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Channelling the U.S.

When Stephen Harper let slip recently that he doesn’t watch Canadian TVnews but it’s his “hobby” to watch U.S. TV news, it set off a furor,mostly on Canadian TV news. Although it did make page 8 of the New YorkTimes.

When Stephen Harper let slip recently that he doesn’t watch Canadian TV news but it’s his “hobby” to watch U.S. TV news, it set off a furor, mostly on Canadian TV news. Although it did make page 8 of the New York Times.

Enemy politicians jumped all over the opportunity for a sound bite like fleas on a dog. Jack Layton said Canadians “should be concerned.” Bob Rae? He was “shocked,” etc.

Michael Ignatieff wasn’t available for comment. He was busy shooting his latest segment on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, that Canadian knock-off of an American news parody, only starring perky, colourful comedians from Newfoundland. When you’re No. 2 and fading, you learn to love Canadian TV news, perky Newfoundlanders included.

Does it really matter if Stephen Harper prefers Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly on Fox to Peter Mansbridge at CBC or Lloyd Roberston at CTV? Well, yeah, it does, a bit.

This is typical Harper. There’s a nyah-nyah quality to a lot of his discourse, especially the unscripted stuff. He likes to come across as untouchable and in this case, he would rather watch the wrong country’s newscasts than get caught with his nose pressed to the glass here at home.

Frankly, he’s not much different than a lot of other Canadians who find the U.S. more fascinating than the Great Lite North. If I could follow the fortunes of Barack Obama or Stephen Harper, which one would I choose?

Wait a minute, I have that choice.

I admit to watching CNN, which is way ahead of even the new, improved CBC News. They’ve got The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer! They’ve got holograms! They’ve got Anderson Cooper 360. They’ve got Louuuuu Dobbs!

But then, I also watch Canadian TV news. Not just a mere source of information, it is the daily chronicle of our nation, our home. More than that, Canadian TV news is the mirror we hold up to ourselves. It is how we recognize ourselves.

That’s why it seems a bit cold for Stephen Harper to avert his gaze, whatever his reason, and turn his attention south. It would be nice if he showed some interest, now and then. If he pretended to care instead of pretending not to care.

But as my grandmother used to say, I should save my breath to cool my porridge. He’s not going to read this piece anyway. Right, Steve?

 
 
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