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Answering Don Cherry

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"People are sick of the elites and artsy people running the show. It's time for some lunch pail, blue-collar people."

Don Cherry, cited in the Toronto Star, December 3, 2010, explaining his endorsement of policeman/politician Julian Fantino and his appearance at the inaugural meeting of Toronto Council to celebrate the election of Rob Ford.

Where to begin to untangle so much confusion and drivel in so few words? How about an edition of the CBC's "The Debaters" on Mr. Cherry's pronouncement. It shouldn't take long and could easily replace a segment of Coach's Corner.

Arguing first for Cherry's analysis would be Julian Fantino, whose blue collar credentials includes being the Ontario Police Commissioner, Toronto Chief of Police, London Chief of Police and senior bureaucrat for the Province of Ontario. Next will be Rob Ford, the new Toronto mayor, son of a former MPP whose work experience consists of the family business, described by his election bio as a "multi-million dollar North American enterprise," and politics.

Also in the affirmative are the media elites who give Mr. Cherry and a substantial number of other social conservatives national media platforms to express their biases.

Taking the negative view of Don Cherry's assault on artsy elites is...

The Liberals were certainly against Fantino and Ford, except they wanted the police chief as their candidate before the Tories recruited him, and George Smitherman's election platform wasn't all that different from Ford's.

How about a media personality from the CBC with a solid analysis of economic inequality and how elites are more privileged than ever after the failures of the free market? There is Jian Ghomeshi who is on the radio weekday mornings. He seems reasonable and informed, but he is pretty artsy.

So who should answer Mr. Cherry's line of reasoning? A real blue collar worker might be just what Mr. Cherry ordered up. Except that might mean hearing what trade unionists have to say about the elites - and, plainly, that would be most improbable.

Now, audience, who is the winner? For Mr. Cherry: applause. For the other view: the sound of one hand clapping.


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