Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Warren Kinsella's B-musings

(updated at the bottom)

First of all, I heartily enjoyed Warren Kinsella taking the piss out of Team Martin in the first six months of this year. I think also, because he was challenging the Liberal Party from within, I even half-convinced myself that he was an intelligent, moderate, voice of reason, hanging onto a few principles in a political world that adopts and discards them as convenient.

But as time goes by - no. He's still the guy who pimped for Jean Chretien for the better part of 10 years. And like most, his deeply held principles seem to extend exactly as far as his people's interests. It bothered me a bit when he tossed off this line on July 27th:

"From Klein, or Harris, or one of those other Medicare-hating neo-cons, complaints about the systematic underfunding of health care were easily dismissed (and usually rightly so) as grubby partisanship dressed up in the finery of high principle."

That's an eyebrow-raiser - to sniff at grubby partisanship in the same breath as tagging two elected officials with a couple of unsubstantiable epithets. Then yesterday (August 3rd), he refers to terror warnings as "horseshit", and lets go this line:

"In politics, fear works. I regret that, I deplore that, but them's the facts, folks."

Very rich. I guess the whole 2000 election campaign, based on creating fear that the Canadian Alliance would destroy Medicare and produce two-tier health care, was run over Mr. Kinsella's objections.

But what really gets me is this, and I hope I am choosing my words sufficiently carefully.

Mr. Kinsella's father died in June. He also has four young children, so not only has he had to deal with the death of the man he describes as his hero, but also explain it to his kids, and help them deal with it. What a heart-wrenching and emotionally exhausting experience. He has posted little accounts of various conversations with his kids since that underline this. If I am ever in the same situation, I hope I can get through it with as much control and calm, and be a similarly reassuring presence to my own kids. In short, I admire him as a father.

So I wonder if, during the course of explaining to his little ones about heaven, he felt any pangs of shame. He appeared on Canada AM in the 2000 election campaign with a Barney the Dinosaur doll, claiming that Stockwell Day believes that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as humans. It was for a cheap and cruel laugh at the expense of not only Mr. Day, but anyone who believes in God the Creator.

No believer would begrudge Mr. Kinsella invoking heaven to soothe his children, regardless of what his personal beliefs are. In fact, he has said that many of them called or wrote with their sympathies. So I guess I find it sad that Mr. Kinsella holds believers in such low regard in return. Until the day he apologizes for Barney, what other impression can I reasonably be expected to have? The one post on his website that addresses it (May 4th) is flippant more than anything.

I'm not particularly religious, but you won't find me laughing at people who are. Well, except maybe those people in the bunk beds with the Nikes.

UPDATE (Aug. 5 930AM): Check out Damian Brooks' excellent new weblog for more on why the comments of Warren Kinsella (and Lawrence Martin in today's Globe) regarding the terror alerts should not be taken seriously.

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