In his column today in the National Post (subscriber only), Adam Radwanski pulls one quote from Monte Solberg's blog after the same-sex marriage vote and uses it to suggest that conservatives don't like Canada, and that this attitude is responsible for their not achieving 'power':
June 28, 2005
Its a route
Its over. Gay marriage is now on the fast track to becoming the law in Canada.
The new Canada. You can have it.
posted by Monte at 7:06 PM
Radwanski doesn't seem to understand the subtleties of the English language -- or perhaps he is being deliberately obtuse in order to force Solberg's ideas to fit his premise that 'Conservatives dislike Canada'.
I read Solberg's posts that day -- all of them -- which one really should do if you want context (which obviously Radwanski doesn't want to give his readers). I never took from any of it that Monte was 'Canada-bashing'.
Radwanski describes Solberg thus:
He's considered a comparatively moderate conservative --thoughtful, funny and well-liked on the other side of the House. So, far from being an isolated rant from the party's fringes, his outburst presumably came from a common perspective within the Tory caucus -- one that has come to largely define the Canadian right.
So Radwanski not only uses the one post quoted above to decide that Monte Solberg doesn't like Canada, but extrapolates to conclude that in his dislike of Canada, he is representative of both the Conservative caucus and all right-thinking Canadians. If Radwanski can jump to that giant conclusion, you'd have to bet he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, too.
Radwanski pulled this one brief post, from a wealth of blogging by Solberg, and implies that Solberg doesn't like Canada. Never mind that throughout his posting, Monte consistently expresses concern for, and understanding of, the average Canadian -- and not just the fleas who nip the dog and who through sheer irritation factor, have set the agenda and the course for our nation.
What Radwanski forgets as he sits in that ivory tower of his, is that the average Canadian might vote Liberal or NDP more often than he votes Conservative, but the average Canadian is not part of the liberal elite who determine what 'Canadian values' are and should be. A good lot of us were offended by the government telling us that our values are 'unCanadian' and that our religious or personal convictions are 'against human rights'. Their 'outbursts' -- which vilified over half of all Canadians -- are perhaps justifiable to Mr. Radwanski because he agrees with their ideology. Just remember though, every time Paul Martin or Jack Layton told us that SSM was a human rights issue, and that people who disagree with it don't hold Canadian values -- we know that they were referring to ordinary people. Solberg was obviously referring to the government. Which POV is more offensive to Canadians?
This column is typical Radwanski. Taking a snippet of the truth and twisting it to fit his theory. His column continues by equating Solberg's lament over the passing of the SSM bill with Michael Coren's and David Frum's Canada Day columns, both of which examine the failings of our nation at this juncture.
What Radwanski has failed to grasp is that Coren, Frum and Solberg share one thing -- and that thing is not political ideology. Frum is an avowed 'neo-Con' far to the right of almost anyone in Canadian politics. Coren, though socially conservative, is far more in line with the NDP on issues like foreign aid, the environment, affordable housing etc. -- I've read him for years and I wouldn't presume to say which way he votes -- he would probably be insulted to be called a 'conservative commentator'.
These men don't hate Canada, nor does anything they've put to paper convey that sentiment to someone who isn't looking to 'expose' them as anti-Canada. No, the one thing these men share is a disdain for our governance. They despair for the Canada that could be -- that might be -- if not for Liberal corruption, ineptitude, cowardice and arrogance. They talk about the democratic deficit, the lack of accountability, the smug liberal attitude of entitlement. That is not Canada-bashing -- that is government bashing. It is Liberal bashing. And it's true.
The Liberals were voted in with three successive majorities and one minority -- so one might conclude that to criticise their policies and programs is by extention, criticism of the very people who voted them in. Perhaps the answer is for all conservatives to refrain from commenting on the direction this country is taking. Radwanski seems to think we should be silently accepting of the governments flaws, and just be grateful that we live in such a pretty country. Radwanski would likely say he didn't mean that -- that these men he's quoted criticised Canada -- but then, why is it inferred by liberals that when a Carolyn Parrish says: 'Americans, I hate those bastards' that she meant only George W. Bush and his crowd, but when Solberg says: 'The new Canada. You can have it.' it must mean he hates Canada and all Canadians?
Radwanski has likely read Monte Solberg's Canada Day post. He didn't bother to comment on it, I expect because it doesn't fit his theory of the Canada-bashing man he's trying to portray.
Here are some quotes from the post -- read it, then tell me Solberg doesn't like Canada.
The oil patch goes strong 24/7, and so do the businesses that support it. They will work right through the Canada Day weekend and most will not reflect for two seconds on what it means to be Canadian.They will not watch the ceremonies from Parliament Hill today. They will not listen to CBC radio and fret over Canadian culture and heritage. They won't sit around telling each other how much better we are then the Americans.
They will work. They will look for opportunities to make life better for themselves and their family.
(. . .)
What strikes me is how typically Canadian this story is. I'm saying that the vast majority of Canadians practice a set of values and a way of life that is unrecognizable to official Ottawa, to too many journalists and to that squishy class of people who simultaneously revile and live off the backs of that Tim Hortons crowd.
(. . .)
But most amazing of all is that the overtaxed and despised Tim's crowd are the ones who would volunteer to stand in the breech first if, God forbid it, there was ever again a whisper of war. The thumb suckers would head for the bunker before you could say conscientious objector. But the Tims crowd would be there to fight. They would fight furiously, like they've always done. But they would not fight for King and country, for the CBC, or for the Department of Canadian Heritage. They would be there to fight for their little platoons, for their families, and their friends in the trenches.
The ordinary, garden variety decency that makes them the head of the Rotary Club in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia or Taber, Alberta would make them a VC winner on a foreign battlefield.
Maybe what Radwanski finds offensive about Solberg's brand of patriotism is it that is celebrates the average Canadian -- the ordinary people who are not part of the left-leaning liberal elite that fill out the ranks of the press gallery or who inhabit the inner sanctum of the PMO. Guys like Radwanski who are part of Ottawa's connected crowd -- they don't like us -- the regular folk.
What Radwanski doesn't say is what conservatives, and I would guess most Canadians know to be true: although Monte Solberg dislikes 'Canada' (read the government) he loves Canadians -- whereas Paul Martin loves 'Canada' (read, the government) he really doesn't much care for Canadians. Does Paul Martin even know any Canadians? Real Canadians? Can he have lived that kind of sheltered, rarefied existence, and really have his finger on the pulse of the nation?
Radwanski is part of that network of people, who know all the people, who are the people, who decide what matters. He speaks for them.
Monte Solberg speaks for me.