Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Expectations are funny things aren't they? More often than not they aren't based in fact, but rather developed by individuals to suit their own agenda.

I bring this up, because having read editorials, articles, blogs and tweets over the past few days, primarily by people who did not attend the thinkers conference, I noted that many claim it did not meet expectations. The unmet expectations they cite are their own and were never articulated by the Liberal party, but apparently that is unimportant.

That said, I can say that I went to the conference without expectations. I had a general idea of the agenda from going to the site and I knew that the exercise was not meant to result in policy, but beyond that I was open to whatever came.

Overall, I found the conference fascinating. It was a chance to hear discussions and debate on a range of issues that interest me and affect the country. It's no secret that I follow such issues as a matter of course, but to have so many convened in one place was a bit of a luxury. Was every panel riveting and every speech a barn burner? No, but on the whole the conference was a thoughtful, meaningful exercise that looked at issues that I think all Canadians should be engaged in or aware of. It was not limited to L/liberals and indeed there was criticism of the party on a number of fronts.

As one example of the kind of nonsense being written today, I read Wente's column in the Globe and burst out laughing. How one person can get so much, so wrong, is a mystery to me, but she seems to excel at it. She quotes Conservative talking points and bases her ridiculous assertions on a poll commissioned by the Manning Institute. What an objective way to approach what happened at the conference, don't you think?

After most of her ink is spilled bashing Ignatieff and the Liberals, she closes with this gem:

Meantime, Mr. Harper is steadily shrinking the role of federal government, beneath the radar, without debate. He is quietly transforming Canada into a more private, more regional, more entrepreneurial country, with more prisons, less shared purpose, and health care that is fragmenting into many different variations. We really ought to talk about this. But Mr. Harper isn't about to bring it up. And Mr. Ignatieff has no alternative to offer.

She is absolutely correct about what Harper is doing, but her last three sentences, especially, we really ought to talk about this? Seriously? The woman defines obtuse.

Anyway, she was not alone today in making ridiculous points. Numerous editorials chimed in, both missing the point of the conference while demeaning the very idea of holding a such a gathering. In other words, the people who share their opinion with this nation, seem to think it's wrong to debate the challenges we face in the country. They appear to be taking the stance that thinking is bad.

I find that remarkable to be honest. Some of these people are big thinker's themselves, yet their columns today are devoid of fact and/or reason.

To what end?

Well, I suppose they have to justify their widely touted and now proven erroneous expectations that they proudly spouted prior to the conference.


RuralSandi said...

I find it interesting that people are afraid of thinking and thinkers. The right wing seem to be truly afraid. Example - David Frum exercised his freedom of speech that the right wing keep crying for and yet he was fired from, of all things, an American "think" tank for thinking.

In other words, limit yourself to Timmies, sound bites without any understanding of an issue in depth and shut up if you have a thought of your own.


Margaret Wente is a flake who's had a very elitist cushy life and I think she writes for something to do.

Ms. Wente was born in Evanston, Illinois into a wealthy family. She moved to Toronto in 1964 where she attended private school and has since become a naturalized Canadian citizen. She holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan, and an MA in English from University of Toronto.

Ms. Wente joined The Globe and Mail in 1986 and has been a full-time columnist since 1999. She is also the author of the book An Accidental Canadian: Reflections on My Home and (Not) Native Land (2004, HarperCollins, ISBN 0002007983).

Wente's column is written from a conservative standpoint and has regularly provoked controversy

Karen said...

Sandi, I don't think they are afraid of thinking. In fact, they are astutely aware that if people are actually out there thinking, ie delving into their policy etc, they will expose it for what it is.

What is that? Policy devoid of fact and rooted in Conservative ideology.

I don't make that point lightly. I can barely count the number of times this month that I've heard gov't Ministers, (Nicholson is good example), state that they don't put much stock in fact/stat's, etc. That is a huge admission, yet I haven't seen the press pick up on that to any great extent.

It's for that reason that when the going get's a bit tough, you see a ton of issues/bills, lobbed into the fore. Black and white talking points that really keep the press running and because of their timelines and constraints, unable to delve deeply.

So, that said, oh yeah, they have thinkers...irony is delicious isn't it?

Tomm said...


Although I have to admit a little joy in the negative press (I am what Pavlov hypothesized I guess), I also think the writers already knew they were going to write a negative piece, they were just looking for the angle to do it from.

They couldn't use the line up because it was solid, they couldn't use the tehnology because it was impressive, but they finally found their voice on Sunday. I believe the big three were Fowler, Ignatieff's final speech (described as flat), and the lack of any policy pizzazz walking out the door. The corporate tax freeze was given a strange and curous look, but not much more, at least initially.

I will be curious to see poll results after the last two weeks and continuing strange goings on with Hilary and Helena.

CK said...

Thanks RuralSandi for that bio. I honestly wanted to find Wente's email so I could well, just verbally abuse her; maybe ruin her day. Finding new ways to hurt Wankers' feelings is a new hobby of mine to replace the cigarettes. Not really working though: wankers don't have feelings to hurt to begin with; they wouldn't be wankers otherwise.

Tomm: I will be curious to see poll results after the last two weeks and continuing strange goings on with Hilary and Helena.

Will be very interesting indeedy.

I guess it would all depend on not only whether or not Horrible Helena goes, but also, how she goes: resigns or a public ousting: I hope for the latter though.

As for HIllary, I touched upon that on my post. As much as I hate Stevie, I don't think Hillary caused much damage. For openers, that whole lambasting Canada for Arctic Counsel thang and then,in the next breath, strenuously asking Canada to extend mission past 2011, thus hinting there could well be problems with Canada US relations. Steve stuck to his guns with the 2011 deadline.\

After he said that, Hillary goes into her whole abortion must be funded. While most of us agree with her; she doesn't hold much credibility there given she just signed onto financial restrictions for abortions in order to pass a significantly pathetic watered down health care bill.

Also, Steve is only sticking to his guns on this deadline because a) he is in election campaign mode; this is his last hurrah to get that precious majority he salivates for. If he already had his majority, I can't help but wonder if he would have jumped right in to say yes; being so eager to jump hoops for the white house like a circus poodle and of course, the fact that he's a war monger.

Andrea said...

Wente was being sarcastic..

Tomm said...


Harper is playing it pretty well straight up right now.

He isn't commenting on the Liberal shenanigans. He hasn't forced Helena Geurgis to step aside. He didn't bow to Hillary's pressure. He is letting his Minister's get the credit for the good news stories such as the economy, the immigration bill and the air emissions.

I agree that if he had a majority, he may very well have been a little more sympathetic to the Hillary Afghan ask. But I guess we'll never know.