08 March 2010

The Conservative Authors Meet

The air is heavy with "Canadian" topics,
And Smith, Harper, Gingrich, Vitter, Beck,
Are measured for their faith in Reaganomics,
Their zeal for self and God, their unglued dreck.

With apologies to F.R. Scott
A few final thoughts on writer Sarah Palin's visit to Calgary. Organizers tinePublic Inc billed the event as the former governor's first talk outside the United States. This wasn't at all true – just last September she delivered an 80-minute speech at the CLSA Asia Pacific Markets Forum in Hong Kong. Nor was it right to advertise that Pamela Wallin would serve as the "moderator" of a "Q&A session". The senator was the only person accorded the privilege of asking questions. In short, she was an interviewer, not a moderator... and the "Q&A session" was what we sticklers refer to as an "interview".

Their little chat took place after Palin had delivered a rambling speech in which she'd played up the "special bond" between Alaskans and Canadians, including our shared "love of good hunting and good fishing". On a more personal note, she revealed that two great-grandfathers had been born in Canada and expressed heartfelt thanks to Calgary-based TransCanada for bidding on the Alaska Pipeline Project. In this effort to ingratiate, Palin stumbled only once, asking the audience of 1200 for a show of hands by "those of you who have helped secure this continent and served your country so honorably in uniform". Not one was raised. Never mind, this revelation did not prevent Palin from expressing her appreciation of Canada:
My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not – this was in the 'sixties – we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn’t that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada.
Palin's only reference to health care, it caught the attention of a number of journalists, but not the seasoned Pamela Wallin, who never thought to ask how the story fit in with the former governor's harsh dismissal of Canada's medical care. But then the senator is no longer a journalist; her role was to lob easy questions as Stockwell Day, Rob Anders and Lee Richardson looked on.

She has adapted well.

Update: Calgary Herald reporter Jason Markusoff has found a contradictory account of accident-prone brother Chuck Heath, Jr's treatment; this one involving a slow ferry to Juneau.

1 comment:

  1. If my civilised upbringing had not kept me away from politics, these blog posts would do the job: I would truly not want to be on the receiving end of these barbs. But boy are they ever fun to read.