Harper “Birthers” and other Laurentian media conspiracies

- February 24th, 2013

John Ibbitson, the chief political correspondent for the Toronto Globe and Mail and Darrell Bricker, the CEO of polling firm Ipsos Global Public Affairs, have a book that I think will cause many of John’s Globe readers, at least, as well as many other government, academic and cultural elites in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal  corridor to be cluck, cluck, clucking in disagreement over some uncomfortable ideas — uncomfortable to those elites, in any event —   the authors advance. For example: “The Conservative Party will be to the 21st-century what the Liberal Party was to the 20th: the perpetually dominant party, the natural governing party.”

Or:  ”From the time of Confederation until quite recently, the political, academic, cultural, media, and business elites in the communities along the watershed of the St. Lawrence River ran this country. On all of the great issues of the day, these Laurentian elites debated among themselves, reached a consensus, and implemented that consensus. They governed. These elites are in a very bad mood right now — the worst in their lives, as far as politics is concerned. No one is listening to them anymore.”

The book is called The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business and Culture and What it Means for Our Future. I know and often enjoy the company and conversation of both Ibbitson and Bricker and, as with any authors, I wish them all success when the book hits the streets on Feb. 28. I hope The Big Shift finds many readers. (As I work my way through it, you’ll see some thoughts/quotes tweeted from me using the hashtag #BigShiftCanada).

Many (most?) members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery should read this book if only for Bricker’s demographic analysis which may help those of us in Ottawa understand some of the shifts in thought and temperament in the rest of the country. Mind you, I and my press gallery colleagues will also learn that Ibbitson and Bricker think very little of most of our employers and their Laurentian bias when it comes to the news.

Ibbitson (though he works for a paper that is among the most guilty in terms of providing false comfort for the Laurentian elites — anyone see the Globe‘s A1 after Redford won her Alberta premiership?)  and Bricker are  scathing when it comes to the the hysterics of Harper’s mainstream media critics. Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin and Toronto Star columnist Heather Mallick get singled out but there is no shortage of what Ibbitson and Bricker  call Laurentian media elites who “believe that any government outside its ideological or geographical frame of reference is not a legitimate government. Its policies are not simply wrong, but destructive. The suburban voters who have detached themselves from their former allies in city centers are deluded. The elections that brought such a government to power had to have been corrupted. The Conservative government is not misguided; it is evil. Stephen Harper is evil.”

Bricker and Ibbitson even compare the Laurentian elite media that holds this view to the “birthers”, the nuts in the U.S. who think Obama’s birth certificate is fake and that he is a Muslim and possibly a Muslim terrorist. ”Whenever the central Canadian power elites have found the argument not going their way, they have questioned the legitimacy of the other side.”

Never mind, the authors write, that Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, expropriated private property in the National Energy Policy, and tore the country apart when repatriating the Constitutution, “that’s nothing compared to gutting the mandatory long-form census.”

This is but a small taste that comes midway through the book. There is a whole chapter on the “The Decline of the Laurentian Media: Why it doesn’t matter if the press gallery doesn’t like Stephen Harper.” I’ll pull out the juicy bits in that chapter in a future blog post.

 

 

Categories: Journalism

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7 comments

  1. aspies says:

    Harper and his pet journalists like Ibbotson and Akins continue to attempt to manufacture a fake legacy. Only the lapdog media is buying it.

  2. enoughcrap says:

    To aspies: Hahaha!!!! Don’t you just hate it when you are wrong????? Afraid the legacy lives and will for a long time. Kebec et les francais sont passe. Canada is Canada, not an extention of kebec and CBC is no longer of any value to politics or to Canada.

  3. Gabby in QC says:

    John Ibbitson’s thesis in a shorter version of his book about the decline of the “Laurentian Consensus” can be found here:
    http://reviewcanada.ca/essays/2012/01/01/the-collapse-of-the-laurentian-consensus/

    And there’s the video “version” here:
    http://ww3.tvo.org/video/169387/john-ibbitson-collapse-laurentian-consensus

    I look forward to “the juicy bits”.

  4. aspies says:

    enoughcrap…. is this supposed to be an intelligible comment?

  5. cgh says:

    aspies is trying to deny the inevitable. Political power follows economic power. For most of confederation, the Laurentian Consensus held true because Ontario and Quebec represented about 80+% of the population and 80+% of the national economy.

    Now, Ontario and the West represent that 80+% of the economy with virtually all of the real economic growth coming from the West. And political power is gravitating to that alignment accordingly.

    This is particularly exaggerated by Quebec’s withdrawal from national politics since 1992 by perpetually supporting irrelevant opposition parties.

    The same holds true on a larger scale. After WW2, the United States represented nearly half the world’s total economy, and its views naturally shaped the post-war period. Now it represents less than 20%, and its relative power and influence has shrunk accordingly.

    aspies is of course deluded that this is about a legacy of Stephen Harper. By all means, try to deny the changes that are taking place; the rising tide will still drown you.

  6. Ken Petkau says:

    It will be a good thing if the “Laurention Elites” get dumped into the dustbin of history.

  7. robins111 says:

    David, you’re only adding to the clucking generated by the PPG and its followers, if you keep posting objective articles and opinions, I rather fear there’s gonna be a glut of eggs on the market.. what then will the egg marketing board do… lol

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