Quack Attack

Looks to me like “Grit Girl” is the one “making it up as [she] goes along” with this particular video.

First of all, it should be pointed out that Senator Nancy Ruth — the “Conservative politician” being ridiculed here — was actually appointed in 2005 by former Prime Minister Paul Martin. She was a Progressive Conservative (a “Red Tory” if you will) and is a long-time social activist, feminist, and philanthropist. Prior to her appointment, she founded several women’s organizations in Canada, including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a women’s studies chair at Mount Saint Vincent University. She’s a member of the Order of Canada and also happens to be Canada’s first (and only?) openly lesbian senator.

Second, regarding to the allegation that the Conservatives “don’t like the poor” because of Senator Ruth’s suggestion that geese be shot and fed to the needy, making such a logical inference is absurd. In fact, the National Post article to which the video is linked notes that: “In 1997, a report commissioned by a multi-municipality committee in the Toronto area said culling geese and donating the meat to local [food] banks may be the answer to the growing problem of the mess on beaches and in parks.” Many experts don’t seem to think that this is the most effective approach (“egg oiling” and other methods are preferred), but that’s beside the point. Also, there’s nothing wrong with eating goose meat, although in my experience, it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

Third, if it’s alleged that the Conservatives “don’t like a proud national Canadian symbol, either” because of Senator Ruth’s remarks, then the Liberals can’t think much of snow geese, because in 2000 the government proposed culling half a million of that species as part of a wildlife management program to preserve their arctic habitat.

Fourth, hunting doesn’t necessarily make a person “gun crazy” — if indeed that’s the implication of the little zinger in the video in this regard.

Finally, mentioning that the Canada Goose was “once an endangered species” is beyond laughable. Yes, over a century ago it had been hunted almost to the point of extinction, but that’s hardly the case today. The damn things are now ubiquitous to the point of being a nuisance. And furthermore, as Senator Ruth correctly pointed out, they are, in fact, a health hazard. In addition to being a carrier of pathogens that can infect livestock and domesticated animals, their droppings contain unique forms of E. coli that are more toxic to the digestive system than other forms of this bacterium. By the way, just 50 geese can produce two and a half tons of excrement in a year.

47 Replies to “Quack Attack”

  1. But seriously, let me get this straight… It’s okay to fire off a knee-jerk post demonizing Conservatives based on this ridiculous smear or to simply re-post it like some thoughtless echo-chamber robot, but not okay to point out that it’s… you know, a ridiculous smear. Is that about it?

  2. Red… I think it’s all in jest… I’ve been laughing about this all day. It’s just that (regardless of her character, and her past) she just added to the hilarity in a way that was, well… so very “fitting” with the way the Conbots have done things lately.

    Just too funny… Laugh at it man… that’s what I did. It is pretty great to see the “Liberal Big Red Blogging Machine” hit full stride, though now, isn’t it?

  3. The notion of a goose cull followed by lining up the homeless and giving them the contaminated meat is old enough that to bring it up at this late date and waste the time of the Senate on the matter is extremely stupid.

    And she’s a Tory. Cue the hilarity.

  4. Seemed like a pretty cheap shot to me.

    The fact of the matter is that geese do pose a health hazard and there’s nothing wrong with looking at different ways of controlling their populations in human habitats. Her observation was out of place in the Senate Finance Committee dealing with the CFIA’s budget and she could be legitimately criticized for not doing some basic research into their jurisdiction before mouthing off with her complaint, but that’s about it. The rest is way out of line.

    And just out of curiosity, why would the meat be “contaminated”? Also, where did the “homeless” enter into the equation? I think her notion involved food banks. They supplement the working poor mostly, do they not? Being a little imaginative and wildly hyperbolic, aren’t you?

  5. RT, Geese eat grass off golf courses, and there is a ton of herbicides in the grass. Hence the homeless: who else do you think would eat that stuff?

    (also, typically in other cities that have considered this–including, if I remember correctly–Seattle about 20 years ago–have seen this as a means of feeding the homeless. Again, who else would want to eat chemicalized goose-flesh?)

  6. RT, bcl is right about the meat being contaminated. Something was investigated in TO, though don’t ask me for a link as it was a while ago.

    They’re not ‘eating’ birds apparently. A similar suggestion has been made about pigeons.

    I think the vid was made in jest.

    Nancy Ruth is quite a character and one of my favourite Senators in fact for her often outrageous and forthright comments. She used to be an Independent then joined the Con caucus last year. I was both disappointed and surprised to see that actually. I don’t always agree with her, but she just doesn’t seem to fit with that clan.

  7. BCL — Fair enough. Look, I’m not really defending the idea… Actually, I think it was pretty goofy, but morphing that into the notion that “Conservatives don’t like poor people” is still a bit much. As you and others have pointed out, the idea has been considered in the past and I’m sure it wasn’t done out of any contempt or dislike for the needy… more just a way of putting the meat from the proposed cull to some good use. Obviously, she wasn’t aware of this and the idea does re-surface in different places from time to time where geese are proving to be a nuisance and/or health hazard so it’s natural enough to initially think it’s a good solution. Until, that is, one gets all the facts (like realizing that the meat wouldn’t actually be fit for human consumption owing to the high pesticide content, etc.)

  8. I think GritGirl is just making fun of what the Cons would do with this story. Remember Kinsella and the cat meat thing. The owner of that particular restaurant said the Kinsella has been going to his restaurant for years and they are friends and he knew Kinsella was joking (wish I could find the article about it) and look what the Cons tried to do with that story.

  9. I found Senator Ruth’s comments rather callous and self-centred. She uttered them out and sounded like a senile old coot not even knowing if it was the appropriate committee…

    She was complaining about geese that made swimming around her lake dangerous. For that, she does not get a free pass with her stupid comments. Her suggestion to feed them to the poor echoed “Let them eat cake” in pompousness.

    As BCL (I think) pointed out before the video appeared, it was also a stupid suggestion because, well the birds are toxic…

    There was enough material for ridicule in Senator Ruth’s original statements.

    Late last evening, WK posted about the video. In the best Blogging Tories imitation, all top Liblogs had posted about that video with approximately the same lines. It seems that every Liblogger was ejaculating over themselves at how clever this video was….

    The video is just not that witty and has Red has done, quite easy to debunk.

  10. I’m not sure I’d want to be fed a Canada Goose but I imagine it might be less toxic than ocean tuna or sliced meats from the grocery store. What I’m more disturbed about is that we’re expending precious brain cells discussing defending such a silly effort.

  11. As for WK and the cat meat story, his words were not distorted to the level that is trying to be done with this video. The Cons did enough with “that story” if WK issued a few public apologies…

    Gritgirl is just not that clever for inferring that she “is just making fun of what the Cons would do with this story”….

  12. Sandi — That may well be, and perhaps my sense of humour is failing me here, but it doesn’t seem fair to smear someone who’s fundamentally decent just because they’re a Conservative and said something kind of dumb. Taking that and claiming that all Conservatives “don’t like the poor” are “gun crazy” and “don’t like a proud national symbol” is just way out of line if you ask me.

    Previous videos were effective because they took actual facts and contrasted them with rhetoric from the Conservatives that was clearly out of synch with what’s going on with the economy. It doesn’t get any better than that in terms of an attack piece. This one however fails miserably in my opinion because it’s making wild claims that simply aren’t supported by the facts presented.

    BCL seems to think I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but the videos from “Grit Girl” have been a cut above the usual run of crummy, amateurish attacks launched by individuals (I’ve said before that I suspect there may well be some LPC involvement here) and they’re widely circulated on Liberal blogs, therefore, I think it’s worth taking them to task when they’re off the mark (at least in my opinion).

  13. a long-time social activist, feminist, and philanthropist…and also happens to be Canada’s first (and only?) openly lesbian senator.

    I like feminists and lesbians. I get angry when people claim gays and lesbians don’t get along and I proffer the fact that one of my closets friends is a feminist lesbian. My friend however is not a man hater. Ms. Ruth née Jackman is. She doesn’t like men and she really doesn’t like gay men who dress up as women–even if it will benefit charity:

    “Nancy Jackman doesn’t like drag queens. Jackman sat on the founding board of directors of Casey House, the hospice for people with AIDS. But in 1988, when drag queens proposed a fundraiser, Jackman stepped down. ‘From my own understanding of feminism, cross-dressing from a position of power — that is, male — is a problem. I made no move to stop the board, but I felt uncomfortable. My time had come — so I left.”

    And she had no problem using gay porn as a tool to get strike fear and disgust in the hearts of judges:

    “LEAF is now under the gun for its role in the Butler decision, in which gay male SM porn was shown to Supreme Court justices [as a way to shock and disgust them].”


    And lastly, she was running as an Ontario PC in the early 90’s within a riding that contained the gay village, yet the only reason she came out was because she was going to be outed:

    Ruth “announced she was a lesbian at an all-candidates’ meeting…. Sources say her campaign manager had received at least one phone call the week before warning that activists… were planning to out her.” Ruth called herself “a tough dyke.”

    Does it surprise anyone that an elitist–liberal, or conservative–would view wild, contaminated geese as fodder for the poor? She is might consider herself a tough dyke, but all I see is a mean bitch.

  14. Well put RT. It reminded me of that Gordon Campbell hates you ad that is circulating around BC now. Humour is a tricky thing and when it fails, boy does it fail.

    I was disappointed with the ad. Not so much for the smear but that it felt like a design by committee ad where more time was spent on the production values than the actual idea.

    I liked the Kathy Shaidle ad, I think she deserves the moniker of hating the poor but they drew far too many conclusions out of the air on this ad and pointed them at Nancy Ruth. I think she’s more out of touch and elitist than gun crazy herself.

  15. Does it surprise anyone that an elitist–liberal, or conservative–would view wild, contaminated geese as fodder for the poor? She is might consider herself a tough dyke, but all I see is a mean bitch.
    Now that’s the right spirit! Bravo.

  16. Whooee! Well, I ain’t got any test reports on toxicity of grass-eatin’ geese but I’ll take BCL’s word fer it that they are contaminated. BCL probbly knows about the ban on Ontario lawn chemicals. I hear-tell it don’t extend to golf courses, yet, but they’re workin’ on that.

    Now, if we can jest keep our geese in Ontariariario instead o’ them flyin’ down to Merka every winter, we might be able to eat them fat fowl.

    I don’t figger there’s a piece of meat in any grocery store that didn’t come from an animal that ate feed that came from chemical-sprayed crops.

    Better idea might be to harvest the goose guano and turn it into methane.


  17. Paul — Harsh. Things are always a lot more complicated and messy than they seem at first blush, eh? Politics almost always a nasty, filthy business…

  18. sapphireandsteel — I’ve heard of that “Campbell Hates You” ad (I think he hates your granny too… or something like that), but haven’t actually seen it yet. Sounds pretty lame.

  19. Politics almost always a nasty, filthy business…

    Ain’t it the truth; and at every level. Years ago when my cousin ran for a spot on the local Catholic School board, his opponant denounced him as a bad Catholic because he ate meat on Fridays and grilled him on whether or not he and his wife used birth control.

  20. Paul — You’d have to be nuts to get into politics. Seriously. It’s completely ridiculous the amount of personal scrutiny people have to withstand these days.

    I don’t imagine a legion of muckraking bloggers exactly helps matters either. 😉

  21. I don’t imagine a legion of muckraking bloggers exactly helps matters either.

    This is very true, Red. And normally I’d agree with you; such as the case of bloggers hounding John Baird about his sexuality.

    However, the above link I posted is from 2005 and covers events from the late 80’s to the mid 90’s. What is shows is a history of nastiness on the part of Ms. Ruth. Why is she so unnecessarily cruel? I have’t the foggiest. But she should be called on it.

  22. It would be interesting to put those accusations to her directly, but I rather doubt any kind of response would be forthcoming. Perhaps if I still lived in Ontario I’d pursue it further…

  23. RT.. well done, well done.

    Whatever party we support, we do them all a favor when we demand more of them, when we call them on cheap, unfounded attacks, when we decry mindless dogmatism..

    Contrary to the other comments… I really didn’t consider that the video was a “modest proposal”, a la Jonathan Swift.

  24. There’s a period that feminists went through grappling with misogyny, pornography and negative stereotyping that I think was very traumatic for everyone. And when it’s brought up again, all the old wounds are re-opened.

  25. Instead of questioning the Con’s allegiance to a Canadian symbol, a simple statement at the end of the video like – Can’t the Cons come up with a real plan to deal with poverty? would have been much more effective and the naysayers would be singing a different tune.

    As for Ruth, indeed it was an offensive, self-centered comment to make, because she made it clear it was about her swimming pleasure at the cottage. Since joining the Cons her brain cells are leaking. Ptui!

  26. It’s just a lame video, all around. I can’t believe Kinsella is so pumped for this, unless he IS GritGirl, which would be so very, very ridiculous.

    The timing in this video is awkwardly paced, which makes the inherent goofiness of its message even harder to grok.

    But by all means, Grit War Room, keep pretending these are cutting edge…

  27. The comments were dumb, but trying to link it to Harper and the “Conservatives hate poor people” is silly. I’m fairly sure she’s not even in the Conservative caucus (being an independent PC senator or whatever).

  28. I was just scanning Liblogs a little while ago and was amazed at all of the gushing over this piece of tripe. Her “best ever” and “a masterpiece”… WTF? Give me a break.

  29. “But by all means, Grit War Room, keep pretending these are cutting edge…”

    Especially when the Conservatives think Puffins pooping and dog’s writing blogs are avant garde.

    One bad Gritgirl doesn’t yet put them on the level of lameness that is the Harper Government: Now with more pork.

    Criticize it for what it is: poorly executed lame humour, but don’t think this puts the Conservatives on some sort of creative edge. Who was it that created oily the spot again?

  30. Ugh, I agree with you RT. I’ve actually enjoyed the previous ones but this one left me sitting at my computer thinking “That’s the best you could do?” I got that and the lame-o Gordon Campbell ad within an hour. Truly a disappointing hour.

  31. C’mon guys, they can’t all be winners.

    Do like the Conservatives do…proclaim brilliance over and over again until everyone stops talking about it.

  32. RT, it’s been a tough few years for Liberal partisans… this video is just feeding crumbs to the pigeons.

    LadyGrits other video’s are pretty good.



  33. Whooee! Thinkin’ about them geese some more… There’s huntin’ season fer Canada Goose an’ hunters all over North America shoot ’em outta the sky an’ take ’em home fer roastin’ or turnin’ into gooseburgers or goosemeat chili or goose pot pie or some other wild game delicacy.

    How do they know them geese ain’t just spent the summer eatin’ toxic grass offa some golf course. I useta have a father-in-law who went out goose huntin’ an’ I’ve had some o’ that goose at the table.

    I reckon there’s a non PC pun in here somewhere. What’s good fer the goose is good fer the panhandler?


  34. Well, as I said, they’re far more trouble than they’re worth from a cooking/eating standpoint. Like most water fowl, there’s not much meat really… just a whole lot of fat.

    Also, it should be noted that, like most geese, they’re an especially cantankerous and frequently aggressive bird.

  35. Also, it should be noted that, like most geese, they’re an especially cantankerous and frequently aggressive bird.

    Shootin’ ’em helps with that part.

  36. Not all geese are bad… Check out this old codger.

    Full disclosure: When I was a wee little kid we lived across from a farm and they had geese… they seemed to enjoy terrorizing us, so I’ve got a bit of hang up about them, I guess. They weren’t anything like the Beatrix Potter variety.

  37. One wonders how many “wild” geese are full of spent lead shot they pick up on their quite amazing travels, let alone know what suburban or urban geese are eating.

    Either way, I won’t be eating goose no matter how hungy I get. After all, if the poor need to eat city or suburban geese they’d be doing it already. All reports of city workers or police confiscating abandoned homeless carts have never mentioned goose bones scattered around the mobile domiciles.

    Still, it was a pretty silly goose comment by one of the sober second thought crowd. Deserved to be pilloried albeit lowly.

    Does out of touch ring a bell with the fois gras crowd at all?

  38. For the record, roosters are scarier than geese (sorry Red). Which is why wingnuts, rednecks and inveterate gamblers bet on injury-inducing spurred and kniving chickens. Geese are not on the thrill-to-kill menu. Or many others. Poor things. But it would be fun to see people with guns in our parks and by our ponds blasting geese in front of tourists and passers-by. Especially when PETA shows up all nekkid and all.

  39. And now we have “toryboy”.

    I dunno if 3 year old “facts” and quote by Stephen Harper masked as a Globe and Mail comment are really going to sway anyone. Who in the mainstream is really going to see this?

    It’s such a derivative ad.

  40. apparently we are still better off with Harper. If only it was possible to type sarcastic laughter.

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