On Sunday, Ray Lam, NDP candidate in the upcoming BC provincial election for Vancouver-Fox Creek, resigned from the campaign after photos leaked of him “…hugging a woman in a low-cut dress, his hand on her breast” and “with friends, his pants pulled down to display his underwear.”

If you have seen these photos, you will note they are embarrassing, yes, but nothing indicates Mr. Lam did anything inappropriate. In fact, I would hazard to guess most of us from our generation (Mr. Lam is 22) have photos of themselves doing similarly dumb, but harmless, things.

This is the new reality: digital cameras (such as the ones found in cell phones) make it free to take a bazillion pictures of us and our friends doing stupid things. Facebook lets us distribute those photos effortlessly, including photos of a friend without his or her permission (and I’ve yet to read any confirmation that it was Mr. Lam, himself, that put these photos on Facebook).

To put it plainly: if Mr. Lam can’t run for office because of a couple of embarrassing photos on his Facebook account, then we’re effectively barring our generation from running for office because Mr. Lam is the norm.

But let’s contrast Lam’s story against the story of Tom Lukiwski, current MP for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre. Back in 1991, Mr. Lukiwski was caught on video saying,

“There’s A’s and there’s B’s. The A’s are guys like me, the B’s are homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails that transmit diseases.”

Mr. Lukiwski’s punishment? He was forced to make (what turned out to be a hollow) apology in the House of Commons. He did not lose his Parliamentary Secretary position, and neither did the Conservatives kick him out from the party nor bar him from running under the Conservative banner in the subsequent election.

Life is, as they say, entirely unfair.

Edit: I was reminded by a friend how driving under the influence of alcohol is not a barrier to the Premier’s office, yet dumb, harmless photos are.

I also forgot to mention that the NDP should not have accepted Mr. Lam’s resignation. NDP Leader Carole James should be sticking up for her candidate, and using the opportunity to rise above the mud-slinging. As well, what would have been a one-day story has now become a multi-day story that paints the NDP in disarray. Golf clap.

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