Tag Archives: Canadian politics

Brian Mulroney and the Odd Things we Remember

Brian Mulroney passed away last week. He was an extremely consequential prime minister – the policies of his that caused the most rage are still in place and while Trudeau the Father is probably more well-known internationally, Mulroney did more to truly affect and change Canada. I was in complete agreement with free trade, being a firm believer that freer trade is always better for everyone, but people back then lost their minds over it. And by people, I mean leftists, mostly. And Canadian “celebrities.” Of course, this all changed when Donald Trump became U.S. president and challenged NAFTA, causing many who had previously opposed NAFTA to defend it with all their might. (I wrote about that in the Wall Street Journal.) Anyway, my strongest memory of Mulroney, oddly enough, is of the party convention where he was selected as Tory leader. One of my brothers claimed that Mila Mulroney was wearing pink in order to appear submissive and set herself apart from Joe Clark’s wife, Maureen McTeer, who famously kept her own last name, and I guess did not wear pink. I suggested that perhaps Mila just liked pink. Ah no, I was scolded! She is anti-feminist and the proof is in the pink! Blah blah blah…Now we would call that “mansplaining.” And my four brothers – and father – all did it to an excessive degree. My two remaining brothers still do it, though thankfully I do not have much to do with either. Isn’t it odd the things we remember? The things that news events bring up to us?

Here is a clip of that convention and indeed, Mila is in a lovely pink dress. I think she just liked pink.

Idea for a Canadian Horror Story

Submitted for your approval: a Canadian woman goes abroad for the first time in her life. She is excited to visit Paris, London and Rome and brings her fancy camera with her. But when she downloads all the photographs she has taken, she notices that Justin Trudeau appears in the background of each and every one. He is peeking out from under the Arc de Triomphe; he is brushing snow from his hair at the foot of the Matterhorn; he is biting into a Margherita pizza at a popular lunch spot in Naples. At each site he is dressed appropriately for the place and the weather.

It is horrifying.

The woman goes to the prime minister’s web page to check his official schedule and sees that for the duration of her trip, he was in Canada. She even checks news sites and discovers that on the day she was at the Matterhorn, for example, he was in the House of Commons. She tries downloading the photographs on a friend’s laptop and again, each photograph features the prime minister’s smiling face. She takes her camera and the memory card to an expert in photographic technology, who is unable to find an answer. “Just accept it,” he says, shrugging. “You can’t fight sunny ways. And why would you want to? He’s so cute!”

A month after her vacation, she has put the incident behind her, with the help of a trauma counselor. She has spoken of it to only a few trusted friends, one of whom recommends the healing powers of nature. Out for a walk one day, she spies a young doe in a clearing. She pulls out her phone and clicks. She checks to see how the picture came out and is very pleased with the outcome but for one troubling detail. Justin Trudeau is cozying up to the doe, his smiling face alongside the startled animal’s face, his arm draped over her elegant neck.

Cue ‘Psycho’ theme music.

[I realize I need to flesh this out, but I think it would be a great horror story. – RA]

Martin Amis Quote

A few years ago, my Better Half invited Martin Amis to Toronto to give a talk at a private venue. There was much that was delightful in that talk, but above all, what was noteworthy was this quote regarding the left and Islamism:

I take my hat off to the left in that they’ve found something to defend in a movement that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian, inquisitorial, imperialist and genocidal. Perhaps it is their [Islamist’s] view on usury that is attractive to the left — low interest rates, or non-existent interest rates. 

I kept thinking about that quote during the Canadian election campaign this fall, as those about me shrieked and moaned about the niqab. In particular, what struck me were two women I know who call themselves “feminists” (and who would most definitely identify as leftists) and their views on the matter.

For the record, I wish the matter had not become such a focal point, and further, I don’t believe in “banning” niqabs or burqas. But I see a difference when it comes to a solemn oath in which someone is pledging their loyalty to their new and free and (presumably) chosen country. And the reason I feel that way is that I believe in the equality of the sexes, and in the importance of a civil society that protects that equality. So I sort of assumed any “feminist” would, at the very least, not treat wearing a niqab as though it were heroic and not, you know, say anything monstrously stupid on the matter.

Boy, was I disappointed. One of these feminists posted on one of her social media pages that not only should a niqab be accepted at a citizenship ceremony, but that it would be ok with her if someone wore a Nazi uniform at said ceremony. Lovely. (This is the sort of moral bankruptcy with which we are contending.)

The other posted a celebratory “Good for her” when the woman at the centre of the case took her oath with her face covered. Now, this latter person is a young woman who uses words like “patriarchy” unironically, and who took Women’s Studies courses at university unironically. She is always ranting about the “objectification” of women but then — in the heat of the election campaign — praised to the skies the First Nations woman who won Mrs. Universe and trashed Stephen Harper shortly thereafter. So I guess her anti-beauty pageant values were subject to change, if a beauty pageant allows an expression of Harper Derangement Syndrome.

Speaking of which, both of these ladies suffer from HDS, which was likely part of the reason for their pretzel-twisting logic about women’s equality/Nazi uniforms and so forth. But I really think the broader motivation was what Amis was describing — a noxious sort of anti-Western/anti-American worldview that renders all common sense-thinking disabled.