Infoman drops gloves against Rick Mercer over Energy East pipeline
French and English Canada's leading satirists go head-to-head over pipeline's merits
In one corner, Rick Mercer, the silver-tongued Newfoundlander throwing jabs at Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre for his opposition to the Energy East pipeline.
In the other is Infoman, the mop-topped French-language political satirist, responding to Mercer with a few uppercuts of his own.
- Rick Mercer rants to Montreal's Denis Coderre, saying Energy East is needed
- Denis Coderre meets Justin Trudeau, says 'right balance' needed on pipeline project
Mercer's rant against Coderre earlier this week went viral as he accused the mayor of selfishly putting his city's interests ahead of Canada's.
"This is about one part of Canada trying to get their natural resources to the world market."
'I can also rant in front of graffiti'
Infoman, a.ka. Jean-René Dufort, occupies a similar position in the Quebec mediasphere as Mercer does in the rest of Canada.
And he couldn't resist dropping the gloves against his anglophone counterpart in his weekly program, broadcast on Thursday.
It wasn't us who for the past 10 years voted for a government that put all its eggs in the same basket of oil, while giving subsidies to oil companies with our money.- Infoman
"Hey Rick, I can also rant in front of graffiti," Infoman says to kick off his response.
He goes on to criticize Mercer for focusing only on what Coderre said, and failing to point out that it was 82 Montreal-area mayors who came out against the pipeline project, representing 12 per cent of Canada's population.
"That's 12 times your precious Newfoundland," says Infoman, also strutting in front of the graffitied walls of an alley.
In his rant, Mercer describes Coderre's motives for opposing the pipeline as being about money and the shortage of financial gain for the province.
Alberta put all its eggs in 'basket of oil'
Infoman invites Mercer, in turn, to conduct a thought experiment:
"Imagine your neighbour proposes running a huge pipe across your yard, reaching your neighbour on the other side, saying 'shut your mouth, I'm not giving you a cent, and if it ever leaks it will be your problem," Infoman says.
"Would you say yes? That's awfully kind of you."
Infoman also attacks Mercer's claim that in opposing the pipeline, Quebecers are getting in the way of much needed economic development for cash-strapped Alberta.
"It wasn't us who for the past 10 years voted for a government that put all its eggs in the same basket of oil, while giving subsidies to oil companies with our money," Infoman said.
He closes his rant by wondering why Quebec is catching all the flak for its misgivings over a pipeline project, when British Columbia and the United States have also rejected similar projects.
"Is our crime having said no, or having said no last?"
Toronto comedian also weighs in
Mercer's video was also fodder for Toronto comedian Scott Vrooman. Like Infoman, Vrooman found an alley with grafitti – the same used by Mercer – in which to tape a reply.
Vrooman's argument, though, is based on concern for the environment. He says Mercer gives too much weight to economic and national unity considerations.
"Chemistry doesn't care about politics," Vrooman says in his video. "Our fossil fuel economy has radically changed the atmosphere. And now the atmosphere is fighting back."
Coderre has toned down his criticism of TransCanada's proposed pipeline since joining with the Montreal-area mayors to declare their opposition.
Following a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week, Coderre called for a "balanced" decision-making process.
Several politicians and commentators have expressed concern the pipeline decision is straining national unity.