Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Hilarious Canadian Tea Party

The notion of a Canadian Tea Party has always struck me as faintly ludicrous. It reminds me of my callow youth when we larval progressives cast envious eyes southward at the political and cultural upheavals our young American friends were having such fun with. They had Abby Hoffman, Woodstock and Vietnam; we had Tommy Douglas, Mariposa and the FLQ. We wanted so badly to share the Righteous Rage of Turbulent American Youth, but it seemed at the time that we just didn't have all that much to get angry about. So we borrowed their causes and their rhetoric, did our best to work ourselves into a lather, and had a grand old time.

The Canadian Tea Partiers are clearly suffering from the same displaced revolutionary zeal. Their American counterparts at the Bedlam edge of the right are having a ball dressing up in costume, throwing tantrums, and otherwise exhibiting the political sophistication of spoiled six-year olds with ADD on a sugar high. You can tell our home-grown version is dying to shake off that tedious Canadian civility and stomp their little feet with their southern brethren. Call it Meanness Envy.

My introduction to the Tea Party of Canada was provided for me by Scenty here. You know you're dealing with a sophisticated political movement when their primary online presence is a Facebook site. Humble though it may be, however, the site affords at least ten minutes of giggles.

Begin your tour with the truly execrable logo, a Brown Betty teapot with a strangely rounded bottom. Not sure sure whether is a reference to the membership's sedentary habits or not, but the round-bottom Teapot certainly shows more miraculous balance than any tea party member I've ever spoken to.

While savouring the logo, you might want to ponder the irony of a group so bereft of ideas or identity that they simultaneously:

a) Genuflect in their statement of principles to the Monarchy, solemnly declaring in best Dr. Roy style that "The common and civil laws of this country are upheld by the Royal Family and established by historical precedent";
b) Take their name from history's most famous rebellion against that selfsame Monarchy.

The discussions are worth a browse. Unfortunately my favourite thread seems to have disappeared - its title, "stupid things the left say's" (sic), truly captured the quality of thought we've come to expect. But there are many fine examples of cutting edge analysis, including this gem from the fellow who seems to run the site:

I don't think the government should be funding schools (although I would have no problem with them overseeing diplomas and things like that). We need to let the market get involved and have these schools compete for students instead of the bloated and inefficient waste we have now. There is a really good chapter on this in economic fallicies by thomas sowell that explains it better then me I think lmao.

The first discussion page sets out a Mission Statement with the usual mantra of anti-tax, anti-federal, anti-labour, anti-equalization, anti-environment pronouncements. My faves were Point 7, which demands provincial authority over immigration policy, and Point 12, which sets out guidelines for a new national immigration policy. (See what I mean about ADD?)

I have to concede that I was impressed - and surprised - by their stance on immigration. They feel that "Preference should be given to English and French-speaking immigrants of Commonwealth and Francophonie countries who share our cultural values."

This is an interesting statement. A more suspicious soul that I might suspect it's a clumsy nod to our "founding nations" (you know, France and England - the ones who came a few centuries after the other "founding nations", and before all the folks who actually make up our nation now.) But given the clearly expressed preference for "Commonwealth and Francophonie countries", it would seem they're throwing open their arms to immigration from Albania, Principality of Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, , Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Kiribati, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Mauritania, Moldova, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Säo Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Uganda,United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zambia.

Now, that's pretty darned inclusive. And it makes one wonder why so many of those folks are fussing about immigration from Pakistan, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Haiti, and all those other places on the list. Must just a be a lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe.

Or could the answer lie in that last little phrase about "sharing our cultural values"? Surely not. But just out of curiosity - what cultural values would those be, I wonder?

Cross-posted from Stageleft
H/T Stephen McAllister

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