my own grandfather or otherwise tearing a hole in the fabric of space-time, I would. But I can't. I can't alter the past. On the other hand, I can refuse to learn from it.
All I can do now is apologize and move on. The way I see it, that's the only option open to me, other than, say, accepting the consequences of my actions. Sure, I could plead that I came from a broken home, that I suffer from a rare neurological disorder,
that I'm the victim of racial prejudice, that I was set up. But I'm not here to make excuses. My actions are the fault of one person, and one person only: My executive assistant. But she suffers from severe mood swings, so I really don't think you can blame her.
I don't want to seek refuge within the letter of the law. I'm not going to argue, though I could, that the rules did not specifically prohibit claiming millions of dollars in unreceipted "supplies."
I'll simply say that if we are going to cast out of public life every expense fiddling, drunk-driving crack house found-in who hangs out with gangsters and occasionally utters death threats, it will be impossible to get good people to go into politics.
Were mistakes made? Yes. Mistakes were made: Unspecified mistakes, by unnamed people, in the indeterminate past. Am I a perfect person? No. I am not a perfect person. If it's perfection you want, find yourself another guy! But that doesn't mean I can't change. In fact, I have entered treatment for my tendency to blame others, or rather my assistant has. With any luck, I will be back in denial within the month.
And so, I ask only for forgiveness. I place my trust in the people. My fate is in their hands. And when I say the people, I don't mean the fancy people downtown. I don't mean the Ottawa elites. I mean the people who work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes, and who are therefore accustomed to picking up the tab.
Let's not get all high and mighty here. Let's not get all holier than thou. Let he who is without sin. Judge not, lest ye be judgmental. Who among us has not exchanged suspicious packages with known drug dealers in a 7 Eleven bathroom without acknowledging each other's presence? Which of us would not expense our legovers - er layovers, if we thought we could get away with it? Come on. You know you would. Just admit it already.
It's time to turn the page. It's time to get back to doing the people's business. It's time to let me off the hook. Why should I be allowed to stay on? Number 1, I love this job. I really, really love this job. It completes me. It had me at hello. You think whoever you found to replace me would love this job as much as I do? They could have any job! God I love this job, in part because of the opportunities it provides for frequent drug assignations. But that's all in the past. I can assure people, hopefully it doesn't happen again.* I more or less guarantee it.
In short, yes, I do - used to do - a lot of drugs. Yes, I spent a lot of the public's money. Yes, much of it on the drugs. And I expect to be held accountable for it, in the only way that makes any sense: with some sort of plaque. Because you can take away my credit card, but you will never break my records.
*Note: Actual quote.