Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THE Question in Canada...

What the hell did Stephen Harper do to piss off Chantal Hebert so badly?

One of the reasons I'm interested in Canadian politics is the weird media situation. It's a far more conservative media than what you see in the United States in many ways, and far more concentrated too, with a few big companies owning a ridiculous percentage of local markets and the national market as a whole. Stephen Harper has been a big beneficiary of this; while the CBC is terrified of looking "partisan", most of the rest of the Canadian media, particularly its flagship newspapers like the Globe and Mail and National Post, have been quite content to be as pro-Conservative as the man could ask for.

(One of the reasons why Whatzisname has never struck me as particularly liberal is that he writes for a newspaper that's about as progressive as Strom Thurmand.)

One of the key exceptions to the dominance of conservative points of view on the national scene has been the Toronto Star, nicknamed the "Red Star" by its detractors for its progressivism. Thing is, even THESE guys have been pretty beneficial to Harper. While they attack him, many of their star columnists, particularly national columnist Chantal Hebert, have been attacking Liberal leader Stephane Dion over and over and over and over again for what amounts to absolutely piddling errors, especially when compared to the man he's trying to replace. Hebert has been particularly savage of Dion, and particularly forgiving towards Harper. I'd grown used to it. It was predictable, and I could just filter out the pro-Harper, anti-Dion leanings to figure out what she was actually about.

Yeah, those days are over. For all that she still takes minor shots at Dion, she's been absolutely savaging Harper since the new year. She's castigated him for his party's treatment of Linda Keen (the civil servant fired for not allowing a nuclear reactor to go on-line without its safeties up and running), on their dismissive attitude towards Dion's foreign policy criticism, and on his treatment of key provinces, while at the same time calling her former punching bag, Dion, "the federal leader to watch in the first quarter of 2008."

Honestly, I know it's unlikely to the impossibility that the woman reads this blog, but Chantal, on the off chance, what the HELL happened?

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