Warning: the following is a foray into the semi-literate and semi-rational world of online commentary. Offensively lunatic remarks will be repeated. Proceed with caution.
Aside from a few last-minute bursts from the candidates and, of course, the actual vote and ballot count, the Labrador byelection is as good as done.
So, what’s the future hold for this riding?
Well, according to some commentators (those on the Sun News website, that is) no matter whether the Liberals or the Conservatives win, Labrador could become the country’s newest concentration camp.
“Labrador would be a good place to build the new JT (Justin Trudeau) home for wayward and disenfranchised terrorists, where they could all go for counselling,” is how one reader responded to an opinion poll that showed Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones easily maintaining a more than 30 per cent lead over Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue.
The facetious idea was immediately supported by another commentator: “Great point!” V.C. wrote. “We’ll send all the f---ers there! They can have wienie roasts and pajama parties; their kids can be BFFs with the Labrador kids. They can be one big happy family — at least until they get blown up to Kingdom Come.”
This prediction springs from the Conservative reaction to Trudeau’s response to recent bombings in Boston.
Apparently, only Conservatives can contemplate the root causes of terrorism without being soft on terrorists — no one else, it seems, has the moral authority.
In fact, one commentator is so concerned about what she sees as the new Liberal leader’s capitulation to extremist forces that she envisions nothing but horror: “If you want Canada to be controlled by Muslims, vote for Turdo (sic),” V.C. declared. “I, however, will continue to choose freedom over Islam’s oppression, beating of women, rape, cutting off of body parts, hanging of homosexuals, murder, pedophilia, torture, slavery and more.”
Not to be outdone in the realm of confused imaginings, an opposition supporter warned what will happen to Labrador if, instead, the Tories retake the riding:
“Great place to send all their Communist Party there, including their misfit MPs and all the trolls (highly partisan, but often anonymous Internet commentators) who do not have two brain cells to rub together, which means uneducated dummies who are spreading the Cons’ propaganda.”
This is where this online discussion discards what little politeness it had left, although it remains fascinating in a barroom brawl kind of way.
Words like “incompetent,” “cheating,” “liar,” “fraud artist” and “narcissistic sociopath,” as well as “dumb” and “bully,” are used to describe the prime minister, while other words like “fiberals” and “retards” are applied to Liberal supporters, with Trudeau dismissed as an “idiot” and both he and Jones written off as being just two pretty “lightweights.”
After that the talk drifts away from the byelection to become even less civil, and so there’s little need to follow it further.
So, back to what sparked this strange debate on the Sun News site over the future use of Labrador: the polls offer some interesting tidbits for Labrador voters to digest, keeping in mind that the pollsters make no claim that the results predict, only that they provide snapshots of opinion at single moments in time.
What those snapshots show is that while between April 2 and April 24, the Conservative candidate managed to improve his standing by a whole nine per cent, he took it all from the NDP and none from Yvonne Jones — who lost six per cent from her projected margin of victory, but gained three per cent on her overall level of support, bringing it up to a full 60 per cent.
That (returning briefly to the online discussion) has at least one Conservative supporter, an M.M. from Edmonton, conceding an inevitable Conservative loss so as to more quickly dismiss it.
“It’s irrelevant if Penashue is not re-elected. He barely got in in the first place and Labrador is a traditional Liberal stronghold. JT’s influence is negligible and one byelection win on home turf is nothing to concern the Conservative Government.”
Local Conservatives are less resigned to losing. They’re not happy about it, but they know it doesn’t really mean imprisoned terrorists or rampaging religious oppression in Labrador’s future.
Michael Johansen is a writer
living in Labrador.