Partisan Rabies

Obsessive Liberal-bashing reveals a deranged movement but there’s still hope for conservatives

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

Saskatchewan’s lovably diverse and feisty LGBTQ2+ community delivered an amazing month of fun and education this June. One nice surprise for me? Seeing conservative politicians in Regina and Saskatoon’s Pride parades. Premier and Sask. Party leader Scott Moe and several government MLAs joined this year’s processions, which is pretty amazing considering conservatives’ well-documented commitment to fighting social change and staying on the wrong side of history over the past… well, my whole adult life.

That sounds like a backhanded compliment and I guess maybe it is, But you know what? Good for the Sask. Party. Politicians moving away from bigoted, malicious and frankly dumb views is progress, and it’s good to recognize it.

It’s also a welcome development at a time when partisanship in conservative circles has devolved from the usual obnoxious hissing to deranged baboon howls.

The trash talk is out of control right now. Case in point: the third-party anti-Ralph Goodale ads popping up all over Regina, which slag him for the being in the same political party as Justin Trudeau.

This isn’t the first time conservatives and their billboard-buying supporters have churned out cheap and specious anti-Goodale horseshit: I still have Stephen Harper-era flyers with photos of an angry-looking Ralph pointing at the sky like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. If I recall correctly, one trashed him for supporting gun control. “Did he ever ask what you want?”, they screamed. Well, yes — he was elected partly on his commitment to gun control, presumably. And given the tendency of high-ranking Conservatives to pose in assault rifle t-shirts at Conservative party conventions,* there’s a good chance he’ll keep getting elected.

Another one — an old Carol Skelton flyer that’s still on my fridge — bashes him for opposing a typically brainless and mean-spirited Conservative “tough on crime” bill: “Tell Mr. Goodale it’s about Canadians, DO YOUR JOB or STEP ASIDE!”

Ugh, what are these guys, children?

Worse than the Goodale-smearing is the constant demonization of the prime minister, which goes way beyond legitimate political strategy into hate-mongering. I mean, I’d love to write mean editorials about Justin Trudeau’s missteps, failures and hypocrisies but who wants be on the same side as a gibbering, slobbering mob of keyboard Nazis constantly whining about the West separating from Canada? (Which, you know, is treason talk. Just pointing it out.)

As frustrated as I am with Justin Trudeau’s broken electoral reform promise, fossil fuel flip-flops and caucus controversies, I’ll take a Prime Minister who bravely brought in a politically unpopular but environmentally necessary national carbon tax over the party full of dummies who don’t understand/believe in global warming and liars who fight every single goddamned attempt to do something about it.

I could go on, but I want to get back to saying something nice about politicians of a stripe I’ll probably never vote for. It really was good to see Sask. Party MLAs at Pride. Like a lot of people, I’ve spent the last 20 years having my eyes melted by malignant conservative antics, and let me tell you: being constantly angry at awful politicians and their crappy policy ideas is not as much fun as one might think.

Conservative leaders like Mike Harris, Ralph Klein, Stephen Harper, Doug Ford and Jason Kenney have made and are making Canada worse. Their awfulness is a big reason why this paper spends so much time and energy criticizing conservatives. They’re the worst. Sorry, but it’s true.

If there’s a path back to respectability for Canada’s conservatives, it’s going to start with steps like the tentative ones Sask. Party politicians took in this year’s Pride parades.

Good for them. Let’s to see more of that.

* Peter McKay, August 2014