02.16.2013 09:51 PM

In Sunday’s Sun: desperate Angry Tom

Whenever a politician starts talking about “values,” you can rest assured whatever they say next won’t be particularly valuable.

Take Angry Tom Mulcair, for example, the hapless leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (please). Last week, Tom got angry again, and started taking swings at evangelical Christianity. He was upset that an evangelical Christian aid group, Crossroads, had formerly called homosexuality a “sin,” and that it had received $500,000 or so from the federal government for its work in Uganda.

“It goes against Canadian values. It goes against Canadian law,” said Tom, who then went on to suggest that Crossroads — and, by extension, the Conservative government — somehow favoured categorizing homosexuality as a “perversion,” and necessitating capital punishment.

Now, it should be noted that Crossroads has since removed the web page containing the “sin” statement, and asserted that it loved “all people unconditionally.” Meanwhile, International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino ordered that the funding of Crossroads would be reviewed — and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird angrily told a Commons committee that the government “categorically rejects” the notion that being gay is in any way a sin.

Angry Tom, however, was in high dudgeon. That wasn’t nearly enough for him. In a scrum outside the Commons, he said: “It’s shocking to hear Minister Fantino defending the indefensible — standing up today and defending a group that on its website is attacking something that’s recognized and protected by Canadian law. So it goes against Canadian values, it goes against Canadian law and he can’t defend that.”

It’s unclear what Angry Tom, aflame as he was about values and whatnot, would like to see happen instead. Julian Fantino (who was formerly the Toronto police chief, a position in which he attended Pride parades, hired a high-level gay liaison officer, and was regularly lauded by the LGBT community) ordered a review of Crossroads’ funding (and has since decided to maintain its grant). John Baird categorically condemned anyone who would call homosexuality a sin. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Conservatives — and I’m not — that’s not a bad response, on either count.

Angry Tom, however, was dissatisfied. He is after something else, you see. The NDP leader, dropping in the polls as he is, is attempting to style himself as the defender of “Canadian values.”

In that way, he figures, he can depict the Conservatives as un-Canadian in the depths of their tiny black hearts.

Politicians, as noted, blather and yabber about values all the time. I know — I’ve recently published a book on the subject, called Fight The Right. Therein, I note that politicos have been claiming for years that their party’s values and Canadian values are interchangeable.

So, right after the 2011 federal election campaign, Stephen Harper made his annual visit to the family friendly Calgary Stampede. There, beneath a Stetson, he bashed his opponents (as expected) and insisted his Conservatives are super-duper winners (ditto).

Then he said this: “Conservative values are Canadian values.” And: “Canadian values are Conservative values.”

Liberal leader Bob Rae — whose party Harper described as relevant as “disco balls and bell bottoms” — declared Harper was sounding pretty arrogant, which was true. One of The Globe and Mail’s resident greybeards, Lawrence Martin, agreed it was arrogant, and the Globe would certainly know arrogance when it is sees it. So did a Saskatoon Star-Phoenix columnist, who opined it reeked of “annoying arrogance.” In the Winnipeg Free Press, Frances Russell — no Harper fan — agreed the Stampede tub-thumper was a lot of triumphalism, hubris and arrogance. There you go, “arrogant.”

But what is really arrogant, instead, is any politician — previously Harper and now Mulcair — declaring that they have cornered the market on Canadian values. When nobody does.

Fantino and Baird did the right thing in response to Crossroads’ stupid statement. Angry Tom Mulcair, meanwhile, did what he always does.

He added nothing to the debate that was, you know, valuable.


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    Michael Bussiere says:

    Old NDP slogan: “We fight for what’s right!”. That always struck me as the most preachy, well, the very definition of self-righteous self-praise I’ve ever heard in politics.

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    Bruce A says:


    I’m sick of values, whether they come from political parties or religious groups, we’ve hear about this for 30 years. I want someone to address pocket book issues such as employment, pensions and the increasing threat of income inequality.

    Values and religion don’t put food on a table or provide financial security. Also, enough about non-existent crime waves and the ‘war on terror’.

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    advocatus diaboli says:

    Dude, do you ever read your own copy:

    “Justin Trudeau launched his political career to fight for Canadian values”



    Further, non-heterosexuals were actually peripheral in all this; this was about culturing sectarian appeal among Mulcair’s core demographic:

    “The problem (to Mulcair) is that while faith-based aid groups like KAIROS and Development and Peace go wanting, more and more cash goes to “evangelical groups with [a] vision that goes completely against not only Canadian values but Canadian law.”
    It’s intriguing that he would bring up Development and Peace, which describes itself as “the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada” and is the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s international federation of aid agencies.
    Caritas “differs from other social agencies in that it … shares in the mission of the Church,” Pope Benedict XVI told its general assembly in 2011. “The Holy See is … responsible for following its activity and exercising oversight to ensure that its humanitarian and charitable activity, and the content of its documents, are completely in accord with the Apostolic See and the Church’s Magisterium.”
    And the Magisterium isn’t big on gays, needless to say. “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’ ” the Catechism reads. “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

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    advocatus diaboli says:

    ps of course no one dare touch this aspect:

    Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the ISNA (the largest Muslim organization in North America) and past Reviving Islamic Spirit participant has stated: “Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption… No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.””

    Freedom from religion over freedom of religion

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    Brammer says:

    Taking down a website page changes nothing.

    Tom is simply doing what the opposition is supposed to do; hold the government’s feet to the fire. By shining a spotlight on divisions within the reform caucus he actually got their attention.

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    the salamander says:

    What fun .. folks chasing around a faux totem pole, wavin little flags n maypole leafs. all claiming that not only have they seen the wind, but they can catch it too. the pudgy Oracle from Ottawalberta is probably correct right now. Conservative values are Canadian values.. and we all just let him and a whacko government keep injecting the daily deluded values into us, our environment and our muddled national self image. Psyche !!

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    Christian says:

    This group was doing work in Uganda? Interesting. Uganda. The country which late last year nearly enacted a law that would have made homosexualality a capital offence. A law President Obama called “odious”. Its a country where gay rights do not exist whatsoever and recently deported a British producer for allegedly promoting homosexuality (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/12/entertainment-us-uganda-briton-idUSBRE91A0SZ20130212).

    I agree with Brammer taking down a website page changes nothing so I say good on Mulcair.

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    J.W. says:

    Warren, you’re wandering right off the progressive precinct in this one. We all know what Crossroads is and what it stands for. And it’s not pretty. I certainly support any attack on the values they stand for, which I don’t interpret as anywhere near Christian, and indeed, extreme on a whole list of moral issues.

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    ben says:

    Trying to perpetuate a myth again – angry Tom indeed. Since when has expressing one’s opinion forcefully become frothing mouth angry with a target in mind?

    When Bob Rae does the same thing is he angry – Yes but it is a Lib virtue. Because Tom is a dipper, a hated object of Liberals you folks invent all kinds of behaviour.

    Tom is doing what we pay him to do, being an Opposition Leader.

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      !o! says:

      yeah, it’s just partisanship. ‘Angry Tom’ is the attempt to define him to cap the NDP’s potential growth. It’s also interesting that both of the larger non-NDP parties utilize the same narrative, despite it being a CPC creation.

      It’s a pretty fair point that he politically overextends at times though. Any good narrative needs a grain of truth to be believable. Calling him ‘angry’ casts his tendency to overextend as an emotional thing, implying that he’s at the mercy of his emotions rather than doing what he does out of a (rational) political calculation. If you have a leader prone to emotion in one area, it casts doubt on his capabilities in other areas.

      I tend to think it’s a bit of a miscalculation for currents in the centre to attack him if they don’t want another CPC gov’t, but what the hell do I know anyways.

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      bluegreenblogger says:

      Tom does the -Mad as Hell and I aint gonna take it!- thing pretty well. Angry Tom is an effective monniker, because it turns his passion into something faintly ridiculous. It is called politics my friend.

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      sharonapple88 says:

      One point about “angry” Mulclair — he tends to double-down when he hits a bump. In this case, I don’t doubt that he has an arguement against federal funding for Crossroads, but his argument is undercut by a number of points that Kinsella and Selley bring up — not the least is Muclair’s own support for funding for Catholic groups. You’d think that the contradiction might make him pause, but it doesn’t. He just keeps on going even though he’s not on solid ground.

      Same thing happened when during the Dutch Elm Disease debate, Muclair got into a fight with the Western premiers, calling them Harper’s messenger boys — a flawed point. The federal Conservatives tend to support the Wild Rose party in Alberta, not Redford’s Progressive Conservatives. As for Brad Wall, he’s had his own run-ins with the federal Conservatives — the latest over funding cancer treatment for a refugee.


      I suspect that it was this tendency to double-down that got Muclair sued by a former PQ minister.


      Muclair’s temper isn’t his strength, but his weakness.

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    Kaplan says:

    Good on Tom Mulcair. What I like is that he’s capable of forcing Conservatives to respond to these issues, while, at the same time, exposing faux-progressive Liberals for the centre-right, power-craving elitists they really are. In so doing, Mulcair continues to carve out more and more the space for the NDP.

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      Jerk617 says:

      Eggs-actly. The Libs are a right wing party but with a ‘progressive’ smiley face button on their lapel. The front runner for leadership seems more interested in making extra coin from speaking to suckers for exorbitant fees, all while spouting nothing but platitudes,

      instead of doing his damn job as an MP. What have his contributions to Parliament been?

      Yeah thats right…. nil.

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      Lawrence Stuart says:

      interesting. I’d be curious to know amongst what demographic you believe Mulcair is ‘carving’ out space with this kind of professional outrage?

      Looks to me like he’s playing to the home team.

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    smelter rat says:

    Hmm, where’d my witty insightful post go?

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      sharonapple88 says:

      Did you check behind the couch? 😉

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    Brian Mouland says:

    Got it right this time Warren

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    meany says:

    What? I bet YOU (yes, YOU!) were the one who got Chretien to run around claiming only Liberals had “da Canadian values!”, unlike that Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance or Reform or whatever the hell they were called back then party.

    It was arrogant when he did it, it’s arrogant when Harper does it, and it’s even arrogant when Mulclair does it. The only time I heard a politician do this, where it wasn’t arrogant as much as it was hilarious, was when Sarah Palin did it, with her folksy charm talking about “Real Americans” with their guns and religion and small towns, and, you know, the “others”, who live in Hollywood and New York. THAT was classic comedy.

    Anyway, my point: They all must be doing it, because the toolbags who analyze these things for a living told them it works. It really, really works. So why not do it? Wrap yourself in the flag, wrap your party in the supposed values of the country, and demonize the other guy, for representing some other weird countries values. Then sit back and watch the votes roll in. Hazaa! Watch, once the Trudeau coronation is complete, his victory speech will be all about Liberal Values. Canadian Values…. His Values. I wonder if you’ll call it arrogant.

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