Controversial views can often make the espouser as popular as a skunk at a garden party. One such skunk was out in public a few weeks ago.
Our neighbouring Bruce County has been represented by Bill Murdoch for many years now. As the Conservative MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, he was there through the Mike Harris and Ernie Eves years, then for a while with John Tory. Murdoch was one of the first to argue against the religious school funding that inevitably finished off Tory’s time at Queen’s Park. Now Tim Hudak, the latest Conservative leader, has to contend with Murdoch’s impromptu actions.
One such case occurred in the past couple of weeks. Murdoch was heard to wonder aloud during a speech at a Bruce County Federation of Agriculture event if perhaps we would all be better off if Toronto and Ontario parted company. He referred to the Toronto mentality affecting too many of the province’s decisions.
Of course the media were sent into a tizzy. Toronto types poked fun at the countryside and how we poor souls north, east and west of the 416 area code would ever last without Toronto’s enormous contribution to the provincial coffers.
One of the Toronto Star’s columnists demonstrated its indifference to the rural area referring to the Bruce Country Federation of Agriculture and how it sounded like a gay-commie event to her. Perhaps she meant it tongue in cheek, or it was just another one of those great, satirical, city-type, oh-so-witty columns. Her column generated 200 comments on the Star website, whereas the Newspaper published one letter (from what we saw in subsequent days), suggesting politely that her attack on rural Ontario was rude. Another fellow wrote his column about Murdoch’s speaking event in Cheapstow rather than what most of us know as Chepstow.
Here, in Canada’s largest daily Newspaper, we have a gal featured who can’t tell the difference between a county organization and the ethereal country – and it seems she could not care less. The other guy involved couldn’t be bothered to spell a town’s name correctly. Perhaps the reference to cheap was part of that urbane wittiness, but it is obviously lost on us.
There is plenty of disdain to go around.
Over the years we have had occasion to attend numerous garden parties and rub shoulders with elected folk ranging from councillors right on up to premiers. During those typically social occasions, ideas emerge and we have felt the wrath of being a skunk every time we present one way to get Ontario back on track.
This province should be split up into about four pieces to reflect the geographic diversity and the realities of each region.
There is a conversation worth having on this subject.