Sarmite Bulte’s “Friends”

6 Jan ’06

Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte’s reported response to the concerns now repeatedly being raised about her close fundraising ties to moneyed media interests troubles me. Jim Rankin, a staff reporter at the Toronto Star, reports her responding “These people have become my friends and I don’t apologize for that”.

Two points are worth noting. First, as a matter of character, it’s troubling to me that Bulte’s reaction to the controversy is a passive-aggressive attempt to portray her wounded heart as a victim of this issue. Honestly, ‘my only mistake was I loved too much‘?

Second, “these people” are lobbyists, using money, power and access to protect their businesses at the expense of other interests in Canadian society. Surely it’s their job to get close to her, and a home run if they can convince her that they are her ‘friends’. One listens to one’s friends. They seem to have done their job of getting close to her rather well. Is this enough of a sign that Bulte has spent too much time with one side of the issue?

With friends like these, who needs democracy?

Finally, Michael Geist has an update today, with extensive detail refuting Bulte’s and CRIA’s assertions that these fundraising activities are ordinary, and also responding to Bulte’s attack on him (as reported in Rankin’s piece), and the Hollywood Reporter has picked up the story.

Update (2005-01-06): CBC covers the story this afternoon and NDP candidate Peggy Nash covers the issue on her website.

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