Stephen Harper & The City of Toronto -

Torontonians should be careful when they make remarks like, "Dangerous Albertan".

In the Stephen Harper piece that appeared on this site, a reader, responding to the post, called Stephen Harper a "Dangerous Albertan". Pardon me? Is there a developing gang culture in Western Canada that I am currently unaware of? Did Mr. Harper catch an antibiotic resistant strain of the Avian Flu in the West Edmonton Mall? Is it contagious? Is he currently hiding in an office building at Church & Wellesley with a rifle?

Fully aware of the fact that because of it's multi-cultural flavor, forward thinking youth and recent electoral history, Toronto is an adamantly Liberal city, I still think this is a patently dumb statement. Since there is no catchy phrase for the analogy I'm about to put on the table, I'm going to create one right now.

Toronto has "Can't See The Stars" syndrome.

Looking up at night sky in Toronto you'll be lucky to see the faint trace of stars. That's reality. When we start making sweeping remarks about Stephen Harper and his presence as a native of Alberta, it speaks to the fact that - figuratively - we lack the ability to focus on anything outside of our city.

During the 2003 Fringe Festival I saw a musical comedy - the name escapes me - that chronicled the history of Canada. It was all going swimmingly until a song alluded to Stephen Harper's vision of Canada by flashing a Canadian flag with a swastika super-imposed over the traditional maple leaf. Ok, that's fine. Good humor. What was not fine was the reaction in the theatre.

Raucous applause, knowing laughter and just general - palpable - arrogance.

Just curious - What do you think the reaction would have been if they did the same joke with Paul Martin, punctuated by a Canadian Flag with two men being married outside of a free abortion clinic in place of the maple leaf?

Now please, before you fill out my application for the Third Reich, ask yourself if there is a tangible difference between the two jokes? Both are grossly exaggerated, stereotypical and above all, bias views of two opposing political parties.

Then ask yourself, not as a Torontonian, but as a Canadian: What do I know about the political ideologies in my country?

Of the 9 provinces outside of Ontario, the Conservative Party of Canada controls five. Not zero, five. I would be interested to know, is that a higher number than you thought? Furthermore, can you name all of the provinces without producing the same expression as Nick Lachey when he's asked a question about his soon to be ex-wife?

Living in such a phenomenal city is a privilege. With apologies to our friends in Vancouver, Montreal and Timmins, Toronto is by far and away the most powerful, influential and important city in this country. If you work in finance, advertising, marketing, film or television, (just to name a few industries) you don't have to be here, but eventually, if you are interested in being recognized as a fundamental cog in your respective profession, you probably should be.

All of this, every last bit of it, brings responsibility.

There is a marked difference between accepting and embracing the liberal climate of Toronto, and allowing that climate to make you ignorant and isolated from the rest of Canada.

So if we are going to call Stephen Harper a "Dangerous Albertan" and toss around metaphors comparing him to George W. Bush, and by blanket association, Hitler. At best, we should be able to back it up with literal, traceable evidence. At worst, we should realize that we sound profoundly ignorant to the rest of Canada.


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