Shutting The F**k Up

May 10, 2010
I am taking the liberty of speaking up even though I am not an official contributor to this august site. I consider myself a sort of ‘distant cousin’ to Acaphlegmic though there is no genealogical connection. Our fathers served in the Canadian Armed Forces together and the families have been tight friends ever since. Acaphlegmic (I call him Ak) and I hung out together as army brats on various military bases across the country flaunting our long greasy hair, headbands and ripped jeans to celebrate our sense of individualism in the constant sea of blue and green uniforms that surrounded us. Though we lost touch by attending universities on opposite sides of the country and becoming immersed in other people and interests, we now frequently touch base to see how each other is faring. Often fuelled by a few pints (ok, lots of pints) we routinely immerse ourselves in long-winded conversations covering a plethora of subjects long into the night.

So it was last night as well. We were discussing his upcoming responsibilities as chief blogger, caretaker and bottle washer at All Fired Up In The Big Smoke. As I complimented him on the fine work he and the other two contributors were doing and how readership numbers were on the increase because of it, he started twitching and looking quite uneasy. Suddenly, he bolted from the bar. Before exiting The Painted Lady where we had just enjoyed a couple of their tasty pulled pork sandwiches and some cold ones, he threw me the office keys. Yelling that the Toronto G20 summit demonstration organizers were in desperate need of his strategy prowess, he told me to “keep an eye on things” until his two cohorts returned from their travels abroad. I have not seen or heard of since and all cell phone messages and texts remain unanswered. Not that faithful readers of this site will be surprised by this as Ak’s unpredictable behaviour and antics have been noted here before.

Thinking with a heavy sigh that maybe I should have shut the f**k up about how much I enjoy reading this blog, my thoughts led me to recent political incidents where in one way or another shutting the f**k up is a major theme.

The cause of my musings is that of Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth’s advice to several women’s groups to “shut the f**k up” during recent discussions about the federal government’s G8 maternal health initiative. The plan calls for increased attention on nutrition issues and health-care in the developing world. Controversy arose when the plan also proposed to fund family planning measures such as contraception but not abortion under any circumstances. The sage advice was given by Ruth when understandably women’s groups opposed the draconian measure. Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae later advised his fellow members of parliament during Question Period, “If you have a disagreement with the government, just shut the F up”. Hmmm, perhaps Nancy Ruth and the federal Conservative government feel that democratic principles such as freedom of speech and holding our politicians accountable for their policy initiatives are outdated and that we the people should just shut the f**k up and accept whatever measures they wish to dish out, no matter how unacceptable they may be?

It seems however that Toronto mayor and Transit City champion David Miller won’t shut the f**k up despite Ontario Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne’s suggestion he tone down his recent complaints regarding Metrolinx’s latest proposition. Metrolinx, the province’s transit planning agency, wishes to save an estimated $4 billion by serving up a delayed and truncated version of Transit City, namely 22km shorter and with 26 fewer stops than was originally planned. Miller feels that Dalton and his side-kick Wynne reneging on the original announcements made in regards to Transit City is unacceptable. Despite Wynne’s threats of stopping the entire initiative if Miller keeps raising opposition to the revised proposal, I expect our David will not shut the f**k up in his ongoing fight against this city’s Goliath, the provincial government.

When I read about mayoral candidate Rob Ford’s recent chastisement by Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper, it seemed to me that Ford should follow Nancy Ruth’s advice. This would have stopped him from committing his fourth integrity breach as councillor. Details of the incident and the resultant ruling by Leiper are outlined in Urban Sophisticat’s May 6th posting on this site . However, given his past vocal blunderings both as councillor and during this mayoralty race, I am sure Rob Ford has no intention of shutting the f**k up any time soon.

And as long as our politicians and leaders at all levels turn a deaf ear to our democratic rights as a citizenry to voice our political concerns and demands for better governance, neither do we.

– Vocally and pictorial-adversely submitted by Distant Cousin