I’ll see your Don Cherry—and raise you a Jacques Parizeau


As my colleague (and office neighbour) Chris Selley has pointed out, “Canada’s National Newspaper” is on a bit of a Don Cherry kick these days. Through some tortured logical process, both Rex Murphy and the Globe editorial board have decided that Henry Morgentaler’s nomination to the Order of Canada for his work on legalizing abortion doubles as a perfect springboard for bestowing the same honour on English Canada’s favourite blowhard.

If Morgentaler’s nomination has indeed opened the floodgates to naming just about anybody to the oh-so-sacred Order—no matter how reviled by certain segments of Canadian society—here’s a suggestion for the GG and her committee: Jacques Parizeau.

The case is actually a pretty easy one to make: as one of the chief economic architects of the Quiet Revolution, Parizeau played a leading role in building the modern Quebec state. The former premier was behind a number of projects that permanently transformed Quebec’s economy, like the creation of the Caisse de Dépôt and the FTQ’s Fonds de solidarité, and the nationalization of the province’s electricity into the behemoth now known as Hydro-Québec.

“But what about Parizeau’s separatism?” some might say. Well, if one were to rank the incidents that have hampered the sovereignist cause, there aren’t many that could top Parizeau’s “money and the ethnic vote” remark after the referendum. In fact, by scorching the earth after the PQ’s loss, one could almost argue Parizeau did more for national unity than any number of die-hard federalists have since then.

Sure, the “ethnic” stuff was a little off-putting. But as the Globe put it in its hagiography for Cherry, “To hold such a passionate voice to a standard of perfection or correctness would be ridiculous. It would be to silence him, and that would be a blow to Canada: anglophone, francophone and no phone at all. His outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country are beyond dispute.”


I’ll see your Don Cherry—and raise you a Jacques Parizeau

  1. … and Parizeau’s first wife was awarded the Order of Canada too …

  2. Sheer gold. Then you have Cherry and Parizeau sit together.

  3. I’d frame that picture.

  4. Oh Andrew Coyne, this is why you’ll always be my favorite right-of-centre columnist!

  5. I love this country.

  6. The motto for the Order of Canada is: “They desire a better country”.

    Parizeau would very likely be under the mistaken impression that this referred to Quebec.

  7. This idea is an insult to serious jazz trumpeters worldwide. All the Globe was suggesting was that one of the most original musicians of our time – Ornette Coleman’s horn player, no less – should be given the posthumous recognition he deserves, from a government that was willfully blind to his principled rejection of fusion. Don Cherry deserves the Order of Canada as much as Dizzy Gillespie ever did – seriously.

  8. @D: But that’s just it. To “desire a better country” is an entirely subjective criterion—and one that doesn’t rule out any of the people I’ve mentioned.

    In Henry Morgentaler’s case a better Canada is one with safe and legal abortions; for Don Cherry, a better Canada is one in which visors are for wimps and upholstery is for clothing; and for Jacques Parizeau, a better Canada is one in an economic partnership with an independent Quebec.

  9. Well, if Preston Manning could be awarded the Order of Canada, why not Don Cherry (you may have to do a better job of convincing me that Parizeau deserves it.)He didn’t want a better Canada,he desired a better Quebec Also, do we have a policy against awarding the OC to blatant racists? (Oh wait….Preston Manning….)

  10. Sophie I personally believe Canada would be a better country if Quebec separated. So you could argue that Parizeau wanted a better Quebec which would lead to a better Canada.

  11. Hey, Parizeau is a wine producer and Cherry is a
    whinner. Love them both!

  12. I concur that both Parizeau and Cherry are more than worthy recipients in joining the ranks of an organization with convicted criminals like Conrad Black and Allan Eagleson.

    My cup of nationalistic pride overfloweth.

    Doesn’t Garth Drabinsky also have an OoC ?

  13. Most sports halls of fames, to vote in a new member, require a significant majority of votes from non-partisan non-members. It’s easy to see why.

    Because the OoC does not do the same, it’s just another political tool.

  14. Give sf a prize for pinning the tail on the donkey on this thread.

    In fact, the OoC is full of political tools.

  15. We can take the OC away for blatant racism. Think David Ahenakew.

  16. I have what the French (as in people who live in France) call “L’Esprit de l’escalier”. (Basically it means that I come up with a witty rejoinder or salient thought as I’m charging down the stairs as opposed to in the heat of the crucial moment.)

    Anyhoo …

    Don Cherry and Jacques Parizeau actually have more in common than one might think:

    They are both unabashed monarchists and …

    … on a sadder note they both lost their beloved first wives to cancer.

  17. sorry sophie, can’t let you get away with your mindless slander. how exactly is preston manning a racist?

    i’d give parizeau an OC, no hesitation (admittedly would be mischievous fun watching him refuse it). he did a lot of impressive stuff in promoting popular capitalism in quebec, and thus canada, while he was the PQ finmin. And we can complain about the Caisse but these days sovereign wealth funds seem to be in vogue..

  18. Do tell me, how would anglophones have reacted, if "La Presse" or some other major french publication had had done what Maclean's now doing with Parizeau, to a hospitalised Mordecai Richler or Don Cherry ?

    And WE'RE supposedly the mean, narrow-minded, and xenophobic ones in this country ?

    Have a good look in the mirror, ROC ! … and thanks for the plug (do you think that, with this cheap stunt, you'll have convinced, or rather unconvince, french-speaking Quebecers that Canada is a "country which we should feel at home in" ?).

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