Canadian journalist claims that Prime Minister Harper is no statesman
by Rhona Bennett
Heather Mallick’s column, “Pair of embarrassing honours” published in the Toronto Star this past Saturday is so embarrassing that one can only cringe that the Star has chosen to devote a half page to mocking, maligning and misrepresenting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney. Mallick’s mean and petty tirade is in response to Harper and Kenney accepting awards. Normally, Canadians are proud when our representatives are recognized and honoured by internationally respected institutions, but not Mallick. Not this time.
This time she mocks the awards as ones that “anyone with people-smarts would know to turn down.” Stephen Harper accepted the World Statesman of the Year award in New York from an interfaith group called the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy have also accepted this award. Of course, the award was presented by a rabbi and Henry Kissinger was also on the podium, so we know what kind of group this is.
Harper disgusts Mallick so much that she is reduced to commenting on his “wooden body” and his helmet hair.” Is this political commentary? In her attempts to belittle Netanyahu, she ridicules the red marker and diagram he used to make his point at the UN. She has nothing to offer that touches on the content or context of his speech. Only snide, juvenile remarks. Is this unbiased reporting?
Mallick claims that Harper is no statesman. According to her, real statesmen “talk to other world leaders, in particular the troublemakers they despise.” By that definition, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a great candidate. He talks to the UN or those who will sit through his hate filled rhetoric directed at the U.S and Israel, especially Israel, which we know is full of Jews. Mallick is furious that “Harper…closes embassies” read Iran here. That action completely puts him out of the running for the Neville Chamberlain “Peace in Our Times Statesman Award.” Perhaps we can nominate Mallick.
And then she turns her malevolent gaze on Jason Kenney who received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Haifa. She really has it in for the University of Haifa. She doesn’t like the “generosity” with which they confer these doctorates and she certainly doesn’t like the university’s advisory tribute team. According to Mallick, the team is “littered” – there’s a nice objective word – “with smart Canadians like John H. Tory and Harry Rosen.” Well, you know what that means!
Former recipients of honorary doctorates from the University of Haifa include Victor Frankl, Boutro Boutros-Ghali and Jimmy Carter. Canadians Irwin Cotler and Bob Rae have also been honoured. What a group! No wonder Mallick is ashamed on behalf of Canada.
Mallick informs us that Kenney graduated from high school. It was a private Catholic high school. Two important facts that matter a lot. To Mallick. She even tells us only 262 people lived in his home town, so we might think he’s from an unsophisticated rural background. And you know how terrible that is. She tells us Kenney dropped out of university. Imagine that! A few other people such as Steve Jobs, Harry Truman, astronaut Scott Carpenter, Winston Churchill, Jane Jacobs, J.K. Rowling and journalist Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame, managed to make a significant contribution to society without a university education. But none of that concerns Mallick. Her goal is to denigrate with vitriol and ridicule these men, their policies and the institutions that have honoured them. The absence of reason and respect in her column and in the Toronto Star is indeed a national embarrassment.
Rhona Bennett is a teacher and a free lance writer whose work has appeared in the Toronto Star and Canada’s Globe and Mail.
(Photo Credit: PWGSC)