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Regina Leader Post, Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Letter to the Editor
Backing Orchard

In three columns dealing with the Liberal party's missteps in the Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River riding, Murray Mandryk discredited himself by his vitriolic attack on David Orchard, one of the two candidates for the Liberal nomination who were bypassed by the appointment of NDP MLA Joan Beatty. The kindest thing he says about Orchard is to call him a "gadfly" (Jan. 5) -- perhaps not realizing it has positive meanings in addition to being a facile putdown -- but after that, it was downhill all the way.

In his Jan. 16 column, anonymous Liberals threaten to leave the party if Orchard would "play any bigger role he has already" -- and Mandryk gives them complete cover for their sniping. His language heats up when he claims "few political figures have proven to be as disruptive or self-serving," as Orchard -- yet he has not one example to offer of such behaviour!

On Jan. 19, Orchard has evolved into an "improvised explosive device"; Mandryk chastises him for "imposing his anti-free trade views on the world," first by working outside the system, and then, heaven forbid and the nerve of him, "from within the political system." A couple of examples would suffice to show how this "imposition" manifests itself.

Knowing nothing about Orchard, not lowering himself to talk to the man (he hasn't since 1988) or to read his best-selling book The Fight for Canada and his numerous articles on a variety of topics, Mandryk resorts to name calling and escalating verbal abuse.

Those who know Orchard, his track record, his knowledge about and involvement in many issues of outside international trade ("free trade"), such as the environment, agriculture, war and peace, are left wondering: what ails Mandryk?

While waiting for an answer, one is left with a faint hope that, having perhaps exhausted all his vindictiveness and lexicon of derogatory terms, Mandryk would take time to find out something about man he so frequently writes about. Is that too much to ask?

Marjaleena Repo, Saskatoon

(Repo has worked with Orchard for over 25 years, as a colleague, campaign manager and senior advisor).

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