“England expects that every man will do his duty,” Admiral Horatio Nelson signalled from HMS Victory to the brave sailors his fleet as the Battle of Trafalgar, the decisive naval fight of the Napoleonic Wars, commenced.
Sometimes there is a moment in a nation’s history when all good people must do their duty, no matter how hard.
Compared to the fate that on Oct. 21, 1805, awaited many British seamen — including Admiral Nelson himself — the sacrifice required of the supposed patriots employed in the Ideology Department of the Sun News Network is not very great.
Still, we recognize it is a sacrifice.
Sun News Network publishes the Sun tabloid newspapers, owns rural and small town weeklies across Canada and broadcasts the odious Sun TV commentary programs, and as such is home to a raft of so-called straight talkers like Ezra Levant, Michael Coren, Brian Lilley, Rick Bell and the former Parliamentarian from Medicine Hat Monte Solberg.
Every one of these gentlemen would have us believe he is a loyal Canadian of the most patriotic stock. Indeed, it is part of the Sun chain’s shtick. The TV network, for example, characterizes itself as “unapologetically patriotic.”
Now the owner of Sun News Network and the animating spirit behind its relentlessly spun news coverage and tireless far-right propaganda, Pierre Karl Péladeau, has announced that he will be running for the Parti Quebecois in the next Quebec election.
Technically, Péladeau is the owner of Quebecor Inc., the corporate owner of Sun News Network and other English and French media operations. But the line from Péladeau through his corporate head office to the troops in the understaffed newsrooms of the chain throughout the land is direct and unequivocal.
Péladeau’s ambition, he bluntly admits, is to sever Quebec from Canada and create a new country that his children can be proud of. It has been said here his commentators have not done much to make them proud of Canada — but that was before the threat was obvious.
Now Péladeau may very well destroy the nation his network claims to unapologetically love.
Moreover, he says he has no intention of giving up his ownership stake in Quebecor — although it would seem he’s prepared to put it for a spell in what the Sun would no doubt call a Venetian-blind trust if it were a Liberal or New Democrat politician we were talking about.
This is something that men like Levant, Coren, Lilley, Bell and Solberg, and a host of lesser lights at lesser Quebecor addresses throughout the land, will have to think about as they put their minds to the work that will be required of us all to save our country.
Now, I’m not saying that they owe it to themselves to say and do the right thing, or that they ought to think about it, or eventually get around to it.
I am saying that they have a duty to speak up clearly, unequivocally and loudly for their country. Now.
These are the people who claim to be the Canadian masters of “straight talk,” and there has never been a time in our country’s history when straight talk has been needed more.
If they are threatened by their arm’s length proprietor, they have a duty to ignore him.
And if they are prevented from doing their duty, they have the additional obligation to quit and no longer serve a man and an organization that — regardless of how they are loved for their ideology by the PMO of Stephen Harper — would then be like a dagger pointed at the heart of our country.
If they do not speak up for Canada directly, forthrightly, courageously and immediately, we will know what they are made of, and what they are.
As Admiral Nelson might have said on that bloody day in 1805: “That will do, gentlemen. Make it directly!”
NOTE: Astonishingly, here in New York City where one comes every year to be re-inspired by Broadway, there’s nary a word in the local press about the fate of the Alberta Progressive Conservative dynasty, what Dave Hancock is likely to do in his unexpected role of interim premier, or who may try to replace him. This is shocking in a way since it was just a year and a few days ago that the government of then-premier Alison Redford took out a $30,000 ad in the New York Times touting the Keystone XL Pipeline. Do these people remember nothing? Well, we’ll return to all those things soon enough, leastways, if this blogger makes it out of town on Tuesday ahead of what the local press is covering: “The Snow Bomb.” This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, Alberta Diary.