Friday, January 14, 2005

The lone voice of dissent

Babble on.

Adam Radwanski, who for some unfathomable reason disdains to use permalinks, seems to be the lone semi-reasonable voice of dissent in the whole political funding whirlwind that's taken over discussion on Canadian conservative blogs of late.

According to the database, I gave “contributions” to the Liberal Party of $253.09 in 1998 and $287.17 in 2000. Except those weren’t contributions – they were delegate fees to attend national conventions. And if I’d known it was going to be publicly listed as a “contribution” when I paid that fee in 2000, by which point I’d already lost my enthusiasm for the party and was just going to the convention out of curiosity, I never would have signed the cheque.

In hindsight, I should have followed my own better instincts and actually posted the caveat I was considering when I linked to Vitor's spate of posts: all this assumes the data provided is accurate. As someone who works with databases on a daily basis, I know how iffy an assumption that can be.

Still, if arguing over the definintion of a true contribution versus an innocent convention fee is the biggest hole to pick in the fabric of this story, I think the Canadian VRWC may be on to something.

Unfortunately, Adam tarnishes a perfectly valid point by following it with a petulant one:

I’m lucky enough that I can come on here and say my piece, under the assumption that anyone sufficiently obsessed with me to search out my contributions probably also visits my blog. But not so other people who never really thought of themselves as donors, don’t know they’re listed online as such, and couldn’t really do much about it even if they did. And that’s just not right.

Sorry, but the idea that what you give to a political party is between you, the party, and your God (or accountant) is about a decade out of date. Transparency is good.

Oh, and speaking of transparency: Adam, if you're reading, and if you're going to continue blogging, you should learn to use the common courtesy of a hat tip. Jumping on a story you would have found nowhere but in the blogosphere without crediting your inspiration is bad form.

Babble off.


At 4:59 p.m., Blogger Sacamano said...

I imagine Radwanski isn't arguing against transparency of polictical donations; but rather the increased transparency about what actually constitues a donation.

In other words, people should be notified if their name is going to be listed as a "donor" on the web, etc. if that, indeed, is what is going to happen.


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