Are you sick of those ‘Just Not Ready’ commercials from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives? Tired of seeing that baggy-eyed old man, that mandatory immigrant with the heavy accent, and the generic woman looking over Justin Trudeau’s ‘resume’? And are you sick of hearing “Nice hair, though”?
Well, get ready to get even sicker.
Harper performed the traditional anachronism of asking the Governor-General to shut down parliament Sunday morning in order to hold an election. Since the date is already set (Oct. 19) that means we’re have an election campaign that goes through August, September and into October, the longest in Canadian history. So, why would Harper force an 11-week election campaign, instead of the traditional 37 days? You see, under the new election laws, the spending for a 37-day campaign is capped at $25 million per party. But under the new law (written by the Tories), the parties can spend $675,000 a day after day 37. Only one party has enough money to spend on an 11-week campaign — can you guess which one? My guess is that minute after the election campaign begins, we’ll see a whole new raft of anti-Trudeau ads that will run with such repetition, you will either buy into the bullshit they spew, or turn violently against Harper for ruining your TV viewing. And, once the destruction of Justin Trudeau is complete, they’ll move on to character assassination of Tom Mulcair. Welcome to Canadian politics, Harper style.
Last week, Harper announced that he is not going to appoint any more senators. Sadly, he continues to appoint Supreme Court justices, with the expected outcomes.
On Monday, Harper appointed an Edmonton judge, Russell Brown, to the top court. To the parochial Edmonton Journal, this was rah-rah Edmonton stuff. The front page story was all praise, with only passing mention that Brown was on the advisory council of something called the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. But to the Globe and Mail, it was another example of Harper appointing a conservative judge. The Globe said his appointment was “fast tracked”, and that he is a “rising conservative star”. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom was described by the Globe as a “conservative legal group” that has as one of its core views “economic liberty”, including property rights, which have not been accepted by the Supreme Court. The Globe put an emphasis on the conservative angle, while the Journal did not — in fact, the word conservative doesn’t appear at all in the Journal story. So, is Russell Brown just a hard-working brainiac, or another conservative plant? You have one guess.
This week’s international outrage concerns a lion. Not just any lion, mind you, but Cecil.
Cecil is (or was), Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, who overcame the stigma of being named Cecil to become a bit of a star. Cecil met his maker recently in the form of a Minnesota dentist and big-game slaughterer named Walter Palmer. The not-so good doctor outsmarted the wild animal by first luring it out of a national park at night using bait, then shot Cec with a bow and arrow (well, mostly the arrow). Poor Cecil wandered around with an arrow in his back until the next day, when Palmer courageously tracked him down and killed him, followed by beheading and skinning. The only thing worse than being Cecil right now is being Walter Palmer, who is under relentless online attack for his actions. Hey, I’m not a big fan of online shaming (read Jon Ronson’s excellent book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed), but Palmer deserves every bit of online shaming he is enduring (minus the inevitable death threats). I’m not a big fan of hunting, but it’s part of North American life for many to go out and blast a few ducks from the sky in the fall. But killing a lion by luring him outside a national park? No, that’s just not humane. Why anyone would take great pride in outsmarting a wild animal, with all the technology and advantages a human has at his disposal, is utterly beyond me.
Another iconic (sorry) writer released a new book this week, but with much different critical results. You may remember Harper Lee’s “new” book, Go Set A Watchman, was released to much fanfare and lousy reviews. But this week, the greatest children’s writer of all, the long-dead Dr. Seuss, came out with another book, What Pet Should I Get?, described by one reviewer as “genius on every page”. Almost makes me wish I had kids to read books to again …. almost.
RIP: Rowdy Roddy Piper, 61, longtime professional wrestler, apparently of cardiac arrest. In the days when I used to watch wrestling with my sons, Rowdy Roddy Piper was one of my favourites. He always seemed to be one of those guys who did his act with a bit of knowing humour, kind of a sly wink to the viewers, but always gave his all. Rowdy Roddy, who was Canadian, joins a long, depressing list of former pro wrestling stars who dropped dead far too young. He will be remembered not just for his wrestling, but for his eternal moment of fame from The Simpsons, when Groundskeeper Willie was referred to as Rowdy Roddy Peeper on the Rock Bottom scandal TV show. .. Flora MacDonald, 89, longtime Canadian Conservative MP and a pioneering female politician … Lynn Anderson, 67, country singer best known for her 1970 hit (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden … Anne Rule, 83, American true crime writer, most famously for The Stranger Beside Me, the story of Ted Bundy.