Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Entry archive:

Fired Senate page Brigette DePape takes a call between media interviews in Ottawa after she disrupted the Speech from the Throne with a 'Stop Harper' placard on June 3, 2011. (Mike Blanchfield/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Fired Senate page Brigette DePape takes a call between media interviews in Ottawa after she disrupted the Speech from the Throne with a 'Stop Harper' placard on June 3, 2011. (Mike Blanchfield/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Robert Silver

The rogue Senate page and the absurdity of Canada's 'Arab Spring' Add to ...

It shows how asinine Heather Mallick's column was in today's Star that Jonathan Kay has written a perfectly cogent rebuttal for the National Post and yet didn't even graze what I thought was the worst part.

No, the paragraph I'm referring to is a special combination of idiotic, troubling and incomprehensible:

More related to this story

“[Canada]is a country, DePape said, that needs ‘an Arab Spring.’ I have never heard the Harper-managed Canadian slide into backwater status put more eloquently. Well played, Brigette. She’s bright, she’s brave, she made her stand. If that makes her elitist – Harper’s favourite pejorative – so be it.”

The term Arab Spring evokes lots of words and images: overthrowing corrupt dictatorships through violent and non-violent means, fighting for basic rights, setting one’s self on fire – pretty serious uprising the face of historic rights violations.

What in the world does Mallick mean that Canada needs an Arab Spring? What could it possibly mean? We just had a free and fair election. It wasn't the result I was hoping for but democracy sucks that way. Is she saying that we need to overthrow the just-elected democratic government of Canada? No, that's crazy. Ok, let me take it in the opposite direction: Is she calling for more petty acts of civil disobedience like the page's sign display and rush to the nearest TV camera? If so then she's trivializing the Arab Spring protests to the point of absurdity.

As for the page being “brave” and “making her stand,” she was brave the same way a drunken baseball fan who runs on the field for $20 from his buddy – knowing he is certain to get kicked out of the stadium and charged – is “brave.” The key difference is TV networks avert the cameras when a fan runs on the field. I'm not sure why the page even got her full 15 minutes.

But back to Mallick and her ode to he need for a Canadian Arab Spring. Imagine a radio host from the Arab world interviewing Mallick about this column:

Radio host: “We have on the line from Toronto, Canada journalist Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star who wrote this weekend that Canada needs it's own Arab spring. Heather, thanks for joining us”

Heather Mallick: “Great to be here”

Host: “Canada just had free and fair elections of the kind no Arab country has ever held. You have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of mobility – I could go on. Why do you think Canada needs it's own 'Arab spring'?”

Mallick: “Well, that's all true but our Prime Minister, he's a real piece of work”

Host: “Oh, my researcher must have missed that. I'm sorry, I don't know much about your tyrannical Prime Minister that you seek to liberate your people from. So he's killed thousands of innocent citizens, arrested his political opponents?”

Mallick: “Well no, but he ran really nasty TV ads about his opponents. More importantly, he's turned Canada into a backwater, and that's why we need our own Arab Spring”

Host: [30 seconds of awkward silence followed by what sounds like cursing in Arabic by the radio host to his producer for booking this guest.] “Thanks for joining us Heather Mallick, from the Toronto Star who thinks Canada needs its own revolution to overthrow the government they just elected. Over to you, Abdul, for traffic.”

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobePolitics

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular