By Warren Kinsella
Dear Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly:
May I call you Melanie?
You seem to have blocked my access to your ministerial Twitter account, so please forgive the formality of an open letter. I sense that I've upset you, which concerns me deeply.
Let's leave aside, for a moment, the propriety of a public servant (that's you) apparently blocking the access of one of your employers (that's me) to one of the official platforms you (a public servant) use to communicate with the likes of me (one of your employers). Let's leave all that aside for a moment: as HuffPost has reported in the past, you're not the only politician who is accused of blocking critics on Twitter.
Let's get to the pith and substance of the matter, shall we?
Have I been critical of your performance as a cabinet minister? Well, yes, you could say that. Among other things, I think you are possibly the worst cabinet minister in the history of Confederation. You make Bev Oda look like Margaret Thatcher. You make Stockwell Day seem positively Churchillian. You stink at this politics stuff, you know?
The evidence before the court of public opinion is myriad and multiple. It is overwhelming.
But you didn't resign, unfortunately. No such luck.
Canada's 150th birthday celebrations, for example. In my experience, countries only get one opportunity to celebrate their 150th birthday. Governments, meanwhile, get plenty of notice that a 150th birthday celebration is coming.
You rendered our 150th in Ottawa a fiasco, however. And don't just take my word for it. Here's just a sampling of the bon mots sent to you by other citizens (who, again, are your employers):
- "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."
- "The organizers of Canada Day 2017 should be ashamed of themselves for the shoddy work that went into this year's event."
- "Please, [Minister Joly], I beg you to step out of your protective shell and acknowledge what a mess Canada Day was and take some responsibility for it."
- "Time for you to resign!"
But you didn't resign, unfortunately. No such luck. The Netflix announcement — which essentially saw the streaming behemoth being granted tax-free status for a piddling amount of investment in Canada's cultural sector, and most particularly in the province you profess to represent — was also a debacle.
A sampling of commentary about the Netflix mess:
- Globe and Mail: "[Joly's] 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."
- Journal de Montreal: "[Joly sounds] like a living answering machine having a nervous breakdown."
But there's more!
As you will recall, there was the matter of the plaque affixed to the new Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. It didn't mention the six million. Or the word "Jews." Or "anti-Semitism." You hurriedly ordered the plaque replaced, but not before just about every Jew in Canada noticed.
The resulting headline in the Washington Post, then, actually made me wince: "Canada forgot to mention Jews on new Holocaust monument dedication plaque."
More from Warren Kinsella on HuffPost Canada:
Anyway. Let's forget about the Holocaust Monument, and the Netflix thing, and Canada 150. Let's forget about all that. Let's turn the page. Let's focus, instead, on your latest decision, which I will render all-caps, because I think it merits it:
And it's not just any $5-million hockey rink. No, not in Joly World. It is a $5-million hockey rink that:
- Prohibits the playing of hockey.
- Will be in existence for less than a month.
- Is a block from the biggest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal.
Oh, and the Toronto Star reported this: "The rink, which will be available for free public skating from Dec. 7 to Jan. 1, is budgeted to cost about $215,385 per day that it's open."
One of my readers informed me that works out to about $300 per skater, per leisurely skate. I'm not sure Wayne Gretzky made that much in his prime with the Oilers, Melanie.
And here's what you had to say about Skate-gate: "We believe that it is really good news because this will be here for a month, and this will support, of course, important programming."
"Really good news."
It isn't, Melanie. It isn't. It is a disgrace. It is disgusting. It is an actual scandal. It is.
And then, just this week — to make 2017 just extra shitty — Postmedia and Torstar got rid of 300 journalists, and shut down dozens of Canadian newspapers. That's not just devastating for Canadian media — it's a disaster for our democracy, too. And what did you have to say about it, given that the issue is within your ministerial portfolio, Melanie?
You said you were "looking to support local media while they transition to the internet." That's a quote.
Transition to the internet? Support local media? Melanie, they're dead. "Transitioning" won't help those hundreds of journalists because they're, you know, gone.
Melanie, we're sorry, but it is also time for you to go. You aren't helping your reputation — and you are regularly hurting the reputation of this government, which is a not-bad government, as governments go. Resign, for the love God, resign.
Oh, and I'd tell you that on Twitter, too. If you weren't, you know, blocking me.
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