Pimping Illiteracy - Macleans.ca
 

Pimping Illiteracy


 

PC_090827demers-harper-poignee_8Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press

Last night, whilst watching the bit about the new senate appointees, the cynicism folded onto itself like ham and American cheese in a Denny’s sandwich, compacting itself into a messy little knot in my sternum where it resided, Denny’s sandwich-like, until I finally managed to hork it onto the page.

It’s not so much that the Harper Conservatives have appointed a whack of unelected senators after years and years of bitching about how no government should ever appoint a whack of unelected senators. It’s not even that in so doing, Harper has yet again forsaken his populist Reform principles of governance; years ago, remember, appointing even one unelected senator was tantamount to accepting Ottawa’s “gold-plated pension plan”. Two decades on, the Conservatives are plenty happy with their pensions, and are as at least as eager as your average Liberal to indulge in the odd orgy of patronage.

No, the real pisser is this: Jacques Demers. Flubby, lovable and illiterate Jacques Demers. A funny thing happened the moment Harper appointed the erstwhile Habs coach and quasi-deity to the red chamber. We heard, at the top of every newscast, the soft-lens story of Demers himself, the former truck driver turned hockey coach who spent much of his life hiding the fact that he couldn’t read. Radio-Canada reported that a Montreal illiteracy help line saw a 300 percent increase in the number of calls in the space of an afternoon. Missing, or at least considerably dulled, was the chatter about the above-mentioned hypocrisy. Also largely MIA: the fact that Quebecers are, along with Albertans, traditionally the most ardent voices for Senate reform in the country–a sentiment for which Harper himself was associated back in his Reform days, and which he was quick to harness when courting Quebec’s favour during the last two elections.

Finally, as Vincent Marissal points out, Demers is a convenient media heat score who draws the attention away from the blatant nepotism of Harper’s other senate appointees. Namely, Harper’s advisor and campaign organizer Doug Finley; Harper’s former press flak Carolyn Stewart Olsen; Conservative Party president Don Plett; former CPC candidate Claude Carignan. Instead, we hear about lovable coach Demers, and how he cries when he hears of illiterate children. Well played, Prime Minister.


 
Filed under:

Pimping Illiteracy

  1. It’s not to difficult to see why Partriquin wasn’t asked to be a Senator, he is to ignorant!

    • Ignorance is strength!

    • Are you posing one of those logic test questions? If so, please phrase it at follows:

      Patriquin is to ignorant, as Darrell is to _________.

  2. Fine, as long as Harper doesn't start complaining that the Senate is too slow in doings its job. Who's going to pick-up the workload for Demers while he is continuing his good work on Réseau des Sports and covering the Vancouver Olympics?

  3. The qualifications to be a Senator for Harper are obviously no more stringent then making sure you vote for his bills in the Senate:

    "Mr. Demers… was a well-known face among the new crop of senators. He said he will continue working as a hockey analyst and put his mind to his new job.

    “I've just been named a senator here, and I'm going to have to start following [federal politics],” he said in an interview.

  4. The qualifications to be a Senator for Harper are obviously no more stringent then making sure you vote for his bills in the Senate:

    "Mr. Demers… was a well-known face among the new crop of senators. He said he will continue working as a hockey analyst and put his mind to his new job.

    “I've just been named a senator here, and I'm going to have to start following [federal politics],” he said in an interview.

    That would be in the Globe's piece this AM. At least Jacques is being honest about things.

  5. Commenting not on Harper but on Patriquin: "Also largely MIA: the fact that Quebecers are, along with Albertans, traditionally the most ardent voices for Senate reform in the country" Really? I thought the basic constitutional stance of every adminstration since the loathed and despised Godbout adminstration was that if Quebec did not get absolutely EVERYTHING that it wanted, it would not support ANYTHING. That this stance has gotten them more of the latter than the former has not altered the fact that it is unchallengeable dogma among the Quebec chattering clances. Indeed, it is this stance that makes it impossible for the constitution to be changed. As for the Senate the Quebec elite has long thought that instead of being the patronage appointments of the Prime Minister, senate appointments should be the patronage appointments of the Quebec premier. Indeed, muddling this issue helped to weaken the Charlottetown accord.

  6. Pimping illiteracy is one thing, but what about illiterate pimping? Studies show that almost half of our nation's pimps can't read at a 6th grade level.

  7. Pimping illiteracy? Please. The man has overcome illiteracy, after successfully compensating for that disability for most of his adult life. He goes on to serve society by using his own story to further the cause of LITERACY. If the media and Canadians are going to discuss Demers as a Senator, why the heck wouldn't this past contribution come up?

    You want to go all cynical about the cronies? Fine. Talk about the cronies. But no. You pile on with the demeaning "Look – the dumb bozo who can't even read is just being used by that scheming Harper" line. That is an undeserved cheap shot towards a man who accepted an invitation to serve.

    Here's a pisser for ya. Of the whole list of bagmen and cronies, personally I am most impressed that a "real person," not a political nut, will be joining The Other Place. Would that there be none at all, but failing that, would that there would be more like Demers.

    • I too think there should be some "real people" in the Senate, but surely the Senate's job is to scrutinise legislation and conduct thorough committee hearings. One's qualifications to be a Senator should depend on one's ability to participate effectively in those activities.

  8. Again, Harper has a long way to go to match the crass partisanship of Trudeau/Chretien. The liberal media forgets this in its pathetic outrage today.

    • Do you never get tired of justifying your Party's actions with "but they did it too?" Does it never occur to you that becoming the Second Liberal Party of Canada is not quite how the Conservatives campaigned? Did you never once think that if the people wanted the Liberal Party, they would have voted for the Liberal Party?

      I so don't get this argument.

      • Canadians do want a Liberal government – the Chretien years were good times. The problem for the Libs is that the Harper Tories are much more like Chretienite Liberals than Martin, Dion or Iggy. For all the talk of Harper as an ideologue I can't imagine that Canada would look much different if Chretien were still in office.

        • The Chretien years were good times, you say? Hmm, let's examine that shall we …
          Massive cutbacks to military recruitment and equipment procurement that crippled our Forces; the siphoning of EI supluses into general revenues in order to artifically balance the books while at the same time hiking EI premiums; coming within a whisker of a 'Yes' vote in the 1995 referendum on Quebec separation; Adscam; Shawinigate; the HRDC billion-dollar boondoogle …
          These constitute your idea of 'good times'?