07 July 2011

Makes it official, then

Noob Bloc NDP member of parliament Ryan Cleary is apparently getting some criticism.

Here’s the way Voice of the Cabinet Minister reported Cleary’s comments on one of the radio station’s call-in shows:

New Democrat MP Ryan Cleary is defending his use of the term "serial rapist" in describing foreign fishing fleets in a recent blog post. Cleary's blog Fishermen's Road often condemns the mistakes made in the offshore fishery. Earlier this week, Cleary accused European nations of "having fished out/raped" the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

The post has raised a few eyebrows, particularly among women's groups, who feel the language diminishes the impact of sexual assault. Today, Cleary defended his use of the term "serial rapist" by referring to an article he wrote in 2006 that used the same term. That article, he said, was nominated for an Atlantic Journalism Award.

Now that’s sort of right but it does need a little clarification.

Cleary’s post actually made a bunch of incorrect statements about a trade deal but used the fishery as the centrepiece of his rant.  As for the rapist comment, what  Cleary actually said was:

Canada is doing a back-room deal with a group of serial rapists.

In a subsequent post, Cleary defended his use of the term saying he did the same thing in 2006 in a column at the old Spindependent that wound up getting nominated for an award. That wasn’t a justification for the factual errors just the use of the word rapist in the relation to European nations and the fishery on the Grand Banks.

Cleary defence consist of two basic points:

  • Making the same idiotic remark before makes it okay to do it again.
  • And repeating the same idiotic comment really super okay if the piece in which the idiotic remark appeared the first time wound up in some sort of award competition.

Sounds a bit like the exchange in the movie the King’s Speech, reproduced below via IMDb:

Lionel Logue: [as George "Berty" is lighting up a cigarette] Please don't do that.
King George VI: I'm sorry?
Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They're idiots.
King George VI: They've all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

There you have it.

Of course, the comments in the post are still idiotic, but that’s another story.

- srbp -


Mark said...

Fishermen in this province have fought for years to remove punitive EU tariffs on our exports. Take our shrimp for example, which the EU (at the behest of Denmark) virtually shut out of their market as a protectionist measure.

Tariffs make some aspects of foreign fishing off of our coasts marginally profitable. By enjoying a 20% price advantage, European vessels can make a go of fisheries which are not commercially viable to Canadian vessels.

On the flipside, Newfoundland isn't exactly an auto manufacturing centre, nor a producer of domestic wines. So it's not as if we have industries threatened by reduced incoming tariffs on EU goods.

Who knows - a free trade deal with Europe might actually get us better air access to that continent.

Who would have thought that Ryan Cleary would turn so quickly away from the industry and people he pretends to support in favour of regurgitating the talking points given him by Maude Barlow and the Canadian Auto Workers?

That was pretty quick.

Edward Hollett said...

The real story here is not Cleary's questionable judgment when it comes to chosing words: frankly that's a given for anyone who has read his stuff.

The real issue is how much he obviously doesn't know and how quick he was to simply focus on his own, personal agenda.