Last Saturday, the right-wing rabble rouser, Ezra Levant, roused the rabble just enough to host an anti-carbon tax rally at the Alberta legislature. The crowd of probably a few hundred heard the usual stuff from the usual suspects, and the event was mostly uneventful. The Edmonton Journal’s story on the rally, in the Monday paper, was fairly by-the-books, which is more than we can say for anything that comes from Levant’s so-called “news” site, The Rebel. But inside the Journal’s National Post section of the same paper there was a tiny story from CP that Conservative leadership candidate Chris Alexander (why he was there, nobody knows) did nothing to stop protesters from chanting “lock her up”, the odious chant made popular by Donald Trump’s more vocal (a.k.a. stupid) followers. Alexander can be seen on a video of the event, but he looks so afraid that it’s hard to tell whether he was egging on the crowd, or simply shaking in his boots. Alexander’s chances of winning the Conservative leadership, already thin, evaporated on the legislature steps.
The entirely predictable shitstorm erupted in the media and attention-seeking politicians. The Journal ran Graham Thompson’s ‘tsk tsk, isn’t this awful’ opinion column as its main story on the front page on Tuesday (call me old fashioned, but I thought front pages were for news). Even worse was a laughable column by Metro’s apparently 15-year-old columnist Danielle Paradis, who somehow linked the horrendous Montreal Massacre of 1989 to these pathetic yahoos at the legislature. She actually called it an “act of violence”; no, it’s an act of idiocy. Yes, politics is coarser and cruder than ever, but so is the whole freaking world (please note I said ‘freaking’, and not something worse, like ‘fudging’). A handful of yahoos shouting something stupid is not a sign of the apocalypse. It’s just idiots being idiots, something of which Alberta has no shortage.
The most sensible statements came from the target of the chants, Rachael Notley.
“I think that there’s a bit of an ugly edge to politics that’s developing,” Notley told CBC News in Vancouver. “But I still believe that — as a Canadian — that this is a very small minority of people.” Notley said the chant likely came from an “extreme alt-right, right-wing” group, and that the chant “goes against the heart of Canadian values.”
“I’m confident that most citizens reject that kind of politics.”
Musical money chairs
The Trudeau government announced this week that Viola Desmond will become the first woman to grace a Canadian banknote. Desmond was a civil rights pioneer (she went to jail for refusing to sit in the white’s section of a Nova Scotia theatre and refusing to pay the 1 cent tax; this was years before Rosa Parks famous act of defiance), and later a successful businessperson. I suppose she’s as good a choice as any, although I thought the indigenous poet/writer/speaker/early feminist E. Pauline Johnson made more sense. The Viola Desmond choice more closely represents the American experience than the Canadian one, but what do I know?
So, Desmond is going on the $10 bill, which means Sir John A. Macdonald – who was no less than our first prime minister, which is a somewhat more significant accomplishment – will have to move. But to where? How about the five? Nope. The Bank of Canada has already announced that “another iconic Canadian”, yet to be chosen, will find a home on the five dollar bill, which means MacDonald AND Sir Wilfred Laurier, currently on the five, will move to the less common $50 and $100. That means the current residents of the $50 and $100 have got to go,so it’s bye-bye Sir Robert Borden (our WWI PM) and William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Think about this for a minute. King was the most successful politician in Canadian history, a man who kept a fractious nation together, led it through a world war, and was an all-round weirdo. He could, and should, be on the $20, kicking the Queen off her throne. The Queen is already on millions of stamps and millions of coins; surely she can give up the spotlight on one measly bill. But apparently, the last taboo in Canada is doing anything that will upset the royal family and its followers.
Trump sends signals
Donald Trump continues to cobble together his millionaire’s cabinet, and it’s not too hard to tell what direction he’s going to send his administration. His choice for labour secretary is the CEO of a fast food chain who is opposed to increasing the minimum wage. His choice to head up the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate-change skeptic and harsh critic of the agency. His secretary of defence is nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’. His head of national security tweeted a link to a story that falsely claimed Clinton emails contained proof of money laundering and sex crimes with children. His possible choice for secretary of state if a pal of Vladamir Putin. All of these guys will give Donald Trump time to do what he does best – write angry Tweets about Saturday Night Live.
Avast, ye Icelandic swabbies!
Pirates have taken over a European country. And I am not making this up.
In October, the Pirate Party of Iceland (that’s a country, right?) came in third in the national election, winning 10 seats of the 63 available, more than tripling its number of MPs. Iceland’s president (Iceland apparently has a president who is allowed to make weird decisions) asked the leader of the Pirate Party, Birgitta Jonsdottir, to form a coalition government. The Pirate Party, not surprisingly, has no experience in government, sort of the like the NDP government here (their colour is orange as well). The new prime minister has described herself as an anarchist “poetician”. This should be fun to watch. Keep coming back to this blog as your source for all Iceland political news.
John Glenn, 95, the first American to orbit the Earth (but not the first overall; back in the day, Russia did things other than hack into computer systems) … Greg Lake, 69, singer with influential groups King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. …Halvar Jonson, 75, longtime PC MLA and former cabinet minister … Andrew Sachs, 86. who played Manuel on Fawlty Towers … Van Williams, 82. who played The Green Hornet on the 1960s TV series … Bill Dineen, 84, former hockey player and coach who won the Stanley Cup as a player with Detroit, and won championships as a coach in the WHA, WHL and the AHL.