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The Jacques Demers ink blot test


 

Dan Gardner considers the hockey coach’s Senate appointment.

Anywhere else, if you couldn’t read for most of your adult life, if you had no education to speak of, if you knew little about public policy, and if you didn’t follow politics, if your only demonstrated skill is coaching a game, you’d probably be considered unfit for high legislative office. But not in this great nation.

The National Post leaps to Demers’ defense, confesses some envy (?) at his hockey success and condemns the education system in Quebec.

Some may be tempted to make snide remarks about Mr. Demers, who was functionally illiterate for most of his adulthood. Probably all that needs to be said about him is that he was an outstanding success in the one area of Canadian life that most of us fantasize about taking part in, and would trade our own careers for in a heartbeat. The disclosure of his terrible personal secret was a more impressive act of courage than any of us will ever witness or contemplate in our lifetimes, let alone perform. He has worked, belatedly, to overcome a disability that was, by definition, the fault of other people who failed in their sacred professional responsibilities. If such a person cannot participate in representative government, then it probably isn’t worth having.


 
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The Jacques Demers ink blot test

  1. I think it's an embarrassment. Might as well appoint someone in a coma with a mechanized chair that can make them 'stand' on cue.

    • Well, I think Wherry is an embarrassment to the journalism profession—-all those years of Liberal appointments and never a bitchy report from him and now it`s a bitchfest—-now what kind of objective journalist is that..

      Andrew, when you take the bait and play along with Wherry, you come across as a bit of a self-righteous prig—-those of us who are fortunate enough to be somewhat literate and to be mobile without the use of a mechanized chair shouldn`t feel embarrassed by the less fortunate.

      • So, as an affirmative action, your next lawyer, accountant and financial planner will be functionally illiterate?

        • Apples and Oranges. Mr. Demers speaks well in our two languages and is a quick-witted, creative man who has overcome a major roadblock caused by unfortunate circumstances in his childhood. I `m sure he will use those abilities to continue to progress in life even in a somewhat lifeless institution like the Senate.

          Chretien appointed a former Maple Leaf hockey player to the Senate—-I don`t know if he is quick-witted or creative or how many languages he speaks but maybe you could tell us about his recent accomplishments and does he embarrass you ?

          • The Big M was a star for both the Leafs and the Habs.

      • And you're an embarrassment to English Canadian education.

    • Despite the fact that he was illiterate for most of his life he achieved a level of success that most people will never experience. There are many complex neurological and developmental factors that can cause illiteracy. It is incredibly close-minded to assume that any adult illiterate must be mentally incompetent.

    • Despite the fact that he was illiterate for most of his life, he achieved a level of success that most people will never experience. There are many complex neurological and developmental factors that can cause illiteracy. It is incredibly close-minded to assume that any adult illiterate must be mentally incompetent.

    • Despite the fact that he was illiterate for most of his life, he achieved a level of success that most people will never experience. There are many complex neurological and developmental factors that can cause illiteracy. It is incredibly closed-minded to assume that any adult who has trouble reading must be mentally incompetent.

  2. Demers is perhaps…. indeed certainly…. the most truly accomplished of this lot. People should leave him alone and go after the other hacks.

    • Well said Stewart—-we are all looking forward to your " going after " those other hacks. Please don`t forget all those Lib. appointees still in the Senate—–they deserve equal time. You can probably skip Duffy—-there was an earlier Duffyfest that Feschuk and Wherry led.

  3. I think it's an interesting appointment, one I'm frankly not sure of what to make. On the one hand, I don't want a Senate filled with nothing but backroom crony's, lawyers and media types. Some people to represent other types of Canadians can only be a good thing. On the other hand, the job is pretty reading intensive, mostly of legalese, and I expect it requires a strong interest in current affairs and politics. It isn't just the reading, it's the ability to stay awake while reading it.

    So I guess I'll reserve judgment and see how he does.

  4. Gardner's requirements for the perfect senate appointee, apparently:
    – Education "to speak of" (I'm going to guess that means from a post-secondary institution he's heard of?)
    – Knowledge of public policy
    – General awareness of politics

    By these criteria, then, the rest of last week's appointments must be just aces, in his book.

  5. Gardner's requirements for the perfect senate appointee, apparently:
    – Education "to speak of" (I'm going to guess that means from a post-secondary institution he's heard of?)
    – Knowledge of public policy
    – General awareness of federal politics

    By these criteria, then, the rest of last week's appointments must be just aces, in his book.

    (Or not, but he can't actually articulate very well why he hates them, and is forced to sublimate all that petty rage into bashing Demers.)

  6. Gardner's requirements for the perfect senate appointee, apparently:
    – Education "to speak of" (I'm going to guess that means from a post-secondary institution he's heard of?)
    – Knowledge of public policy
    – General awareness of federal politics

    By these criteria, then, the rest of last week's appointments must be just aces, in his book.

  7. Jacques Demers must be twice the man to be able to achieve what he did with the terrible handicap that he endured. He said he awoke every day terrifiied that it would be discovered. Imagine his creativity in masking it all those years. Inspite of all that, he didn't withdraw and become a complete nothing… but rather rose to heights very few attain. Then, in order to help others, he chose to admit his handicap. What a man!! Doubtless he will be a great asset to the Senate. Mr. Harper is refreshing this institution with his type of appointment. Congratulations all around.

  8. The I'm-better-than-you pile-on continues. Does this collection of name-calling creeps not realize how petty their behaviour and statements make them look?

    • Do tell, MYL: what would disqualify somebody from being an effective Senator?

      • If you are not a Canadian citizen;
        If you do not own property in the province you represent;
        If you do not live in the province you represent;
        If you are younger than 30 years old;
        If you are older than 75.

        But then, being a student of Canada and its institutions, you were no doubt aware of those disqualifications.

        My own particular list of additions would include:
        A criminal record;
        Actual illiteracy;
        No particular accomplishment of note in one's adult life (clearly subject to eye-of-the-beholder syndrome);
        Only accomplishment of note being "party organizer or bag man" or "close friend of the PM."

        One day, we might add the following:
        N/A, since this section of government has been abolished.

        Or, at least:
        Not elected by his or her provincial constituents.

        • Would you set the same bar for the organisation in which you work?

          No criminal record;
          No actual illiteracy;
          Some accomplishment of note in one's adult life (clearly subject to eye-of-the-beholder syndrome);
          Not having one's only accomplishment of note being "close friend of the boss."

          Or would that strike you as a parody of actual employment qualifications? Or indicative that the person doing the hiring holds the organisation itself in contempt?

          That said, I'm glad to see you disapprove of most of the recent Senate appointments.

          • Would you set the same bar for the organisation in which you work?
            Nope. I don't work in the Senate. Although, depending on the job description in the organisation's posted opening, I might hold a preference for the first two.

            I'm glad to see you disapprove of most of the recent Senate appointments.
            Well, I hope that doesn't surprise you. If it does, feel free to read around earlier Senate appointment commentary of mine these last few days. Cheers.

          • It doesn't surprise me, but I find it somewhat perverse that you think Mr. Demers will be a more effective Senator than Harper's bag-men and water-carriers. I mean, I disapprove of putting Doug "If it's not Tory, it's crrrraaap" Finley in the Senate, but you have to admit that the man's grasp of politics and government almost certainly exceeds that of the estimable Mr. Demers. Being a nice person is hardly a qualification for high office.

          • I've read somewhere in MYL's posts that he wished for the senate to be abolished. I'll extend my assumption and add that he probably thinks that its remaining useful purpose in Canadian politics is to put on a show.

            I respect Demers greatly for his hockey lore but he's a far cry from being fit for politics, and I'm sure he knows that too. But since putting on a show is a senator's only responsibility…why worry?

          • Except that the Senate is literally the only body of statesmen who actually read the laws before they're enacted. The House has completely dropped the ball in that regard. The Senate also conducts committee hearings that do not resemble three-ring circuses. There is far more to being a Senator than merely putting on a show, much as its enemies might wish it were far less effective than it really is.

          • Except that the Senate is literally the only body of statesmen who actually read the laws before they're enacted. The House has completely dropped the ball in that regard. The Senate also conducts committee hearings that do not resemble three-ring circuses. There is far more to being a Senator than merely putting on a show, much as that plain truth may irk its ideological enemies.

          • For heaven's sake, I don't want the whole Senate filled with formerly illiterate former Stanley Cup winning coaches! The place is crawling with political nerds and geeks already. A few more actual real people who have had real jobs, been hired / fired, succeeded and failed in real life: that's actually refreshing. And the cheap shots headed in Mr. Demers's direction have been disgusting. That's all.

          • You're right, MYL, and I think Demers will make a good Senator.

          • Senator Tommy Banks smiled at my infant son on an airplane one time.

          • Well done Jack, you have now come around to understand why Demers will be a much better Senator than Finley.

            Demers has dedicated his life to a game, but through that game found a way to bring diverse people together to accomplish a very difficult task, and in doing so accomplished something substantive and real. Finley on the other hand has dedicated his life Canadian politics, something very real and important. He has worked tirelessly to divide people and in the end has reduced the important practice of political leadership into something resembling a silly game.

            Finley will read legislation with an eye to short term political gain, and reduce Senate committees to shouting matches. Demers would be a better Senator, even if he didn't show up to work. However, I have great hope that he will focus on governance rather than petty politics.

          • LOL, that's quite brutal and quite true.

  9. Gardner's requirements for the perfect senate appointee, apparently:
    – Education "to speak of" (I'm going to guess that means from a post-secondary institution he's heard of?)
    – Knowledge of public policy
    – General awareness of federal politics

    By these criteria, then, the rest of last week's appointments must be just aces, in his book.

  10. Demers was appointed to put lipstick on Harper's image in Quebec. Nothing else. If Cherry could parler Frenchie, he would be the designated Senate clown.

    I don't have a problem with Demers' illiteracy. I don't think it'll stop him from being any less effective than, say, a supposedly literate Senator like Mac Harb.

    However, I'm concerned that he wants to keep his (presumably higher paying) hockey commentator job. Given the overlap of the hockey and parliamentary seasons, I'm not sure where he's going to find the time because Harper will want him campaigning for him, sort of be his French Duffy.

    • If Cherry could parler Frenchie, he would be the designated Senate clown.

      He's too old, genius. He's 75.

  11. I can't believe a man who can barely read will be in the Senate. What a joke.

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