Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's July...

...which means the bar for what constitutes a scandal has been set fairly low. So, with that in mind, let's take a look at the two scandlettes making news this week.

First up:

Minister of State for Tourism Diane Ablonczy is no longer responsible for the delivery of a key tourism stimulus package, and one of her caucus colleagues says it's because her office gave some of the money to a gay pride parade.

Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost, a fellow Conservative, told the anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews that Ablonczy was being punished for the decision to give $400,000 from the Marquee Tourism Events Program to Toronto's Pride Parade, which was held this year on June 28.

Trost was quoted as calling it "a very isolated decision" that was not supported "by a large majority of the MPs."


If I ever decide to write down my own set of "political rules", one would be that when a Tory MP you've never heard of is talking to an anti-abortion website, you kind of know it's going to be a bad news story for the Conservatives.

Our second scandlette is what I hope gets dubbed "the wafer waffle", but it will probably become known as some god-awful (no pun intended) "gate" scandal:

OTTAWA — A spokesman for Stephen Harper says the prime minister did not pocket a communion wafer given to him by a Roman Catholic priest at a funeral in New Brunswick last week.

The prime minister is under fire from a senior priest in the province who has demanded an explanation about what happened to the wafer, which is supposed to be swallowed.

Spokesman Dimitri Soudas says Harper accepted the wafer offered to him at the funeral of former governor general Romeo LeBlanc and then swallowed it.

Msgr. Brian Henneberry, vicar general and chancellor in the Diocese of Saint John in New Brunswick, says it was unclear what happened to the wafer - and says it would be scandalous if the prime minister put it in his pocket.

A
video posted YouTube shows Harper taking the host, but does not show him swallowing it afterward.

I have to confess, this one doesn't really bother me (but, then again, I'm not Catholic). I mean, it's obvious that Harper wasn't trying to intentionally snub anyone...to suggest otherwise is kind of silly. It's easy to flub the proper protocol from time to time - let's just cut the guy some slack and move on.

No, of the two, I think the fiasco surrounding the pride parade is more telling. It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that there's some hostility towards the gay community in the Tory caucus, but to punish a Minister for appearing somewhat supportive? That's weak.

22 Comments:

  • I'm a lapsed Catholic, so let me try and provide some insight.

    THere is a belief in the Catholic church called transsubstantiation. I'm probably spelling that wrong. The belief is essentially that as a result of the religious ceremony performed over the bread and wine, they become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

    Not that they represent, or symbolize the body and blood, but actually ARE the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

    In my experience, very few Catholics actually believe this. But they all know that they're supposed to.

    So that may help some people understand why it would seem important to some people that he not put the wafer in his pocket. To do so would be to place the flesh of god in the same place that you would put your gum, or your crumpled debit machine receipt.

    That may not make any more sense than some sort of snub, but I'd say it's more accurate.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 7:37 PM  

  • How is it more offensive to put the body of Christ in your pocket (a very nice suit pocket I might add), than to put it in your mouth (where you would also put your gum)?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 PM  

  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those who offer a Catholic communion only supposed to give them to Catholics anyways?

    So would it be deemed a scandal if Harper had instead declined to take the communion? Or could it be considered disrespectful if he had taken it?

    This is why I-as an agnostic on the best of days-generally dislike attending weddings, funerals and all other religious ceremonies. Too many rules and too much worrying over screwing them up and causing awkward situations.

    By Blogger PegsPirate, at 9:04 PM  

  • Communion is officially only offered to Roman Catholics in Roman Catholic Churches, or to members of churches in communion with the Protestant denomination in which it is provided (so a Baptist from a branch of the Baptist church accepted by the Anglican church could take communion in an Anglican church, but not, say, a Mormon).

    Practice, of course, is more complicated. Communion is supposed to be taken seriously, but it is also not now generally a tool of division. In the living memory of people with whom I have spoken, children in Catholic schools in Newfoundland were taught that they should stay outside in a blizzard rather than go into a Protestant church, while it was an adventure for many Protestants to enter a Catholic church - those divisions haven't vanished, but they are nothing like they used to be. Rules about communion have not vanished, but they usually are not enforced quite as strictly, and at times are not enforced at all.

    Just about all of us have been involved n a religious ceremony to which we are not quite accustomed, have been nervous about doing something wrong, and have acted slightly incorrectly (as Harper obviously did). I think most will feel sympathetic (I have, I am sure, insulted Buddha, Vishnu, and Jesus in many Christian denominations. I haven't yet had the opportunity to act incorrectly in a synagogue or mosque.) Only the most dogmatic person would make a big deal about a mistake, even if the body of Christ is thought to be involved.

    By Blogger Nitangae, at 10:11 PM  

  • I'm PISSED that "Harper vs. the Catholics" has 300+ articles associated with it on google news... the fact that the Conservative government demoted a cabinet minister because she gave sponsorship money to Toronto PRIDE... how do Catholics have outrage left over... the Toronto PRIDE issue only has like 100+ related articles on google news... it's offensive to anyone that isn't totally right wing who pays taxes in this country... the Conservatives donated $2 million from the same fund to The Calgary Stampede (a festival that's basically the same size)... I have a REAL problem with our government avoiding spending any of our collective tax dollars on gay people... and a festival that draws in like $80 million dollars for the city of Toronto.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 11:48 PM  

  • "That's weak."

    No, using LeBlanc's funeral to launch this ugly attack is weak. Disgusting, and I have a strong stomach. Turns out it's bogus, Noel Kinsella saw him eat the wafer thingie.


    What isn't weak is what our response to this ugliness will be. The Liberals are simply too ugly, too vicious, to divisive, too nasty, too meanspirited, too snarky, too catty, too....you get the picture, we're going to f*cking slaughter you next election.

    It will be like 2006 again, Dan, remember when everyone was embarrassed to be a Liberal? The Liberal blogroll barely existed because it was shameful to be a Liberal? You were using a fake pornstar name and not disclosing your LPC ties? Yeah, it's going to be like that again, the warpaint is on, dirty dirty vicious little man.

    Liberals: Too Ugly, Too Nasty. Vote Conservative. That's going to be our angle, and this time we're going to bury your party and let the NDP take over. You're not liberals, anyway.

    Still can't believe you pigs pulled that stunt AT A F*CKING GOVERNOR GENERAL'S FUNERAL!!!!

    It raises serious, legitimate questions if Liberals have the ethical necessities to return to power, and that is putting it mildly.

    A funeral! For a GG! You filthy, filthy bastards! Dead! Your party is dead! We will slaughter you!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 AM  

  • Let's talk turkey. Mr. PM, what are your demands for the hostage? Have to question the timing, the one week I wouldn't expect such. I'm not religious but I respect Jesus (it is the value placed on other writers where I differ from RC Church).
    Want me not to question AB firing leading epidemiologist before fall Swine Flu spike? Not suggest using tailing ponds anti-bird tech to help the world socially distance birds from pig farms as 2nd stimulus round?
    U already killed the transfer of wealth to toddlers for daycare, to carbon tax for future global generations, and taxes that would've deflated bubble and halved CPC deficits; Canadian middle class is hollowing out just like USA under Reagan.
    What are your demands?! This isn't some sort of sick Arar pointless torture replay is it?

    Need a hug? People will hug you if you lose the itchy sweater.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 7:58 AM  

  • Anonymous (attacking Calgarygrit for not using real name?!), Harper lied about giving Cadman a deal, tapes prove. Don't get too high and mighty here. Under RC custom, a proper desecration ceremony is the way to resolve this if Harper would just reveal where he has kept Jesus hostage or when he ate the wafer. Harper and his PR people lie about everything. If it is on the ground or in the garbage or in a washing machine, let's recovery it to put this to rest. It shouldn't take an atheist to do the right thing.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 8:11 AM  

  • Doesn't everyone love anonymous posters attacking someone else for formerly writing anonymously?

    By Blogger UWHabs, at 9:57 AM  

  • Personally, I think the Annonymous poster at 2:17 is Pierre Poilievre. It just has that certain flying and spraying spittle outrage he does so well.

    By Blogger Torybaiter, at 10:13 AM  

  • It's amusing reading the outrage over the $400,000 given to the gay pride event. Some seem to forget that Toronto Gay Pride attracts 1.1 million people and generates $80 million in revenue of which the 5% GST take that goes back to the federal government would be $4 million. So the feds are getting $10 in return for every dollar spent.

    As for communiongate, the fault clearly lies with the church who hosted the event. They knew this was going to be an event with non-Catholics and non-Christians who would not have been aware of the rules. My Anglican Church puts the notice in the service bulleting: "All Baptized Christians are welcome to receive the bread and wine. Others may come forth for a blessing." and the priest say something similar just before communion is distributed. If this RCC church had done the same, this never would have been an issue.

    By Blogger toujoursdan, at 2:12 PM  

  • Gauntlet, if you are misspelling, quick, apply for a job at the White House. (see Drudge)

    By Blogger maryT, at 7:12 PM  

  • So that may help some people understand why it would seem important to some people that he not put the wafer in his pocket. To do so would be to place the flesh of god in the same place that you would put your gum, or your crumpled debit machine receipt.

    Ummmmmm.... so what?

    I don't give a donut hole if someone blows their nose with the Koran or Torah or Superman #1 (well, maybe I'd offer ten bucks for Superman #1 before they did so)

    I'm surprised how many religious people really think that the rest of the world needs to stop and learn their private protocols for acceptable manners.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 7:38 PM  

  • Not that Gauntlet has expressed outrage - I quoted him but did not intend my statement towards him personally; I'm referring to Msgr. Henneberry et al.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 7:40 PM  

  • "No, using LeBlanc's funeral to launch this ugly attack is weak. Disgusting, and I have a strong stomach. Turns out it's bogus, Noel Kinsella saw him eat the wafer thingie."

    Anyone who wades into this is sick. Me on other hand...

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 9:29 PM  

  • And Trost continues the story http://www2.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/third_page/story.html?id=9cb990e5-da08-4b9c-a6b1-1dff9943f901

    I have never heard of a backbench MP talking to the media about the demotion of a Minister and expecting individuals to think he was not attacking said Minister.
    Then interfering with a reporters recording device? Trost seems to want to continue what has likely been a bad week.

    By Blogger Roy, at 11:16 AM  

  • It's amusing reading the outrage over the $400,000 given to the gay pride event. Some seem to forget that Toronto Gay Pride attracts 1.1 million people and generates $80 million in revenue of which the 5% GST take that goes back to the federal government would be $4 million. So the feds are getting $10 in return for every dollar spent.

    That's a goofy analysis. You're assuming that without this $400k, the Pride festival would be shut down.

    It's a lot like the arts subsidy flap from the last election, where those with a vested interest in them claimed that Harper's marginal "cuts" (actually just moving the money around, but anyway...) were going to somehow destroy the entire Canadian arts scene.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 4:52 AM  

  • RE: The Invisible Hand...

    "That's a goofy analysis. You're assuming that without this $400k, the Pride festival would be shut down."

    So now the government should only support things that are total money losers like GM ???

    This article puts the government tax revenue generated by PRIDE at $18 million...

    http://www2.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/columnists/story.html?id=72fe316d-9b18-42a0-a731-bbb2455e3095

    It isn't often that the government can earn almost $50 per dollar spent AND support local businesses during a recession at the same time.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 11:41 AM  

  • So now the government should only support things that are total money losers like GM ???

    No, they shouldn't support those, either. :)

    This article puts the government tax revenue generated by PRIDE at $18 million...

    It isn't often that the government can earn almost $50 per dollar spent AND support local businesses during a recession at the same time.


    *sigh* You are still using the exact same "goofy analysis" I complained about above. The only way to calculate a 4500% profit margin from those figures is to make the totally ridiculous assumption that the festival couldn't survive without it.

    Let's face it: not getting the $400k would have made little or no difference to the festival. And even if it did, the local businesses who share in the $100 million pie would have been more than willing to chip in that 0.4%.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 12:26 PM  

  • The Invisible Hand said...

    "Let's face it: not getting the $400k would have made little or no difference to the festival. And even if it did, the local businesses who share in the $100 million pie would have been more than willing to chip in that 0.4%."

    Ah so the gov should simply pocket the biggest share by any individual entity and provide zero support?

    There are SO many reasons for government to support festivals in addition to the increased tax revenue that more than covers their donation.

    It's hilarious how Conservatives are trying to make this a "the gov shouldn't support any festivals" issue... if they gave nothing to PRIDE but the Calgary Stampede still got $2 million this year there wouldn't be one Conservative out there giving a damn.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 2:32 PM  

  • Ah so the gov should simply pocket the biggest share by any individual entity and provide zero support?

    Why not? That's how governments normally operate. ;)

    There are SO many reasons for government to support festivals in addition to the increased tax revenue that more than covers their donation.

    1) Such as?
    2) You have yet to present any evidence that the $400k subsidy did anything to increase the government's tax revenues, above what they would have made from the festival anyway.

    It's hilarious how Conservatives are trying to make this a "the gov shouldn't support any festivals" issue... if they gave nothing to PRIDE but the Calgary Stampede still got $2 million this year there wouldn't be one Conservative out there giving a damn.

    I don't see any reason why the gov't needs to subsidize the Calgary Stampede, either. Both it and Gay Pride Week are plently popular and strong enough to survive on their own.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 8:41 PM  

  • -- Ah so the gov should simply pocket the biggest share by any individual entity and provide zero support?

    "Why not? That's how governments normally operate. ;)"

    I don't know... maybe the million people who participate in the event... hundreds of thousands of which pay taxes in this country... want their government to support it with a tiny fraction of the tax dollars that they get back.

    The larger festivals like Toronto PRIDE could do without gov funding some years... but don't fool yourself into thinking that's always the case.

    -- There are SO many reasons for government to support festivals in addition to the increased tax revenue that more than covers their donation.

    "1) Such as?
    2) You have yet to present any evidence that the $400k subsidy did anything to increase the government's tax revenues, above what they would have made from the festival anyway."

    Such as... all of the revenue generated for thousands of local businesses and providing a world class festival for the city which it can use in distinguishing itself worldwide.

    "I don't see any reason why the gov't needs to subsidize the Calgary Stampede, either. Both it and Gay Pride Week are plently popular and strong enough to survive on their own."

    Well maybe you should start volunteering for the various festival committees... I'm sure they would all gladly accept someone who can run the show without any government money... it's probably a pain in the ass to apply for it anyways.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 8:54 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home