Poor Shelly Glover, she had no idea what was about to hit her. The Conservative MP for St. Boniface in Winnipeg, 44, told a television interviewer that her neighbouring MP, Liberal Anita Neville of Winnipeg South Centre, 68, had “passed her expiry date”. As any CARP member knows, these are fighting words to any older Canadian.
The Twitterverse jumped into gear, and so did CARP. News of Glover’s gaffe was tweeted widely by senior Canadian media sources, and the story spread. CARP issued a news release within the hour, calling on Glover to apologize.
The CARP press release went viral, and the story on Twitter became CARP’s reaction. As many journalists paraphrased, “don’t get CARP mad at you”.
The next morning, the story was in the national papers, being covered by many of the same journalists who had tweeted details the night before. Glover was forced to respond. She did, and it wasn’t pretty. She insisted her words weren’t directed at Neville’s age, but at her tenure in Parliament, which is, by the way, shorter than that of Stephen Harper. Then she doubled down, refusing to apologize and calling for a new member from Winnipeg South Centre.
The strange thing about her attack is that these are two accomplished women, both of whom serve the public, and, moreover, they aren’t even running against each other.
Twitter didn’t give up the story. Mostly generated by journalists, the tweets kept coming all day, with references to Logan’s Run, the 70s movie where those over 30 years old are killed off to save resources. Among the journalists taking part in the fun were Kady O’Malley of CBC, David Akin of Sun Media, Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen and Louise Elliot of CBC.
Our members had their say, too. If you type “Shelly Glover” into the search box in Twitter, you’ll find hundreds of humourous, outraged and just plain incredulous comments from CARP members and other members of the public.
So, if you’re on Twitter, join the fun. Use the hashtag #CARPvotes so we can all follow your thoughts.
PS: This whole episode has sense of déjà vu. In the 2008 federal election, Liberal candidate Robert Thibeault said his opponent, Greg Kerr, was too old to be an MP at 61. CARP issued a press release calling for an apology, and Robert Thibeault lost his seat by 1000 votes. It doesn’t take much to annoy older Canadians, and it doesn’t take much to lose an election.
Shelley’s Glover’s statement in regards to the incident is as follows:
WINNIPEG – First of all, I would like to remind seniors in the Winnipeg area that Ms. Neville just voted to oppose the Conservative Government’s plan to increase GIS payments to the most vulnerable, lowest income seniors in Canada — a measure that would benefit single seniors by up to $600 and senior couples by up to $840. My remarks were clear: I was referring to Ms. Neville’s performance as an MP, and only that. In my opinion, Ms. Neville has ceased to be an effective representative of her constituents. I believe someone new, of any age, with new ideas would be a more effective representative for the people of Winnipeg South Centre.