By PIERCE GRAHAM
SOME THOUGHTS OFFERED, if gratuitously, on the political phenomenon known as Pierre Poilievre.
Like most westerners, I am accustomed to eastern domination of our national political scene, and, for the most part, have not been deeply offended by the products presented for national consideration.
Like most westerners, I have become accustomed to, and even enjoy, the regional varieties and emphases put forth for, or as, national concerns.The best the west has done was Harper, even though I did not vote for his party.
Historically, of course, the NDP, and its predecessor in Saskatchewan, the CCF, established the model for national health-care. And for decent working standards. Local power rose to national power, out of decent caring.
The recent appearance of Pierre Poilievre, however (or, is it howevre?), is a different matter. Being of a naturally sensitive character, I have been offended by his arrogance in proffering what I can only call simplistic and extreme pseudo-solutions to our historical problems of national unity.
So intense is my reaction to and rejection of Poilievre’s performance that I have succumbed to the ridicule of his name. Our present prime minister, as many are aware, has suffered the common indignity and insult of deliberate mis-spelling of his surname, inverting the R and the U to produce Turdeau. Ingenious, yes; offensive, yes.
So, let me progress with the opposition leader’s name, Pierre Poilievre: Pierre, the rock: Peter, basic, foundational, etc. It has also been used as a childish synonym for penis.
Poilievre? The best I can determine is that the components of the name mean something like poi: pea; and lievre: rabbit. So, in an attempt to rise to the insult level of Turdeau, I proffer the name of Peter Peabunny, or Peter Peahare. (Almost rhymes with Pierre; Pierre Peahare?) Unfortunately, ironically, the silliness of these names is matched by the silliness of Mr. Poilievre’s apparent national perceptions.
With his slick hair, never-smiling and bespectacled countenance, and the legendary warmth of a Charles Dickens accountant, he ridicules virtually everything the present government, and many past governments, have done, or have stood for.
He, like most Canadians, needs to be reminded that our present parliament is the most accurately representative of the Canadian people as could be imagined. We have a minority government for the fundamental but simple fact we are a nation of minorities.
As such, we require, and demand, a government of minorities, led by a minority leader who is devoid of standard notions of dominance usually associated with massive majority governments. Such is not in our nature or our history. We are a montage, a collection, a unified variety. Let us celebrate that fact not only on Canada Day, but in our government processes.
Unlike the unfortunate example south of the 49th parallel, we are not a nation of THIS or THAT: Democrat or Republican; winner or loser. The American government model, after all, is a sports model, built on win or lose. A tie, or a plurality, demands a share; but in America, there can be no other outcome. They even manage to alternate the majorities in the House and the Senate so as to paralyze government.
Canada, however, is fundamentally different from that. Our entire history, apart from too many decades of inherited dominance of the native peoples, has striven to be inclusive, accommodating, sharing, moderating, soothing the loser, even including the loser in government, when coalitions have been needed, as in war-time. The notion is presented in the title of the losing party: Her (His) Majesty’s Leader of the Loyal Opposition.
The success of our system may be seen in a contrast with the current American scene; frequent and fundamental rumblings of dissolution of the union, hints of regional rights to abandon the national charter, and so on. Stamping the foot in the failure to win, or even to cooperate. It is the essence of barely controlled intolerance and violence. In contrast, Canada celebrates its diversity….except in Parliament.
A minority government, like those often elected n Canada, is the most appropriate and most decently representative system for a nation with our vast regional, cultural, and economic variety. I hope our voters continue to remember and appreciate that fact.
Such a system even has room for a flamboyant Pierre Poilievre, should he ever rise above the level of loser, which he so bitterly personifies. My only recommendation for him? Learn to smile. Learn about Lester Pearson.
And my recommendation to Canadians? Enjoy your representative minority government. We deserve it. It really does represent our manifold variety. I salute diversity and inclusion. Pierre Poilievre does not exactly personify them.
Pierce Graham is a retired vice principal of NorKam secondary, a long-time English teacher, and a member of the Rube Band.