Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Merry Christmas Christy Clark & Stephen Harper: A Heartfelt Holiday Note from a Mellowed Columnist

Stephen Harper's family Christmas card 2014
The holidays got Bill Tieleman thinking that we shouldn't demonize political foes.

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee column

Tuesday December 23, 2014

By Bill Tieleman

"Why are we becoming less human? Why are we not maybe as nice as we used to be?"
- Musician Tom Petty on CBC TV, July 25, 2014
As Christmas approaches and the season of goodwill to all changes us from Scrooges and Grinches to more charitable, friendly people, it's a good time to reflect on how we demonize our politicians.
Political columnists like me are potentially among the worst offenders.
Regular readers know that I constantly criticize Premier Christy Clark, periodically pummel Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shoot salvos at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, and even occasionally affront New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair.
But two things recently got me thinking that while criticism is good, demonizing is not.
First, I recently happened to go to Clark's government biography website page and to my great surprise discovered that she and I would recommend the exact same book to others: Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Pulitizer-Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin is a stunning 2005 biography of one of the most amazing leaders any country has ever seen.
(Stephen Spielberg used it as the basis for his 2012 film Lincoln that won Daniel Day Lewis a best actor Academy Award for portraying the assassinated American president.)
That Clark and I would both read and relish the same book reminded me that whatever differences we have, there are some things we can agree on.
The second reminder came from my neighbour, a life-long New Democrat.
Flaherty at Vancouver Art Gallery
She happened to be visiting the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr section of the Vancouver Art Gallery and was startled to see federal Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty there too -- just months before his unfortunate passing in April 2014.
"Mr. Flaherty -- nice to see you here -- are you a fan of the Group of Seven?" my friend asked and then struck up a non-political conversation with Flaherty, who told her how much he loved Carr's paintings and had taken a break after a government event in the Hotel Vancouver for a quick peak at some of Canada's greatest artists.
To her it was a poignant example of the fact that even our fiercest foes can share our humanity, our love of art, country and more.
Am I getting soft on politicians? Ha -- not likely!
But I think it's good to remember that they share at least some of our values and humanity.
Look at Harper's biography page and you will see his wife Laureen, son Benjamin and daughter Rachel or see Clark's son Hamish on her website. My political opponents have families, joys and sorrows like all of us.
So Merry Christmas Christy Clark, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair and everyone else criticized here -- really! And to all The Tyee's readers - see you in 2015!

.


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh phuleez. You're wishing Merry Christmas to Christy Clark and Stephen Harper? The two targets of the most vile and idiotic rhetoric to come out of The Left? I can see wishes to Mulcair and Horgan, but these two? Come on Bill, keep with your Left wing readers. Many of whom think we live in a police state because of Christy and Stephen (magically such a "police state" never existed with the NDP government!). And some of the commentators figure Harper has committed treason? Give it a rest.

Some columnist. Can't even keep the left side of the road during the holidays. Must had too much Baby Duck. Wallowing around wishing greetings to those The Left hates so much.

the salamander said...

.. Good Grief ..

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Bill here perpetually complains about Christy Clark and Stephen Harper, the Left commentators here figure both are modern day equivalent to Hitler and others figure both have committed treason, and Bill decides to be nicey nicey? It's like the idiot bully who has little brains saying he likes everyone even though said bully has gone after everyone he sees.

What a sham. C'mon Bill, toss out the fake nicey nicey and stick with complaining about everything Christy and Harper touch, and that goes for the Left commentators too.

There's going to be plenty to complain about if Mabel Elmore or Jenny Kwan make it through the NDP Nomination and the election which will mean at least a by-election which is not needed, but will cost the taxpayers half a million bucks. Why? because these two idiots can't hack being on the NDP backbench and want their vanity kept in place. Plus the additional money they will get for being an MP.

What sham.


Gary T. said...

You share a liking for this book " Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln " with Clark ??? She lacks the mental capacity to read , and understand a tome like that. Give me a break already, and don't give credit where none is due.

DPL said...

I recall that when Harper took his kids to school, he shook hands with his little boy, now a tall guy. The guy seems unable to act as a father when a camera is around.

Anonymous said...

Why would a camera be around when Stephen was taking his son to school? It's an old thing for The Left to ensure media is around those political people they hate so as they can "analyze" to see if there's some possible thing wrong.

How would DPL act as a politician if there was a perpetual hate for him and there were always cameras around? Probably very aware the camera was there and wouldn't do anything to entice the detractors.

Politician's personal and family time should be off limits to media.

John' Aghast said...


Chisty can read? Some people carry books around for conversation starters "How did you like the book?" "Oh, I haven't read it yet".
Others use them to press flowers.

I don't expect Chisty or Harper had a very merry Christmas, in spite of your wishes. They certainly aren't entitled to!














































Non Anon DPL said...

By gosh anon, we finally agree on something.They do need down time. But the media was present when Harper was sending the kids to school ,he shook hands with his young son, and the media covered the event as I can't recall a Prime Minister with really young kids.Most parents would have waved,or hugged the kids. Harper was different.

Anonymous said...

"Chisty can read? Some people carry books around for conversation starters "How did you like the book?" "Oh, I haven't read it yet". Others use them to press flowers.

I don't expect Chisty or Harper had a very merry Christmas, in spite of your wishes. They certainly aren't entitled to!"

So there's another example. Bill is way off from his Left Wing readers once again.

Probably too many glasses of Baby Duck again.


Anonymous said...

"By gosh anon, we finally agree on something.They do need down time. But the media was present when Harper was sending the kids to school ,he shook hands with his young son, and the media covered the event as I can't recall a Prime Minister with really young kids.Most parents would have waved,or hugged the kids. Harper was different."

Yeh sure. If Harper would hugged his son, some idiot on the Left would scream child abuse. The Tyee would have done an idiotic editorial or story on education in Canada, and the apparent lack of quality would have been commented on by the Left wing commentators some of whom want to keep their prominence. The Left is always finding anything to be critical about against those they hate. It never ends.



DPL said...

If you have any kids under 10, do you make a habit of shaking hands as they head off to school? I spent a lot of my adult life in the military , which up to now has endorsed Mr.Harper, do you really consider me as left wing, or do consider folks who don't agree with you as left wing? Your military has kept Canada as a place where different opinions are acceptable.

Anonymous said...

To the one labelled "DPL" you yourself have endorsed/ supported the NDP's point of view many times based on your own opinions. The fact is that others are entitled to their opinions too. The problem with many Left wing commentators is that they demonize those opinions which are not accepted by The Left.

As far as the school goes, the fact in my mind would be if I was a politician with kids in school, I would directly say to the media. "Absolutely no media around during family private time. Ever. That includes taking the kids to school, and picking them up." You can be around when I am on political business. But family and private time? That is just that, private."

That would be my answer.

Anonymous said...

This is in regards to your anti-pitbull toll and posts. It's a shame people like you are still walking around this earth, so closed minded and ignorant it really baffles me. Pitbulls, when trained properly and given love, are the MOST affectionate dogs on the planet. There is a reason they use to be called nanny dogs ok. Instead of when an incident or problem occurs, a solution OTHER than banning should be brought up. White people kill people. Black people kill people. That DOES NOT MEAN THAT EVERY SINGLE BLACK OR WHITE PERSON WALKING ON THIS EARTH WILL KILL. Does it mean all of B.C. should ban races? NO. Maybe if the government took pet ownership seriously (as it is) there wouldn't be as many problems. Perhaps make people obtain a training license if they want a bigger, stronger breed such as a Doberman or pit-bull. Maybe put some laws on the books outlawing breeding of certain breeds but not outlawing ownership. Maybe actually make ALL breeders licenced too. BUT what would you expect from the most corrupt/incompetent government in the country? Shame on you.