The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lorne Gunter and the Pod People

I think that perhaps one of the pod people from Don Siegel’s 1956 The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has replaced Sun Media’s Lorne Gunter. That is the only way I can make sense out of his November 12th column, arguing that Sportsnet was right to fire Don Cherry.

“As much as it pains me to say”, Gunter wrote, “I think Sportsnet was right to dump the long-time namesake of Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada.” Nota bene, Gunter did not say “had the right to” but “was right to.” Gunter is not merely defending Sportsnet’s right as an employer to terminate their contract with Cherry but their actual decision to do so.

This is the opposite of my own position, articulated here, and therefore obviously misguided, dunderheaded and just plain wrong.

How does Gunter or his pod person doppelganger justify this expression of mental flatulence?

By saying that this time Cherry “went too far.”

How did he do that?

By excoriating “’you people’ – meaning immigrants – for not wearing poppies to honour Canada’s veterans on Remembrance Day.”

Gunter went on to talk at length about the distinction between what Cherry said to Joe Warmington in his post-firing interview on Monday, i.e., that everyone in Canada should wear a poppy and what he said on Saturday night. Yes, the two statements are very different, and yes, saying that everyone should wear a poppy would have been a lot less controversial than singling out immigrants for criticism. Just because the latter is more controversial, however, does not necessarily make it wrong, much less an offense worthy of losing one’s position.

Gunter maintains that by identifying the group he was talking about as immigrants Cherry was “criticizing them for their national origin.” This is palpable nonsense. Cherry may have been criticizing immigrants, but he was not criticizing immigrants qua immigrants, id est, for being immigrants. He was criticizing them for not wearing poppies. This negates what Gunter then had to say about the words “you people.”

Gunter wrote:

But “you people” is a lumping term. It lumps together all people with a specific characteristic and blames them equally, whether or not as individuals they deserve a particular accusation.

That is pure drivel. In hermeneutics – the discipline of Scriptural interpretation – class, we were taught to distinguish between exegesis and eisegesis. Exegesis is when you take your interpretation from out of the text of Scripture itself. Eisegesis is when you read your interpretation into a text. That is exactly what Gunter is doing here. “You people” in the context of Cherry’s Saturday night harangue, clearly does not mean “all immigrants” but only the ones who don’t wear poppies.

In my last remarks on this matter I made reference to the 2000 comedy by the Farrelly Brothers, Me, Myself and Irene. In the introductory scenes to that movie, Jim Carrey’s character, Rhode Island state trooper Charley Baileygates has just married his first wife and brought her home. As he prepares to tip the limousine driver, portrayed by Tony Cox, he asks if “you people” take cheques. By “you people” he obviously means the limo company, but Cox’s character takes it to mean “black people” and gets combative. Baileygates’ wife intervenes – on behalf of the limo driver – and excoriates her new husband for his racist talk, and when he denies having said anything racist, the driver switches gears and re-interprets “you people” as a reference to his diminutive stature.

What Peter and Bobby Farrelly saw as a hilarious joke nineteen years ago, has become the sad, sober reality of the present day.

Having disposed of the ridiculous assertion that the words “you people” turned Cherry’s remarks into a swipe at all immigrants regardless of their personal behaviour, the question becomes one of whether or not it was justifiable to specify them as a group in addressing the problem of neglect of poppies on Remembrance Day. Gunter’s colleague Tarek Fatah, who similarly reads volumes into Cherry’s words, but disagreed with Gunter’s conclusion that the firing was justified, answered this question in his column.

If there was any doubt about Cherry’s assertion, it was removed the next evening by Mississauga-based-Pakistani-Canadian broadcaster Tahir Gora. He tweeted: “I attended 2 events Nov 10th evening organized by two diaspora groups in which I couldn’t find a single person wearing poppy – I can’t name those diaspora groups otherwise I would be called a ‘racist’ by politically correct media and politicians. But Don Cherry makes a point.

Fatah then went on to describe his own observations on Monday, in downtown Toronto, of how few people were wearing poppies.

Cherry did not say that immigrants were the only ones not wearing poppies nor did he say that all immigrants were not wearing poppies. It would seem, however, that neglect of the poppy is a problem in certain immigrant communities, and this more than justifies Grapes’ mention of them in his commentary.

Unless, of course, we believe that immigrants are a sacred class, above criticism and reproach. This appears to be Justin Trudeau’s belief, but I never took Lorne Gunter to be in Captain Airhead’s camp before.

While I have disagreed with things that Gunter has written several times in the past, those disagreements were all of the type that naturally occur between an old-fashioned Tory and a neo-conservative. He is a republican, I am a royalist and a monarchist. He thinks of the heritage of Western civilization in the modern terms of classical liberalism, whereas I would emphasize more our heritage from classical antiquity and Christendom. He is an enthusiastic supporter of capitalism and the free market, I merely dislike these things less than I loathe socialism. It is very rare, however, that I have disagreed with him on matters pertaining to the politically correct suppression of words and ideas that offend and the crusade of the woke to destroy the lives and careers of all who disagree with him. Indeed, this is the first such instance of which I can think.

Which is why I am leaning towards the hypothesis that he has been replaced by a space alien look alike. What other theory could possibly explain his having become someone who thinks like a woke social justice warrior overnight?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Grapes, You are an Inspiration to us All!

It was greatly to my disgust that I learned, yesterday, that Sportsnet had fired the legendary Canadian institution, Don Cherry, over remarks he made on Coach's Corner this past weekend. Here is what he said on Saturday:

“You know, I was talking to a veteran. I said ‘I’m not going to run the poppy thing anymore because what’s the sense? I live in Mississauga, nobody wears — very few people wear a poppy. Downtown Toronto, forget it! Downtown Toronto, nobody wears a poppy.’

He says, ‘Wait a minute, how about running it for the people that buy them?’

Now you go to the small cities, the rows on rows.

You people love — that come here, whatever it is — you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey. At least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy. These guys paid for your way of life, the life you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.

Anyhow, I’m going to run it again for you great people and good Canadians that bought a poppy.”

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it needed to be said, and kudos to Grapes for saying it.

Of course, the lily-livered whiners, the woke snowflake mob, got all triggered by the words "you people" and started throwing conniptions. (See the opening scenes of the 2000 Farrelly Brothers film Me, Myself and Irene staring Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger for a hilarious satire of those who read all sorts of ridiculous things into just this phrase).

For a day and a half these modern day Salomes were all over the social media demanding that Don Cherry's head be given them on a platter. Corrupt mainstream media outlets, such as the CBC which for decades carried Hockey Night in Canada in which Coach's Corner was featured, provided them an additional platform to make these demands. Finally, on Remembrance Day, the sniveling scoundrels at Sportsnet, issued a statement about how Cherry's patriotic call to respect and honour our veterans was "divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for" and so he would no longer be appearing on their program.

In an interview with Joe Warmington, Cherry said that this was not a problem and that "I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers."


This is exactly how everybody ought to respond when some politically correct mob takes offence at his words and calls them "racist", "sexist" or some other of the growing list of -ists and -phobics. If there were more of these refusals to grovel and apologize, there would be a lot less of these politically correct mobs.

Don Cherry is an inspiration to all of us who are sick and tired of wokeness, political correctness, cancel culture and all the rest of that nonsense. Let us follow his example.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

No, Andrew Scheer’s “Social Conservatism” Did Not Lose the Election

In light of the public discussion that has taken place since the Dominion Election on October 21st, a point that I made in my reflections on the outcome of that election deserves reiteration. The views which Andrew Scheer, Conservative leader, was said to hold on abortion and same-sex marriage, are not the reason the Conservatives failed to win the election, nor are they even a significant contributing factor to the loss. The evasive, wishy-washy, manner in which Mr. Scheer handled these matters when they were raised during the campaign may have been a contributing factor, but the right-wing views attributed to him were not.

The vast majority of commentators in the mainstream media, being overwhelmingly progressive, maintain otherwise, of course, but in this, as in most things, they are completely wrong. Indeed, on some level they know that they are wrong, which is the very reason they insist so strongly and so frequently on their mistaken notion that social conservatism cannot be sold to the Canadian public. They want it to be true and believe that if they tell Canadians it is true often and loudly enough that will make it true. The principle they are operating upon is one famously spelled out by an infamous, Austrian psychopath in the tenth chapter of his memoirs, ninety-four years ago.

Andrew Scheer in an interview with the Canadian Press shortly after the election said that he believed it was possible for someone with conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage to be Prime Minister of Canada. He was right, but it would have been better if he had been saying this firmly, strongly, and consistently prior to the election. A few days later, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh responded by saying “You cannot have Mr. Scheer’s beliefs and be the Prime Minister of Canada. It’s pretty clear.” One wonders if he was able to say this with a straight face. Of all the electable parties in Canada, Mr. Singh’s takes the position furthest to the left on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, and they were the biggest losers in the election, dropping from third to fourth place in total number of seats, and going down four percentage points in the popular vote. Mr. Scheer’s party, by contrast, increased their number of seats and their percentage of the popular vote. If the election results say anything about social conservatism, and it does not, it is not what Mr. Singh thinks.

Let me put it to you plainly. Some people claim to believe that it is every woman’s right to terminate the lives of her children, at least prior to their births. Of these lunatics, the number that would have voted Conservative had someone other than Andrew Scheer been leading the party is miniscule. It is probably not enough to make the difference between the win or the loss of a single seat.

Conversely, there are sane people in our country, a lot more than the mainstream media would like you to think, who rightly consider it to be morally outrageous that in Canada women are legally able to obtain abortions right up to the moment of birth. This includes people with a wide range of differing opinion as to what legal limitations there ought to be on abortion. Some would like to see it prohibited only in the third trimester, others would like to see it restricted to the first, and others still would ban it altogether. There are those who would make an exception in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, while others would say that to do so is to punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty. Some maintain that abortion should be permissible when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mothers, others would say that while saving the life of the mother is certainly a priority, termination of the pregnancy is permissible only as an unintended consequence, never as the intended outcome. There are also differences of opinion as to who bears the burden of criminal guilt over abortion – the doctor, the mother, or both – and what the penalty ought to be. Those of us who take the most hardline anti-abortion position possible and would ban any and all abortions from the moment of conception with no exceptions but with strict penalties for all involved are, sadly, a minority but those who think that there should be legal restrictions of some sort are much larger in number, almost certainly the vast majority.

Let us make two unwarranted and absurd assumptions about such people. The first is that these are all aware of the difference between their own position and the post-1988 status quo and therefore of the fact that Parliamentary legislation would be necessary to arrive at the place in which they want the country to be. The second is that they view everything other than abortion through the lens of ceteris paribus and so choose whom to vote for based solely on this one issue. How, given these assumptions, would Scheer’s campaign have appealed to such people in the last election?

The answer is that while Scheer’s pro-life and socially conservative background would not have driven them away, like it would all the hard-line pro-choicers who would never vote Conservative anyway, his insistence, in response to progressive badgering, that he would not re-open the issue, would have given them no incentive to vote Conservative. What Scheer was saying was that the Conservatives, under his leadership, would in practice, act no differently than the Grits or the Socialists. In which case there was no reason whatsoever for pro-life, socially conservative, people to vote for the party that has long taken their votes for granted, while doing nothing to deserve them.

The conclusion is inevitable – while Scheer’s stated views in the past on abortion and same-sex marriage were not a significant contributing factor to the Conservative loss his waffling on these same issues during the campaign was. The weasely, mealy-mouthed, evasive manner in which he conducted this waffling, did not help things much either.

For decades progressive politicians and pundits have been telling the Conservatives that they need to limit their platform to fiscal conservatism because social conservatism loses elections. For far too long, the leadership of the Conservative Party has been listening to them. The exact opposite is the case. How many people practice rigid, self-denying, austerity in their private lives? Of these, how many make it their political priority that the government do the same? Fiscal conservatism is rational, sensible, and responsible, but it appeals only to economic eggheads and not the public. For most people, the immediate benefit to themselves of government spending programs will always outweigh their portion of the collective cost of government. This is the obvious political application, perhaps even more valid than the original ecological application, of Garrett Hardin’s famous parable of the “tragedy of the commons.” Nobody has ever won an election on fiscal conservatism alone. It has to be packaged with other, more appealing, policies. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were no exceptions to this rule.

This is the lesson that Andrew Scheer and the Conservative leadership ought to learn from our last Dominion election.

What are the odds that they will learn it?