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Why Are Canadians Griping About Harper In The New York Times?

11/20/2015 01:16 EST | Updated 11/20/2016 05:12 EST
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Since when did the New York Times become the official cheerleader of the Liberal Party of Canada? I can understand the giddy effect of a Trudeau victory on their editorial pages or an op-ed by their columnist Roger Cohen entitled -- wait for it -- Camelot Comes to Canada.

He warns Justin that he'd better develop a society where different societies from different cultures build common ground; if not, Trudeau the younger will have failed. If this proves anything, it's that the New York Times knows nothing of Canada's social makeup under Liberal or Conservative governments.

And, of course, Mr. Cohen takes to quoting our new Trade Minister, Chrystia Freeland, who takes out that old and creaky cliché that we are a "mosaic" and that the Conservatives were playing to our baser instincts. I suppose she has forgotten how Trudeau the elder dealt with the FLQ .

I don't fault the New York Times liberal editorial pages celebrating a Liberal victory in Canada. It's their paper and they can print what they want. What got me were the Canadian journalists who rushed to their liberal friends down south with op-eds to complain how awful things were up here under Harper. It seemed Canadian newspapers weren't worthy of their profound insights. Then again, why dance on Bay St when you can dance on Broadway. They breathlessly had to tell the outside world that living for 10 years under a Harperian government was no better than a Siberian gulag.

First to break free was the Macleans Quebec bureau chief, Martin Patriquin, in an October 16 New York Times article entitled With Anti-Muslim Campaign, Canada has its Trump Moment. It was inevitable that someone would have to make the link between deporting 11 million illegal immigrants to forbidding the niqab for a few minutes at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies.

Nowhere does Monsieur Patriquin mention that the Conservative position was widely popular in his own province and the rest of the country for that matter, or that the Bloc Quebecois also strongly campaigned against the niqab as did some NDP candidates. Quebec, the most intolerant province in the country when it comes to "other" cultures, punished the NDP because they took a clear stand against the sentiments of most Quebecois. For the sake of accuracy, Patriquin should have made some attempt to tell his American readers what was actually going on in his own province.

After Patriquin, we had the Toronto Star writer Heather Mallick in a New York Times piece published on October 22. Mallick gripes about the long nightmare of living under a Harper government. In the end the best she could come up with is that he didn't give us a better drug plan. But let's not stop there. Harper, it seems, hated everybody: scientists, environmentalists, urbanites, immigrants (I'm one), immigrants with accents, refugees, cyclists (I'm one), and anyone who wants more health care -- that's me again. All that hate and venom came to a breaking point where she saw niqab-wearing women "tormented" on the streets of Toronto. Seems to me all this fear and loathing says more about Heather's projections than Harper's actions.

But the most disappointing missive to the New York Times came on November 4th from Noah Richer, with the laughable title A Canada Ready to Share Again. That title is right up there with The New Republic's award-winning most boring headline: Worthwhile Canadian Initiative. The piece had the feel of Sally Field's "you like me, right now you really like me" speech at the Academy Awards. Yes Noah, the liberal Americans at the New York Times really do like us now.

Even though Richler was routed in his run for the NDP, it was hard to read his treacly prose with lines such as "What Canadians see in these new images (that is Trudeau taking selfies with hijab-wearing Montrealers) is that a better country, a welcoming place of second chances, has not been lost." I can't imagine his famous father ever writing such sentimental nonsense. And yet he keeps piling on, blaming Harper for all the evils that have befallen native communities; problems that have become intractable, such as the deaths of so many native women; problems that have frustrated both Conservative and Liberal governments alike.

But that wasn't the worst of it. In a complete non-sequitur, Richler finishes his piece with the wish that perhaps the long shadow of 9/11 may finally be receding -- at least in Canada. While we're at it Noah, let's put behind us the terrorist killings in Ottawa and Montreal, the London bombings in July 2005, terrorist attacks in Spain, Turkey, Israel and the taking down of the Russian airline in Egypt that killed over 200. And let's forget that nasty Charlie Hebdo incident.

And what about the still fresh ISIS attacks in Paris that have killed at least 129 innocents and injured another 350? Let's toss that down the memory hole as quickly as possible as well, as we watch those shadows recede.

Harper had many faults and, after 10 years, many Canadians were tired of his style. This happens when any political leader is in power for so long. But he had one thing going for him and that was moral clarity. When it came to real evil in the world, he knew what needed to be done. President Francois Hollande has that moral clarity. He didn't mince words when he said "we will lead the fight and it will be merciless." Even the Pope believes we are in a world war.

Canada's response? To stop even our measly bombing efforts at fighting ISIS. Our newly elected PM would rather talk to than fight these head-chopping, child-killing, women-raping terrorists. Let's hope Harjit Sajjan, our new Defense Minster, who has seen action in the Middle East, can talk sense to our selfie-obsessed Prime Minister.

Never much of a fan of pere Trudeau, at least he had a vision for Canada and strategy to achieve it. Unfortunately nothing in his son's background tells me he is ready for the fight in a world he now has to take part in.

I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Now that's an article I'd like to see in the New York Times.

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