Brendan Steven’s column “Right Minded: Defending Prorogation” is a good example of the limited nature of Steven’s political opinions. His blind reverence for everything the Harper government does is demonstrative of the same sort of extremeness that he attempts to delegitimize in his column. The way Steven describes the “grassroots” opposition to prorogation seems to assume that such a position is exclusively held in the domain of Facebook. Steven describes examples of the very extreme opposition to Harper in the anti-prorogue Facebook group, highlighting some of the most innane anti-Harper positions (that he is a kitten killer, for example). By addressing only extreme and irrelevant opposition to Harper’s prorogation of the government, Steven doesn’t do the issue justice. It is a fundamental problem that Harper found it appropriate to suspend parliament as he found it convenient; it is demonstrative of the kind of politics he is prone to: settling on convenient absence rather than thoughtful political action. Rather, Steven deemphasizes the problem, reminding us that the prorogue will last “only two months.” Furthermore, Steven attacks the notion of political activism made easier by Facebook. Does this not reflect a healthy democracy? Our opinions can be broadcast more easily than ever, and their weight is strong enough to be detected by traditional media, as Steven has mentioned. Sure, this makes it easier for irrelevant and extreme comments to mindlessly be published, but can’t we apply the same criticism to many newspaper columns that use the same degree of extremism, thinly veiled in academic rhetoric and neat typeface?
I am writing in response to the December 5, 2018, Tribune article