Kerry Diotte is my Minister of Parliament (MP).
He is my representative in Ottawa.
He is the person I go to in hopes of having a national voice to air my opinions on the state of the country in which I live.
Recently, my MP attended and spoke at a rally organized by an alt-right website.
The rally was organized under the guise of a protest against the carbon tax.
While many may have been there for that reason, they were overshadowed by hateful chanting, homophobic signs and anti-immigration propaganda.
Let me explain myself: The carbon tax is a contentious subject. I can see why people are opposed to it. I can understand why people are offended by it. But, and this is a very big but, those that organized it did not do so for the betterment of the Edmonton-Griesbach riding represented by Diotte.
The organizers, like Diotte, are opportunists. This has become obvious to me.
Recently I called my MP’s constituency office to voice my concern over his attendance at the rally. I said that as a former journalist he should know what the alt-right website is doing. I said that his support of this website really worries me. I requested that he call me back. He has not, as of yet, returned my call.
The day I called the constituency office I went to social media to voice my opinion and offer support to those that may want to do the same:
Why am I writing this? Do I want to change the mind of my MP? Do I want to force him to embrace my ideologies? Even if I wanted to, I doubt that I could.
As a constituent, all I can do is engage my MP. I would expect a call back at the very, very, least.
As a journalist, I have worked with the people that Diotte worked with. Although I have never met him I know people that have an intimate knowledge of him. What have I gleaned from these conversations? Diotte is not who he is pretending to be.
To add contrast, I have met Janis Irwin (the NDP candidate who ran against him) many times. She showed up at my door. She introduced herself to my family. She knows my first name. Do I agree with all her politics? I doubt it, but I know that if I contact her she would get back to me.
Rather than be disheartened, rather than blame the system or just watch the world burn…I do this. And I will do it again. And again.
Diotte is the only political leader who attended the rally to not denounce the hate spewed at the rally (even his own party has stood against it).
He is enabling lies and misinformation. He is a poster child for the post-fact age. I believe he is promoting hate.
I also believe that he doesn’t represent his constituents, he only represents himself.
If you wish to contact Diotte, go here.