Svend Robinson will step down from his parliamentary duties and take a leave of absence. Today in a press conference, the NDP member from Barnaby-Douglas told the media that the reason was due to a lapse in judgement. He “pocketed a piece of expensive jewelry” and blamed the incident on “severe stress and emotional pain”.
Mr. Robinson is a senior parliamentarian from British Colombia as he was originally elected to the House of Commons in 1979. He has been re-elected seven times since. While it was an extremely childish and foolish thing for Mr. Robinson to do, I find it upsetting to see a career potentially end in such a way. This is not so much a political failure for the NDP as it is a personal failure for Robinson.
I do not subscribe to the principles of the New Democratic Party of Canada and I would not be saddened to see their influence in the House of Commons make way for the votes of the Conservative Party of Canada. However, Mr. Robinson’s seat is still an NDP seat and thus an NDP vote. The personal destruction of Svend Robinson does not benefit the political agenda of any party; his seat may just be filled by another NDP nominee in the next election.
Some may laud this turn of events as a win in the us vs. them realm of partisan politics. Let’s not celebrate the demise of a man’s career. We can criticize a parliamentarian’s personality if it seems to reflect party policy (such as Mr. Robinson’s ill conceived trip to meet with Yassir Arafat), however, the personal misjudgement of Svend Robinson does not reflect his party and therefore I would find it petty to dance on the grave of a man’s career.