Bad news, Justin! It looks like Canada's slow news summer of Trudeaumania Mark II may actually be shaping up to be the summer of something considerably more interesting.
As we may recall, a couple days ago good ol' Ezra Levant was having quite a snit over the fact that outgoing Globe and Mail web editor Stephen Wicary was emigrating to Cuba, in theory because that's where his wife works, but probably because he's a goddamn commie. The brawl soon spilled into the Twitterverse, where Wicary quickly produced a red (ha!) herring of his own.
Was it not true, he asked, that Tony Clement -- a loyal cabinet flunky of Levant's beloved Stephen Harper -- was spending tax dollars on a shrine to the late Maoist surgeon Norman Bethune? Why not get mad about that, Ezzy?
As far as bluffs go, this one was called brilliantly. Wicary dropped his smoke bomb on July 11, and since then, the nation's right-wing pundits have discussed almost nothing else. Ol' Steve's probably in Havana right now smoking stogies with Fidel for all anyone cares.
"No memorials for Mao's puppet!" screams the Toronto Star editorial board. Dr. Bethune, they note, was "a card-carrying commie" who defected to China and served as "a willing puppet to Mao's propaganda machine as tens of millions were being murdered." If he gets a whole museum, what's next, Ernest Zundel-land? ("the Holocaust Denyingiest place on Earth")
Any commemorative gewgaw "celebrating deadly communist regimes should never be built on Canadian soil, let alone receive public money from Canadians," agrees Charles Adler of Sun TV, one of the network's many pundits to devote significant chunks of their show to this topic, but the only one willing to out himself as a Hungarian refugee in the process.
Chris Selley at the National Post, meanwhile, puffs on his psychiatrist pipe and sees evidence that the Harper government is "struggling to come to terms with what it has become," -- namely, a nominally conservative government that has to suck up to Chinese Communists with gross tributes to Marxist traitors simply because Bejing's the planet's sugar daddy now. In his typical Selley way, Chris seems personally indifferent, but does think the hypocrisy will probably worsen the Tories' Oedipal woes, as their voter base becomes increasingly jealous and resentful of all the decidedly anti-conservative causes the Harperites are embracing in their loveless political marriages of convenience.
The Globe editorial board tries to be even more moderate, which is good, because totalitarianism is really not the sort of thing anyone should take a hardline position on. This right-wing business about how memorializing Bethune "represents a celebration of Maoism" is about as dopey as "saying the Batoche National Historic Site in Saskatchewan is a celebration of Louis Riel's hallucinations," they snipe. After all, the "evils of communism" were simply "one of the numerous causes" the good doctor embraced.
Indeed! It'd be like talking about the Globe and Mail and just focusing on their mushy, equivocating, middle-of-the-road editorials instead of noting that they also run that comic strip where the dog has swirly eyes. Big picture, people!
When it comes to predicting important political junk, I think we can all agree the Canadian press has a stellar track record.
I mean, to be fair, they were totally wrong about the whole "summer cabinet shuffle" thing. And they did do a pretty awful job when it came to calling April's Alberta election. And I guess they were totally off base about the magnitude and longevity of the robocall scandal too. But they did correctly anticipate that Bob Rae would make a decision about the future of his political career at some point in time, and really, one accurate story in the last five months still makes us better than Russia. So stop complaining!
Anyway, the press is now super-duper sure that Premier Charest in Quebec is likely to call a provincial election before the summer months conclude.
"Quebec election speculation ramps up," says the CBC. We expert press people are hearing rumours that "the governing Liberals are poised to drop an election writ sooner rather than later," so everyone get ready! "All signs point to late-summer Quebec election" agrees Brian Daly at QMI. In both cases, the predictions rest very heavily on the words of anonymous or highly ambiguous sources, plus the usual witchcraft of finding double-meaning in stuff like where the premier plans to take his summer vacation. In other words, air-tight!
So mark your calendars, because remember: whenever the Quebec election does come you can be sure all of Canada will be watching closely. I mean, "as goes Quebec, so goes the nation," right? Personally, I can't wait to see what implications the Quebec race could have for my province's Mafia-construction industrial complex, five-months-and-counting student strike, or on-again-off-again ethno-separatist movement.
Actually, maybe that's not so hard to predict.