The audience strikes back -- and they're right!
Two great things happened in two of my essays last week.
Both contained small, but nevertheless, important errors of fact which I should have caught before they went up on line. To be clear, those two errors were not the two things that were "great." No, what was "great" was that both mistakes were caught by "Inside The News" followers. And quickly.
First it was noticed (by jdkyte in Halifax) that I'd said that in 1896, Sir Charles Tupper was the "only" premier to become prime minister. Wrong. Instead he was the last premier to become prime minister. Sir John Sparrow David Thompson had also been premier of Nova Scotia before serving as prime minister for the last two years of his life (1892-1894).
Second, it was noticed (by Wayne Black in Markham, Ontario) that I'd said Lester Pearson won his Nobel prize while serving in cabinet in 1957. Wrong again. He had been in cabinet in 1957, but the St. Laurent government was defeated by John Diefenbaker a few months before Pearson won his Peace Prize.
I got other emails on my essays this week, including this one from my good friend and colleague Raj Ahluwalia. It was about the column entitled "Why Premiers Don't Become Prime Ministers." It had got Raj thinking.
"Peter, So I've been thinking about your column and specifically the "defending narrow provincial interests" bit. It's a fair point, but I wonder if it doesn't say as much about Canadian society and our media as it does about the politicians themselves.
Why is it that the path to the White House often goes thru the Governor's mansions of any state, and yet the path to 24 Sussex doesn't go from a premier's office? Large states (Reagan/California, George W.Bush/Texas of late)....to small (Clinton/Arkansas). If in a few weeks Romney (Mass) wins it doesn't seem to matter. It's hard to imagine those governors didn't defend their states' interests just as vigorously as premiers.
Is it the Canadian media, which exploits regional differences more than perhaps the US media? Or is it Canadian society, which may value regional values over national ones? Is it something else?
It's certainly not the politicians themselves, as you point out. Both Lougheed and Davis might have made good PMs. Same as Stanfield.
It's hard to believe some MPs, who may have the narrowest of views, ones that don't go beyond the parochial interests of a few neighbourhoods, will make better leaders of a country than someone who has actually led an entire province.
On the other hand, it's hard to argue against history.
Maybe it's a question that you can pose in your next blog?
Just a thought.
See what I mean? An interesting question posed by Raj and I like his idea that we throw it open to you for some discussion.
So please, don't be shy.