07/10/2013 12:11 EDT | Updated 09/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Setting the Record Straight on Adam Giambrone

A somewhat-scathing recent blog post surrounding the selection of Adam Giambrone to be the NDP candidate in the upcoming by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood has garnered some attention on social media. Giambrone's nomination is described by the author as being "despicable" and "really gross." Perhaps a counterpoint is in order.

Before I begin, a couple of items of disclosure. First, I'm a card-carrying Liberal and obviously want the Grits to go 5-for-5 in these by-elections. However, in the spirit of eliminating the toxic, hyper-partisan environment that currently plagues much of our country's politics, I'm going to attempt to remove my affiliation from the equation and deliver an objective critique.

Second, I have had the chance to interact with Giambrone on numerous occasions, both at functions and over drinks at my local bar in Toronto. (He and I have spent time practising our Arabic together, although I promised I wouldn't comment publicly on his pool-playing skills. I'll leave it to the reader to infer how good he is at the cue sport.) I consider him to be a friend.

Many of the accusations levelled in the blogpost in question are not uncommon and form a part of the political commentary offered by many Twitter users regarding society in general, not just the case of Giambrone. Let's go through the finger-pointing.

"Giambrone has zero ties to Scarborough." So, what? He won his party's nomination. If voters don't like him for whatever reason, be it his politics or his place of residence, they won't elect him.

Giambrone is a "white dude." So, what? Should that somehow prevent him from running for his party's nomination? Or is it just morally despicable for a white person to decide to run against a person of colour? (The fact that a guy with a last name like Giambrone is obviously a descendant of immigrants renders the blogger's accusation even more odd.)

Giambrone "previously ran for Mayor but then had the quit the race after lying about sex." The constant penetration (no pun intended) of the media into politicians' private lives is one reason why fewer and fewer decent, qualified people choose to run for public office these days. I believe the media had no business jumping on this story in the first place. Even if you disagree with me, we can agree that Giambrone already paid the political price by withdrawing from the mayoralty race three years ago. He has "done his time," so to speak. Let's focus on what he has to say -- and he does have a lot to bring to the table -- regarding substantive policy issues that actually affect people.

Giambrone "was the co-chair of the Candidate Selection Committee" of the NDP. I'm shocked! A person using their official position within a political party to advance their political career! That has never happened before!

Giambrone had initially encouraged his would-be opponent to run for the nomination. Yep. Turns out she didn't sell enough memberships. How exactly is that Giambrone's fault?

Giambrone is a "White Guy." (This is apparently a variant on the aforementioned "white dude.") Well, seeing as the Liberals and Tories are each running non-white candidates in Scarborough-Guildwood, isn't it conceivable that Giambrone's whiteness renders the candidate pool more diverse (wink wink, nudge nudge)? Or, on a more serious note, maybe we can just forget about skin colour altogether and judge candidates based on their ideas and skill sets.

2013 Ontario Sunshine List: Key Names