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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:12 am
 


Title: Mel Hurtig. 1932-2016
Written By: Robin Mathews
Date: Thursday, August 04 at 18:27
The passing of Mel Hurtig will remind Canadians that his courageous work is still unfinished, and he needs powerful successors.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:12 am
 


While I disagreed strongly with Mel Hurtig's view of the world, and found the over-the-top and occasionally paranoid nature of his anti-American rhetoric annoying, I don't think he hated Americans as a people the way Mathews so clearly does. Hurtig seemed to focus his contempt instead on those within Canada who wanted closer economic and political ties with the US.

Hurtig's death takes place at a moment in Canadian history when the old-style left-nationalism of Walter Gordon, Mel Watkins, Maude Barlow, etc. is giving way to a new generation of Canadian left that is hanging their collective hat much less on the nation-state, and retreating to large, dense urban cores. The city is their new preferred societal organizing structure, and they want people working and playing within walking or biking distance from their homes. Never mind opposing free trade between countries, these people don't even want to buy vegetables trucked in from another province.

This new generation of urban left may seem to still look down their noses at Americans, but it's mainly those in the rural heartland they have disdain for, and feel similarly about rural and suburban Canadians. They love American cities like New York and Portland. Trump's turning them off at the moment, but if Hillary wins they'll forget about it. And they're too busy policing "micro aggressions" on Twitter and Tumblr to worry about grand nationalist visions.

Of course, the other difference between Hurtig and Mathews is - people know who Hurtig was.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:46 pm
 


Individualist Individualist:
While I disagreed strongly with Mel Hurtig's view of the world, and found the over-the-top and occasionally paranoid nature of his anti-American rhetoric annoying, I don't think he hated Americans as a people the way Mathews so clearly does. Hurtig seemed to focus his contempt instead on those within Canada who wanted closer economic and political ties with the US.

Hurtig's death takes place at a moment in Canadian history when the old-style left-nationalism of Walter Gordon, Mel Watkins, Maude Barlow, etc. is giving way to a new generation of Canadian left that is hanging their collective hat much less on the nation-state, and retreating to large, dense urban cores. The city is their new preferred societal organizing structure, and they want people working and playing within walking or biking distance from their homes. Never mind opposing free trade between countries, these people don't even want to buy vegetables trucked in from another province.

This new generation of urban left may seem to still look down their noses at Americans, but it's mainly those in the rural heartland they have disdain for, and feel similarly about rural and suburban Canadians. They love American cities like New York and Portland. Trump's turning them off at the moment, but if Hillary wins they'll forget about it. And they're too busy policing "micro aggressions" on Twitter and Tumblr to worry about grand nationalist visions.

Of course, the other difference between Hurtig and Mathews is - people know who Hurtig was.


One part of "The Vanishing Country" that I keenly remember was the admiration Mel Hurtig expressed for the American people's industriousness, and their dynamic, innovative character. He also warmly praised a lot of their high-minded cultural productions (e.g., NPR, Harper's magazine, etc.) If he held any real contempt for Americans, it was for the Americans who espoused the neoliberal/neoconservative ideas that were most frequently expressed by the supporters of George W. Bush's presidency.

Unfortunately, to build on what Individualist notes, many younger progressives, when they have anything to say about Canada as a country or its history, typically only seem to focus on the negative, without recognizing that there could be a positive. One might criticize past historians for depicting John A. Macdonald as a nearly flawless hero, but in some circles now he seems to come across more as a real-life Sauron, incapable of any virtues or positive accomplishments. Canadian history is seen only through a negative lens, instead of the more nuanced and balanced lens that would be more beneficial.

And as Individualist notes, some of their policy proposals don't really seem to take into account the needs of smaller, rural communities spread out over a country second only to Russia in size. The LEAP manifesto proposed by some NDP supporters posits phasing out fossil fuel development, and using high speed rail to get everywhere. And how will supplies get to someplace like Baffin Island, or Newfoundland, or the Haida Gwaii, without fossil fuels to power the planes and boats needed to cross bodies of water? Or do the LEAPers plan to build railway bridges to and from these islands? High speed rail was controversial just between Edmonton and Calgary here in Alberta-how difficult will a rail network across the entire country be?

The LEAP manifesto has some terrific ideas-reviewing the contents of various trade deals, recognizing Indigenous rights, title and sovereignty, and so forth-but it's also hampered with some very impractical ones, which the LEAP supporters don't seem to have taken into account.

Worse than that is the attitude that some of the progressives Individualist describes project, an attitude that you can see reflected in some of the more vitriolic bloggers and pundits on the right. They come across (to me, at least) as being willing to hate you for the rest of their lives if you so much as question them. You can see it on the left in the United States with the Bernie Sanders who end up booing their own hero when he tries to get them to support Hillary Clinton, and the Tea Party supporters who were determined to completely bog down the workings of Congress.

Unfortunately, cooperation across the divide seems to be less and less possible, whereas in past decades even the likes of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev could have positive working relationships...



"Nations were now formed by the agglomeration of communities having kindred interests and sympathies...It was a benefit rather than otherwise that we had a diversity of races."-Sir George Etienne Cartier, February 7, 1865

"I am a Canadian. Canada is the inspiration of my life. I have had before me as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of conciliation."-Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1911.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:26 pm
 


So Jared, it looks like it's just us and the gasbag, eh? Robin's echo chamber doesn't even have an echo anymore. Oh well.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 5:42 am
 


You aren't alone. I must endure the pain as well. ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:29 am
 


DrCaleb DrCaleb:
You aren't alone. I must endure the pain as well. ;)

I guess misery does love company after all. ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2016 8:43 pm
 


Individualist Individualist:
DrCaleb DrCaleb:
You aren't alone. I must endure the pain as well. ;)

I guess misery does love company after all. ;)


Hey, that's all we need sometimes, isn't it? :mrgreen:

Now, if only our gracious site host would fix whatever's stripping the HTML out of the articles the Gasbag and I submit...



"Nations were now formed by the agglomeration of communities having kindred interests and sympathies...It was a benefit rather than otherwise that we had a diversity of races."-Sir George Etienne Cartier, February 7, 1865

"I am a Canadian. Canada is the inspiration of my life. I have had before me as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of conciliation."-Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1911.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:00 am
 


$1:
Now, if only our gracious site host would fix whatever's stripping the HTML out of the articles the Gasbag and I submit...


Second that. White space and paragraph breaks are the best parts of Mathews "articles". If compression is required, references to BC Rail and Kelly Marie Richard or violations of Godwin's Law could always be stripped out. Come to think of it though, that wouldn't leave much left but white space. :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:02 am
 


Mel was one of our greats, I worked with him in the 93 election. Carrying on his work, in my own way - Democratic Revolution Handbook http://www.rudemacedon.ca/drh/000-home.html


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