NOTES/QUOTES #8: Tough time to be a Tory; media lefties; cable conundrum
“Tories are invisible in NWT because the population is 50% Indigenous & would never vote for vile racists, mysogenistic & homophic leaders. Where would they find a redneck candidate in #NWT?! No #Indigenous person in their right mind would become one, or vote for one.”
— my friend Shelley Wiart in response my tweet this week.
As the conservative movement across Canada rebounds from its time on the sidelines as voters chose some left-wing variants — just to suffer some stark cases of buyer’s remorse, I’m thinking in Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta — right-wing supporters are starting to feel the same type of vicious wrath from opponents as seen in the United States.
So while things are looking up for politicians, I fear the situation on he streets, in the coffee shops and around kitchen tables is going to become increasingly polarized.
As seen down south following Trump’s victory — and I’m not a red-capped MAGA maniac, the Orange Man is an extremely flawed individual, but he has managed to implement some very positive policies — society has split along political lines, with friends and family finding themselves on opposite sides of the ideological fissure.
And that’s too bad.
I’m pretty sure we all want the best for our country. I’m confident both sides are prepared to work hard to get their leaders into office.
However, the level of rhetoric has become overheated — but not equally from both sides.
The left is readily prepared to say some pretty outrageous things. They don’t seem to care about how their rants can really hurt. It’s one thing to express support for your side, but another altogether to slam your opponents using exaggerated and unfair claims.
I have always counted people from all over the political spectrum as friends. We accepted each other’s politics and easily set them aside as we truly enjoyed other aspects of our personalities. Our political discussions were always lively, but we didn’t let things get out of control. We knew we just wanted the best for our communities. We just had different concepts of how to do it.
The best man at my last wedding was a friend of mine since the ‘80s. Drew Caldwell was an NDP MLA in Manitoba, then a cabinet minister in the last days of the Selinger government (which was thrown out of office in 2016 in favour of the Progressive Conservatives).
I would write scathing columns about his government, but we would later meet over a beer and hash things out.
He was a reasonable Dipper. And I was a reasonable Tory.
I never hid my political leanings as an editor, but also never let my position shade how the newsroom covered issues. Ask any of the dozens of reporters of editors I worked with throughout my decade-long tenure as managing editor of the Brandon Sun.
But I digress.
There are sick extremists attached to the fringes of the left and the right. I don’t like the fact that homophobes and racists cling to the underside of the conservative movement like some slimy barnacles.
But there are some scary left-wing extremists who do the same for the Liberals and NDP. These include eco-terrorists who blow up pipelines, the masked thugs who show up at events such as the G20 summit in Toronto and other examples of extreme socialism.
As we enter an election cycle, with federal and territorial elections this fall, my hope is that we can retain some of that classic Canadian politeness when discussing politics.
But I’m afraid the influence from the States will provoke some of the over-the-top vitriol we see on cable news shows each day. And it will be mostly from the left, as they seem to be able to do and say anything they want without fear of repercussion.
I find people on the right tend to just keep quiet. That’s one reason the polling in the last U.S. election was off, as people lied to pollsters. But since I’m semi-retired and self-employed, I’m not afraid to show my true-blue colours. But I will do so in a respectful and mindful way.
As for my friend Shelley and her reaction to my post? Of course, she is completely entitled to her opinions. And I respect where she is coming from, being a Metis woman who does some great work with Indigenous women with her Women Warriors program.
But I also question if Trudeau has come through with much more than lip service for Indigenous people? I believe he is more concerned with his globalist image — sending billions in aid dollars overseas while many Indigenous communities across Canada live in sub-standard conditions.
Would Tories do any better? Let’s see what is promised in this year’s federal election campaign. And then hold the people elected to account.
Quietly marking a ballot. That’s the best way to express a political opinion.
While I’m writing about politics today, I also have to note how the media will play a key role this election season.
It’s no doubt newsrooms across the country are filthy with lefties. It wasn’t always this way; when I started in the biz 35 years ago, there was always a nice balance which made for healthy debates among staff.
But now, with J-schools spitting out a steady stream of social activist reporters thanks to left-wing professors — it’s a fact, I’ve seen it first-hand in my time as a newsroom manager — finding even a neutral young journalist is almost impossible.
And these young writer/activists generally don’t have the ability on the whole to pocket their bias when on the job. Again, I’ve seen this myself when dealing with these folks in my time in Manitoba and up here.
I’m just pointing this out as a warning to right-wing politicians who must be well-prepared during interviews and willing to stand-up to loaded questions and fight back when they believe their words have ben twisted.
People looking for the real story will have to aggragate information from various sources. I read the Globe and Mail and the National Post. I watch CTV and CBC. I search out blogs and posts from the politicians themselves, to get their unfiltered policy positions.
Voters will have to work to be properly informed.
Looking at the tube — well, I guess modern TVs no longer have cathode ray tubes — so looking at the really big flat screen, I’ve noticed a subtle form of bias from the local cable provider.
When I first hooked up with Northwestel when I moved to Yellowknife a couple of years ago, I was a bit surprised to see the radical MSNBC was the only American news outlet available in high definition.
I dismissed it as perhaps a quirk of available stations in the North.
However, just recently the equally offensive CNN — which has lost all credibility in recent times in its attempt to undermine the Trump presidency — is now also available in HD.
This leaves the right-wing FOX News mired in muddy low-definition. And a smaller image to boot.
Why? I dunno. I intend to try and find out, but attempting to communicate with any cable company is a frustrating proposal.
I’ll let you know what Northwestel tells me.
Just hope they don’t throttle my Internet service for inquiring.
UPDATE: I heard back from Northwestel after sending a question to the company’s president via a form on the website. In fact, I received a phone call from a very pleasant woman.
She said the availability of HD channels is up to Northwestel’s provider. And there is no chance that FOX News will be available in HD in Yellowknife in the foreseeable future.
“We are going to be getting some more HD channels this year, but unfortunately FOX News will not be one of them,” she said. “So not this year, but next year … as soon is it made available to us, it will be made available to you.”
Yup, while HD upgrades to MSNBC and CNN have been no problem, FOX News is. I simply can’t understand that. Someone, somewhere in cableland is making a decision about content availability. Having the right-leaning FOX News in low-definition will obviously create a barrier to viewership.
So who owns Northwestel? Bell Canada. Hmm, that provides a solid lead for me. You see, Bell used to own the decidedly liberal Globe and Mail. It also owns CTV and CTV News draws international feeds from CNN.
So to me, now wearing my tin-foil conspiracy cap, it appears there is a decision being made by the liberal thinking mass-media gods in Toronto not to give Northwestel the conservative FOX News. While that might be fine in a market with cable options, Northwestel is the sole provider of cable in Yellowknife and the NWT. In fact, it’s the sole telecommunications supplier North of the 60th parallel.
To my mind, this is a clear-cut example of mass-media liberal bias. And it’s unfair for the people of the north looking for all political viewpoints.