Heroes absent from 2013 headlines

Tease the day: Cynicism wins the day as new year begins

AP/Susan Walsh

Only four years ago, amidst a deepening economic crisis, America turned to a hero when President Obama took office. What a difference a few years makes. Cynicism runs rampant in this morning’s papers. If we remember the first week of 2013 for “fiscal cliff” deliberations and Idle No More demonstrations, it won’t be for the optimism inspired by either story. The papers are bereft of heroes these days, replaced mostly by scoundrels to be mocked or shamed. Few are cheering for anybody; most cheer against somebody.

Barack Obama, John Boehner, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are the four men reviled most openly, and not even along partisan lines—but as a clump representing the worst of Washington ineptitude. Theresa Spence, who’s doubtless admired by many for undertaking her hunger strike that’s in its fourth week, receives little hero treatment in today’s papers. Her critics’ voices are growing, and even her fans hate the prime minister as much as they love her. Victoria Island is no epicentre of optimism. What a fabulous start to 2013.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with students in Newtown, Connecticut starting school for the new year. The National Post fronts John Ivison’s column suggesting the window for rational debate about Aboriginal issues is closing quickly. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten’s plan to impose contracts on striking school teachers. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the rising death toll in Syria—a new UN estimate is 60,000—thanks to ongoing internal conflict. iPolitics fronts Green Party Leader Elizabeth May’s advice to the hunger-striking Theresa Spence. CBC.ca leads with charges filed against five Indian men in connection with the death of a 23-year-old woman who was raped on a bus. National Newswatch showcases Chantal Hebert’s column in the Toronto Star claiming the Idle No More movement could eventually become a challenge for the Harper government.


Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Carbon tax. A poll commissioned by Environment Canada last year suggested a carbon tax would be unpopular with Canadians, including 43% who strongly disagree with the measure. 2. Tusk smugglers. A pair of Canadians are facing 28 charges in connection with the illegal export of narwhal tusks—the valuable appendages attached to the endangered species.
3. Gun trade. Just before the massacre in Newtown, CT, the Canadian government authorized the export of assault weapons to the violence-plagued country of Colombia. 4. Coins. A former economist with the Bank of Canada is one of several prominent voices calling for the elimination of the nickel from general circulation in Canada.




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Heroes absent from 2013 headlines

  1. Probably because the media has returned to the correct definition of ‘hero’, whereas previously practically everyone that breathed was called a hero.

    • Yep, probably

  2. Remarkably this is a case where the headline is correct but only in a technical sense. The author however is a little Ottawa-Washington centric or perhaps should read past the front page.

    How about John Sheardown, Aung San Suu Kyi, Liu Xiaobo, Samantha Nutt, Kevin Page for starters?

  3. Her critcs are growing…yes indeed. And what a lovable bunch of empathy deficient cranks they are…ranging from Watson in the Citizen and his fans like Spector to Glavin who never seems to miss an opportunity these days to p*ss all over the left while still claiming to be a man of the left. Funny how he can generate so much passionate outrage about our abandonment of the Afghans and so little about the dreadful conditions of our own FNs; so much withering scorn for movements like occupy and idlenomore; so little for the neo cons of our age…Bush, Cheney and Harper[ well he's just a wanne be anyway] Hitchens was a giant of public intellectualism compared to the likes of TG.

    Now i hear [on APTN] that the clown prince of Canadian media is running some kind of competition for an appropriate name for chief Spence…already on the list are such beauties as ..oink and hippo. I knew the issue of FNs was a difficult and divisive on e in this country, but since when is actually spitting on those you disagree with become acceptable behaviour? It’s not just Sun media either. Even here on macleans we’ve had a deluge of borderline and not so borderline ignorance and racism on gruesome display.

    • It’s all divide and conquer. Yesterday Sun ran a photo of Chief Spence, inviting “captions” — resulting in a platform for the insulting, offensive, and ignorant.

      Re: heroes. In SK in the fall, a woman received a hero award for saving a baby that had been strapped to an ATV, which had gone out of control and was in a lake somewhere. It was unclear if the woman who saved the baby was with the fools who strapped it in, or just happened by — but no charges were ever laid against the people who strapped a baby onto an ATV.

      But also here in SK, an aboriginal man whose two children froze to death on reserve outside while he too was outside, drunk, and had lost sight of them — well, that father whose children died was sent to prison.

      There is a double standard in this country and how frustrating it must be to face it every day, and to know your children will face it forever too. How hopeless it must feel.

      • I have a feeling if we dug deep into the Canadian psyche we might not like the image we see reflected of ourselves vis vis our first peoples.

        • FN probably see us as pond scum, and I sure can’t blame them for that.

          • If they looked at you, no question whatever …… that’s what they’d see.

      • Whether it is “fair” or not, the charges and penalty are different according to how seriously the victim is impacted by the negligence of the parent. In the case of the ATV accident, the 3 year old survived with no injuries despite the accident….perhaps because the child was strapped into a car seat or perhaps because the parents were sober or due to dumb luck. In the case of the FN toddlers, they died. As we see in deaths related to drunk driving, being drunk is not a defense. Do you really believe that if a white person took his/her child out in their underwear in -50 below weather and left them to die of hypothermia while intoxicated, they would not be charged? We just had a man in Alberta charged for failing to call EMS when a toddler in his care was injured. He is serving prison time and he is very white.

        • You might want to check your facts? I’m not making excuses for the guy, and my memory may be faulty, but i’m pretty sure he did not “took his/her child out in their underwear in -50 below weather and left them to die of hypothermia while intoxicated”.
          He was drunk, but wasn’t the charge neglect? The kids followed him out, he didn’t abandon them outside intentionally.

          • I am going to give you the same advice. The man’s name is “Pauchay”. He and carried his children 15 months and 3 years old dressed in diapers and t-shirts outside. He was inebriated. He himself woke up on a neighbor’s doorstep at 530 am suffering from frostbite. He was taken to hospital and did ask about his children until 8 hrs later at 130pm. The two little girls were found in the field separating his home from the neighbors. He admitted to the judge that he had been the only adult caring for the children and that he had gotten drunk and then decided to take them out but he said he couldn’t remember anything else. His common-law wife who was pregnant at the time forgave him. He was charged with neglect due to the choice he made to get drunk while being the sole caregiver for his children, especially when he had offers from other people to care for his kids.

          • Fair enough. Faulty memory. For some reason ithought he wasn’t aware they followed him out…a poor excuse in any case.

  4. Question: Why is the media calling Chief Spence’s fast a hunger strike? I have been reading that she can been consuming soup. I’ve been on liquid cleansing fast for multiple weeks on occasion. It is not that difficult or stressful. A fast can be maintained for quite an extended period of time.

    Why is the term “hunger strike” being devalued? This is a fast, not a hunger strike.

      • Broth is more soup than stock Fish broth/soup, lemon juice, and herbal teas.

        So she is getting complete protein, essential fatty acids (including omega 3 fatty acids), vitamin C, and a bunch of trace stuff from the teas.

        Her body may be in a state of ketosis, but the traditional northern aboriginal diet is highly ketogenic anyways, so her body may already be well-adapted to the ketogenic state.

        I was travelling over the holidays, so I wasn’t paying much attention. There really isn’t much need to pay attention. Not likely she is in any danger anytime soon.

        • Oh cut it out. You’re being absurd.

          You hate FN that much??

          • My point is not about the First Nations. It is about nutrition and fasting. I’ve been on extended fasts. I’ve experimented with ketogenic diets.

            This isn’t a “real” hunger strike.

            For the Central Canadian media and political establishment who are probably also foodies, this probably looks like a “hunger strike” to them, as they could not imagine living on fish soup, lemon juice, and tea, but I’ve done similar, with far less “expert” supervision.

          • I repeat:

            ‘Amazing….when Bobby Sands went on his hunger strike I don’t remember
            anyone examining his intake, questioning his motives, checking his
            waistline or chins, asking about his religion…..oh wait, he was a
            white male.’

            Bobby Sands survived 46 days on just water and salt…and he was the first of ten strikers to die.

          • Fish broth, lemon juice, and tea: complete protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin C, most minerals including potassium and phosphorus, vitamin A and B, vitamin B12.

            A little better than just salt.

            If Bobby Sands lived for 45 days, Spence can sustain herself far, far longer on her diet.

            Which was my point (which has nothing to do for or against the First Nations case) This is not a “real” hunger strike. It is a pretty normal extended mostly liquid fasting diet.

            Yawn.

          • Well we aren’t talking about some overweight white person like yourself trying to diet by fasting….which means btw, no food for a very short time….we are talking about a hunger strike of 25 days so far.

            The longest Irish hunger striker lived 73 days on water and salt.

            Spence is a native.

            Don’t try to disguise racism with silliness.

          • Probably because it was 1981 and the internet didn’t even exist. These days it’s a lot easier to hear from all sorts of people.

            That said, I get your point, but I think it’s reasonable to point out that there is a significant difference between a diet of water and salt, and a heavily supervised medicinal diet of meat broth and green tea.

          • Well we had TV and satellites and even moon shots so it wasn’t exactly the Dark Ages.

            Unlike now where people are pretending an unsupervised intake of ordinary light fluid is any life-saving meal plan.

          • Red Herring. Nobody said it was the dark ages. What was said is that we didn’t have the internet. And why that matters while having TV, satellites, and moon shots doesn’t is because you weren’t able to hear the multitude of opinions that exist through any of those technologies, as you now are able to through the ‘net.

            Ergo, not hearing people questioning Sands nutrient intake or whatever wasn’t evidence that those comments weren’t happening. Just that you didn’t hear them.

          • Well, some of us were paying close attention…..and while a lot of filthy things were said about Bobby Sands his intake wasn’t questioned.

          • The newspapers are now saying she is on a “liquid diet”.

          • Without water, she’d already be dead.

            And most newspapers are more responsible than what you’re implying.

          • I didn’t “imply” anything. Unlike yourself, I do not pretend to know the nutritional value of ANY of the liquids that Ms. Spence might or might not be partaking of.

          • No, wheatabix there is doing that. Seems to want a quicker end to Spence.

          • Emily, how much water is in a Case of Moosehead?

          • Moosehead has water in it, right?

            So if she was on straight Moosehead would that be a liquid diet?

          • The only hate comes from you and the leftoid lunatic likes of you.

            Stop judging others by your aberrant self.

          • And you’re a poster boy for tolerance right? Not to mention too thick to notice any irony in calling some one out for hating by hating.

          • Sot is just a stalker… a hater with a fetish. Me. LOL

          • Yeah that’s right Emily, you’re just my little wishbone.

            I hate the thought of having to fight Svend Robinson to get you though. I could never afford a ring that would be worthy of you.

          • A poster boy?

            You must have me confused with Kyle Rae. I guess you’ve been spending too much time with Tinky Winkie. What’s “irony?”

          • You’re well named at least.

    • Why are you splitting hairs? Yes, i believe the record might be around 74 days, but that is hardly the point is it?

  5. I read or heard somewhere that the poor dear should declare her
    inner Buddhism and set her hair in fire … it would sow much confusion
    among the chuckies… cuz Communist Oppression an’ all ..

    • Amazing….when Bobby Sands went on his hunger strike I don’t remember anyone examining his intake, questioning his motives, checking his waistline or chins, asking about his religion…..oh wait, he was a white male.

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