There’s an old western saying which goes: “Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction.” It is an expression which applies aptly to now former 26 year-old rookie NDP MLA Deborah Drever who was summarily booted from her party’s shiny new caucus last week.
In summary, there was the heavy metal album cover where she as a 19 year-old appeared as a rape victim. There was the infamous picture from the same era where she appeared beside an individual holding up the finger to the Canadian flag. And finally just last year there was a juvenile attempt at humour right out of junior high. She attempted, rather pathetically one might add, to lampoon Premier Jim Prentice and former interim PC party leader Ric McIver by implying they were in a gay relationship by drawing hearts around them, adding suggestive text and posting it on Twitter.
Let’s be clear. None of these acts constitutes any major breach of moral conduct, and all appear rather silly and contrived instead of racy or suggestive. But taken together, they clearly show a grown woman who is astonishingly immature to hold public office.
Politics is a tough business. Anyone entering into it will certainly have their background scrutinized, and any dirt contained therein is sure to come out. In many ways, Drever is no different than the average 20-year old in Alberta today. And with the hefty social media footprint we all have these days there is undoubtedly many who have unflattering pictures from their past floating around. Once posted and seen these things are always out there. Drever’s story should serve as a cautionary tale of the consequences of not being social media savvy in today’s world.
Drever definitely has a lot of explaining and apologizing to do to her constituents, but Premier Notley came up with the right balance on this one: Suspending Drever and essentially putting her on probation to see if she finds her equilibrium and maturity as she performs her duties in the Legislature. While at the same time leaving the door open for a return to caucus if Drever proves herself less of a fool in the months and years to come.
Let’s hope for her sake, and the sake of her constituents, another old western expression will apply to Drever before too long. “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot that comes from bad judgment.”