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for Canadians: Ron Graham on Ignatieff

I have just read the most spot-on, brilliant, and highly enjoyable piece of political writing: Ron Graham’s piece about Michael Ignatieff in the current Walrus. I could not recommend it more highly; it’s a must read for Canadians, no matter what party or what part of the country you’re from. Even as someone utterly uninterested in Canada’s political manoeuverings, I’ve always been aware of the smooth Toronto Liberal machine, Bay Street making decision for the party and the country based solely on their own needs and values. I was in Ottawa when, thanks to the Toronto smoothies, Jean Chretien was passed over and John Turner, smart with a good jawline and hungry for power, chosen for the leadership of the Liberal Party. We all know how that turned out.

And, says Graham, the same thing happened with Ignatieff. A small group got the idea to play kingmaker, and reality played no part – the fact that the man had been out of the country for nearly 3 decades and knew nothing about politics – didn’t matter, he was smart with a good jawline and hungry for power. And now we are on the verge of a Harper majority because of it.

The piece is precise and pointed, knowledgeable and funny. At one point he says that Ignatieff produced “no new reasons why the Thinifer should replace the Fattypuff.” Fattypuff is Harper – the perfect name. Wow. Ron Graham, my nominee for writer of the year. I urge you to read it, and then let’s rally behind finding a new Liberal leader, one who can lead this time, to make sure that the current dreadful bunch of out-of-touch hypocritical bandits don’t get a majority.
Okay, that’s my gentle political analysis for the season, let’s move on to Christmas, where I’m also in full battle mode. On entering my favourite place of retreat, the women’s health club at the Y, I was blasted with Jingle Bells – they had installed a sound system just so we could enjoy loud Christmas music. Because we don’t get to hear it anywhere else. No! I screamed, out loud. Please God, no. And eventually, they turned it off, at least while I was there. I absolutely hate these weeks before Xmas, with exhausted people rushing out to buy more stuff and the air thick with those now-meaningless saccharine songs over and over and over. I carry earplugs and put them in before I go inside, anywhere, because if I hear the Little Drummer Boy one more time I’m going to start smashing things.
I love Christmas – family and friends gathering for a meal, a tranquil day together, small quantities of reasonable gift-giving – my favourites are home-made gifts or promises, as my kids know. “I’ll make you five meals,” they write on a card. That’s what I want for Xmas. I think my horror in NYC this time, much more extreme than in the past, was because the pre-Christmas rush felt like some kind of bloodletting or feeding frenzy. It was frightening. Accompanied by huge doses of – what else? – the Little Drummer Boy.
Every year my friend Ken goes on a silent retreat to a monastery for the two weeks around Xmas. I may join him.
And finally, two other beefs – today is the last day for the Carlton Cinema. I was going to go see a film, any film, to celebrate this important space, but the cold I was fighting in NYC has caught up with me and I’m staying put. How we Toronto’ites will miss this multiplex specialising in arty, foreign, independently made films and documentaries not shown elsewhere. Let’s just hope that some intrepid entrepreneur is planning, right now, to open a replacement. I am, as the kids say, so there.
And … the Globe is currently hosting an on-line discussion in its internet books section on why, in 9 years of the Canada Reads series on CBC honouring and publicising Canadian books, there has not been ONE single non-fiction book. I’ve made my own contribution to the discussion; you can log on and make yours.
Gosh, lots to bitch about today. My cold can’t be that bad. What fun. Time for another glass of wine.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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