Following coverage of a speech given by re-elected Langley MP Mark Warawa (Victory bitter-sweet for MP Warawa Oct. 21) The Times received a great deal of feedback from readers who were disappointed by some of his comments.
We have published several of those letters here, along with an apology from Mr. Warawa.
Editor: I was dismayed to read of re-elected MP Mark Warawa’s response to the constituents of Langley at his victory party, following the Canadian election results.
To quote Mr. Warawa directly, he stated: “There’s a God that we can trust in,” and “our country needs our prayers,” followed by a flippant remark stumbling over the name of the new prime minister-elect and addressing him as “Justin Hairdo.”
This response was disrespectful to the constituents of Langley, regardless of their political persuasion but also disrespectful to the process of democracy.
Knowing that our representation in Ottawa will be expressed in such a manner is very disheartening in the sense that there is much diversity in our community and in Canada regarding religion, ethnicity and culture. We as Canadians should not disregard other people’s religious or cultural beliefs by claiming that God will just support the “right ones.”
As a teacher for over 30 years, I worked alongside parents from very different cultural and religious backgrounds with the goal of helping their children grow and learn to the best of their abilities in an accepting and inclusive environment.
Canada is so diverse; it is to be treasured for our differences of belief, religion and culture and that is what the election brought forth. I appeal to Mr. Warawa to remember that it is important to remember that all citizens of Langley/Aldergrove are your constituents and to remember inclusivity in your role as an elected MP.
Mrs. Fiona Mason,
Editor: Mr. Warawa’s re-election was not unexpected, nor was his classless comment during his victory speech regarding Justin Trudeau, our prime minister designate.
His comment cannot be viewed as surprising or unexpected because personal attacks by the Conservatives, against opposing candidates, were evident throughout the election campaign. What is also evident, however, is that it did not serve his party well.
Editor: Mark Warawa certainly showed a total lack of class with his comments at his “victory” celebration.
A brief reminder, Mr. Warawa, there were far more votes cast against you than for you. However, thank you for removing any question as to whether I and the country, made the right choice.
Business as usual
Editor: How incredibly unprofessional for Mark Warawa, a 65-year old man and Member of Parliament to call our Prime Minister-elect “Justin Hairdo” during his victory speech, then proceed with the “fairy tales and cotton candy” partisan nonsense.
This is the exact kind of snide, petty cynicism that became the norm under the last 10 years of “Harper Government”, and Canadians have had enough of it.
I can appreciate writer Dan Ferguson’s attempt to dismiss this as “stumbling” over Mr. Trudeau’s name, but the Conservatives have been creepily obsessed with his looks and hair since the moment he was nominated to Liberal Party leader in 2013.
This “stumble” was just business as usual for somebody whose party was more focused on attacking somebody else’s looks than focusing on their own issues, both foreign and domestic.
I have always thought that Mr. Warawa was above this kind of childish behaviour. I hope he will take this opportunity that the citizens of his riding have given him, and conduct himself with a level of dignity and courtesy that we expect of our elected officials.
Aspire to do better
Editor: At the risk of lowering myself to his infantile level, I would like to comment on Mark “Waa-waa’s” terrifically insightful analysis of our new prime minister-elect as “Justin Hairdo.”
I hope that Mr. Warawa manages to get over himself and tries to do his best in representing his constituents, as he certainly has no second career as a comedian to look forward to.
It also behooves Mr. Warawa to remember that the “God” he invokes to assist him in his efforts to “hold the Liberals accountable” is probably the same one that will be assessing his own efforts and holding him to a higher standard of behavior as well.
He has an opportunity now, to discard the sleazy tactics employed by his party — the ones that got them so soundly defeated — and aspire to do better. We all look forward to good things to come from our duly elected representative for the next four years, regardless of his party affiliation, and hope he can rid himself of the unfortunate impression he has given of himself upon his re-election.
I am also concerned that if this is front page news, then we are seriously lacking in actual important or newsworthy events in Langley. I, for one, would rather see anything else on the front page of our newspaper rather than a “sour grapes” commentary on the election.
Out of touch
Editor: After reading the comments of our local MP, Mark Warawa re: “Justin Hairdo” (The Times, Oct. 21) it’s very clear the Conservative Party, and Mr. Warawa in particular, are out of touch with the voting public.
The “nice hair” ads clearly didn’t work. The party rode that pony to a very distant second place in the election race. It’s obvious Mr. Warawa thinks the race is still in progress and continues to use the whip on that poor old horse. They are stuck in the old days, unwilling or unable to look forward. It proves to us that we did need a change and we do thank God we got it.
John and Pat Fraser,
A time to rise to the occasion
Editor: It was with some dismay that I read your article about Mark Warawa’s celebration of his local victory in Monday’s election.
No doubt Mr. Warawa was suffering severe disappointment over the defeat of his government, but surely election night is the time to rise to the occasion, to be dignified and gracious and even a bit reflective, if possible.
To refer to our new prime minister, democratically elected by Canadians, as “Justin Hairdo” simply showed, well, bad taste — not to mention a mean-spiritedness that seemed to characterize the outgoing government.
The negative Conservative ads didn’t resonate well with most Canadians, but apparently they worked their magic on Mr. Warawa.
I confess that our MP’s assurance that “there’s a God” echoed my own relief when I heard the news that Mr. Harper would no longer be prime minister, but I hope I would have been more tactful than to state that (publicly) had I been elected.
Mr. Warawa’s God seems obsessed with taxes; in fact, every communication that comes to my door from his office is entirely devoted to taxes, presumably assuming that as a citizen of Canada, I care about nothing else — not the environment, not our foreign policy, not the need for national strategies on aging, on housing, on health care, on . . . ah, but the election is blessedly over, so I won’t go on.
I had assumed that a conservative candidate running in this riding was unassailable, but was surprised to see that the vote wasn’t that one-sided.
So there’s always the next election. Meanwhile, I hope that Mr. Warawa will do his best to work constructively with the new government in power, to rise above personal jibes, even in opposition, and to adopt a broader concept of the needs of his constituents here.
Warawa should hold himself accountable
Editor: I appreciate the Langley Times coverage of the 42nd federal election.
The purpose of my letter is to express my disappointment in MP Mark Warawa’s victory speech, as reported in the Langley Times on Oct. 21. The lack of professionalism and disrespect displayed by Mr. Warawa for Canada’s new Prime Minister designate is appalling.
Referring to Justin Trudeau as “Justin Hairdo” — really? This is school yard behavior that parents, teachers and mature, rational adults discourage and try to correct.
I expect more of my Member of Parliament than to engage in belittling and bullying type behavior. Mr. Warawa’s inference that the Liberals “live on fairy tales and cotton candy,” is ridiculous considering the Conservative’s fiscal stewardship (nine deficit budgets and one ‘anticipated’ surplus budget).
Harper’s Conservatives took over from a Liberal government that handed them a $13 billion surplus because of nine balanced, surplus budgets. Which party is living the fairy tale? Enough propaganda it is time to look at the facts.
Do we need to remind Mr. Warawa, the Canadian public voted for change and 32,753 of his constituents did not cast their vote for him?
Mr. Warawa is tasked with representing all of his constituents and not just his supporters or Conservative base. I did not appreciate the personal attack ads during the election campaign because I believe, as a taxpayer, elected officials are more than adequately compensated and their job is to focus on real issues and not someone’s appearance or hair.
The election results for the Langley-Aldergrove riding is very clear feedback for Mr. Warawa; he has much work to do, as more than half of his constituents didn’t support him.
May I suggest Mr. Warawa focus his efforts on finding out why his constituents voted for change and the type of representation they desire in Ottawa. I want a strong voice in Ottawa that will work to address inequality and poverty in our community and create employment.
Also, access to licensed and affordable daycare; criminal justice re-investment to prevent crime rather than the Conservative ideology of “tough on crime”; an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women; a national community mental health strategy; negotiating the federal/provincial Health Accord before it expires in 2017; infrastructure investment, etc.
My list does not include the foolish niqab debate.
Prior to holding Mr. Trudeau accountable, it is time for Mr. Warawa to hold himself accountable and then perhaps he can start the work he was elected to do — represent his constituents.
I tripped over my words
Editor: During my speech on election night, I tripped over my words and called our new Prime Minister, Justin Hairdo.
No offence was intended and I apologize. I congratulate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his victory and look forward to working with him for the good of all Canadians.