Categories for Musings

Ten reasons I will be voting for John Tory

 

So, Lisa and me are going to this Liberal-ish thing tonight where John Tory will apparently be present.  If and when he runs for Toronto’s mayor again, he’s the guy I’ll be voting for.

There’s ten reasons for that.

  1. He’s an adult.  After the Ford Nation chaos, Toronto needed someone who was decent, thoughtful, and a grown-up.  Tory is all that, and then some.
  2. He’s better than the alternatives on the Right.  Most reasonable folks agree the Ford Nation thing was a big, big (big) mistake.  They don’t want to go back to it.  It’s that simple.
  3. He’s better than the alternatives on the Left.  My friends Layton and Cressy need to figure out which of them is running.  Neither is as well-known as they need to be, yet.  Their time may well come, but it isn’t now.
  4. He’s a centrist.  That’s where most residents of Toronto are, and that’s where Tory is, too.  He doesn’t ever go too far Left or too far Right.  That’s why he’s still got approval numbers that are up in the stratosphere – he knows that the safest place to drive is within the lines.
  5. He’s smart.  I helped out on his 2003 mayoral campaign, and I got to know him pretty well.  He is, as noted, a decidedly thoughtful person.  He doesn’t rush to judgment, and he isn’t an ideologue.
  6. He’s decent.  When my Dad died, my family heard from lots of folks – Stephen Harper called my Mom, Justin Trudeau sent along some beautiful flowers and some great advice, Jean Chretien came to the funeral and they all made us feel a lot better. But John Tory? He sent my Mom a long handwritten letter that she has read many times since.  It is an extraordinary letter, and it frankly shines with John’s decency and kindness.  It’s like him.
  7. He’s done what he said he’d do.  He said he’d build SmartTrack: it’s being built.  He promised to scrupulously follow a code of conduct: he’s done that, and then some.  He said he’d keep taxes down, and he’s done that.  He said he’d aggressively go after the feds and the province for housing help: he’s done that, too.  He’s kept his word, I think.
  8. He believes in redemption.  Some political folks – like Yours Truly, too often – never forget and rarely forgive.  Not Tory.  When I made a stupid, thoughtless, unfunny tweet during 2014’s race, John accepted my apology – and we resumed our friendship.  He’s been like that with others, too: when they make mistakes, and make amends, John gives them a second chance.  It’s a good thing.
  9. He’s prepared to fight for the city.  I can attest to the fact that John Tory has been unafraid to give Hell to Justin Trudeau – and, before him, Stephen Harper.  He’s done likewise with the province.  Even though he and Harper belonged to the same party – and even though he and Trudeau share the same vote in Toronto – Tory has always been ready, willing and able to fight for what this city needs.  His partisanship is Toronto.
  10. He’s a likeable.  In politics, even in the Trump era, that still matters.  The ones who tend to do well are the ones – like Chretien, like Trudeau, like Tory  – who treat others (even adversaries) with respect.  That’s the John Tory I’ve known for a decade-and-a-half.  He’s a HOAG – a Hell Of A Guy.

And it’s why I’m voting for the guy again.  And it’s why you should too.

(If he runs again, that is.  Which I hope he does.)


Holy Joly

Does she have photos of Justin Trudeau in a compromising position? Does he owe her a lot of money? Is she holding hostage a member of his family?

There’s no longer any other rational or compelling explanation for “Minister” Melanie Joly being a “Minister,” is there? She is, hands down, the worst cabinet minister in the Trudeau government. She is a disaster. She is incompetent. She is inept. She makes Bev Oda look like a PR whiz – and Vic Toews a model of self-restraint.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s just a short sampling of what others are saying about Minister Cassette (so named by Quebec pundit Paul Arcand, due to Joly’s insistence on robotic repetition of talking points):

  • Globe: “Her fall from grace in her home province has been swift and merciless, sped by her maladroit attempts to sell a deal with Netflix…”
  • National Post: “[Joly] she has been savaged in Quebec media, artistic and political circles.”
  • Globe: “The Minister has been roasted and ridiculed to her face on live radio and TV, and dismissed by commentators of all stripes as naive and – worst of all – unable even to understand what the fuss is about.”
  • Québec’s culture minister: Joly makes him “speechless and angry…[she] legitimizes a fiscal inequity which grants preferential treatment to a foreign company over Canadian companies.”
  • Michael Harris, iPolitics: “Joly’s medicine worse than the disease…[Joly’s policy] is absurdity in hot pursuit of farce.”
  • Richard Martineau, Journal de Montreal: “[Joly sounds] like a living answering machine having a nervous breakdown.”

We could go on (and on), but Kate Malloy says quoting Melanie Joly’s bad reviews would take up an entire special section. Besides, you get the point. As one wag on the influential Quebec show Tout le monde en parle put it: “She makes us f**king angry.”

Folks in the rest of Canada may think Joly’s cultural calamity isn’t page one news, but they’d be wrong about that. As Stephen Harper discovered the hard way, “culture” has an entirely different meaning in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. Woe unto the politician who is seen to be indifferent to the importance Quebec attaches to its truly distinct culture.

But Melanie Joly, the wrecking ball of Canadian politics, wasn’t done yet. Non, monsieur! A few days after she pulled a pin on her Netflix hand grenade, then held onto it, Joly decided to insult every Jew in Canada. Seriously.

Her department, you see, came up with a plaque for the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa that…didn’t mention Jews. Or the six million. Or anti-Semitism. Joly then thrust the Prime Minister into the middle of the controversy – which attracted negative media around the world – by inviting him to the unveiling of the monument.

Senator Linda Frum noticed Joly’s error, tweeted about it, and Joly speedily executed a whiplash-inducing volte-face. But the damage had been done. The Jewish community, who this writer knows rather well, will not forget Joly’s insensitivity anytime soon. Because, by keeping her in cabinet, Trudeau suggests to Canadian Jews that he doesn’t think it’s such a big deal.

How, then, does Melanie Joly survive? This, after all, is the minister who turned Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations – and you only get one of those, as far as I am aware – into an unmitigated farce. The Ottawa Citizen recently got its hands on some of the letters average Canadians wrote to Joly and her department about that day. They’re worth clipping and saving.

  • “Shame on you Ottawa. Shame on you Heritage Canada and the organizers. You failed us!”
  • “I have never seen such a poor, chaotic display. Shame on you Ottawa. You actually ruined Canada Day for many thousands of people visiting Ottawa.”
  • “[A] shameful fiasco on many levels…It was an explosive situation…Wasn’t there any brain at the top?…I would like to hear a formal apology from your organization.”
  • “The organizers of Canada Day 2017 should be ashamed of themselves for the shoddy work that went into this year’s event.”
  • “I would respectfully suggest to Justin that he should consider sending you [Joly] for some intensive ‘major event planning’ training because you certainly flopped badly for the July 1st event on Parliament Hill this year.”

One anonymous citizen, however, had the pithiest review and therefore deserves the last word: “What a mess your department made! Time for you to resign!”

Will she? Not a chance.

Melanie Joly has some serious leverage over the Prime Minister, and she clearly isn’t afraid to use it.


The pigs of liberalism

That’s the title of Ross Douthat’s column in today’s Times. It’s important.

Maybe [Weinstein’s] overdue exposure shows that the world has changed, and progressive industries are finally feminist enough to put their old goats out to pasture.

But it might just show that a certain kind of powerful liberal creep only gets his comeuppance when he’s weakened or old or in the grave. The awfulness of Ted Kennedy, at Chappaquiddick and after hours in D.C., can be acknowledged only now that he’s no longer a liberal lion in the Senate. The possibility that Bill Clinton might be not just an adulterer but a rapist can be entertained now that he’s no longer protecting abortion from the White House. The sins of Woody Allen … well, I’m sure Hollywood will start ostracizing him any day now.

Last Sunday I wrote a harsh obituary for Hugh Hefner, which noted that he represented a certain style of liberalism — progressive and yet chauvinist, liberationist and exploitative — that perdures in our society to this day. Some readers were skeptical: Didn’t Hef’s feminist critics win the fight for liberalism, while his Playboy philosophy became something of a joke?

After he started having sex with his daughter, I resolved never again to pay for a Woody Allen movie. After I passed adolescence, I decided Hugh Hefner was a caricature, a joke of a man, padding around in a housecoat with pneumatic women young enough to be his granddaughters. 

And, when I was involved in daily politics, I developed a deep dislike – bordering on hatred – for politicians who use their power to get what they wanted from less-powerful women. I soon learned, too, that these “men” came in all ideological sizes and shapes. Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats: all of them had their share of rutting male pigs. 

I don’t think I ever heard my father call himself a feminist, but I think he was one. My brothers and I were brought up to believe in equality, and to fight for it. Women were to be treated, always, with respect and  near-reverence. My Dad didn’t want Playboy in our home because he was a censor – he forbade it because it was disrespectful to our mother. 

But am I the type of liberal hypocrite Douthat describes in his column? I am, I am. As a teenager, I still secreted Playboy into the house. As a man, in relationships, I behaved abominably with too many women. And, of course, there was that time I met Bill Clinton and cheerfully posed for a picture with him. It’s even on the back cover of one of my books. 

Am I a feminist? No – not yet. I think I am still unfit to be one. I am a work in progress. And that is why I still wince when I hear the likes of Justin Trudeau call themselves feminists, like it is a talking point. 

Stop calling yourself feminists, fellow liberal men. 

Try being better men, first.