Alberta Diary

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David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. His 1995 book, A Poke in the Public Eye, explores the relationships among Canadian journalists, public relations people and politicians. He left journalism after the strike at the Calgary Herald in 1999 and 2000 to work for the trade union movement. Alberta Diary focuses on Alberta politics and social issues.

A tale of a fateful trip: Alberta Wildrose leader to ship out on nine-day cruise!

| March 19, 2013

Avast, Matey! Alberta Opposition Leader Danielle Smith has signed on to ship out with a group of Sun News Network bloviators aboard the Holland-America Line's MV Minnow for Ezra Levant's "Freedom Cruise" in August.

It has not yet been announced if Smith will play the role of Mary Ann or Ginger aboard the Alaska-bound excursion. 

Sun News commentator Brian Lilley is likely, it is said here, to be cast in the role of Gilligan opposite Levant's natural portrayal of the Skipper. And the Professor? Everybody's crossing their fingers for a surprise cameo by Tom Flanagan. The Fraser Institute mailing list will supply undeserving millionaires.

Sources high within the Wildrose Party promised yesterday that the "libertarian" Alberta Opposition leader will be paying her own freight on board (FOB Vancouver) and won't be doing any double-dipping at the expense of Sun News Network, which after all is lobbying hard for additional taxpayer and cable-subscriber support.

That would hardly do, since Smith has just turned in such a brilliant portrayal of a principled politician giving 8 per cent of her salary to charity -- and successfully directing her 16 MLAs to do the same thing and look like they like it. Obviously, based on this, we can expect Smith to turn in a bravura performance aboard the ideological Flying Dutchman technically known unpronounceably as the MV Zuiderdam. 

Alas, for every ray of sunshine like Smith's addition to the crew of the Minnow, into every market fundamentalist's life a little rain must fall. So it's disappointing to have to report it appears very much as if Pamela Geller, director of both the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and something that sounds like Stop Initialization of America (SIOA) has cast off from the planned freedom cruise north to Alaska.

Ditto Michael Coren, the always-inspiring chronicler of Christian persecution at the hands of really rude and sanctimonious secular humanists. The well-known Christian broadcaster's eyes have no doubt have turned heavenward, or at least Romeward, since Levant's seagoing ideological clambake was first announced.

Leastways, both these leading lights of the right seem to have been dropped from the program, which tersely notes, "List of speakers subject to change."

Still aboard, however, is Janet Annesley, Vice-President of Communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), who as previously noted will presumably be speaking about the threat posed by anarcho-primitivistic deep ecologists in rainbow-coloured submarines with plans to CAPP-size errant cruise ships full of bitumen buffers. This is a double concern, since so many CAPP members are closely tied to Smith's Wildrose Party.

The Minnow will make its stately way through the pristine waters of British Columbia's Inside Passage. This will give those on the ideologically approved passenger manifest the opportunity to see this marvelous seascape before it is smeared with Ethical Bitumen proudly shipped out of Alberta Premier Alison Redford's home port aboard leaky Communist Chinese tankers.

Cruise participants must pay up to $8,679 to be trapped for nine days aboard the vast banana boat, which is thought to steer only to starboard. Talk about a carnival at sea

(Sink the maritime disaster puns already! -- Ed.)

Some hints of where Levant, who is known also to hold extremely strong views about the importation of unethical bananas, and the other loony market fundamentalists aboard would like to steer the onboard discussion may be found in the views on tropical fruit held by the original Gilligan's Island screenwriters: 

GILLIGAN: Skipper, should I pick the yellow bananas or the red bananas, because the yellow bananas are green?

SKIPPER: Then pick the red ones.

GILLIGAN: But the red ones are pink.

SKIPPER: Gilligan, I don't care if you pick red, white and blue bananas, just pick some bananas!

GILLIGAN: Okay, Skipper... Blue bananas?

But that's not funny, you say? Well, when you get right down to it, neither are Ezra Levant and Danielle Smith!

Meanwhile, in totally unrelated news, the same senior Wildrose source reports the party is trying desperately to get the so-called National Citizens Coalition to stop using Smith’s photo in anti-union Facebook ads placed by the sinister and extremist Astroturf group once headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

So far, however, the NCC is said not to be returning the Wildrose Party's phone messages. For his part, I don't think Harper is returning anybody's.

+ + +

Ezra Levant apologizes for Roma remarks

This just in: Sun News Network must want its mandatory carriage on basic cable TV pretty badly. Leastways, that’s the most reasonable explanation for Ezra Levant's halfhearted effort late yesterday to apologize for and climb down from his racist remarks about the Roma people, originally made in his Sun News Network program, The Source, on Sept. 5, 2012. 

After almost six months of silence, Mr. Levant admitted, sort of, that he was wrong to defame an entire people in terms eerily reminiscent of some of the darkest moments of modern history. True to form, however, Mr. Levant first attacked some of his other favourite targets, a well known environmentalist and aboriginal leaders, then tried to blame his comments about the Roma on an errant leftist impulse. He quoted Ayn Rand, the plumbiferous author beloved by the far right, assailing stereotyping as “the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.” Ezra, a collectivist! Who'd've thought!

Mr. Levant also interviewed Sun News Network Vice-President Kory Teneycke, a former spokesperson in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office, who admitted that Mr. Levant “crossed the line” and said the network never should have allowed the episode to be aired.

Canadians still need to ask themselves if Mr. Levant, Mr. Teneycke and Sun News Network have sincerely apologized and committed themselves to changing their ways, and if we should therefore reward them with more generous licensing provisions. 

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.

 

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