Liberal Senator Joyce Fairbairn's battle with dementia is sadly turning into a battle of political gamesmanship.
On Monday afternoon, Conservative senator David Tkachuk, announced that in mid-August he learned that Fairbairn, 72, wouldn't be coming back to work in September because of her "dementia, Alzheimer's."
On Monday evening, the Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor and Jordan Press advanced the story, suggesting that the Liberal leadership in the senate allowed Fairbairn to vote on legislation for four months even though she was declared legally incompetent.
"Fairbairn's geriatric psychiatrist diagnosed the senator with dementia of the Alzheimer's type and declared her legally incompetent in February, according to a letter sent to Senate officials by her niece, Patricia McCullagh.
It is unclear when the Liberals knew about the diagnosis, but by April, the top aide to Liberal Senate leader James Cowan had co-signed a declaration giving him and Fairbairn's niece power of care, essentially giving the two power of attorney over Fairbairn's personal care, according to a letter from McCullagh, obtained by Postmedia News."
McGregor and Press go on to quote Liberal Senate whip Jim Munson who said he never doubted Fairbairn knew what she was voting on.
Jokes about incompetent politicians and Canada's senate aside, Tkachuk's public disclosure of Fairbairn's condition and subsequent media reports haven't sat well with some.
In response to the Citizen story, Sun News columnist and Liberal insider Warren Kinsella posted this on his personal blog:
"Leave Joyce alone
...or, here's the deal: every Liberal staffer who spots a drunken, stoned, or otherwise indisposed Conservative Parliamentarian will be provided with an online spot to record and document what they have observed. It won't be pretty
Or you can be human beings for once, Tory bastards. Your choice."
Former Brian Mulroney adviser Norman Spector also wasn't comfortable with the tone of debate and took to Twitter with this comment:
U know we've reached bottom of #cdnpoli barrel when woman w/ Alzheimer's becomes subject of partisan manoeuvring
— Norman Spector (@nspector4) August 28, 2012
Should the media just lay-0ff a sick woman like Kinsella and Spector suggest?
Or, does the media have a right and responsibility to report that a senator, who was deemed 'legally incompetent' was actually allowed to vote on legislation?
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.