08.25.2011 06:38 AM

Like a hatchet

Someone I like, and their pithy observation about Blatchford’s disgraceful attack on someone who can’t defend himself.

“She’s got a face like a hatchet,” they said. “And all she knows how to do is swing a hatchet.”

Others, it seems, agree. Me? I think she’s Doug Collins, without the Holocaust denial.


  1. MississaugaLibPeter says:

    Cheeeesh WK,


    You brought the guy back to life.

  2. Finn says:

    Why give her more oxygen?

    • JenS says:

      This is what I wonder, too. You don’t hurt the Blatchfords of this world by name-calling. You hurt her by not giving her page-views. Bet she’s never had bigger numbers than she got with that column.

  3. scanner says:

    Years ago and I mean years ago, before I used to run into her walking her dog at QSMHC of a morning, I would enjoy her columns about the rink, her dad and growing up. Since then she seems to have nothing to write about that she cares for. I especially was appalled with her series out of Afghanistan. She is uniquely suited to the trash heap that is the National Post.

  4. Jon Powers says:

    Has anyone actually read her article? It is not a Jack Layton smear job. It is more a condemnation of the truly pathetic hysteria we see when public figures pass away. Anyone who has ever suffered true, personal loss should understand this. That’s fine if you don’t agree with her, but the facebook hate sites that are popping up are beyond pathetic.


    To anyone who joins one of these sites, ask yourself if Jack would approve.

    • Philip says:

      I did read her article and it was a hatchet job. On a good man, hours dead. I guess Conservatives feel they have to defend this particular reporter because she was one of the team. That doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
      I also have to wonder just who the fuck are you, Jon Powers, to pass judgement on the way Canadians have chosen to greive the passing of any public figure?

      • Jon Powers says:

        I see “Philip” (if that is your real name), like so many others has already chosen to disregard Jack’s final words: “.. love is better than anger”.

        • Philip says:

          It is my real name Jon, thank you for asking. Don’t piss on my shoes and tell it’s rain Jon. You started down this path with your little put down: “truly pathetic hysteria” to describe the manner in which most Canadians are mourning Jack Layton. That prompted me to ask my question. Which still stands by the way.

          • Jon Powers says:

            You want to debate me, then stop hiding behind a cloak of anonymity. What’s your full name “Philip”? I generally don’t give cowards the time of day, but in your case I’ll make an exception.

            Look, if you want to weep and wail in a public display of grief for someone you’ve probably never met before, that’s your business. I find it odd. He died, and that is sad, just as it is when anyone passes away. Cancer sucks, and I wouldn?t wish it on my worst enemy. Jack was a decent fellow who deserved better, but so do the thousands of other Canadians who contract that shitty disease. However, as a political leader, his passing does not mean that his life and legacy are no longer open to any sort of criticism. Jack, I think, would understand that, even if you don’t.

          • Mike B says:

            And as other commenters have stated on other sites, she defends lavish gatherings for one police officer on the heels of the G20 yet a sitting politician, a Leader of the opposition no less, who has clearly garnered the admiration and respect of many is considered a “spectacle.” Christie is the definition of bias and double standard, and the NP is stupid to allow such an article whe they are on the brink of bankruptcy. Some say bad publicity is good publicity. Well, sometimes it’s just bad. Christie is trying way too hard.

          • Philip says:

            Alright Sunshine, I’ll play. Who are you to describe anyone’s, much less a large number of Canadian’s grief as: “truly pathetic hysteria”? Which is what you did in your first post.
            Jon, spare me the Internet hard ass routine. I’m also not going to indulge you in the rather common “move the goal posts” style of argument. You rolled in here with your defense of the NP columnist and your “truly pathetic hysteria” bon mot to describe Canada’s public mourning. That was pretty arrogant and more than a little self righteous. I called you on that.

    • Domencio says:

      Blatchford is an appalling old trout.

    • Attack! says:

      It was a lot of things, Jon, and designed to be that way: a veritable RorschBlatch test.

      But even if you think it’s “more of” one than another in her long laundry list of gripes, don’t pretend that there aren’t deliberate insults and digs there, like about his having a “comfortable” life (as if that negates the validity of his compassion for the less fortunate) — because that, too, is an insult — to our intelligence (as well as yours).

      And even if you and she have a stick-up-your-ass, Waspish aversion to public (or indeed, ‘most any) displays of emotion, spare us the cultural imperialism of trying to dictate who are what are appropriate objects of it, or to curtail it in others, by branding it “pathetic.”

      Anyhow, here are some links I thought worthy of notice, in addition to the ‘Now’ piece I cited earlier:


      – first, a couple of decidedly Conservative observers who have saluted the letter as “brilliant” and “inspiring” (regardless of whether it had editorial help): Mike Duffy and Walter Robinson, respectively



      – second, another media personality who politely explains why some of the central judgments of her piece were off-base, despite the fact that she’s a NP stablemate and frequent guest on his own show: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/08/24/john-moore-why-people-are-mourning-jack-layton/

      – third, a discussion by other fellow journalists (& students) about the ethics or at least appropriateness of it, where the comments are better than the, er, sophistry by the Prof. writing the actual article


    • Rick Thomson says:

      I did read the article, but apparently you did not.

    • Jan says:

      Yes I’ve read it, and yes, I’ve suffered deep personal loss. Blatchford obviously has some sort of problem with displays of emotion. If she had any decency she would have taken a pass on commenting on those mourning Layton’s death. As to the facebook page, if you put out nastiness, you shouldn’t be surprised if you create more.

  5. JenS says:

    I don’t disagree with every sentiment she expressed in the column. I just think it was a matter of time and place – there was no way such sentiment could have been expressed on the very day of Jack’s death without it being crass, crass, crass. But has Blatch ever been noted for her sensitivity? Uh,no. And just because there was some truth to some of what she said doesn’t necessarily mean it needed to be said.

    • kyliep says:

      A very good point. Did it need to be said? And did it mean to be said hours after his death was announced?

      The timeline had me puzzled from the outset. Around 8:30 am, we learned the sad news. Given that the man is the Official Leader of the Opposition, that his leave was only recently announced, and that his party’s seat count tripled in the election held earlier this year, largely on the strength of his performance and likeability, it’s not unreasonable to think that news outlets across the country might feature this story prominently that day. But apparently, the wall-to-wall coverage was apparently too much for Blatchford. Having endured it for, oh, a 1/4 of a day, she then decided enough was enough and decided to trash both the letter and those publicly mourning his death. Given the timelines of when she must have written and submitted the piece for publication, which hit the website that evening, at the time of her revulsion at the ‘mawkish’ outpouring of grief, the impromptu memorial at Nathan Phillips Square was only beginning to start. So not only were people wrong to mourn the passing of a prominent politician, Blatchford was going to call them on it before it actually started! Was the intent then to be the first contrarian on the scene? Yeah, you called it. What a victory.

  6. Heaney says:

    Back in the days that I delivered the Calgary Sun before school, if I had a spare copy I would read it over breakfast. She would only have been in her early 20s then but already seemed a pinched, mean and uncharitable piece of work.

  7. Lane Rahu says:

    “In the months and years to come, New Democrats will put a compelling new alternative to you. My colleagues in our party are an impressive, committed team. Give them a careful hearing; consider the alternatives; and consider that we can be a better, fairer, more equal country by working together. Don?t let them tell you it can?t be done.”

    Q: is the above quote from a Layton campaign speech Y/N?
    And who is he referring to in the final sentence as “them”?

    • Cameron Prymak says:

      You’ve never heard that expression before??

      I think Chuck Strahl even used this phrase relatively recently when discussing his retirement. He was very appreciative of PMSH’s support for him which was ‘don’t let them tell you’ that you can’t contribute because you happen to have cancer.

      • Attack! says:


        “An emotional Chuck Strahl… thanked Prime Minister Stephen Harper for naming him to cabinet on the heels of his mesothelioma diagnosis — a lung cancer that resulted from years of exposure to asbestos. Strahl recalled Harper’s words of encouragement — ‘Don’t let people tell you that you can’t still contribute, don’t let them push you aside.’

        ‘Cancer survivors need to hear words like that, and they need to know in their heart that they are true,’ said Strahl, his voice cracking.”


        Well, good thing these words were spoken while the principals were still alive, or Gord & these other neo-Victorian stiff-upper lippers would cite them for conduct unbecoming.

        But God forbid that Mr. Strahl or Mr. Harper should leave behind any documents of a partisan nature to be released to their followers after their demise; that would be too unseemly. Dying people should be seen, and not heard from again… for at least a hundred years.

        And: public displays of emotion before the actual funeral — unforgivable!

  8. Michael Bussiere says:

    Yes, this is a very poorly-timed critique, and the editor’s judgement is questionable. However, (yes, I’m prepared to duck!) if we imagine this discussion from some emotionally cool point in the future, there are some interesting points raised. For instance, one could consider Justin Trudeau’s moving eulogy of his father to have been somewhat political, although the young man was not a politician at the time. His father, however, did not write a letter to Quebeckers denouncing separation, to be read posthumously, or request that donations be made in his honour to a Liberal-friendly thinktank.
    Perhaps Trudeau was never truly a politician by nature, as was Layton or as is Harper (which may explain the PM’s state funeral call). My point is that politicians are political by nature, viscerally, vocationally. Politics for them equals a lifetime passion. And that visceral nature cannot be critically deconstructed, and more than can a journalist’s natural instinct to dig for dirt. It is the nature of the animal, and that, Ms. Blatchford is the beauty of the beast.

  9. gretschfan says:

    I’ve never been a fan of hauling writers to the carpet for having an opinion and publishing it, but in the case of Blatchford’s shockingly tasteless column, a few things are apparent. First, whatever one might feel about the points she was trying to make, the timing was wrong. I’d have at least considered some of what she had to say after the man had been buried and people had time to put their grieving into perspective. To write such things on the day of someone’s death…someone who was but a political adversary…is beyond the pale.

    Second, her words showed a lack of consideration for her readers–let alone Layton’s family. There really isn’t a modern-day precedent for this kind of thing in Canadian politics to lose the leader of the Official Opposition, let alone to have death come so quickly and so cruelly. Instead, it seemed all Blatchford could do to respond to events was to use her most venomous pen to mock the man’s suffering and to belittle the grief of even those who were his adversaries.

    Third, and this might be the most revealing of all, her column reveals her as lacking empathy. No one can trust a writer who lacks that quality, no matter which colour you fly on your political mast.

    • Pedro says:

      You know, you haven’t read enough of what has been published in the last hundred years to even mention what you claim to be second as precedent in your comment.
      Of course there is no precedent – things occur on their own – they have no precedent. Mr. Layton’s death was no more cruel than any young person who had succumbed to the disease in the week before him.
      Thirdly, empathy means to feel for what your opponent might feel. I suppose your might have a taste for that? If only!
      Nice words. Just only full of clap-trap.
      You feel nice though dontcha?

      • gretschfan says:

        Laurier died nearly a century ago when he was leader of the Official Opposition after having already served as PM. I’m sure I don’t need to explain further to you the distinction I was making.

      • sunsin says:

        Stay classy, Pedro!

        Harper rose to the occasion, but some of his supporters are sinking out of sight. Both on personal and political grounds, I’m thinking he must be furious with people like you.

  10. Pedro says:

    The timing was unfortunate except for the few individuals but there was no malice in what was said.
    We need to agree to disagree about the political truths by which we lead our lives.
    Not everyone believes that the political truths of Jack Layton are universal. This may hurt some of us but is not physical retribution, torture or such.
    One might consider a good memory when other political figures pass from the earthly existence we share.
    Or not. Suit yourselves.

  11. Good on you, WK, for calling out Blatchford on her hit job. My sense is that given the outcome of the May 2 election, with Layton’s death many Canadians are also mourning the loss of their hopes for a strong resistance to the Harper machine. Who are the 60% of us who didn’t vote for the Cons to turn to now?

    • Pedro says:

      Oh for heaven’s sake stop going on about 60% who didn’t vote for the Cons!
      Keep believing it if it drives your political activity.
      Truth be said, a good portion (40%) who didn’t vote would have voted other than NDP, Liberal or Bloc.
      Do the math.
      There are a whole mess of voters who realize that you can’t keep spending revenue that taxpayers won’t part with.
      I pay it and keep helping persons who won’t take responsibility for themselves. We’re not ignorant for Gaia’s sake!

      • Cam Prymak says:

        Courtesy of the link below per Mark, from Micheal Valpy’s blog –

        what shows up is that Mr. Harper’s Conservatives were elected by a lot of old people — people over the age of 45 whose electoral participation rate is between 60 and 80 per cent, climbing higher as they climb to meet their Maker. People under the age of 45 were powerfully anti-Conservative but at best only about 40 per cent of them voted. And if they had voted in the same proportion as the over-45s, there would not have been a Conservative majority; there probably wouldn’t have been a Conservative minority. What likely we might have got is an NDP-led coalition.

  12. billg says:

    Well that didnt take long for Mr Laytons wish’s of Hope and Love and Understanding to be thrown under a pile of partisan sniping. Its an Opinion piece column boys and girls, nothing more. The piece was in bad taste and should have waited a couple of weeks, but jeez, she’s not the friggen devil. And Mr Templeman, I’m pretty sure the “harper machine” made the PMO’s office and the Protocol Office available to Ms Chow to help her with the first ever State Funeral for a sitting Leader of the Opposition. There have been so many nice things said and gracious acts over the past few days, why bother with the very few negative issues? Seems a waste of energy to me.

    • Cam Prymak says:

      Where did it say anything about the CPC?

    • smelter rat says:

      You just can’t help yourself, can you Gord?

    • Philip says:

      There is nothing more entertaining than watching Conservative Party members erect one of their strawmen and then proceed to try knock it down. Jack Layton’s last words were obviously never aimed at the Conservative Party. The letter was a statement of a man’s life long values which he practiced in his daily life.
      It’s a tall order to spin a strawman out of that but God bless our cranky Conservatives for trying. Keep spinning boys, keep spinning.

  13. Mark says:

    Hi Warren,
    Regarding Krusty the Grinch’s column – mean-spirited and peppered with adjectives and turns of phrase only a relentlessly insensitive partisan would use – I thought Michael Valpy wrote of this as a true gentleman (or lady) would: http://originsofpolitics.ca/?p=81

    All the best

  14. Pedro, I did the math, but I am interested in your version. And billg, you are right. It was entirely decent of Harper to authorize a state funeral. Good on him too.

  15. blurg says:

    People suggest that Layton is crass for using his death letter for political purposes but what about Hudak attaching his “I’m just a working class everyman” video to all the Layton youtube videos out there . You can’t watch a Layton clip without Hudak’s video appearing at the top of the list highlited in yellow. The game doesn’t die just because the players do.

  16. Matty says:

    I’m torn. Although Christie deserves to be called out for this disgusting piece, and attacking her appearance is fair (she does it frequently to others from her glass house) I think this Layton piece is a cry for attention. I mean…who knew she was at the Post again…until this piece ran? And all her columns are lame and boring, except the Layton piece.

    She is spent. Maybe it’s best to just ignore her.

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