Regina in winter is a city of blockheaters, snow skidding horizontally across the ring road and publicity hounds masquerading as politicians. Lake Wascana, created by man to reflect the beauty of the stately legislative building, is frozen over, which means Dick Collver can walk on water. This is unusual, because ordinarily he walks on his tongue, as he did in announcing that he was renouncing the Saskatchewan Tories in favor of joining a flat-earth society dedicated to having Western Canada join the Excited States of America.
Now, I can never understand all the bleating and moaning about scriptwriters, actors or whatever who feel they have to flee south of the border. If that is really their priority, we are better rid of them. It’s like culling the herd. The flamboyant Mr. Collver, who actually ran the Saskatchewan Tories before he decided to fire his revolver into the sky from the balcony of his Regina townhouse last fall, is a man of strong enthusiasms and short attention spans. He lives half the time in Arizona anyway. If he would make it official and spend all his time there, keening and moping with the Goldwater Republicans who still keep America from being the last advanced country in the world to introduce medicare, he would be among more compatible philosophical playmates. His fellow provincial Tory, Dennis Ham, who has followed him into the never-never land of tin-pot independence, will not be an unforgettable loss to this country’s heritage.
What is so appalling about these chaps is not their political judgment but their taste. Anyone who would seriously suggest joining a nation that can produce an Ed McMahon, an obsequious flunky who fakes laughs on television every night must be lacking in the
Allan Fotheringham is a columnist for the FP News Service.
faculty of reasoning.
It is not for me to deny Americans their pleasures, but a land that would introduce the drive-in church to history probably should be left to enjoy such innovations by itself. I don’t think it fair that mere foreigners, however closely related, should be allowed to share in the experience. Roller disco? The ineffable charm of the morning game shows on TV, providing employment for female celebrities with sag-
ging protuberances and fringe males with sagging egos, is such a unique species—like the Elgin marbles—that it should be left intact, unsullied by the touch of outsiders.
I don’t really understand the mental processes of someone who could suggest, without the benefit of funny cigarettes, that the potential of Western Canada would be enhanced by jumping into bed with the Elvis industry, The Gong Show and cities where you need a Doberman pinscher as your best friend when you go out for the evening air. It is very true, as astute Americans have pointed out, that if the purists among us had our way and were able to ban all U.S. electronic and cultural junk from our airwaves and magazine stands, Canada would produce its own junk. True, of course. But at least it would be creative bad taste, not derivative crassness. What Collver and Ham don’t realize, in their lack of imagination, is that this land has within it the wherewithal to produce a Zsa Zsa Gabor, a Larry
Flynt, our own Wayne Hays, our homegrown nuclear accidents. We don’t need help. I think it shameful the inference that we can’t produce our own incompetents, venality, sleaziness and graft. Where is our pride?
The Americans have breakthroughs, true, but could they really come up with something to equal the horses on the payroll, the six zillion rotten eggs willed to us by Eugene Whelan, cabinet ministers who phone judges, sign their wrong names, are cited for contempt of court—and then are rewarded by being given further cabinet posts? You couldn’t make it up. All the Americans had was General Sherman, who said: “I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected.” They’ve never had a guy who ran on the slogan of “If elected, I’ll quit”— and then was elected!
What is intriguing about America at the moment is that the leadership of the o most vigorous, youthful £ country in history is to be £ fought between one man £ who has clearly exhausted Œ himself with his on-the-job training and another who is 69 years of age and continually gets the names of his adversaries mixed up, a factor perhaps of the lack of a prompting board.
We have quite enough marvels and freaks of our own without having to demand a share of someone else’s. Show me another country that can produce a prime minister who talked to his dead dog and I’ll show you a country I want to join. Réal Caouette and W.A.C. Bennett had quite enough eccentricity to match anything that Chuck Barris can muster. Who would want to pass up the winsome nuances of Jack Horner? The love-of-man of Rev. Philip Gaglardi? The diplomatic gifts of Punch Imlach? The sweet manners of Air Canada? The problem with Collver and Ham, who want to quit and run rather than stay and fight, is their lack of sensitivity. Why would anyone want to leave the humbleness of Pierre Trudeau, the excitement of Joe Clark, the reasonableness of René Lévesque, the thrill of a Regina winter? Beats me.
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