Resumé fib creates unnecessary distraction

Here’s the thing about closets: if they’re of the literal variety — in other words, those tiny rooms in your home in which clothing, linens and assorted household items are stored — they can usually be securely locked so the contents therein are protected.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/10/2019 (1152 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Here’s the thing about closets: if they’re of the literal variety — in other words, those tiny rooms in your home in which clothing, linens and assorted household items are stored — they can usually be securely locked so the contents therein are protected.

But if they’re the figurative sort of “closet” in which the embarrassing secrets from your past are concealed, there is very little chance in the current era of cyber-snoop scrutiny that those skeletons will remain behind closed doors.

The discomfiting truth of this 21st-century reality was brought into focus — again — when it was revealed that Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer was less than truthful in his career resumé’s description of private-sector work experience he accumulated before entering politics.

The profile posted on his party’s official website stated that “Before entering public life, Andrew worked in the private sector as an insurance broker.” The trouble is, he did not. When confronted with fact-checked inconsistencies between the resumé and reality, Mr. Scheer was forced to admit he was never actually a credentialed broker in Saskatchewan, but instead worked in a support role in an insurance office while “the licensed brokers finalized all the transactions.”

Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer left the insurance industry before he could complete the licence-acquisition process. (Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press files)

He left the insurance industry before he could complete the licence-acquisition process, and was first elected to Parliament at age 25.

It is, of course, a silly and insubstantial lie in which to be caught, but caught Mr. Scheer was. And like the humiliating brown/blackface photos from Liberal party Leader Justin Trudeau’s past, the bogus-broker-qualification kerfuffle effectively put the brakes on a party’s campaign while its leader wasted valuable news-cycle time owning up to a stupid mistake.

One wonders at this point how many cautionary tales are required about the futility of political-office seekers trying to keep past indiscretions hidden from public view.

We live in the era of “gotcha” politics, and the behind-the-scenes operators whose job it is to root out damaging information about opposition parties and candidates are very, very good at what they do.

In Mr. Scheer’s case, as in most cases of similarly trivial import, the resumé-padding prevarication was entirely unnecessary. While it’s true that conservative politicians like to portray themselves as aligned with the working class by trumpeting their own hardscrabble blue-collar beginnings (see: Pallister, Brian — teacher, small-business owner, “old union guy”), and it’s also probable that Mr. Scheer cringes at being portrayed as a “lifer” politician who has never actually held a “real” job for any length of time, the fact of the matter is that what he accomplished at a very young age is impressive.

Now 40, “MP” is the only noteworthy line on the career-summary portion of Mr. Scheer’s curriculum vitae. But he should be proud of such a commitment to public service, rather than trying to conceal it beneath a pointless fib.

Simply put, he had his (stuff) together sufficiently well at age 25 that he ran a successful campaign for public office and was elected to Parliament. At that age, many young people are still trying to figure out how to rearrange the furniture in the basement apartment that used to be their parents’ rec room.

Now 40, “MP” is the only noteworthy line on the career-summary portion of Mr. Scheer’s curriculum vitae. But he should be proud of such a commitment to public service, rather than trying to conceal it beneath a pointless fib.

Thankfully, the campaign has moved on and discussions of policy issues have retaken their rightful place in the news cycle. But one hopes all aspirants to elected office will have absorbed the yet-again-reinforced message that skeletons, no matter how well dressed or artfully concealed, will be dragged from the closet and exposed to public view.

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