Christie Blatchford: Tories can’t be faulted for missing footage of candidates prank-calling and peeing in cups

Who are these people and how on Earth can they think so well of themselves and yet be such unremitting knobs?

One is a guy named , who is known on YouTube as the UniCaller and who for a giggle, a few years ago, was in the habit of making the sort of prank calls adolescents find wildly amusing.

He once pretended to have some sort of physical disability — it appears to my ear he was affecting a cleft lip and palate — and perhaps a learning disability, both of which made him difficult to understand.

Another time, he phoned a helpline of some sort to pretend he had taken Viagra, now had a raging erection and then faux-climaxed after a 10-minute conversation with the woman at the other end.

“It won’t go down,” said Dutaud, in what appears to have been for these videos his trademark black hoodie and mirrored shades.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BdejLG6SU4&w=620&h=415]

The call-taker several times urged him to see his doctor, saying once, “You don’t want this to be happening.”

“Well yes,” said Dutaud, “but no.”

Toward the end of the call, Dutaud groaned with orgasmic satisfaction (he is allegedly by trade an actor, but trust me, this was bad faking), and pronounced himself healed.

“Thank you for calling,” the call-taker said, obviously fairly desperate, despite her exquisite politeness, to be rid of this strange man.

“Well,” said Dutaud, “thank you!”

The other guy is , the man who, while working as a plumber, got caught by a hidden camera TV show taking a leak in a homeowner’s coffee cup.

Handout; YouTubeHandout; YouTubeTim Dutaud is no longer the Conservative candidate in Toronto-Danforth after videos of him making prank calls (seen at right) surfaced.

Until Labour Day Monday, they were proud Conservative candidates, Dutaud in the Toronto Danforth riding, Bance next door in Scarborough-Rouge River.

They join a growing list of federal election candidates from all parties who have been forced to step aside, mostly for earlier indiscretions on social media.

Now, Dutaud’s UniCaller videos may not have been obviously or easily discoverable with ordinary party vetting, and in Bance’s unsolicited on-camera appearance on CBC’s Marketplace show three years ago, he was simply identified as “Jerry.”

So, perhaps the party can’t be faulted, unless, in the truly modern world, one must imagine the most outrageous thing possible and then rigorously check for it.

For instance, should some Conservative official have said of Bance, who stood for the party in two previous elections, “Better run that guy through 42 years of Marketplace episodes first, just in case he shows up,” and assigned someone to do it?

What is remarkable is, as ever, the absolutely confounding, breathtaking human capacity for self-delusion.

Clearly, both Dutaud and Bance figured that their respective prankery and revolting behaviour need not be disclosed to the party, or that it would never be discovered or that, somehow, if it was, party and voters both would be able to see through to the pure, noble creatures they really are and they’d be able to ride out the storm.

Bance actually released a statement that said in part, “I take great pride in my work and the footage from that day does not reflect who I am as a professional or a person.”

Now, people might be willing to believe that of a fellow they’d not just watched relieve himself in a cup in the kitchen of a stranger’s home, but of someone they’d just watched do it, not a chance.

What is remarkable is, as ever, the absolutely confounding, breathtaking human capacity for self-delusion

As Tom Harrington, the Marketplace co-host who was watching Bance and the proceedings from an upstairs video room of the house, said at the time, remarkably straight-faced, “He just peed in the cup.”

This particular series aired in 2012 and was called When the Repairman Knocks (home repairs), and saw a procession of unsuspecting plumbers, dishwasher fixers and garage-door experts come to a house rigged out with cameras. The purported homeowner was a Marketplace staffer named Jennifer.

Though the consumer watchdog show is big on confrontation — Harrington racing down from the video room to ask various unscrupulous fellows why they told the purported homeowner she needed a costly new faucet or whatever when she didn’t — he did not march down to grill this particular plumber.

Neither did he confront one Adam, the garage-door repairman who later in the same episode of the show took a leak in a bucket in the garage the very instant the homeowner disappeared.

Harrington did ask Adam about his unprofessional and seemingly unscrupulous behaviour — he made the easy, cheap fix to the garage door, then proceeded to install a totally unnecessary and expensive circuit board — but he clearly didn’t have the heart to ask about his unsolicited deposit in the bucket.

As he remarked, in near-despair from the video room after watching Adam zip up, “I don’t know what to say about this at all.”

Who does?

In fairness, Marketplace is a show devoted to vigorous consumer advocacy, not to the furtherance of proper urination practices.

And what could Harrington have asked in any case: “Can you tell us, sir, why you so carefully took the cup from the drain board and pissed in it?” Or, “And why, having done that and rinsed the cup afterwards, did you take such care to wipe down the counter?”

It is a sad variation of an old truth — if you pee in just one innocent homeowner’s cup, you are now and forever more a cup-voider.

National Post

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About Christie Blatchford