Yesterday was Election Day for Ontario’s municipalities. However the National Post’s front page headline was not about Toronto’s colourful Mayor’s race, or indeed about any of the other municipal elections going on across Canada’s biggest province. Rather, the Post’s lead story was about one Jian Ghomeshi, a ‘popular’ CBC radio host, who was fired over some kind of sordid sex scandal and who is now suing the CBC for an American-style settlement. All titillating I admit, but really, who cares?
Personally, I have never heard of this CBC ‘star’ before he was fired. Perhaps this is because I refuse to listen to government propaganda but I think many Canadians are in the same boat. He is part of the CBC/Canadian-content crowd who love to pretend that they are more Canadian than thou (and therefore more anti-American), but whose lives and ideas and output are completely alien to the average Canadian who buys his coffee at Tim Horton’s in the morning on his way to work, and whose idea of a CBC star is Don Cherry.
I think most Canadians understand that if a Canadian has real talent, he will end up going down to the States, like James Cameron, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, etc. It’s the smug wanna-be’s that stay here to eat lunch at the CBC cafeteria.
Now I know that there are people from elsewhere in Canada reading this who will say, Toronto election or scandal involving CBC elitist, who cares? Both stories are a bunch of Toronto crap that no red-blooded native of Saskatchewan will ever give a damn about. Perhaps, but as a red-blooded Torontonian, let me note that to most real people living in Toronto – i.e. the suburbanites in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke, Jian Ghomeshi and the rest of the Canadian cultural establishment might as well be from the Moon (even though they also live in Toronto). We are just as alienated by the Yorkville in-crowd as a fur trapper from Yellowknife is (which is why Rob Ford retained his popularity in spite of his crack habit - he unabashedly championed us against the elites).
Which brings us back to the National Post. Conrad Black may be rich and haughty and arrogant – the epitome of a tuxedo-clad elitist, but he would have never made the mistake of conflating the CBC/Can-con crowd of Maude Barlow with genuine cultural leadership. Black’s genius when he started the National Post was that he didn’t simply want to build another populist megaphone but to do something much more ambitious. He wanted to foster an alternate Canadian elite, one that is not invested in self-loathing, anti-Americanism, multiculturalism, and socialism. His National Post represented an elitism that stood athwart our country’s existing intelligentsia and yelled Stop!
It’s a pity that the National Post’s current proprietors do not understand this.