The Grapes of Wrath

Don Cherry’s Speech to Council

Actually I’m wearing pink for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything. I thought I’d get it in. What’d ya expect, Ron MacLean, here? To come here?

You know, I am befuddled, because I thought I was just doing a good thing, coming down with Ron—Rob—and I was gonna do this here, and it was gonna be nice and the whole deal.

I’ve been bein’ ripped to shreds by the left-wing pinko newspapers out there. It’s unbelievable. One guy called me a pink…a jerk in a pink suit, so I thought I’d wear that for him too, today.

You know, it’s funny. In those articles I was made fun of ’cause I go to church. I’m easy to do it that way. And I was called maudlin for the troops, because I honor the troops. This is the kinda, uh… You’re gonna be facin’, Rob, with these left-wing pinkos. They scrape the bottom of the barrel, but AGAIN, I was asked, why I was asked, and I asked Doug, “why?” And he said: “We need a famous, good-looking guy.” And I said, I’m your man, right? Right off the bat.

You know, I was asked: why, why, why [the] landslide. And I was in their corner right from the start. They phoned me. Doug phoned me, the morning. They’ll get a landslide! And why? Because Rob’s honest. He’s truthful. He’s like Julian Fantino. What you see is what you get. He’s no phony. And I could go on right now, all the millions and millions and thousands of dollars he’s gonna save and everything, but I’d just like to tell a little story that was in the Sun, I think it was in the back pages. It was just a little, little thing. And Fiona Crean, for eighteen months, has been trying to get something done with City Hall. And then the story—I think some of you know the story—that there was a little old lady and all of a sudden she got banged on the door and two guys were there and said: “We’re cutting your tree down.” You know that’s just a little thing, but to me that’s a big thing. “We’re cutting your tree down!”

And she’s, well: “I don’t want it. That’s my favourite tree. A hundred year-old…”

“No! It’s down. Cut it down.” And then they give her, send her a bill for five-thousand dollars, for cutting it down. And for eighteen months her son and Fiona were: “City Hall. City Hall. Please help us.” Thirty, forty calls. Unbelievable. Nothing. Laughed at. Rob’s the mayor one day, apology comes, and a five-thousand-dollar cheque.

And that’s why I say he’s gonna be the greatest mayor this city has ever, ever seen, as far as I’m concerned! And put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks.

Thank you very much.


Some thoughts:

  • Don Cherry did back track a little bit today.
  • Don Cherry is wealthy, and Rob Ford became wealthy at a company he inherited. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but both men need to be called on their faux-populism.
  • The day of this speech was the first time Rob Ford and Don Cherry met in person.
  • The Cold-War ended more than a decade ago. So not only is Mr. Cherry’s use of “pinko” dated, he was so unimaginative that he has to use it two times. The fact that he didn’t have the decency to break out his “Meathead-Thesaurusis what I found most insulting.
  • It was Rob Ford’s decision to invite Don Cherry to his inauguration. Ford himself actually delivered a fairly moderate speech but he set a bad tone with his choice of speaker.
  • In the National Post Tasha Kheiriddin argues that the right-wing in Canada need more “Don Cherrys.” The Conservative Party of Canada actually has a surplus of individuals who prefer yelling to rational debate so I’m inclined to disagree.
  • Was anyone really surprised that Don Cherry was so disrespectful? I didn’t lose any respect for him in the aftermath of this speech. You can’t jump out of a basement window.

5 responses to “The Grapes of Wrath

  1. I think it reflects badly on all of us that this story should have been given such prominence. It shows that in this country we got our priorities all wrong (or don’t even know what those priorities are).

    Why don’t we get front-page coverage (plus multiple pages on the inside) on health-care solutions, education, transit, etc.? I really don’t think that writing about Cherry, the way all our news media have done for the past 48 hours, is warranted and only deflects debate from the real issues (which, as usual, are being ignored).

  2. come now really, faux populism?
    I think what makes characters like Don Cherry and Rob Ford more endearing to honest hard working people is their lack of political savvy.
    That being said, he maybe came on a little too strong.

    • Deryn, you make a great point. I think that might be one area where I could be accurately described as an “elitist.” I like politicians to be naturally good at public speaking, so I am fond of populism but when it is articulated in a clear yet substantive manner. I think that the right has been owning the “I’m just like you” style of politics lately and has a centrist I could be antsy for the pendulum to swing back the other way. Though I disagree with Ford I do understand parts of his appeal. The reason I denounce Don Cherry is that I am living proof that he is wrong: I like hockey and enjoy classical music, I listed to the CBC news on the radio but I also like HIMYM, I like Tim Hortons, sports bars and fine dining. Populism left, right and centre is neutral but becomes negative when folks like Don Cherry & Stephen Harper co-opt a populist message to divide Canadians.

  3. What makes figures like deryn endearing is there lack of knowledge…. on anything.

  4. @Uranowski
    I dont attest to know as much as you about politics–and this blog of yours is absolutely terrific. My political stance may be Centre right, and didn’t really see your blog as being centrist so to speak. That being said, all i know is that if people feel that a politician can emphasize with their struggles then they assume that they can trust them. If they feel like a political entity is elitist or cannot understand their tribulations, they may dismiss their ability to govern–This is certainly true of parents and their lack of trust for the Provincial Liberals Party.

    all I said was that I think what makes characters like Don Cherry and Rob Ford more endearing to honest hard working people is their lack of political savvy.
    If that reflects a lack of knowledge of anything then I suppose you are correct :) I didn’t know that my assumption on why people may like Don Cherry and Rob ford reflected that, but you probably know best…publius.

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