What defines a sore loser? In a game of chess, the loss of a few crucial pieces can spell disaster; the sore loser reacts by slamming their hands down, flipping the table and storming off, shouting obscenities.
While I’m certain the initial reaction to Trudeau’s majority wasn’t devoid of vulgarities, pretending that Harper and his party didn’t "take a knee" and lose with dignity is a fiction lifted straight from the same novel that labeled election day a “crushing defeat” for the Conservatives.
Recently, a narrative has emerged, painting the Conservative Party as a bunch of bitter gadflies, whining about their opposition status, constantly complaining about all the "wonderful" things they're told the Trudeau government is pursuing.
Matt Gurney, for example, just wrote a piece denouncing the Conservatives for continuing to refer to the Prime Minister as “Justin," instead of “Prime Minister Trudeau." He pushes the idea that the Conservative Party is in complete and utter denial, and that the mere sight of Trudeau on the government side of the House is enough to make poor Jason Kenny’s head explode.
This is where I ask Mr. Gurney:
Where have you been for the past 9 years?
I understand that the cool thing for these “proper” conservative figureheads to do these days is harp on about how much they don’t like the Conservative Party anymore. They rely on the usual accusations, bashing the party’s attitude/divisiveness/anger or whatever lame, pretentious indictment has been cooked up by the Liberal talking point machine.
It’s a Red Tory’s dream, to finally be able to mock the “hard-right/ Reform Party resurgence” (as the Left so flippantly and frequently labeled Harper’s government.)
Certain conservative media elites in Canada, hypnotized by their own self-importance, enjoy ransacking the only party representing their supposed philosophy. There’s an alluring feeling of daring rebellion one can get from being an outcast, but once the number of party pessimists gets to be this large, you don’t get to act like an outsider, because you’ve built your own clubhouse.
The Conservative party has offered Trudeau the precise level of respect he’s demanded from the public. From holding a “Ladies Night” for his fangirls, to posing for selfies outside funerals, he’s always been more of a celebrity than a prime minister. The Conservatives call him "Justin" on social media, as a snarky way of mocking his "glamourous" persona. I can assure you, the ordinary party faithful don’t mind, and it’s probably helped raise a few dollars.
But during Question Period, Trudeau is always referred to as “Prime Minister,” without exception.
If Twitter was supposed to be a bastion of civil, polite, and reasonable discourse, then I’m sorry to say, its 232 million users have been doing it wrong for quite some time.
But have we already forgotten the political culture of Canada for the past decade, all those leftist agitators, accusing the Harper government of everything from Nazism to genocide to global environmental catastrophe? Yet somehow, that’s considered reasonable, respectful discourse? We just witnessed a campaign where the Conservative party was painted as anti-Muslim, anti-Native, racist, bigoted ogres. Are those same MPs suddenly supposed to turn around and offer their kindest of words to their accusers?
Gurney himself mentions this in his piece. He says:
When right-leaning parties are in power, don’t default to calling the Prime Minister a Nazi or Hitler clone or fascist more generally. Just call them “Prime Minister (Insert Name Here). If the NDP ever win, by the same token, don’t call their leader a communist. For the love of God, you people, stop calling the current Prime Minister “Justine.”
It’s a remarkable feat in false equivalency, which reveals both the superior character of conservatives and the pettiness of this complaint.
Trudeau being referred to by his name, is not the same as calling conservatives fascists or Nazis. The fact that this argument even has to be made is staggering.
If the Conservative Party was interested in being sore losers, they could have easily done what some in the party were hoping for. They could have filled up the Senate with more conservative bag men in the dying days of the election, or even after the election. That would be the equivalent of flipping the table.
But that’s not what happened. From Harper’s election night speech until now, conservatives have continued to hit above the belt, just like they did for their nine years in office.