The millstone removed

Ed Smith
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So, the rabbits are turning against the coyotes. The small minority who are sensitive to political attack on person instead of policy have risen up in arms and cried with a loud voice, “No more!”

OK, so it’s not that loud. But the political masters who before this have expected everyone to bow beneath their corrupt logic and totally stupid pronouncements must be getting a bit of a lesson over the last little while. Suddenly it seems not everyone is willing to walk in their insane footsteps or sell their souls to the prevailing wisdom.

“Gee whiz, Eddie,” you say, breaking into this diatribe. “Whatever has caused you to depart from your usual stoic and calm assessment of whatever is happening in our fair world?”

Granted, our world is fairer than most, but even here things happen that make you want to stand up on your hind legs and howl.

Take the federal Conservatives as an example. From Harper on down they’ve been riding roughshod over Atlantic Canada in particular with no one to say nay to them. Even our own provincial champion, K. Dunderdale, began her term by cosying up to the closest thing we’ve had to a dictator in manya year. The doctrine of appeasement, I think it’s called. Didn’t work back then, either.

“Everything is fine, now, folks. The prime minister and the premier are as one. No more political shots at us. Nothing will ever happen to our coast guard. No offices catering to the needs of minorities will ever be closed down. No operational grants for organizations trying to protect women from the particular injustices that afflict them will ever be shut off. That loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls? That’s as sure as heaven is sure, as someone once said,” etc. etc.

But just a few days ago, a few Conservative MPs had about all they could take and they rose up on their hind legs and howled. They protested the personal attack ads being used on Justin Trudeau, the new Liberal leader and the hope of everyone who ever breathed the salt Atlantic air.

Nothing is more indicative that Harper and his cronies are worried sick about Trudeau than the American-style ad campaigns that are currently fouling up our relatively clean Canadian political air. Even I thought Harper would never sink that low. I thought his advisers, who up to now have shown the same degree of wisdom as did the people who advised Napoleon to attack Russia in winter, would have argued him out of it.

I don’t know why I thought that. Political advisers are not known for clear, independent thought. Their philosophy, as far as I can see, is to say whatever they think their beloved leader wants to hear. Their job is not to present a reasoned alternative to what the leader is proposing, but instead to say clearly and unequivocally, “You’re absolutely right, sir. That’s the thing to do. We’re right behind you!”

So, out come those stupid ads designed to make Trudeau look like a silly, simpering teenager who wouldn’t organize a pee-up in a Heineken plant.

And what else is wrong with him? Oh no. Say it ain’t true. The man, the man whom the Liberals have chosen to lead them out of the political wilderness and into the promised land of political milk and honey, used to be a teacher. And what did he teach? Of all things, drama.

We ought not to stop there, people, no siree. Young Justin had the temerity, the effrontery and the gall (I admit to knowing the meaning of only one of the last three nouns) to strip to his undershirt, causing fully one-third of liberal women between the ages of 17 and 79, and two-thirds of conservative women between the ages of 17 and 27, to break out in hives.

It’s as if the council of Israelites said to Moses, “You want to be our leader for the next 40 years, leading us through deserts and seas and mountains and plains to a new country where we have to destroy whole cities to make our homeland? OK, do you have a resumé? Yes, yes, I see — a shepherd. Nothing else? You’re putting us on, right?”

Or the prophet Samuel saying to a young David, “So you want to be King. Qualifications? OK, kills wild animals and giants — musician and songwriter. Right. Next?”

It’s incredible to me that a group of professional ad writers would not be aware of the reaction from the general public to those personal attack ads. Or that the PM’s advisers would not be aware of how badly this would reflect on him and on his government generally. Of course, they are the direct descendents of a long line of advisers to strategists and leaders.

For example, there were the bright lads who advised Napoleon Bonaparte to attack Russia in the dead of winter. (I know, it bears repeating in the current context, don’t you think?) They were directly related, except separated by a couple of generations, to those who advised Hitler to do the same thing.

As a result, there was a bit of an uprising among some Conservative MPs. If I understand it correctly, they, too, refused to distribute the posters with the offending messages on them. And then, lo and behold, some hitherto loyal Conservative members of the public also refused to pass them around. So what’s it all about, Alfie?

You don’t suppose that Harper is being recognized for the sleeveen he is as prime minister, and people of his own party are refusing to be dragged down with him anymore? Has the worm turned? And will all those terrible attacks against the young Trudeau come back to haunt them?

One can only hope.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.

His email address is

Organizations: Conservative MPs, Heineken

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Russia, Springdale.His

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