Beaver contest names Pierre Trudeau as "worst Canadian"
How else to explain that a venture that expected to find utter scoundrels from throughout Canadian history resulted in readers voting former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau number one, well ahead of serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. And musician Chris Hannah managed in his publicity campaign to get his fans to write him in, coming just behind Trudeau. Anti-abortion campaigners clearly seized the opportunity to write in Dr. Henry Morgentaler high up on the list.
The sound of axes grinding is almost deafening.
Of the 15,000 write-in, online "people's choice" votes, the top 10 included four prime ministers (two Liberal and two Conservative). Here's the list:
- Pierre Trudeau
- Chris Hannah
- Henry Morgentaler
- Brian Mulroney
- Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka
- Stephen Harper
- Céline Dion
- Jean Chrétien
- Clifford Olson
- Conrad Black
The actual tally and profiles of the top 10 are available only in the print issue, on newsstands and delivered to subscribers today.
By stark contrast to the write-in votes, a panel of 10 eminent historians picked a much different list; although it, too, contained prime ministers:
Prime ministers John Diefenbaker and Sir John A. Macdonald; military leaders John Reiffenstein and Sam Hughes; notorious Japanese army torturer Inouye Kanao, a.k.a. “The Kamloops Kid”; Indian policy administrators Duncan Campbell Scott and Joseph Trutch; Nazi Party of Canada founder Adrien Arcand; Winnipeg Daily Times journalist Edward Farrer, cited for racist writings against the French and Catholics, and media magnate Lord Beaverbrook.
A story in yesterday's Toronto Star, said the whole idea of the contest did not go down well with everyone, particularly Rudyard Griffiths, the co-founder of the Dominion Institute, a foundation devoted to promoting and celebrating Canadian history.
Mark Reid, editor of The Beaver noted “voters generally disliked Canadians who – in their view – turned their backs on by rejecting their citizenship or moving elsewhere to seek fame and fortune. Voters also disliked Canadians who – they believed – sold out our sports teams, businesses, or cultural institutions to foreign interests, thereby diminishing our collective national identity.” Canada
"In typical Canadian fashion, given the opportunity to put on the proverbial hair shirt, we've seized it....I'm sure there's no shortage of incompetent and venal acts throughout Canadian history, but what does this really accomplish?"