Again apologies for the light blogging. It’s partly due to travel, but partly because I was writing an op-ed for the Ottawa Citizen. The column was just published a few moments ago:
Ontario politics stuff, which I felt compelled to comment on, just because the situation is so alarming. The campaign has been a bit baffling so far. The NDP, which brought on the election, seems to have been caught unprepared (which seems impossible, but how else can one account for the lack of a platform, lack of a bus, etc.?) The Liberal government is, like the old Charest government in Quebec, exhausted and tainted by scandal (although what counts as a scandal in Ontario is slightly less scandalous than what goes by that name in Quebec). Losing an election would do them some good. But the Conservatives, rather than presenting themselves as the safe, friendly alternative, have been tacking hard right, and have now made a number of ‘promises’ that would be disastrous if actually carried out. (They have basically promised to roll back all progress that has been made on climate change, transit, education, and health care administration in the past decade, all in the stupidest way possible, and ultimately with the goal of lowering taxes.) So the live choice is between an exhausted Liberal party, a Progressive Conservative party that has been captured by hard-right ideologues, or a floundering, confused NDP who have no chance of winning (and cannot even be trusted to form a coalition with the Liberals if no party gets a majority).
So it’s definitely pick-your-poison time in Ontario.
As for the op-ed, I wrote it to help support the Ottawa Citizen’s internet-friendly relaunch, which occurred on Tuesday. Those who have not seen it should check out their site. This relaunch is, I should note, a valiant effort to save “the newspaper as we know it.” And since I think “the newspaper as we know it” has served democracy rather well, I thought I would do what I could to show support. I’ve even started clicking on their ads… (By the way, the fact that the column was published in the middle of the day, not first thing in the morning, is I believe part of the relaunch, which involves a morning paper and a late afternoon “tablet edition”.)
The op-ed gets a bit “meta” at the end — where I point out that just writing columns criticizing people’s mendacious talking points doesn’t work, if in the process one repeats the talking points. (Number one rule of both advertising and political communication is, you never repeat a criticism when responding to that criticism. As soon as you repeat the criticism, the critic has won, because just having you say it makes the criticism more credible.) So then what is the point of my op-ed, other than to say that op-eds like mine are useless? The purpose was actually just to use the words “Rob Ford” and “Tim Hudak” together, as many times as possible, in a single column. Kind of like the title of this blog post. That was the “meta-meta” level purpose of the column, the secret joke, disclosed only to the loyal readers of this blog.