In today's National Post, columnist Lorne Gunter offers Halton Conservative-turned-Liberal MP Garth Turner some very simple advice:
"When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
Following his 3 July blog post in which he mused about Quebecois and Albertan separatists and subsequent chewing out by Liberal leader Stephane Dion, the specious hits just keep on coming.
Today, it has (seemingly) culminated in a rather odd excuse for an apology:
"I apologize.So, after all the turmoil that has overtaken Turner and his politial career over the last several days, the best he can seem to offer, like a petulant 10-year-old, "I'm sorry... that you're such a jerk".
More specifically, I would like to express my regret, and say that I am sorry,
• that I made Dion’s trip to Alberta more difficult. He didn’t need it. He’s a good man
• that we now live in a country where you cannot call separatists, losers
• that I learned the French words for, well, never mind
• that a bunch of people in the West can’t get over a 28-year-old policy and a dead prime minister. What a burden to carry around
• that I had impure thoughts about Ezra Levant. And Lorne Gunter. Dave Rutherford. John Gormley. The Flames.
• that we burned electrons and felled trees to discuss this, rather than the economy or the environment
• that my words were as intemperate as they were heartfelt. I must watch that
• that we can’t discuss climate change any more without talking about money
• that so many people say they hate where I live
• that the country’s divided
• that I made it moreso. And,
• that a member of Parliament, speaking out, is news."
It really casts new light on the title of Gunter's column.
But once again, it provides us with a unique window into the inner workings of Turner's mind:
-Stephane Dion is an absolutely dandy guy.
-Separatists are such whiners!
-People are swearing at me in French!
-Albertans are such whiners!
-Ezra Levant, Lorne Gunter, Dave Rutherford, John Gormley and the Flames' mamas.
-I wish people would stop talking about it.
-I meant what said. So what if I can't defend it?
-Climate change, climate change, climate change. Screw the economy.
-I'm making Halton rather unpopular...
-I think the country is divided,
-...And I'm not embarrassed to make it moreso, if I can benefit politically from it.
-Wait... MPs get paid to be jerks... don't we?
Most of these little thought bubbles are certainly less than malign, and largely more than a little meaningless.
But only Garth Turner could look at the current state of Canada and see a country divided. As previously noted, separatism in Alberta -- never a terribly potent force -- is as much an afterthought as it has ever been. Separatism has been so effectively managed in Quebec that the Parti Quebecois and Bloc Quebecois are both putting off any thoughts of another "sovereigty association" referendum in to the far, far distant future.
While there remains the same minor partisan divisions among Canadians, this is no different than it's ever been. The future of the country is hardly at stake.
Except in the mind of Garth Turner. So much so that Stephane Dion, the alleged hero of the struggle against the disciples of Rene Levesque, Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Parizeau needs to go stand up to Albertans before the grudge they harbour over the National Energy Program bubbles over into outright separatism.
We could eliminate our need for energy produced by fossil fuels if only Canadians could harness the energy of eyes rolling from coast to coast.
So, as Turner continues to stew ingloriously in his own juices, one thing becomes immediately apparent: it really does seem that Garth and his blog just can't seem to keep themselves out of trouble.
When Turner got kicked out of the Conservative party caucus, it was ultimately his blogging that was to blame.
Now, his blogging has gotten him into trouble again.
It's impossible to overlook the recurrent theme.
Lorne Gunter likely doesn't expect Turner to stop digging his hole deeper. He's already dug himself out of the government caucus, into opposition, into the Opposition Leader's bad books, and god only knows where next.
At least it makes for good entertainment.