Monday, November 7, 2011

Don Cherry Shows More Class than Separatists

As most of you know, I'm no fan of Don Cherry and have written about him him previously in generally unflattering terms.

I'm also not a fan of heavy metal or country music. I don't think Rick Mercer is very funny, nor is Rita McNeil an interesting artist (even at Christmas) and I do believe that David Suzuki is a big fat phony..... but so what?

Just because I don't like their opinions, their comedy or their talent doesn't mean that I should write the CBC asking that they be removed from television. Diversity is what makes the entertainment business interesting and kooky and controversial personalities contribute to keeping us entertained.

Don Cherry is what he is, you love him or hate him. I do suspect that of those who tune into Hockey Night in Canada, many more are in his camp, than against,  otherwise he would have gotten the boot a long time ago.

How popular is Cherry? Very, very, popular.
I once found myself on an airplane sitting beside him on a flight out to Moncton where he was going to make an appearance at one of his sports restaurants in Dieppe.
Throughout the flight, on a smallish BAe-146, no fewer than twenty or thirty fans (crew included) asked Don for his autograph,  which he dutifully obliged with a smile and polite interaction.
"Where you from?--or --Nice to meet you,"
If somebody told him they were from a small town, he'd invariably ask after one of it's local residents.
I dare say he knows a lot of people.
At the airport in Moncton, the scene replayed itself, with ground workers, airline personnel and travellers all lining up to get autographs and rub shoulders.

Throughout it all, he acted with dignity and good grace and I thought to myself that I couldn't imagine going through life being that popular, to the point of being assailed everywhere I went.

As much as Don Cherry is admired by most anglophone Canadians, he is roundly despised in Quebec and by francophones in general for a few injudicious remarks he made on television, denigrating francophone hockey players.

These remarks weren't particularly vicious, but he did disparage francophone hockey players, in describing them as soft and frail. Francophone reporters ripped into him, resulting in a hate-a-thon that sent Mr. Cherry into the language doghouse along with his dog Blue.

Cherry is a throwback to the old days when Europeans didn't play in the NHL and Francophones were  mostly the property of the Montreal Canadiens. He liked it that way.
During the time of racial integration, many old timers found it hard to accept change. In 1989, he referred to Finnish-born Winnipeg Jets Assistant Coach Alpo Suhonen as "some kind of dog food" Yikes!     Wikipedia

"In January 2004, on the subject of visors, Cherry said on Coach's Corner: "Most of the guys that wear them are Europeans and French guys" to illustrate his claim that visor users have less respect for player safety. This statement triggered an investigation by the federal Official Languages Commissioner, and protests by French-Canadians. Wikipedia

That was his whole transgression, nothing particularly racist, just a stupid comment that he wasn't particularly a fan of francophone or Europeans hockey players.

Cherry & the Queen. Separatists worst nightmare!
For this, francophones have never forgiven him and many have called for his removal from the CBC's hockey broadcast. In fact, his continued presence on HNIC is considered by these objectors to be an ongoing anti-Quebec/Francophone provocation.

Don Cherry has always enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Canada's Armed Forces and uses his pulpit on HNIC to honour those who have died in service. His unbridled enthusiasm and untiring support is much appreciated by the military and their families, to whom Cherry is nothing less than a hero.

So after all these years of unflagging dedication to the armed forces, the military decided to honour his contribution with an honorary degree at a commencement ceremony at the Royal Military College.
I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving.

This of course had the Francophone militants up in arms and they raised the alarm that Cherry was unworthy because of his 'anti-francophone' comments.

"Don Cherry, broadcaster for CBC and host of Coaches Corner on HNIC has refused to attend Royal Military College to accept an honorary Doctorate degree due to a "circus" atmosphere.
In a report by Joe Warmington in The Toronto Sun on Saturday it was noted, a true military supporter and Canadian, Don Cherry (77) of HNIC (CBC's Hockey Night in Canada) Coaches Corner, has announced he will not accept an honorary doctorate degree from the RMC on November 17th. 'One' professor at the Royal Military College in Kingston Catherine Lord has suggested that he does not support the French people, but leaves out the fact that he loves the French, just not the French that wanted to separate from Canada."  Read more in the Toronto Sun
After a brouhaha erupted, Don Cherry decided to decline the honour in order to avert a 'circus' atmosphere that would have shifted focus away from the 800 cadets graduating and the two others receiving honorary awards.

Don Cherry has a lot of class.... A lot of class.

Although he isn't my cup of tea, he has earned my respect as a principled individual who in the truest military tradition has placed himself subservient to the group.
His decision to forgo the well-deserved honorary degree in order to save his confreres from certain  embarrassment is in the finest tradition of the armed forces, where the good of the greater is more important than that of the individual.
Again BRAVO!

The argument that Cherry is unfit for an honorary degree from the Royal Military College or even the right to appear on the CBC smacks of hypocrisy of an order that boggles the mind. It is so ludicrous that it begs further discussion.

If that same criterion were to be applied to Radio-Canada (the French CBC) and any commentator or on-air personality who had made an anti-Canadian or anti-English remark on air would be banned, I'm pretty sure that there wouldn't be anyone left to read the news.

Another case of deux poids, deux mesures (double standard)

And so readers, I ask you, should virulently anti-Canadian, anti-anglophone artists like the late Pierre Falardeau, be offered funding from Tele-Film Canada to make anti-English and separatist films?

Should a life-long separatist, be eligible for writing awards from the Governor-General?

The insufferably self-important Quebec writer, Victor-Lévy Beaulieu has been militating for the breakup of Canada his whole life and has never made bones about his dislike of Canada and his trepidation over English culture. Yet, he was nominated three times for a Governor General's prize and actually won once in 1974.
Should his separatist views have disqualified him from working extensively for Radio Canada, a federal broadcaster created with the goal of fostering national unity?
Let us remember that it is English Canada that over-finances Radio-Canada.

Mr. Beaulieu is a prolific writer and has made his anti-Canadian views known without reservation.
"....that our Church sold its soul to the devil English which used to help make us sub-human, disgusts me.Link{FR} 
How about calling our ex-Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, the pejorative, "Reine-Nègre" ("negro Queen" LINK{FR}
I've written about his opinions and let's just say he's no fan of Anglos, Jews, Greeks, Chinese and Muslims.  LINK Link{FR} 
So why was he offered and why did he accept a Governor-General's Award?

Should his politics have made him ineligible, like Don Cherry?

In Quebec there is no limit to the anglo bashing on television and in the media. It is so pervasive and so common that it is considered normal.

Calling out Don Cherry for a barb he made years ago is utterly two-faced, but typical.

If Don Cherry is deemed ineligible for awards for his opinion about francophones, should artists and other Quebec figures who militate for sovereignty while describing anglophone Canadians as colonizers and exploiters, be eligible for Canadian honours?

In English we have our own saying;
"What's good for the goose, is good for the gander"

or better still
"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."


  1. ... and somehow one of the great paradigm shifts over the last few years in Canadian political culture is that all the federal parties are now okay with asymmetric federalism.

    Trudeau must be spinning in his grave.

  2. Well, Editor, score yourself one! It should also be noted that police officers killed in the line of duty are also mentioned by Cherry in the very next Coaches Corner. There was a young policewoman, an Officer Gignac, shot at someone's front door a few years ago. She was with the Laval police, and Cherry paid as much tribute to her as any other policeman across the country in similar circumstances.

    I haven't tuned into a single TV show on CBC for months, moving into years. Most TV shows as they are have become vile--downright vile. We now have dozens of channels, and there are times I look at the TV guide (the one on the TV, screw the magazine), and despite all those channels, there are times there is NOTHING worthwhile to watch. The CBC has become a vile waste of the taxpayers' money.

    Actually, I must stand corrected. I still watch HNIC and often watch Coach's Corner. That's my 3 hours of CBC per week until it's off the air.

    That the French counterpart features maggots like Gilles Proulx makes me want to puke! SRC is run by mental midgets and other idjits! Worse yet, we outside Quebec pay for this vile, putrid merde they put on the air. Ils peuve manger ses merdes lentement et avec soin!

  3. Peuvent, not peuve! Pardonez-moi!

  4. I'm not the biggest Cherry fan either but, well played editor, well played!!!

  5. Very good article editor.
    It's quite clear that racism (towards anything not "québécois de souche") is perfectly acceptable, and occasionally glorified in this province.

    Like I said in my last comments, people like Parizeau and Falardeau are considered national heroes. Their hate-speeches are simply the expression of an oppressed people defending itself, according to some. You said it best editor, where else in north america would it be acceptable to use the term "Nigger Queen"?

    However just because people in this province can be ignorant, it doesn't mean the rest of the country needs to be the same.
    I expect the rest of the country to be beyond this kind of thing, and it disappoints me when I see Canadians stoop to the same level as these racist french nazis.
    At the same time, it's just giving them (the separatists) arguments for their cause.

    "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

    Yes, but in this province it doesn't matter, because the rest of Canada will be paying when the glass house breaks..

    - Quebecker of Tree Stump

  6. "And so readers, I ask you, should virulently anti-Canadian, anti-anglophone artists like the late Pierre Falardeau, be offered funding from Tele-Film Canada to make anti-English and separatist films?"

    No. Then again, NO ONE should receive public money to create movies.

    "Should a life-long separatist, be eligible for writing awards from the Governor-General?"

    No. But again, the Governor-General is an office that should be abolished ASAP.

  7. Most people on this planet are hypocrites.

    No news here.

    You, Editor, seem to like calling Muslims "losers" when they take on the Israel-Palestine issue.

    But when Muslims are put up against Franco-Catholics, then Muslims are your "friends".

    You also like to, depending on your mood, call Franco-Catholics irrelevant, diminishing in numbers (in Montreal, for example), dying and weak (all of this IS TRUE, by the way, just like WASP, WAC (White Anglo Catholic) and Jewish culture are all on their last leg).

    But then, a week later, Franco-Catholics are back to being the threatening "oppressors" to all things "non pur-laine".

  8. @anon 12:09

    Actually French Catholics in Quebec imported Muslim arabs from North Africa purely for demographic reasons. That is because they are French Speaking. Then after the North Africans settle in Quebec, they are discriminated against by the very people that wanted them to come over in the 1st place. When they don't emulate the pur laine, there a commissions about reasonable accomadation and decrees like in the town of Herouxville against them.

  9. Religion needs to be forbidden in public, no matter what it is.

    I cannot get over how both Jews and Muslims treat animals, in the name of some retarded religion. Forget the fact that they've spent at least the past 5 decades killing each others women and children in the middle east, that doesn't affect me.

    But when hundreds of sheep get slaughtered in a way that anyone else would be arrested for, in the name of religion, here in my province, that does affect me. What the hell kind of ritual is this? I'm not one bit racist, but this kind of thing will sure make me consider it...

    Get over your religions, you're all a bunch of crazies.