Saint Jack of the Small Screen

Jack Layton

Oh Good Lord, I suppose it just had to be. Yes, the time of waiting has come to an end, and like a child embracing the dawn on Christmas Day I feel my heart bursting with a fulfilled anticipation. Because, joy oh joy, as I write this column the filming on the Jack Layton biopic is almost complete. It stars Rick Roberts and Sook-Yin Lee as Layton and his wife Olivia Chow and is called, cringes all round, Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story.

I know we’re supposed to be totally non-critical of the dead, but politicians leave legacies and change society, and Jack Layton – someone I knew and rather liked as a person – helped create a culture of darkness in Canada, where the unborn were terminated with public funding, and marriage was transformed into a social club for alternative sexuality. Many of us may remember, or have seen photographs, of Layton linked arm-in-arm with other pro-abortion activists, forming chains and walls so that women could walk into clinics and kill their children, and not have to see those terrible people urging them to perhaps think again about the meaning and sanctity of life.

None of this, I am sure, meant anything to the actor portraying the socialist politician. “It’s been a pleasure looking into the life of such a multi-faceted man. I’ve had to learn to speak Cantonese and French, and play the guitar,” explained the gushing Rick Roberts. “Jack Layton was an incredible athlete, and I like to lie on the couch – so this in itself has been challenging. The most intriguing part has been trying to embody his passion for life, his generosity, and his resolve to follow his vision in spite of overwhelming odds.”

Of course. Gifted musician, linguist, athlete, saint. A little like Gandhi and Churchill, but oddly hidden in an extremely ordinary municipal politician and man who was ever so briefly the leader of the federal opposition, and whose contribution to abortion slaughter can never be doubted. This is the sort of thing that makes Canada look so small, silly and extreme. Jack was a nice fellow in some ways, but my goodness he had his faults, and there have been legions of better people and better politicians, and people who empathized with the most vulnerable in our society, the unborn. This is pathetic stuff, all paid for – just like abortion – with the tax-dollars of the very Canadians to whom, it seems, Jack was a god. Odd, then, that so few of them actually voted for him.

But more bewildering is the casting of the absurd but politically acceptable Sook-Yin Lee as Chow. “Jack and Olivia were an amazing team in life, love and politics,” she explained pretentiously. “They cut through bureaucracy and remained accessible to people. It will be a challenge for me to embody Olivia in all her beautiful complexity. I hope to serve her well.”

Yeah right, but there was that massage parlour thing wasn’t there, where most of the media refused to refer to Jack’s alleged tryst with an Asian lady who was yet another victim of our decaying culture. It doesn’t make him a monster, but can you imagine any conservative politician being treated so generously? Lee would probably have been better cast as the masseuse, in that she is best known for her intriguing role in a low-budget movie called Shortbus.

Laughably bad and largely forgotten, this nonsense caused controversy only because Lee performed, forgive me, non-simulated sexual intercourse and masturbation on the screen. Nope, she wasn’t faking, it was for real. And who of us is not a better person for watching some silly girl playing with herself and having public sex on the large screen? Well, it’s easier than acting I suppose. Won’t someone please point out just how absurd these people are.

The Layton funeral was a preposterous demonstration of ersatz grief and communal neurosis, and a yet another platform for Stephen Lewis’s invincible arrogance and pomposity. Lewis, by the way, was an equal offender when it comes to the abortion massacres. Stephen Harper was pressurized and blackmailed into having a state funeral, and it’s sad that he submitted. Layton was not a beloved Canadian figure, he was a beloved media figure. Now he is to be portrayed in a television hagiography. My scream, sir, will not be silent.

 Michael Coren can be booked for speeches at michaelcoren.com, where his books can also be purchased.

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