Saturday, May 30, 2009

50 billion reasons why Pierre Poilievre hasn't apologized

I really don't think Pierre Poilievre is a racist. I do think he's a moron, but he's not a racist moron. He's also not an idiot, and with this whole “tar baby” controversy he's serving a very real purpose for the Conservatives right now: he has us talking about what an moron Pierre Poilievre is instead of the Conservatives' $50 billion deficit, the economy, and the growing call for action across the country on employment insurance reform.

Now, I don't know if Poilievre either didn't genuinely know the racial connotations of the term, or just intended to stir the pot through its use. If it was just genuine misunderstanding, the logical thing to do would be to just apologize, to say yeah, I didn't know what it meant, I didn't intend it in that context, I withdraw it, Liberals suck. End of story.

That would be the logical strategy. Instead, Poilievre, along with the PMO communications apparatus and his cabinet colleagues, have decided to stand and fight for the right to use terms with clear and obvious racial connotations. Seems like a weird decision, right?

Not necessarily. Whether Poilievre's use of the term was innocent or it was a plant, this has given the Conservatives to distract attention away from the economy, away from the biggest deficit, and onto Poilievre's being a moron. It has caused quite the media brouhaha, and it has certainly distracted the blogsphere.

And like a good team player, Poilievre is willing to take the hit. After all, we all already know he's a moron anyway. He also won his riding by a massive plurality, so he needn't worry there.

Let's not buy into the Conservatives' attempt to change the channel. Poilievre being a moron is old news.

What isn't old news is a $50 billion deficit that Jim Flaherty insisted just one month ago would be much, much smaller. What isn't old news is Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall joining BC's Gordon Campbell, Alberta's Ed Stemlach and Ontario's Dalton McGuinty in calling for EI reform, calls Stephen Harper has not only denied but openly ridiculed.

Actually, if there is one lesson to take from this, it's that they must really be freaked-out about their massive deficit, about their arrogant inaction on EI, about the economy and its potential to hurt them, if they're willing to go to the wall to defend their right to use racially-charged language. You can almost smell the desperation.

So, let's remember. Yes, you're a moron, but it's still the economy, Pierre.

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sjw said...

While I agree with the sentiment of your post, it needs to be highlighted that this statement will be in the view of 'black people' a very, very racist comment. A Member of Parliament (in the HoC no less) invoked a term that for all intents and purposes ranks up there with the label "nigger". And to make matters even worse, Poilievre uses it in the context of an unwanted pregancy involving a black baby. This guy can't be that big a moron. I challenge Pierre Poiliervre (or any privileged white Canadian for that matter) to go out on their Canadian street today, approach any black person and say, "Hey, Tarbaby, what's going on?" and see what happens to them. Some apologies are never enough.

wilson said...

One has to remember, that 92% of Canadians are employed,
of those unemployed over 80% that paid into EI are qualified to collect.
That's a very small audience to be targeting , to try to convince that the government is incompetent.

James Bowie said...

I think he's a racist and an idiot. See his comments about lazy aboriginals.

Andrew P. said...

I agree, he's not a racist. Ignorant, insensitive moron, yes. Racist, no (I think that term gets thrown around way to easily).

Regardless of what he is, I just hope somebody forces an election soon cause I can't stand the idea of him being my MP when I move into his riding this fall.

paulsstuff said...

Just two months ago TD economist Don Drummond predicted a $39 billion deficit, off by $11 billion.

Ignatieff is using Drummond to craft the Liberal economic policy. So because Drummond was so far off on his prediction, does that make him incompetent? No.

But it does show how partisan politics work with Liberal's calling Flaherty incompetent. The fact is the government projections are made using figures from banks and economists like Drummond, and averaging them out. For the government to be so far off indicates the so-called experts were also far off with their projections.

As for Pollievre(sp), I don't think he meant it as a racial slur, but he should just apologize to any who felt slighted.

Walks With Coffee said...

how does one be a moron without being an idiot too?

Just asking

Cheers, Coffee

Patrick Ross said...

I don't honestly believe Poilievre is a racist either -- I don't subscribe to any political ideology that demands I believe this.

What I do believe is that Poilievre has done something outstandingly stupid, thoughtless and irresponsible. Maybe he thought the "tar baby" metaphor was extremely cute. If one is willing to overlook the racist connotation of that, maybe it even is.

But I, for one, am not willing to overlook the racist connotation of Poilievre's comments. I expect to hear an apology from him very, very soon.

ij said...

I think Poilièvre meant every word of what he said and more. Tarbaby adopted by Ignatieff's predecessor? That would be Stéphane Dion who has an adopted daughter from South America. Hurting people wherever they can. Dirty, disgusting.

WesternGrit said...

The fact that he said it in a context he understood is racist. Using a racist term in such a context is racist. It wasn't meant as a joke - it was meant (clearly) as an insult to Ignatieff and his policy (and Mr. Dion). I've been called a "tar baby" growing up on the Prairies, and I was pretty sure everyone knew what it meant.

I love the "he probably didn't mean it in a racist sense" comments. Yup, whatever. He is a sitting MP - he represents 80 to 100000 people. There is no excuse.

There are also grades of "offensiveness". I'm East Indian (I prefer "Indian"), and if someone made a curry joke (joke about a food item I may consume the odd time) I may (maybe - depending on the context) just laugh. If, on the other hand, someone called me a "raghead" I would be pretty offended, as there is a clear derogatory sense.

lyrical said...

The worst kind of racism is the subtle kind, because it's either tolerated: "He really didn't mean that did he? He was just ignorant," or nothing is said about it. A Member of Parliament needs to be a lot smarter than that.

Poilievre has a BA in International Relations. I'd be surprised if he didn't know what those words meant, though that's not a common expression in Canada. I wonder where he heard it before?
This episode might turn out to be Poilievre's own TB: "A situation or problem from which it is virtually impossible to disentangle oneself." - The Free Dictionary

Walks With Coffee said...

BCer, he ment to be a distraction by being offensive. He was both.