If nothing else, tweeted National Post columnist Andrew Coyne on Saturday, partisans of all stripes "are at least agreed one one thing: the media are either obsessed with or covering up the Justin Trudeau story."
The "Justin Trudeau story" is of course the recent Sun News revelation that everyone's favourite pretender to the Liberal tiara had some rather disparaging things to say about Albertans back in 2010 (namely, that Canada "doesn't work" when they're in charge) coupled with some equally entitled sentiments about Quebeckers like himself (namely, that Canada "belongs to us").
Pretty damning, eh? Or not. As Andy noted, thanks to the partisan Madonna-Whore complex that passes for insightful Canadian political analysis these days, one's perception of even the basic newsworthiness of a story like this is now almost entirely determined by preexisting ideological hang-ups.
And no prizes for guessing which side the conservative punditry is taking.
"Bigotry" plain and simple, splutters Erza Levant on his (let's say) popular TV program. Insightful student of the human mind that he is, Ezra knows that Alberta-bashing comes easily to Justin, "because anti-western sentiment is every Liberal's mother tongue." In fact, forget birth languages, it's "in Trudeau's own family genes!"
"You can't grow up as the son of Pierre Trudeau" -- that Salmon Arm-fingerin', National Energy Policy-imposin', zero-seats-winnin' such-and-such -- and "not absorb through osmosis his key values" of Albertan-hate, diagnoses Ezzy. Or, in other words, some people are genetically predisposed to have bad political views that make them think some people are genetically predisposed to have bad political views.
Tragic really, agrees the Post's Rex Murphy, with one ill-conceived "slur," J-Tru has now plunked himself "squarely in the tradition he wanted to overwrite: that of his father's unhappy, voteless and sometimes contemptuous dealings with Western Canada."
Indeed, concurs fellow Postinista Kelly McParland, if Justin was just some dopey premier's brother that'd be one thing, but this guy's the sole candidate to lead a party that "has all but committed to crown him as its next saviour." And it's too late to return the damaged goods.
Meanwhile, the nation's liberal pundits are getting hand cramps from how hard they're trying to wave the controversy away.
"We're all getting excited about not much" sniffed Globe superstar Jeffrey Simpson when finally pressed to say something during a recent apperance on CTV's Power Play. "Yeah," nods of Maclean's. So Justin was regionally "pandering" -- so what? I seem to recall a certain Albertan politician who could regionally pander with the best of 'em, snipes the Vancouver Sun's Barbara Yaffe.
'Course, in the end, regardless of your allegiances, it's hard to deny Ezra's parting quip that when it comes to Justin's idle musings we've all probably "spent more time thinking about his comments than he ever has."
The question is how little thinking a future prime minister deserves to get away with.
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When we last left our Mideast buddies, they had just finished wrapping up a brief lil' war that saw the brave Israelis crush the pathetic Hamas losers of Gaza -- or at least that's how the Canadian press largely spun it. You didn't have to be a conspirazoid Quebec radio talk show host to note a pretty consistent pro-Israeli slant in the nation's editorial pages during the eight-day conflict, though one could just as easily say there was probably no more consistently damning source of anti-Hamas news than Hamas itself.
In any case, with the conflict now over and the stakes considerably lower, the press cheerleading has quickly devolved to hipster melancholy. "Man, why even bother to have a ceasefire," they mope into their craft beers, "everyone's just gonna wind up shooting each other again anyway."
The Toronto Star editorial board, for instance, is happy the good guys won, but still think it's "hard to see this as a strategic victory" for the Israelis. Palestinian Islamists are "emboldened," Turkey and Egypt are "antagonized," and strategically speaking, "Israel is no further ahead." But you know how you could get ahead, Israelis? By "hammering out the two-state solution" and letting the Palestinians have their own country. Oh, of course, we'll get right on that, replies Israel.
The Globe and Mail board echos a similar tone in their post-war post-mortem, noting that while Hamas is "feeding delusions" by claiming victory (yes, this is a thing), the Israelis will be lucky if "there is not a similar eruption of violence in the next few years." In fact, they lecture pacifist-aggressively, lasting peace will come "only when both sides recognize the futility of recurrent war." Oh, and all this time I thought we were supposed to recognize the awesomeness of recurrent war, respond the Palestinians.
Only the National Post seems chipper as ever, with a weekend editorial offering nothing but praise for a war Prime Minister Netanyahu waged "exactly the right way" and concluded with equal aplomb. Yeah, sucks that Palestinians have to live in a dump like Gaza, they concede, but hey, maybe if they stopped using said dump as a "lawless platform for Jew-killing" the Jews themselves might a tad more sympathetic.
And if you missed any of it, don't worry -- there'll be other chances soon enough.