The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Please Advise! Trudeau Asks, Was That Weekend Racket a St. Paddy's Day Thing?

Sorry Justin, they were protests, and you missed the parade.

By Steve Burgess 16 Mar 2015 |

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

I noticed quite a few parades happening across Canada this weekend. What was that all about? St. Patrick's Day?


Justin Trudeau

Dear Justin,

Good guess. But those were mostly happening outside Irish pubs at 2 a.m.

No, the marches you noticed were about something else. It seems a great many Canadians are concerned about Bill C-51. In cities across the country, citizens took to the streets to protest the Harper government's proposed security legislation that will grant CSIS and the RCMP sweeping new powers. Among the items being swept may be your constitutional rights. The bill would establish standards for justifiable arrests that resemble the informal rules currently being employed by the police department of Ferguson, Missouri.

It's understandable that you didn't notice the marches, Justin, since you have thrown Liberal Party support behind Bill C-51. It would make your attendance at an anti-C-51 rally awkward to say the least -- rather like showing up at a St. Patrick's Day parade in a Margaret Thatcher mask. Besides, I'm sure you're still busy debriefing Tory turncoat Dimitri Soudas on all his inside party secrets. Good idea -- better get that done while it's still legal.

Still, you would think this sort of grassroots Canadian protest against Harper overreach would be just your thing, Justin -- a perfect chance for you to emphasize the bright new dawn that could result from a Liberal victory. Your entire pitch has been based on a change of tone, a move away from the fear and division of Harperism toward a new era of sunshine and positivity. Goodbye, bad old politics of negativity -- hello, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

What do you get instead? A Montreal anti-C-51 march -- including NDP leader Tom Mulcair -- that aimed straight for the Liberal party headquarters. You're part of Team Harper on this one. You might as well have been standing on the ramparts with the prime minister, defiantly facing the protesters while holding hands and singing "We Shall Overcome."

Fear of terrorism has been running high thanks to trials on both sides of the country and vague threats thrown at Canada from ISIS and Al-Shabaab. You surveyed the polls and decided that it simply wouldn't do to allow Harper to manoeuvre the Liberals into position for a "soft-on-terrorism" attack. It was a purely political calculation -- perhaps even a savvy one. But Harper knows he has put you in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation. Leave yourself open to attack from fear-mongering Conservatives? Or alienate your natural constituency on the centre-left? You chose the latter option. Justin Trudeau: He'll KO ISIS just like he pummelled Patrick Brazeau. Can he tackle terrorists by abrogating democratic freedoms like his old man? Just watch him.

But the price you pay is higher than that paid by any other Canadian leader. You more than anyone suffer from looking like just any old compromising hack. And for what? A bill that in all likelihood will never survive its first constitutional challenge. You had the opportunity to take a principled stand and later be proved correct by the Supreme Court. Instead you are Harper's poodle.

Politics is expediency. The sad fact is that no matter how often people claim they want leaders to display integrity and unyielding conviction, they will generally punish any politician foolish enough to display such attributes. What people really want in politicians are unyielding convictions that perfectly match their own unyielding convictions. That's why it is so tricky -- and often self-defeating -- to position yourself as the anti-politician, the one who does not grasp at every passing popular issue. You set yourself up for the inevitable charges of hypocrisy. Might as well get a big Janus tattoo on your manly chest.

Politicians who hope to survive tend to do as you have been doing lately -- putting straws into the wind, gauging the public mood, and reacting accordingly. They do things like taking toxic Eve Adams into the Liberal Party just to gain access to the nasty Conservatives secrets possessed by the equally toxic Dimitri Soudas. Politicians do that sort of stuff. And you're a politician. It just doesn't look so good after you've been so busy painting yourself as a cross between Eleanor Roosevelt and Sponge Bob Squarepants. I think you missed the parade on this one, Justin.  [Tyee]

Read more: Federal Politics,

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll