It was fun watching them try to stretch a three minute ceremony out to a full hour last night. It hadn’t been terribly well rehearsed, and at one point Sean Majumder came down, kicked three of the celebrity advocates off the stage, and proceeded to kill sixty seconds by rambling incoherently. Anyhoo, some thoughts:
1. The fact that Tommy Douglas won is a bit of a shock. He isn’t even the greatest Saskatchewanian, for crying out loud. But
2. It is hard to take seriously a poll that put eco-pornographer David Suzuki in fifth place. That is totally insane — he’s not even the greatest part-time employee of the CBC. Still
3. The fact that he was even in the top thousand, let alone the top ten, should have been a warning about the political biases of CBC viewers. Unfortunately
4. The crowning of Tommy Douglas confirms their rather bizarre fetishization of Canada’s health care system. The Canada Health Act was only twenty years old when The Headwaiter killed it this summer, and the elevation of the programme’s (extremely) nominal founder to the status of Greatest Canadian simply underlines the fact that English Canada (and this was an English Canadian excercise) has absolutely no coherent political identity and little sense of its own history. Otherwise, MacDonald would have been in the top three, at least.
No wonder the country is such a mess. Of course
5. We could always blame everything on the obsolete, undemocratic, and unrepresentative first-past-the-post voting system which enabled Mr. Douglas to win the title of “Greatest Canadian” while winning what I’m guessing is somewhere between 15% and 20% of the vote.
Best line of the night went to Rex Murphy. When George Stroumboulopoulos argued that Douglas was the source of Trudeau’s ideas, Rex said:
“There is a difference between the fertilizer and the tree.”