Is Calgary Dallas North?


“There he was, in perhaps the only city in Canada that would have him” said Jeffrey Simpson in a brutally frank Globe article referring to GW Bush’s visit to Calgary on March 17. Simpson eviscerated the worst president in living memory in these words:

The miserable results of those eight years are all around us, and him. You’d think a self-respecting man with such a doleful legacy would lie low for a while. You would have hoped that a self-respecting city such as Calgary would have understood that an invitation to him would hurt the city’s image – not for hospitality, of course, but for rational politics.

But no, there Mr. Bush was yesterday, defending the indefensible in perhaps the only city in Canada where even a quarter of the population thought well of him as president

The deregulation, the blind adherence to ideology, the growing deficits he bequeathed, the shredding social safety net, the two expensive and unresolved wars, the unfunded health-care programs: These all weigh heavily now on the United States and, by extension, on the world.

Mr. Bush inherited a surplus and turned over a deficit. He inherited a country respected in most parts of the world and turned over one respected only in pockets of the world. He inherited a government committed to internationalism and, where appropriate, multilateralism, and turned over a country outside climate-change protocols, the International Criminal Court, other United Nations treaties. He inherited a government seriously interested in Middle East peace and turned over one that showed interest in the file only at the end of his administration.

But why carry on with the indictment? In poll after poll, Americans passed judgment on him as the worst president in their lifetime and, arguably, one of the very worst in the history of the republic. He was so toxic that even his own party, gathered in St. Paul last summer, scarcely breathed his name.

A political outcast in most of his own country, except for religious and secular Republican bastions, found in Calgary arguably the only place outside the United States where he could get a welcome. Whatever he earned was too much.

So why would Pamela Wallin a Harper appointee to the Senate show up?

Calgarian VIC ROGERSON wrote the Globe to ask if  George W. Bush hurts the Calgary image? Quite the contrary. There’s no more appropriate place for a Bush speaking engagement than Calgary.For starters, you need to understand that when you live in Calgary, you may as well be living in Texas. Really, we’re more Texan than the Texans.

I would go so far as to suggest that Mr. Bush actually embodies the values that many Calgarians hold. There’s a shared sense of entitlement. Somebody has something you want? Grab it. Economic considerations have priority over environmental or social considerations. Faith and patriotism trump reason.

Government should be absolutely minimal, yet accountability of government to its citizens is unnecessary, regardless of competency.



  1. 1
    rrslifka Says:

    Kelly Hrudey was there, too!

  2. 2

    Time to update this one. Toronto is hosting Dubya, so be sure to post again about how this marks Toronto as, what, Houston North?

    Support for W was higher in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and in the Maritimes and in NF than it was in Alberta before the 2004 elections. Alberta was tied with Ontario on that measure. And in the most recent US presidential election, 79% of Calgarians would have, given the choice, voted for Obama. That’s not Dallas; that’s not even Seattle. That’s the most liberal major city in the US.

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