08.23.2011 08:34 AM

The best front today

47 Comments

  1. Ted says:

    Seems some of your Sun colleagues in your home town might benefit from such class.

    But at least Naylor pulled his tweet and apologized.

    By contrast, sickening Christie Blatchford demonstrates why she’s been chased from every paper she’s ever written for. Really petty and shameful.

    • Attack! says:

      Not surprising you’d defend it, given that it bashes both the CBC and the NDP, or at least its former leader.

      But if “exactly bang-on” means, “Exactly right… accurate, or true, from beginning to end,” that means you actually accept this premise of hers:

      that Evan Solomon of the CBC is a “serious journalist”

      …which is the fundamental pillar she builds on, when she goes on to lament how much of an over-reaction and loss of objectivity in the CBC’s all-day coverage of Mr. Layton’s death. In fact, she mentions Solomon five times, in all, which is pretty strange for an article ostensibly about the passing of Mr. Layton.

      But if one rejects that premise (as anyone who’s seen him in that indelible ‘Elf’ get-up from the ’22 Minutes’ segment last Christmas http://www.tv-eh.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Evan-Solomon-Michael-Ignatieff-Mark-Critch-22-Mins-Christmas-Special.jpg ), then it’s mostly just a straw man argument.

      Yes, the Toronto-based CBC probably did show a lack of objectivity and spent a disproportionate amount of time on this, yesterday, given how intimately familiar they were with this passionate and charismatic man they’ve been covering in close quarters for decades. So they’re human, so what? And, what, Blatchford’s a TV critic, now?

      • Ted H says:

        Well Attack, I am gratified to see you “attacking” someone who really is disrespectful and insensitive to Jack, his party and his supporters, namely the lovely Christie Blatchford.

        Yesterday I mentioned that I admired Jack. I truly did, and for a while I considered him my adopted MP because my daughter lived in his Toronto Danforth riding and I visited there quite often. I also dared to mention that as an unintended consequence of his and his party’s rise in political stature, Stephen Harper was enabled in his eventual achievement of a CPC majority. That seems quite tame and self evident to me.

        For this I was thorougly scraped out as if I was a member of Westboro Baptist Church picketing his funeral. Get some perspective there my friend, discussing a political dynamic in no way shows disrespect to the man and I didn’t intend any.

        • Attack! says:

          Hey, whether it was intentional or not, if you still can’t see that eulogizing an NDP leader mere hours after his death with, “his legacy so far to the Canadian people is a Conservative majority government” would be perceived as an insult and stinging rebuke by pretty much everybody in this country, and especially by any of his supporters, then, clearly, you’ve got even less tact and emotional intelligence than I, so there’s no point in trying to reason with you about it.

          http://warrenkinsella.com/2011/08/layton-a-loss-to-canadian-democracy-2/#comment-49116

      • Phil in London says:

        I’m not so certain this is a big surprise from Miss Blatchford. Though I haven’t subscribed to the National Post for nearly a decade I remember her column there way back when so I don’t quite get that she has been chased from every paper she has ever written for.

        I would use different words but the columnists points are well made and frankly VERY respectful of Mr. Layton. She acknowledges his contribution, offers points of admiration. She just says in a way, why all the fuss or maybe more to the point, it was how Jack woudl have wanted it.

        There is an elephant in the room about how Jack is suddenly a saint (like we all are when we die). Point is he had a huge likeable persona but there was also a huge dislike for him and his ideology.

        Just when is the right time? It’s a column and it points out that many others are mourning similarly for people with far less public sentiment.

        She didn’t say a state funeral was ridiculous, she didn’t call for his body to be burned in effigy, she just offered that he wasn’t all EVERYONE else is getting Jacked up about.

        If you object you need to take a breath, have a nice herbal tea with organically harvested water heated on your solar stove and try again. Read the freaking thing and see if you can’t see two or three places where she actually gives Mr. Layton his very just due.

        • The Doctor says:

          Good post, Phil.

        • Philip says:

          I did read it and all I saw in her column was a vicious hack job on a man whose politics she couldn’t agree with. Apologize for that all you want but it won’t change what she wrote. Not really brave to shit all over a dead man hours after his death but I guess somebody had to carry out that particularly loathsome duty for the Conservative Party. Nice.

      • Attack! says:

        That’s it?! The dying leader of a political party’s writing, “We can restore our good name in the world” — one of the key planks which emerged in their most recent convention* — in his final remarks gives you folks license to be assholes and make insulting and inflammatory remarks about him in public before he’s even buried, because it got your nose out of joint?

        You may be in denial over how issues like dragging our feet on addressing climate change; explicitly tying our foreign aid to commercial and social conservatism interests; being increasingly militant; refusing to bargain in good faith with the UAE; abandoning our citizens abroad in trouble with the law; not making low-cost medications available to poor countries; protecting the death-dealing asbestos industry; and taking an extra 3 years to endorse the UN’s International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (among other things), might be hurting our international reputation…

        http://livenews.thestar.com/Event/Youth_Nation_2011_Chat?Page=0

        http://thetyee.cachefly.net/Opinion/2011/07/03/asbestoscartoon600px.jpg

        …but that doesn’t make it okay to lambaste someone who does express concern for that in the first two days after his death.

        And unlike what you say elsewhere here, he didn’t even mention the CPC, and note, that loss of rep. started under the Libs. (albeit with Harper’s fanning the flames:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/25/international/americas/25lett.html

        * http://www.ndp.ca/press/new-democrats-focus-on-rebuilding-canada-s-status-in-world

      • Attack! says:

        p.s., knowing him, there’s a strong likelihood that Stephen Harper, who’s also been a thoroughly political animal for decades, has also prepared a final document (and probably also with the help of professional communications staff) with a rallying cry for his supporters and his country to further his political values and goals in order to consolidate his gains and advance his life’s work, in the event of his sudden death in a plane crash or from a coronary, with instructions about the timing and manner of its release.

        Should we all cue up and release our disdainful dismissals of the man, his legacy, and people’s over-wrought reaction to his demise at the very instant of its release, then?

        Or at least have the decency to wait until he’s buried, first?

    • Ted says:

      No Gord. There was a lot that was factually incorrect and almost all of it was petty and class-less and almost vindictive.

      That someone who has spent their career in politics would want to write a letter such as he did is not vainglorious or sophistry. The words were his final ones. Knowing you have a chance to influence politics in a positive way, one last chance to do so, who wouldn’t take that advantage of that opportunity? So what if a lot of it was a little clich

    • Chris says:

      There really isn’t another response that you could have made, is there..

      • Attack! says:

        and he appears to have cribbed it from somebody else, to boot:

        http://twitter.com/#!/RutherfordShow/status/105805454197800960

        h/t http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/christie-blatchford-jack-layton-column-sparks-backlash-social-201032751.html

        which highlights some of the decidedly DIS-respectful language in the article, BTW, Phil: like Layton’s letter allegedly being “vainglorious” and full of “sophistry”

        • Jon Adams says:

          Not exactly a classy way for Rutherford to speak a guy who was willing to frequently put himself in the line of fire on his show and take a myriad of abuse from people like… I dunno, some half-bright insurance knob from Innisfail who agrees without question with everything Rutherford says.

        • Phil in London says:

          Yup I am good with that description by Ms. Blatchford. Jack has been an opportunist from day one, why stop at death?
          It doesn’t make him a worse person, that was part of the package all along with Jack.
          I’m sure if Mr. Harper died tomorrow you would be all apraise and offended if one of the Toronto Star hacks called his farewell address arrogant right?

        • Attack! says:

          Now, now http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/news/story.cfm?content=182329

          and, no, a preemptive charge of hypocrisy against one set of observers doesn’t make somebody else’s churlish behaviour any more acceptable.

          and if “Opportunism” is “the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles,”

          how, exactly, is it “selfish” for a dying man to want to leave a manifesto of sorts to help guide and rally his party, youth, and indeed the country around his values for what he honestly believes would be the betterment of the country,

          and what “principle” does that violate: that dying people should be seen, not heard, and leave the memorializing and maudlin capitalizing on their memory to hacks like Blatchford?

    • Pat says:

      Her article appears to be an indictment of the media response and the modern obsession of overreacting to the passing of a public personality.

      But in this case one has to acknowledge how perfectly auspicious Jack’s passing is in the contribution to his eventual status as a Canadian legend. He just shifted the tectonic plates of Canadian history and died – all in about three months. Remarkable. Other than Terry Fox, I can’t think of anyone else in this category. While I agree with the premise of Christie Blatchford’s column, I also feel the reaction is understandable in this context.

  2. Iris Mclean says:

    Have you read any of the comments in The Calgary Sun re Jack’s passing?
    Un-freaking-believable how hateful some people are.

  3. Cath says:

    is THIS too soon? A nice man died of cancer. He did great things for his party, but his party, as it’s going to turn out was ALL ABOUT JACK.
    Tragic…yes. Before his time….yes, like too many I’ve known who have lost and continue to lose that battle.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/now-no-one-stands-in-stephen-harpers-way/article2138274/

    Taking a diversion from my town’s reality as the magnitude of tornado destruction sinks in. There will be some closure for the Layton’s and Jack’s party but closure for Goderich isn’t happening any time soon.

    Your leader was very nice to us yesterday WK.

  4. Ted says:

    How about our Prime Minister? How about Ezra Levant? How about Timmy Hudak or Tony Clement? I can think of plenty.

    But I’m OK with that aspect of being a politician.

    Layton was the classic old school glad-handing politician but modernized. What he brought, and why he connected and was the most well-liked political leader in Ottawa (and, conversely, why Harper and Ignatieff and Dion and Martin were among the least liked) is that he went out to be with “the people”. He was comfortable and natural and liked (not just seemed to like but genuinely liked) being out and about with ordinary people. He connected with people well, even despite his policies, because he was always with ordinary people. He was happiest joshing around about politics or anything with anybody, not just those who were supporters or from whom he needed support. If it seemed like he was always “on” its because he was. We joke about the “car salesman” but he believed in what he had to say and he gave us his real self all of the time. There was no private unknown Jack Layton as there is with other leaders who give us one manufactured face in public that is different from their natural personality.

    Some politicians have to learn that and some like Harper, even after learning, have to use a ton of Tim Hortons and hockey game photo shoots or Beatle’s piano playing gigs to make it seem like they are ordinary or like ordinary Canadians. Bush, who grew up in one of the wealthiest and most powerful northeastern political power elite families in the US, had to out and buy a ranch just before he ran for prez so he could talk about “clearin’ bush” during the election (he sold the ranch as soon as his term was done).

    Sadly, this kind of fake “connecting” is a part of modern politics.

    Jack didn’t need any of that. I will say that for him.

    And if he recognized that the way to get his message out, especially when you are third or fourth party, is to grab every chance you can to get your name and message out, then I don’t see what’s wrong with that. In fact, his numbers show that he was smart to do so.

  5. Raymond says:

    Very sad to see him go. Didn’t agree with him on many things, but always appreciated his candour, energy, and unflappable belief in representing the marginalized members of society. His performance in the 2011 debates & election will likely be a benchmark in Canadian political history.

    Journey well, Jack. Thanks for your exemplary service to this country.

  6. Pat says:

    Check this out:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyejaytea/6071610130/sizes/l/in/photostream/

    I don’t know what it is about that artist, but his stuff just makes sense to me…

  7. MCBellecourt says:

    I read Blatch’s column, too, and was thoroughly disgusted with her. Jealousy, perhaps?

    Somebody should tell her she’s trying too hard.

    On the other hand, this Sun cover is very nice. I like it. It fits. I wouldn’t mind getting a copy of this piece, without the ads. Perhaps the Sun could offer it up online?

    There are quite a few really nice tributes drawn by several newspaper cartoonists out there, I noticed. Brian Gable has a nice one up in the G&M, and Aislin did a nice one, too. Thumbs up to those cartoonists and artists–Jack would have liked them all.

  8. Rick Thomson says:

    Your timing Chistie Blatchford sucks .Your comments, could have waited at least a couple of weeks, but you could not wait to show how you really disliked the man.

    He was not without faults but who isn’t. You just do not kick someone when their down, especially on the day they die. Your a real class act.

  9. bigcitylib says:

    I am not moved by this pic at all. And its right next to a 649 ad? I don’t get it.

  10. allegra fortissima says:

    Tabloid sleaze, or as they say in Britain “cutthroat second dimension of journalism”.

    De mortuis nihil nisi bonum

  11. Chamberlain says:

    Fitting photo. Would have been a lot better without the ads though.

  12. dstm says:

    WK
    Layton was the consummate retail politician, Reckless, partisan and ruthless.
    He is not deserving of the of status the PM has bestowed on him. Except Steve knows that his majority was Jack’s gift.
    And he will play that to the end.
    I have never agreed with The Post esp Blatchford. This time she is right

    • Phil in London says:

      I gotta take issue with this one. Jack is every bit deserving of a state funeral and much of thes status ore better put Respect that Harper has paid. Since there was no precedent of leader of the OLO dying in office Harper showed great respect here. Yes Laurier was OLO at time of death but he had already been prime minister. I agree that Harper’s majority was aided by Jack- wrote about it yesterday but the idea that Jack is not deserving of this is sad. I believe you can have it both ways on this one if you get away from the extremes.

      Can’t we just accept that Blatch’s opinion is as genuine as Jack’s love of Canada and acknowledge the legend of Jack is not all sainthood like anyone of us while also saying he’ll be missed? All that Blatch wrote is that there is more to Jack then sainthood by death. Moreso her comments about the blathering at the CBC was a fair comment unless you get an alergic reaction when you hear the words Sun News.

      • Pat says:

        I agree with the first bit, but still have a problem with Blatch. There is a reason for the saying “too soon”. Everyone and their mother could see he was slipping a partisan hurrah in with his honest and beautiful words. However, he didn’t mention the CPC explicitly. He ended the letter with a totally non-partisan message (unless you believe Harper stands for anger, fear and despair). I certainly agree more with Jack’s politics than I do with Stephen’s, but if he died tomorrow and left a letter that said the same – if he said his goodbye to the party that matters to him, and left a message of hope that we would someday reach his vision of Canada – then I would expect leftists to leave it alone. Blatch approached the thing like Jack was still alive, and it was in bad form.

        I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Harper, though. Good form on his part.

  13. I couldn’t agree with Ms. Blatchford more. Come on! Think about those police funerals which seem to get larger every time there are media cameras around. I have to watch the 24 cop funeral news channels every time a cop gets shot or killed in some other way. I hate seeing all those flags a half mast for some dead cop. Thankfully, the cop shops don’t have their flags at half mast for Jack Layton even though he is going to receive a state funeral.

    Blatchford doesn’t want to see Canadians cry incessantly for Jack Layton like North Koreans mourning their Great Leader, Kim Il Sung. She didn’t like the poetic crap that Jack Layton wrote in his letter to Canadians. Personally, I wasn’t too fond of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Get real! And what was Gandhi doing prancing around half naked in India? Trying to gain independence for India from British rule? How about that terrorist-socialist-commie-thug Nelson Mandela? Upon his release from prison, he helped destroy South Africa with those bloody vuvuzelas!

    The Honourable Jack Layton’s state funeral will be taking place in downtown Toronto this Saturday. There will be plenty of police officers around making sure that there is ample security for Canada’s leaders who will be present. They include Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty. With all those police officers in downtown Toronto this Saturday, I recommend that those who wish to mourn the loss of Jack Layton do so in front of their cop TV news channels. If they really need to be downtown, they can get together in the mourning zone behind Queen’s Park. I’m sure Christy Blatchford would agree.

  14. hitfan says:

    I wish Jack Layton was Conservative because he had incredible gifts for a politician. He is the center-left version of Ronald Reagan. He singlehandedly took a fourth place party from the ashes of the McLaughlin-McDonnough doldrums and trampled over the Liberals as Canada’s center-left option.

    I never voted, nor would I ever vote for him, but there is something to admire with his character. He had to know that he would not live much longer beyond the 2011 campaign. So he gave it his all, and with his last breath, becomes a political legend.

    A beautiful way to die, and I mean that most respectfully.

    • Pat says:

      And this is where Jack differs from Stephen, or any of the recent Liberal leaders. If Stephen died tomorrow you wouldn’t have this nearly unanimous surge of sadness, from all stops on the political spectrum. Even if you couldn’t agree with his perspective, you could like Jack. The same cannot be said about Harper, or Iggy, or Dion. I think Martin had a chance, but he couldn’t project it the same way that Jack could, and half his party hates him. Chretien is the same.

  15. sharonapple88 says:

    Just curious Warren, have you ever known someone who was more at home in front of the microphones – being in the public eye – than mr Layton was?I don’t know if i have – certainly not in Canada, the only American that I can think of who compares would be Bill Clinton.

    Layton had a talent for being in the public.

    As for other Canadian politicians with similar gifts, what about Chretien, the little guy from Shawinigan? Not many politicians can pull a Shawinigan Handshake and have people like Rick Mercer basically laugh it off.

    Then there was old John A. Macdonald, who ran on the idea that “the people would prefer John A. drunk to George Brown sober.”

  16. DL says:

    Blatchford is such a hypocrit. Everytime some anonymous soldier or a police officer who know one has ever heard of dies -she automatically writes a 10,000 word mawkish, hagiography about them. She has no problem with state funerals and 20 page newspaper inserts every time one of her beloved “men in uniform” dies in action – but somehow she thinks its “excessive” when there is an outpouring of grief over the death of a man who 4.5 million Canadians voted for and who tens of thousands volunteered for and donated money to.

    I think it just pisses her off that wayyyyyyy more Canadians love Jack layton than will ever love Christy Blatchford – and she can’t stand that. Cheer up Christie, when they put you in a pine box and dump you into an unmarked pauper’s grave on a rainy day – hopefully and at least one or people will actually shed a tear.

    One thing for sure. Even though Blatchford dumped on Layton every day of his political career – i can assure everyone that if Jack Layton was alive and well and Christie Blatchford was the one who had died tragically of cancer – Layton would show about 1000 times more compassion towards her andthose mourner her – than she hads shown towards people who are mourning Layton.

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