The chief’s month without food has been deﬁned as much by the ﬂurry of activity and comments made outside Spence’s teepee as anything she’s done within. As if by script, stories have abounded of people travelling from afar to meet Spence—one couple from Cape Breton drove through a crippling snowstorm for a mere 20-minute audience. Carolyn Buffalo, a former chief of Montana First Nation in Alberta, has even compared Spence to Mahatma Gandhi.
But Ms Buffalo is a former aboriginal leader. Cops looks out for one another and aboriginal chiefs, at least of a certain type, look out for one another too. Certainly a highly cynical political operator, a man who has ruthlessly taken down major party leaders, would never say anything so silly as comparing Chief Spence to the Mahatma:
If you pay any attention to conservatives, however, you would think Chief Spence is worse than Hitler, and that her hunger strike is a declaration of war. Against her, the full force of the Conservative government’s army of propagandists have been deployed. She has been called some of the most disgusting things imaginable, but she has not responded in kind. Instead, she has been almost Ghandi-like in her dignity.
Ahem. That was Warren "Kick-Ass" Kinsella. Now either we are to believe that Warren really thinks that Chief Spence is comparable to the man who forced the hand of the British Raj, and that Stephen Harper is akin to an early twentieth century viceroy, or that the man who gave us stuffed animals as a political weapon is up to his old tricks.
Those few remaining members of the Liberal Party, as opposed to ersatz "supporters," have been desperate to find a club to beat over the head of the Harper Tories. Theresa Spence serves that role quite well. Note that Thomas Mulcair has avoided meeting Chief Spence. He probably senses that this is going to be a fiasco and is keeping his distance. The Grits are so desperate that they've lost their once finely tuned political antennae.
The Gandhi meme, however, has spread beyond the confines of the professional political class. It has entered the broad sunlit uplands of Canadian Leftism. Here is a blogger over at the Huffington Post:
Hunger-striking Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence is the reincarnation of Mahatma Ghandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. She is becoming the greatest moral and political leader of our time. In fact, Chief Theresa Spence's courage and sacrifice already eclipses that of South Africa's globally-celebrated anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela.
The rest of the piece explains how Chief Spence is morally superior to Nelson Mandela. Not to be outdone the Toronto Star's ethics columnist, yes such a thing exists, defends the Chief's pseudo-hunger strike:
In a context where leadership is embodied by the tawdry likes of Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty and Rob Ford, it’s hard to remember a day when acting sacrificially on behalf of your people was considered noble. And, in those halcyon days, sacrificial living sometimes, sadly, meant giving up your life. Names like King, Gandhi, Riel, Jesus the Nazarene, Mandela come to mind, among others.
None of these set out to “commit suicide,” nor, I suspect, did Spence. There’s an enormous difference between taking your own life because living is unbearable and being willing to give up the life you love for the sake of those you love even more. Canadian soldiers in the Great Wars understood that difference, and I suspect Theresa Spence does, too.
Impressive. A woman who mismanaged millions of dollars, while the people she is meant to serve live in dilapidated housing, is compared to MLK, Gandhi, Jesus and Canadian soldiers in the two world wars. Whatever your creed or allegiance, here is two paragraphs worth of blasphemy.
What explains such incredible deference toward a woman who is either grossly incompetent, or perhaps even a outright fraudster? Partly this is our old friend white liberal guilt. By genuflecting toward Chief Spence the Left is able to help expiate the collective sins of western civilization. It being understood that only western civilization has generated sin in detectable quantities. Evil, as you may recall, was invented in Ancient Greece by old white men eager to control the rest of the world.
The cynical, like the deadenders of the Liberal Party of Canada, are simply using Spence and the club of white liberal guilt to enhance their prestige at the expense of the governing Conservatives. It's a short-term political game. By mid-February the Grits will be back to asking Justin Trudeau about his hair products. The MSM, which has behaved relatively well in the last week or so, will in time return to the theme of how all the problems in the world exist because the federal government of Canada doesn't spend enough money. It's not true and it's hack journalism, but it's easier than real work.
The over the top comparisons to famous historical figures is, however, more than just hyperbole. It's a sign of disconnection. Canada has been a rich and free country for so long we often lose perspective. Tiny transgressions are elevated to moral and political crises. Canada is nothing like Apartheid South Africa. Any member of any aboriginal reserve is legally free to leave and join the rest of Canadian society, where their corrupt chiefs have not a whit of legitimate power over them. The aboriginal reserve system is nothing like the British Raj. For one thing actual Indians were allowed to own land. For another had the British Empire been run is so spendthrift and incompetent a manner as the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, it would have gone bust before Robert Clive arrived in Madras.
As for Gandhi? Here is some background material that challenges the accepted mythology. After reading the article perhaps you'll think that Theresa Spence really is morally superior to Gandhi. Which is damning by the faintest of praise.